Our annual enrichment program runs for two 12-week terms:
Fall Term (usually September, October, and November)
Spring Term (usually February, March, and April)
In this program, participating HFH families organize weekly academically-enriching opportunities for our children. Only Members may enroll in the Enrichment program.
Some of the activities in the Enrichment program are free; others have fees. Not all Enrichment activities are offered every term.
Enrichment activities generally have a limited number of spaces. Thus, membership cannot guarantee enrollment. Our most active families (including teachers, teachers aides, and those with two volunteer credits from the previous academic year) are eligible for early-bird registration for enrichment activities.
All participating Enrichment families serve rotating shifts as Monitor. Those who cannot make their assigned monitor date must find a replacement. Families with a hardship that prevents them from being able to fulfill Monitor duty should contact the Monitor Coordinator at least a month before the semester begins.
Art Enrichment is available to children from 1st through 8th grades. In Art Enrichment the children take part in a wide variety of age-appropriate creative projects, including watercolor painting, perspective drawing, mosaics, and seasonal crafts. Children have the opportunity to display their work at the annual Exhibition.
Science Enrichment is available to children from 1st through 8th grades. In Science Enrichment the children experiment with a variety of hands-on "mini-labs." The labs range from dissecting cow eyeballs to creating a model arm to see how muscles work.
HFH Gym class includes games, sports, and calisthenics as a way to learn good sportsmanship and enjoy a lifetime of fitness.
Our goal is to have fun singing uplifting music together, using easy pieces that non-readers can learn. Our choir is generally for grades 1-4.
Schola, properly called "Schola Cantorum," is a Catholic choir experience for children in grades 5-12. Students are taught the music of the Catholic Church, particularly Gregorian Chant. Schola provides an exceptional education in both music and in Church history.
Geared to preschoolers and kindergartners, the Junior Saints program is a Catholic preschool program which includes prayer, games, crafts, stories, music, physical activity. A rotating parent helper is expected to be a second set of hands to assist the Junior Saints teacher with all the little ones.
High school students enjoy this literature in which one Shakespearean play is studied each semester. The plays are read aloud and discussed in class. Catholic themes and imagery are especially highlighted and analyzed. Students write one paper per semester.
High school students (and junior high students, by special invitation) perform one fully-staged, fully-costumed play each academic year.
In year's past, HFH students in 1st-12th grades have enjoyed a forum in which they can challenge each other in the game of chess, and learn some new moves and tactics along the way. Currently, our chess club is on hiatus, but if you are a family willing to lead chess club, we'd love to hear from you.
FIELD TRIPS & FAMILY FUN
Each year HFH members plan a variety of field trips. Members are encouraged to plan impromptu field trips and advertise them through the HFH email group and post them on the HFH website calendar.
Past field trips have included:
Old World Wisconsin
Berntsen Brass & Aluminum
Apple Orchard & Hay Ride
American Players Theatre
Movie Theatre Outings
Rosary in the Park
Milwaukee Art Museum
Downtown Madison History/Veterans Museums
The Snow Train
Our Lady of the Valley Monastery
Symphony Soup at the Civic Center
Nutcracker performances at the Civic Center
Art hikes at Owen Park Nature Conservancy
Police Station Tour
Fire Station Tour
We sell HFH T-shirts and other logo gear that our kids wear to HFH activities. You can purchase this HFH logo gear through our store at CafePress
COMPETITION & PERFORMANCE
American Mathematics Competition
HFH students in Grades 7-8 are invited to compete in the American Mathematics Competition Contest 8 each November. AMC 8 is a 25 question, 40 minute multiple choice examination in junior high school mathematics. Many problems are designed to challenge students and to offer problem solving experiences beyond those provided in most junior high school mathematics classes. Calculators are allowed. High scoring students are invited to participate in the AMC 10.
Our annual Exhibition takes place in late spring. The children have an opportunity to perform and share their schoolwork. Middle or high school graduates are recognized as are those who have received first sacraments during the course of the school year. HFH Bee winners and students who have received significant awards or recognition in other venues are also recognized. The Exhibition, with its enjoyable variety of talent, is a high point in the HFH year. A celebratory party follows the Exhibition.
