Recently, there has been a wave of Catholic families across the U.S., including my own, who have chosen to homeschool. The unfeasible became feasible when the pandemic closed schools and parents had no choice but to oversee their children’s education. Families who had never planned to home educate found themselves enjoying a closer bond, choosing to homeschool even after schools re-opened. Continued mask mandates in Catholic schools and morally questionable material in public schools provided further impetus for families to change course.
Deciding to homeschool has prompted some parents, like me, to shift trajectories. I recently resigned as a Latin American history professor, after a rewarding 10-year academic career, to assume the role of Director of the Great Books Program en español for the Angelicum Academy. The fall launch of Angelicum’s renowned Great Books program, in Spanish, brings to bear 23 years of demonstrated success in online classical Catholic education to a global, Spanish-speaking market.
Why do I believe in Angelicum? Because since the year 2000 it has provided an authentically Catholic homeschooling curriculum from Nursery School (age 3) to Associate’s degree; its flexible programs include syllabi, study guides, daily lesson plans, grading, transcripts, and support, with live online Socratic discussions beginning in Grade 3. My eight-year-old daughter tells me how much fun she has sharing ideas about classic texts with children in other countries, though most notable to me is her increased confidence and intellectual growth. Building relationships worldwide is one of the many benefits afforded to students enrolled in Angelicum’s Church-approved program s .
Angelicum offers a fully online curriculum – the Greats Honors Program – for high school students, pairing recorded asynchronous lectures with online tutor support by subject. All 9th-12 th grade students enroll in the Great Books Program, meeting weekly with a pair of moderators for a live, two-hour discussion of classical texts. I can attest that these conversations are lively and insightful, rivaling conversations I have had with my best college undergraduates. Students may enroll in the Great Books Program for high school or college credit, earning and applying up to 75 college credits towards obtaining an A.A. degree by the end of 12th grade. This Great Books college track provides significant savings on college tuition via our partnerships with numerous institutions of higher learning in the U.S. and abroad, especially since students may earn a B.A. only one year later.
In essence, Angelicum offers the type of education available in elite private schools for a fraction of the cost.
This fall, Angelicum is launching the Great Books Program en español , beginning with Year 1: the Ancient Greeks. We will add another year each fall, ultimately offering the Ancient Romans (Year 2); the Middle Ages (Year 3); and the Moderns (Year 4). As a Latin American historian, I am pleased to be involved in developing and directing our new program, as well as identifying Latin American, Spanish, and indigenous-Christian texts to incorporate into Year 3 and 4 readings.
Why classical education? Because for over two millennia, classical education has successfully guided students to appreciate and love what is true, good, and beautiful, objectives that no longer guide progressive, modern education. Reading classical texts unites us to the Church Triumphant, linking us to classically educated Early Church Fathers like Saints Augustine, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, and Clement, that we may partake of their knowledge and wisdom. As the late Mortimer J. Adler remarked:
We are tied down, all our days and for the greater part of our days, to the common-place. That is where contact with the great thinkers, great literature helps. In their company, we are still in the ordinary world, but it is the ordinary world transfigured and seen through the eyes of wisdom and genius. And some of their genius becomes ours .
Why classical education in Spanish? The Angelicum Academy’s goal is to develop Spanish-speaking Catholic leaders across the U.S. who will resist the secular culture drawing so many Latinos away from our 500-year legacy of Catholicism.
As a historian specializing in the Christianization of native peoples in sixteenth-century Mexico, I understand the complications of bringing Christ to the New World, a process that many secular voices decry as a violent European imposition. Yet a growing body of scholarship exists – including my own research on Franciscan evangelization in New Spain – that reveals native collaboration in the Christianization process during Latin America’s colonial period. This is our faith.
Furthermore, Angelicum’s Great Books Program en español will be educating Spanish-speaking Catholics in one of Latin America’s enduring intellectual traditions. Not many people realize that the Franciscans classically educated the sons of native nobles in early colonial Mexico, producing trilingual students fluent in Nahuatl (Aztec), Castilian, and Latin who assisted friars in producing Christian texts and historical works documenting their indigenous past. Controversy surrounds the colonial situation, yet scholars point to unique friendships that developed between friars and native people based on their shared classical Catholic formation. Indeed, throughout Latin America’s colonial, independence, and contemporary periods, Greek and Roman culture has continued to influence indigenous and creole authors and actors.
As Catholics, we strive to remain faithfully astride the path towards Heaven. The Angelicum Academy supports families in that goal, inviting students into the Great Conversation, an ongoing dialogue engaging enduring questions that transcend the ages. Parents will be pleased to know that the Angelicum Academy’s programs are faithful to the Church’s Magisterium, and that the theology curriculum includes courses by Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., Th.D., as well as Dr. Scott Hahn’s Didache series books.
As a wife, mother, scholar, and educator, I am proud to be developing and directing the Angelicum Academy’s Great Books Program en español . I look forward to connecting with CWR readers in online Spanish-language Socratic discussions this fall, which are open to homeschoolers, high school students, and interested adults.
• For more information and an informative video, please visit The Great Books Program en español.
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