Avoiding Supplement Overload

One of the guiding philosophies of the Catholic Textbook Project has been “less is more.” Unlike other publishers, we do not burden teachers with supplement upon supplement and goody bags filled with distracting resources – mainly because we don’t need to. Our well-written books do most of the work, by drawing students into the exciting story of history. Our teacher’s manuals and workbooks only help complete the work the textbooks have begun.

Light to the Nations, Part II: The Making of the Modern World (Teacher's Manual)The CTP Teacher’s Manual for each textbook features:

  • a complete timeline of the events covered in the book
  • a scope and sequence for each chapter
  • a discussion of the goals for each chapter
  • a listing of the basic facts students should take from each chapter, with a brief review of each fact
  • a listing of the key terms presented in each chapter with their definitions
  • answer keys for end-of-chapter review questions as well as for quizzes and tests
  • suggestions for carrying out end-of-chapter activities
  • a list of resources for further reading
One educator summed up the quality of our teacher’s manuals: “I have always been impressed with your books, but I am overwhelmed by the Teacher’s Manuals. They are the best I have ever seen!”
Light to the Nations, Part I: Development of Christian Civilization (Student Workbook)We also have workbooks for each of our textbooks which provide a variety of exercises and activities to enhance the learning experience and solidify subject retention. These excellent resources were designed by writer and veteran educator, Ana Braga-Henebry. The workbooks are offered in CD format to help schools and families save on cost (no yearly purchase of new workbooks) and to allow teachers to pick the exercises most useful for their class.  Now we’ve also added downloadable eBook editions in either PDF or ePub versions. 
In addition to our efforts, the homeschooling curricula provider, Catholic Heritage Curricula, has written daily lesson plans for two of CTP’s history textbooks: Sea to Shining Sea and All Ye Lands.
Sea to Shining Sea Lesson Plans
All Ye Lands Lesson Plans
The 36-week lesson plans provides a daily schedule for each textbook and its accompanying teacher’s manual with coordinating reading assignments, review, optional enrichment, and abundant hands-on activities. To find out more or purchase, visit the CHC website.

This Day in History

July 16-17, 1918
“We must shoot them all tonight”
The following comes from our book, Light to the Nations II: The Making of the Modern World. For ordering information on this text and our other books, please click here.
Tsar Nikolai II, imprisoned
at Tsarkoe Selo
At about midnight of July 16-17, 1918, Nikolai Romanov, the deposed tsar of Russia, and Aleksandra Feodorovna, his wife, were awakened and told to dress quickly. There was unrest in the town, they were told; it was dangerous to remain in the top floors of the house. They had to be moved below floors.

In the spring of 1918, the Bolshevik government had moved Tsar Nikolai and his family to the town Yekaterinburg, east of the Ural Mountains, in Siberia. A house, owned by a successful local merchant named Ipatiev, had been fitted out for them. But Yekaterinburg did not turn out to be a safe place to store a tsar. In mid July, an army of anti-Bolshevik counterrevolutionaries were approaching the town; the sound of their gunfire could be heard from the Ipatiev house. Orders had come from Moscow to Yakov Yurovsky, the commander of the soldiers guarding the royal family, to remove them immediately.

We must shoot them all tonight,” Yurovsky told a soldier.

Tsar Nikolai II and his family
Because the Tsarevich Alexei could not walk, his father carried him down the stairs to the first floor and then into a room in the basement, where other members of the family had gathered –the tsarina and her four daughters were there, as well as a doctor and several servants. Chairs had been set in the room, and Nikolai placed Alexei on one of them. The door that had been closed now opened, and men armed with revolvers entered the room. 
Yurovsky told Nikolai that because his relatives were trying to rescue him, the Ural Soviet of Workers’ Deputies had condemned him and his family to death.

Yakov Yurovsky
What?” Nikolai said, and he turned to Alexei.

At that moment,” Yurovsky later wrote, “I shot him and killed him outright.” Disorganized firing broke out. Bullets ricocheted off the brick walls. The tsar’s daughters, still alive after the shooting (precious stones, secretly sewn into their clothes, had protected them), were finally dispatched at close range. “Alexei remained sitting, petrified,” wrote Yurovsky. “I killed him.”

Our Books & the Common Core

e are sometimes asked how our history textbook series matches up to the Common Core Standards. This is an important question, both for those schools who have aligned their curriculum to the Common Core and those that haven’t. Both groups want to know if the Catholic Textbook Project is Common Core friendly, or not.