The National Geographic Bee is held in December and is for children Grades 4-8. The winner of the HFH bee takes a test to qualify for the state bee. The state bee winner goes to the national bee.
The Spelling Bee is held in January. We have an unofficial bee for students Grades K-3 and an official bee for Grades 4-8. The maximum age for the official bee is 15. (A participating child must not reach his 16th birthday on or before May 30). Our champion represents Holy Family Homeschoolers at the All-City Spelling Bee in Madison. All participants receive ribbons, our junior bee 1st and 2nd place winners receive medals, and our official bee 1st and 2nd place winners receive trophies. In 2003, the Holy Family Homeschoolers champion won the Madison All-City Bee, went on to win the State of Wisconsin, and competed impressively in Washington, D.C., with the country's finest spellers.
Battle of the Books
Students read assigned books and compete, at the end of the school year, in a competition designed to test their knowledge of the material read. This program is currently on hiatus. If you are a parent willing to lead, please let us know.
Students build robotic structures and compete as a team. This program is currently on hiatus. If you are a parent willing to lead, please let us know.
FELLOWSHIP & SUPPORT
The HFH website offers a forum through which emails may be sent to all member families. This email forum is the vehicle through which important HFH-related business is transmitted to member families. It is also the forum through which members share advice, ask questions, discuss curriculum, share tips, post prayer requests, and take part in Topics of the Week. Members are requested to use discretion before forwarding "silly" or potentially controversial emails. The HFH steering committee reserves the right to disallow such emails.
Little Crowns & Marian Apostles
Little Crowns and Marian Apostles are girls' groups organized and run by the sisters of Schoenstatt. Girls meet monthly to pray, do crafts, and learn about their Faith.
Little Flowers Girls Club & Trailblazers Girls Club
Our Little Flowers and Trailblazers Clubs are currently on hiatus. We are merely awaiting an interested family to offer to organize and offer these clubs once again. Please contact the HFH Steering Committee if you are interested in organizing one of these groups. (The Little Flowers Girls Club provides young Catholic girls, Grades 1-up, an opportunity to explore their Catholic faith through group activities, crafts, and community service. The girls learn about our role models, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Therese of Lisieux (the patron saint of the group), saints of the church, women in religious life, and their own mothers. It is a wonderful way for the girls to develop friendships while growing in their faith. Each year Little Flowers works on the Little Flowers virtue books. The Trailblazers Girls Group for middle school girls Grades 5 and up. The group enjoys fellowship, religious formation, and service to others.)
Pilgrims of the Holy Family
This is another group that various members have discussed forming for our families. We merely await an interested family to take on the project of getting such a group going. If you have any interest in spearheading the development of an HFH chapter of Pilgrims of the Holy Family, please contact a member of the HFH Steering Committee. To learn more about Pilgrims of the Holy Family and discover whether it is something you would like to help bring to HFH, please go to https://blitz.goldrush.com/chcweb/shopcart/html/phf.htm.
Moms Night Out
Moms Night Out gives mothers a chance to connect, have a quiet adult night, and chat to their heart's content. We usually meet at a local restaurant. Nursing babies are always welcome.
Parent Circle Meetings
Our annual Parent Circle meeting gives all families a chance to weigh in and contribute to the grass-roots operation of our group. We need your input and your assistance to make our group run smoothly, so do plan to attend our annual Parent Circle Meeting.
Faith & Fizz / FIAT
While not technically HFH events, Faith & Fizz and FIAT are monthly gatherings which many of our HFH students attend. Faith & Fizz is a monthly program geared for 6th-8th graders. The Faith & Fizz monthly format includes a speaker (presenting a faith-based talk), pizza and pop, and games and socialization. The FIAT format is similar to the Faith & Fizz format, but FIAT is a high school program. Both Faith & Fizz and FIAT are run by HFH parents.
Dead Theologians Society
High school students meet weekly to study the dead theologians (saints), pray, eat, and enjoy the company of one another. While not an HFH-specific program, most HFH high schoolers participate in DTS.
