Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Our Lady of Victory Homeschooling

Our Lady of Victory School has recently joined the National Association of Private Catholic & Independent School and on July 17, 2007, we received our official notice of accreditation. What does this mean? In the past, we were not an accredited school because we did not know of an authorized accreditation association that could review our unique curriculum without the influence of the government's view as to what they consider appropriate subject matter for college bound students. We are pleased to announce the National Association of Private Catholic & Independent Schools has reviewed and approved our entire curriculum without any changes, modifications, or exceptions to our existing course of studies!

Since 1977, when Our Lady of Victory School's Homestudy Program began, hundreds of students have transferred to other schools, or have gone on to institutions of higher learning. To date, no school system, college, or university, has rejected Our Lady of Victory's official student transcripts. This includes graduates who have gone on to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the world, several of whom have even received significant scholarships based on merit and academic standing.

Why should I choose Our Lady of Victory School over the other home study programs out there?

Our Lady of Victory is the oldest Catholic homestudy program in the United States, and probably in the world. We have the experience no one else does. While other programs can offer you some of the things we can, no one else can offer you all of these:

Daily lesson plans in grades 1A (Kindergarten) through 6, and weekly in grades 7 - 12

Work of enrolled students is closely monitored by experienced tutors every two weeks, the recommended frequency for work submission

Completely traditional Catholic theology, in full accord with the entire Magisterial teaching of the Church

Diplomas awarded to enrolled students at completion of grades 8 and 12, at annual commencement exercises

Individual curriculum-tailoring for high school students transferring from other schools

Flexibility in course planning, including a non-enrolled satellite program and the option of purchasing only books, should you desire

The most economical program of the major home study providers

Quality hard-bound, cloth-covered texts reprinted from older and sounder Catholic texts

Our solemn promise that Our Lady of Victory will never introduce novelties, but will continue to strive to provide the most doctrinally sound and affordable Catholic textbooks and course materials available anywhere

How would you describe the OLVS educational program?

The educational program of OLVS is the typical Catholic school format that was used so successfully across the nation up until about 1960. It is traditional in the educational sense that we do not experiment with your child's mind. The guidance we give is God-centered and not man-centered, materialistic, or humanistic. We set educational standards for which we encourage our students to strive. We promote St. John Bosco's "Preventive System" of "Reason, Religion, and Kindness." We give traditional grades, including "F" when it is deserved. However, we do not abandon the failing student or place him in an "educationally challenged" group. We place him at a grade level commensurate with his abilities, and we encourage him to advance from there. Pervading our educational program is our effort to teach the students to strive to do his very best in all subjects, so that he can grow academically and morally. We want to arm our students with the tools through which they can process information, derive knowledge, and discover Truth.

Do you offer materials for Special Needs Students?

While OLVS does not offer any materials specifically designed for Special Needs students, our program can be used in a way that will help the special needs student to succeed academically. Here is a statement from one of our parents of a special needs student:

"I cannot begin to express how pleased I am with my daughter's progress. This is a child who was deemed to be "special ed." material by the public system this time last year. She can now read, write, spell and form legible sentences. Your curriculum has proven to be invaluable! Thank you so much."

By simply following our daily lesson plans, in addition to applying a time-tested method of teaching a special needs student, the child will be able to master the basic fundamentals of learning. As a result, both parent and child are given the opportunity to overcome the frustration and the rigors of daily schoolwork, while strengthening the bond between themselves. Please contact us for further details.

Which rite of the Catholic Church do you promote?

You will find us supporting only the Latin Tridentine Mass, as promulgated by Pope St. Pius V, the traditional rites of the sacraments, the 15 decade rosary, novenas, holy water, and the study of the traditional catechism, e.g., the Baltimore Catechism. We encourage a strong personal love for the saints and the Roman Catholic Church of yesterday and today. The religious program of OLVS is also traditional. With your help, the children are encouraged to live and practice the Ten Commandments. They are taught to dress modestly and to be respectful of their superiors, adults, and especially to priests and nuns with whom they may come in contact.

Who would be particularly interested in your program?

The OLVS Home Study Program is for truly concerned parents, both Catholic and non-Catholic, who have decided that the danger to their child's education, mental tranquility, and especially to his moral life, is so great that they cannot continue in their current public, Catholic, or private school. Even then, we suggest that you make a thorough search of your local schools for one that would meet your requirements before enrolling your child.

Why do you say this; is home schooling that difficult?