The simple answer is this: CTP’s textbooks were not written with the Common Core Initiative in mind, nor do we plan to alter our books to conform to the standards. But, while those who have opted out of the Common Core will find that our books follow the best of traditional pedagogy, those adopting the Common Core will discover that our books will help them uniquely fulfill the Common Core standards both in history/socials studies and English language arts — and that because we have remained faithful to classical modes of learning.

In April 2012, the Common Core Standards Initiative published its Revised Publishers’ Criteria for the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy, Grades 3-12. The purpose of these criteria is “to guide publishers and curriculum developers as they work to ensure alignment with the standards in English language arts (ELA) and literacy for history/social studies, science, and technical subjects.”

How do Catholic Textbook Project’s social studies texts fulfill these criteria?

What the Common Core Standards Do

 The Common Core Standards for social studies are not content but classroom standards.

 The Common Core Standards do not impose the inclusion or exclusion of events and subject matter.
– The Common Core Standards establish criteria governing text complexity and  literary quality, as well as  the relationship of questions and tasks to the text, the building of vocabulary, and the way students are trained to the tasks of writing and research.
How Our Textbooks Uniquely Fulfill Common Core Goals

 In text complexity our textbooks fall within or slightly above the Lexile ranges called for by Common Core reading standards.

  Our texts fulfill the Common Core goal that students read increasingly complex texts.”

 Our texts are challenging; they call on students to stretch their minds and imaginations to attain a greater proficiency in the reading and interpretation of texts.

 The literary character of our books helps students learn to discern central ideas from those that are more incidental.

 Moreover, our texts, written in a rich and colorful narrative style, draw students into the story of history. Students advance in reading competence and build their vocabulary through the sheer pleasure of reading.

 Our teacher manuals offer guidelines to help instructors guide students in discerning the central ideas and facts in the text.

 Our end-of-chapter exercises fulfill the Common Core requirements that a “significant percentage of tasks and questions [be] text dependent” and that “high-quality text-dependent questions … move beyond what is directly stated to require students to make nontrivial inferences based on evidence in the text.”

To see for yourself how our books can enhance learning in the classroom, please click here to view sample chapters of our books. The samples not only allow you to familiarize yourself with our engaging writing style, but give you the opportunity to experience the beauty of our books’ layout — complete with full-color reproductions of great works of art and custom maps. 

Online History Classes

The Catholic Textbook Project’s Christopher Zehnder, M.A., will be teaching TWO online history courses for the 2014- 2015 school year through Homeschool Connections

One will be for 7th -9th grade students, using CTP text Light to the Nations I: A History of Christian CivilizationThis course examines how Christendom – the society founded on the Catholic Church and her Faith – came to be. It looks at the cultural, intellectual, historical, and religious foundations upon which Christendom was raised. It then examines the events of the Reformation through the beginnings of the 18th century – the period when the unity of Christendom in the Catholic faith was shattered. The course is divided into two parts: Part One (first semester) begins with a brief review of history before the birth of Christ and continues to the period of the Medieval Reformation in the 11th and 12th centuries; Part Two (second semester) continues the story, from the rise of nation states in the Middle Ages to about 1750.
Light to the Nations, Part I: Development of Christian Civilization (Textbook)
The second course will be for high school students, using CTP e-book Lands of Hope & Promise: A History of North America. This course examines the history of the major civilizations of North America from the discovery of America in 1492 to the 1970s. It will examine the events, cultural movements and ideas that led to the founding of the United States and contributed to its development as a major power and influence in both North America and the world as a whole. The course also examines the development of Latin America after the 18th century by examining concurrently the history of Mexico – and thus provides a counterpoint to U.S. history by looking at how the ideas that predominated in Anglo-America worked themselves out in a very different social and cultural context. In addition to the common themes discussed in standard American history courses, this course highlights the role of the Catholic Church and the Catholic faithful in U.S. and Latin American history and how Catholics adjusted themselves to a civilization that in many respects was very different from what they had known in Europe. The course is divided into two parts: Part I (first semester) begins with Columbus’ discovery of America and proceeds to the beginning of the U.S. Civil War; Part II (second semester) continues with the Civil War and concludes with the beginnings of the contemporary world in the 1970s.

Lands of Hope and Promise: A History of North America (Textbook)

These are live, interactive classes with grading and earned credit. For more information and to register go here.  There is a discount for registering before August 1st and classes fill up quickly.