Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links; thank you for your support!
Recently, I caught wind of a possible opportunity to review The American Catholic Almanac from a homeschooling point of view. Since it was sitting in my Amazon shopping cart, I jumped at the opportunity ;).
I have long been jealous of the Protestants having books of people spreading God’s message all over the globe. We have the saints, obviously, but few modern ones and few from North America. When I heard about The American Catholic Almanac, I was pretty excited. The subtitle of ACA is A Daily Reader of Patriots, Saints, Rogues, and Ordinary People Who Changed the United States. It is, and it’s fabulous!
My intent was to read the passages and then summarize them for my little ones during circle time. They are 6 & 4. It didn’t quite work out as I had hoped; there were quite a number of rogues :). I did share the reading for 10/9 (yep, I was reading ahead) about the nuns in New Orleans praying for the defeat of the British. We had been there and visited the church. Had I known it was that cool, I totally would have gone the extra few blocks to visit the old Ursuline Convent! I have a feeling that I will be making a wish list of places to visit as I read through it.
While my kids are not old enough for a lot of the stories in The American Catholic Alamanac, this would be a great resource for older students. Middle school and up, maybe? It would make a great Charlotte Mason resource because it has that short, engaging, living book feel to it. It could be used for classical history because all the events take place after the discovery of the New World.
You could also particularly interesting events to your timeline and look up locations on a map. I could see mobsters and other rogues being particularly appealing. In addition, it could also be a springboard for some church history, too. I know I tend to teach (and learn) catechesis and the bible, but church history has always slipped through my fingers. How are the Jesuits different from the Benedictines? Or the Poor Clares from the Ursuline Sisters? And why did Thomas Merton turn to Zen Buddism? What’s the rest of the story there?
Reading The American Catholic Almanac would be a great resource for Charlotte Mason or Classical homeschoolers. You could use it for history, church history, and geography. The stories are so interesting that they will whet the appetite for more if your children a love to learn. And if they don’t end up going past the days reading, they still know more than they did when they woke up. I would honestly recommend this to any Catholic homeschool family with older students. It’s a fascinating read!