We give you this warning for a very good reason. One of the greatest assets of your family is your child(ren) and the God-given mind which must be educated, developed, and morally protected for the Glory of God. Christ has even warned us of the dire consequences of corrupting one of these "little ones." And we know that it is our prime responsibility as parents (not the government's nor a misguided pastor or bishop) to protect and educate our children. We ignore that responsibility only at great peril to the immortal life of our soul, and of our children's souls.

We have seen, and heard of, heartbreaking failures. But, we at Our Lady of Victory School are committed to your success -- and, consequently, to the success of your children, by challenging them academically in this world, and by giving them that which is necessary to help guide them to eternal salvation. Home schooling is not easy. We know that, and if you don't know it yet, you will soon. However, it is extremely rewarding. Home-schooling families are close-knit families who work together, pray together, and play together, and who will, by the grace of Almighty God, become the backbone for the Restoration of all things in Our Lord Jesus Christ. Catholic home schooling is truly the beginning of the Restoration!

So, colleges and universities will accept an OLVS diploma?

With an OLVS diploma, your child should have no problem gaining admittance to any institution of higher education, as long as your ACT's and SAT's (or other such required standardized tests) meet their criteria. If you have successfully completed the four-year OLVS high school curriculum, it is not likely you will have difficulty with entrance examinations. Over the last two decades, our graduates have gone on to countless colleges and universities, including such highly ranked institutions as Texas A&M University and Old Dominion University. One graduate recently wrote to update us on her progress, a letter typical of notes we receive from graduates from time to time:

I graduated in June of 1988 from OLVS (High). I completed grades 9 - 12 in your home schooling program. I went on to college and received an associate degree in Nursing. I then took a year off to travel. I came back to the USA to change career paths. I am now back in college studying Elementary Education and English Literature. I have maintained a 3.5 or higher in college. This past spring of '97, I was accepted at New College Oxford, England, to study British Literature. After my three months there, I received a B+ in my courses. Mind you, it was the hardest task I ever undertook! I am writing because I wanted to thank you for your help in home study. Please pass my story on to all those non-believers in home schooling.

What are the OLVS graduation requirements?

The graduation requirements are specified only for grades 9 - 12, and necessitate that a student have 220 credits, based on ten credits per subject per academic year (in some systems, this would be 22 credits, based on one credit per subject per academic year).

The following are required:

Religion: 4 years

English: 4 years

Math: 3 years

History: 2 years (1 year World, 1 year U.S.)

Civics: 1 year

Literature: 3 years

Science: 3 years

Spelling: 5 credits per year for Spelling which is included on the Grammar Lesson Plans.

Exceptions to these requirements will only be made on a case-by-case basis with the approval of the Director of Our Lady of Victory School. Exceptions may include those students who join our program after the ninth grade. A list of Electives is usually sent with all high school information (see the next question which deals specifically with electives).

Five credits are given for each subject passed per semester. There are two semesters in each school year. If a student is planning to attend a college or university, the Admissions Office of that school should be contacted as early as possible, preferably in the tenth grade, to determine the requirements for entrance to that college or university. Remember that those requirements will differ according to the institution and in accordance with the prospective student's major.

Do you offer public graduation ceremonies?

Yes, graduates and their families are invited to the annual commencement exercises, held each summer here right next to our new facilities in beautiful North Idaho. Families may make a visit to the old Mission of the Sacred Heart in Cataldo (a 40 minute drive from Post Falls). The Mission, now a state park, is the oldest standing building in Idaho, and was built in the 1850's by the Coeur d'Alene Indians under the direction of the Jesuit Fathers. Contact us by phone or e-mail to find out the date for the next graduation ceremony. If you are unable to make the commencement exercises, we will send your diploma through the mail.

Do you offer electives?

Yes, in grades 9 through 12, we offer a number of diverse courses, including modern foreign languages, Latin, Advanced Math, Typing, and a number of other challenging classes. This allows students, who don't intend to go on to college, to take various courses that will help them gain worthwhile employment after graduation, while permitting the college-bound students to have their curricula tailored to the requirements for acceptance at the college of their choice. Generally, universities require at least two years of language and proficiency through Algebra II. Community college requirements are not as stringent, but do vary from one region to another. For those planning to enter college, we recommend two years of a modern foreign language (we offer French, Spanish, and will soon offer Italian) and/or Latin, and at least a grade of "C" in Algebra II. Some prefer the separate Geometry course which we offer, as well.

