Why ADA for your Catholic homeschooling?
The very short answer to this question is that ADA offers a much better Catholic curriculum, as well as a very powerful and convenient grading and reporting system.
- “Will my children’s books be solid and Traditional Catholic?”
- “How can I possibly keep up with all my children, in different grades, across all the subjects?”
- “I cannot grade all this school work. Not only am I short on time, but I am not even familiar enough with some subjects to feel competent to grade.”
- “How will I know if my students are falling behind? They may tell me ‘all is fine, Mom’, but what if they are not keeping up, misunderstanding the concepts, or just being lazy?”
Feel free to jump directly to the ADA Solution, but we would first like to briefly list some problems we see in the typical Catholic homeschooling system.
Curriculum problems with many Catholic homeschooling services
We have homeschooled for many years and have seen and used many of different books. Some were excellent. We however, were definitely not impressed with some, and yet at the time could find no better replacement. Many of these same problematic books are still being used by Catholic homeschooling services out there. But, as you will see below, we have since written many of our own textbooks.
Practical problems with many homeschooling services
Most Catholic homeschooling services only grade a small portion of the student’s coursework. Those portions are submitted a few times during the year, usually at the end of each quarter (roughly, every nine weeks). These occasional samples of coursework are then graded and eventually returned to the student.
We believe there are multiple problems with this model.
Problem #1: Parents must do most of the grading and record keeping.
Because the student only submits a small portion of his coursework to the homeschooling service (and this is done only every few months), the coursework done in between (such as daily or weekly exercises) are graded by the parents or sometimes not graded at all. Because the average homeschooling service only sees a small portion of the student’s coursework, its staff are unable to assign grades based on all coursework done in the semester, as a brick-and-mortar school would do.
Again, this can lay two heavy burdens on the parent:
- The parent must do most of the grading. Not only can this be extremely time-consuming even for the easier courses, but it also demands the parent be familiar enough with all the subject matter. Consider for example, the challenges of grading advanced Latin, Chemistry, or Trigonometry.
- The parent must do record keeping and calculating of grades for each course. Again, it is most accurate and fair to assign grades based on all coursework, not just a small portion submitted on a quarterly basis. In days of old, many brick-and-mortar school teachers would assign grades using some system like this: daily coursework counts as 60%, tests 30%, and quizzes 10%. But it is hard on the parents to do anything like this unless they have accurate grading records for every exercise, quiz, and test.
Problem #2: Misunderstandings can build and go undetected.
Again, because the student only submits a small portion of his coursework every few months, the coursework done in between (such as daily or weekly exercises) may have undetected problems. It is true that the parents sometimes grade that daily course work. Sometimes however, they cannot grade it – perhaps they do not feel qualified, or circumstances arise and it does not get done.
Sometimes the coursework is graded, but there can be a long delay before doing so. But ungraded or delay-graded coursework generally leads to misunderstandings and errors on the student’s part. This is especially the case with subjects which present concepts which build and depend upon previous concepts, such as with mathematics, science, or Latin.
Problem #3: There is no immediate feedback for the student, and sometimes long delays in receiving the graded coursework. “What is my current grade?”
Even with the samples occasionally submitted to the homeschooling service (if one is used), there can be a significant delays in the student receiving the corrected coursework. Again, the student’s misunderstandings multiply in the meantime. The student does not quickly see how he did on his latest work, leaving a feeling of insecurity and wonder.
Problem #4: It is easy to fall behind the schedule before either parent or student realizes it
Because the coursework is only submitted once per quarter, during that nine weeks, it can be difficult to determine if the student is falling behind. There can be a scramble all of a sudden when it is time to submit the quarter-end student samples to the homeschooling service.
The ADA Solution
Our curriculum is simply better: more solid and more Truly Traditional Catholic
We wanted something much better than the typical modern textbooks, to form and strengthen our Catholic youth in these terrible times. This is why we teamed up with Christ the King Books, and for the last five years, have been working on new, hard-hitting Traditional Catholic textbooks, all of which implement our “we grade everything” promise. We urge you to check them out!
We also make Catholic homeschooling much easier on the practical level
Many homeschooling families have become accustomed to the above practical shortcomings. We can spare them from most of them, however, by the combination of our unique coursework grading system and our academic reporting system.
Advantage #1: We quickly grade and return everything for you!
We wish to stress that our program quickly grades and returns all of the student’s coursework – including the daily/weekly exercises! Since even daily/weekly coursework is graded and quickly returned to both parent and student, problems can be quickly caught and corrected. The student sees what is wrong, thus avoiding misunderstandings building upon misunderstandings.
The typical ADA lesson includes short-answer questions (e.g. “Explain why ….”) , which the student must answer with complete sentences. These answers are graded by our qualified staff. But we also harness the power of computer grading whenever possible. We believe this combination of human and computer grading provides a fairly accurate indication of the student’s level of understanding of the material.
Advantage #2: Regular “at a glance” academic progress reports and grading
ADA parents are kept informed by means of “at a glance” reports sent by email, or via the parent portal on our website. Gone is the guesswork of what the student’s grades are right now! The student also receives these emails (assuming you provided us an email address), and can also check his own grades anytime via the student portal. Learn more about our academic progress reports.
Advantage #3: Free, customized lesson plans
You can generate (or regenerate) free, customized lesson plans for the student, tailored to your family’s school year schedule. Learn more about our free customized lessons plans. These plans are a very useful guide for the student’s daily sense of security and scheduling.
Advantage #4: Parents (and students) always know if the schedule is being met
These lesson plans are not just a document sitting next to the student; they also represent a schedule which is stored in our system. We can thus keep both you and the student informed whether the student is keeping up with your family’s customized academic schedule. After all, a student could be doing straight-A work (all the answers are correct), but yet may be falling way behind. (By the way, this academic schedule is set up when enrolling and creating the free lesson plans. If you did not set this up when enrolling, this is no problem since you can easily do so anytime via the parent portal.)
Our academic progress reports also show you graphically whether the schedule is being met.