An important component of our activities is our service to others.
Volunteering for HFH
Holy Family Homeschoolers succeeds in its mission only to the extent that its members contribute their time and talent to the group. All of our activities are led by Coordinators, who organize the volunteers necessary to make the activity a success. We hope all families will take their turn at coordinating our many activities and volunteering to help the Coordinators with their tasks. We particularly encourage families to spontaneously plan field trips, outings, and events, looking to the online calendar for scheduling guidance and publicizing the events via the HFH forum. One perk that volunteerism brings is the ability to register for enrichment activities a day early, maximizing the chance that your children have spots in classes.
Meals For Moms
HFH families regularly organize meals for other HFH families with new babies. (Seems someone's always having a baby in Holy Family Homeschoolers!)
St. Mary's Care Center
Holy Family Homeschoolers regularly visits the residents of St. Mary's Care Center, singing Christmas carols, delivering valentines, visiting the non-ambulatory wing, or providing a half-hour of music and fun with our Children's Choir.
Other past HFH projects have included:
Pro-Life Care kits
Collecting care items for mothers and babies associated with CareNet Pregnancy Center and/or the Pregnancy Helpline baby shower program and pantry
Grocery Gift Bags
Collecting food items for the Diocese of Madison Multicultural Center, which houses Centro Guadalupano and St. Martin House
HFH high schoolers have assisted with Special Olympics events, as part of their monthly service project program.
Decorating at St. Mary's Care Center
HFH high schoolers have decorated St. Mary's Care Center for Christmas, as part of their monthly service project program.
We encourage HFH members to be on the lookout for service activities, and we encourage members to spearhead any special service projects they desire to see performed.
Donating to HFH Scholarships
We gratefully accept financial contributions which help make it possible for families of limited means to participate in HFH activities that have fees. To contribute in this manner, please contact the HFH Treasurer.
All Saints Day
The All Saints Day party takes place on or near All Saints Day. Our party has taken various forms over the years, but popular activities have included dressing as favorite saints and square dancing. The event always includes special All Saints Day prayers and refreshments.
In later summer or early fall each year, we gather for Mass and a potluck to kick off the new school year.
Monthly Mass & Confession
Mass and Confessions with our spiritual director, Fr. Rick Heilman, take place on the first Friday of each month. Some of the older children participate by serving Mass or lectoring. Schola members sing at Mass. Servers and lectors are asked to dress in church attire (no tennis shoes, t-shirts, or jeans).
HFH May Crowning takes place each May. In the past we've had Mass or we've prayed Marian devotions, such as the Rosary, Litany of the Blessed Virgin, and a Crowning Procession. The children bring flowers to add to the shrine (each child brings a flower from home). After the May Crowning, we share a potluck picnic.
Preliminary plans are being discussed for starting an autumn Retreat for Holy Family Homeschoolers families, perhaps at Camp Grey. There is a great deal of enthusiasm for such a plan. If you are interested in helping to organize, please let us know.
We always have some sort of event to kick-off the school year. In years past, it's been an event at Governor Nelson State Park. In more recent years, it's been a Rosary Bonfire at the Yanke home.
In November, HFH members meet at a beautiful local county park, where our Spiritual Director leads us in praying the Rosary as we walk up a 1/4-mile trail to a beautiful chapel built by an early Wisconsin family in thanksgiving for the Lord's having spared their family from a diphtheria epidemic. Traditionally families bring thermos bottles of hot chocolate and apple cider and snacks such as cookies and crackers to share at the top.
Valentine's Day Party
On or near Valentine's Day the children share valentines with each other and, when the schedule permits, with nursing home residents. To ensure that all children receive valentines in a valentines' exchange, we ask children to sign their cards without addressing them to individuals. Giving valentines collectively from the family is fine. Each child brings a decorated bag to use as a "post office." We place the post boxes in a line on the floor and the children deliver their valentines to each other. In recent years, this event has taken place in classrooms on Fridays at the end of the last class of the day.