An elective course should be used to replace a subject in the same category (no substitution for Religion) or may be added as an extra course. There is no additional charge for the elective chosen, although the cost of textbooks may be more or less. If permission is given by the OLVS Director to add an elective to the other six subjects, an additional fee of $40 (plus cost of the textbooks) will be charged for the lesson plans and for our tutor to correspond with you, grade papers, and issue official grades and documents. If you should decide not to use our tutor, and instead wish to do all the record keeping yourself, the cost of the lesson plans for an elective is $25.

Must I start the school year on a certain date?

While we provide a 38-week suggested academic calendar with the course material, there is no requirement to start on the date proposed, nor even to finish the work in the 38-week span. Our Lady of Victory School has students throughout the world, including the Southern Hemisphere, where the school year is opposite that in North America. Our tutors are retained throughout the calendar year. Therefore, you may start your school year at any time. The 38-week school year does have some time off for Christmas and Easter, and is divided into four quarters.

How do I determine the grade in which to start my child?

The answer to this question is dependent upon a number of factors, ranging from the child's previous educational formation to his achievement and aptitude. Additionally, it is not uncommon to find children who perform fairly well in one area, and quite poorly in another. If time is not an issue, we recommend having each child tested (some states even require this on a periodic basis) through a standardized testing process. These are not infallible, but they do give a good idea of an overall placement.

These tests are intended for students who have completed grades 3 through 12. Students completing K - 2 who have superior reading ability are generally able to be tested as well. Alternatively, these younger students may have the tests read to them, and the responses may be recorded for them. The initial remittance which must be forwarded to Mrs. Dunsford with the request for testing materials is $20.00 per child. The testing fee itself is $10.00; when the testing materials are returned, the remainder of the initial $20.00 (the refundable deposit of $10.00) will be sent back with the grades. When ordering the test, in addition to the $20.00, include a brief note describing the last grade successfully completed by the child. This will allow Mrs. Dunsford to better ascertain the appropriate test to send for your child. Additionally, ensure that your name, address, and phone number are included. (Your phone number is especially important.) If time is too short to order the Iowa test, call us at (208) 773-7265, to discuss your child's particular needs and to procure, at the very least, a math placement evaluation.

What is the cost of tuition for the Full Enrollment program?

For students enrolled in grades 1A through 6, the tuition (tutor services) is $115, and Lesson Plans are $85. For students in grades 7 through 12, the tuition is $165, and Lesson Plans are $85. This amount covers the services of our home school-experienced tutors, maintenance of official records, production of diplomas, and issuing of progress reports and report cards. Currently, the fee also entitles you to an unlimited number of official transcripts to prospective employers and schools. A family registering more than one child will be billed the full amount for only one child, then given a 10% reduction of the tuition fee for each additional child. There is a first-time registration fee of $25 per child, which is reduced to $10 per student in subsequent years. Books vary in prices by grade, and if they are kept in good condition, may be sold back at the end of the academic year. While we do ask that the full year's tuition be paid at the time of registration, we realize that this may be a hardship for some families, especially those who register multiple children. Therefore, you may make quarterly, or even monthly, tuition payments.

Do you require a specific dress code?

We recommend you dress your child in clothing which is distinctive enough that he will soon come to identify with school. Modesty, proper attire, and neatness will always characterize the students of OLVS. It is our philosophy that if a child is dressed appropriately for school, he will react better to the learning climate necessary for success. A basic part of this mental attitude comes from how a child is dressed. If a child is dressed in play clothes for school, he will naturally play at school and not learn at the proper mental level. It is very important to have your child develop the feeling that he is in school and that he must study hard in order to learn the material to which he is exposed. We want to impress upon you that your child should prepare for school just as if he were going down the street to the nearest parochial school.

Is there much homework?

The amount of time required for homework normally varies from a minimum of about 20 - 30 minutes in Grade 1A (Kindergarten) to at least two hours in high school. Because of the uniqueness of home study, homework time may be adjusted on an individual basis along with extra reading assignments. We assure you, though, that there will be homework!
How is the program divided by grade grouping?

Grades 1A through 8 are designated as Elementary School, while the 9th through the 12th grades are considered High School. Please note that our Kindergarten students start right out learning phonics, learning to read, doing math, and printing. Cursive is even introduced in the last quarter of the 1A curriculum. We don't have any "life adjustment experiments," and our young children love our system.

Fellow parents, the burden of educating our children clearly rests on us. Both the old (1917) and new (1983) Codes of Canon Law tell us that the parents are the primary educators of their children. It has always been an integral part of Catholic theology, but it has never been more evident -- based, unfortunately, on the urgent need -- than in these last few decades.

Home schooling is not easy. We know that, and you know that. But the rewards -- both natural and supernatural -- are countless; the blessings are many.

God Bless You.

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