CTP Engages Catholic Educators in PA

CatholiMVH at Cath Ed Conf in PA-2016c Textbook Project Founder and President Michael Van Hecke, M.Ed. (left) and General Editor Christopher Zehnder (below) deliver talks to Catholic educators at two different Catholic education conferences held in (more…)


Michael Van Hecke, M.Ed., Founder and President of the Catholic Textbook Project, and Christopher Zehnder, the publisher’s General Editor, will be featured speakers at two prominent East Coast conferences on Catholic education. 

On Wednesday, July 20, 2016, (more…)



We enjoyed meeting so many of you in person last week at the NCEA in San Diego!!  For those who took some of Michael’s home-grown, fresh-picked avocados, we hope you are now enjoying some good ol’ California guacamole. And, in case you missed it, check out who gave a thumbs-up to Catholic Textbook Project History/Social Studies textbooks!!! (Pope cut-out courtesy of Nelson Gifts across the NCEA aisle)    CALL YOUR REP TO FIND OUT ABOUT THE BIG AFTER-NCEA CONFERENCE SPECIAL THAT ENDS JUNE 1, 2016!!!

An NCEA Message from 1937

The Catholic Church has the longest intellectual tradition of any institution in the contemporary world, the only uninterrupted tradition and the only explicit tradition … What I say is that this tradition must not be merely an ideal, but must be practiced.”

Robert Maynard Hutchins
So said Robert M. Hutchins, addressing the National Catholic Education Association’s Midwest Regional Meeting — in 1937. At the time of this address, Hutchins was president of the University of Chicago, where he had implemented wide-raging curricula reforms. He was not a Catholic, yet he could objectively praise the Catholic educational heritage and warn that Catholic schools were beginning “to imitate the worst features of secular education.”

Catholic identity” has been a longstanding issue in Catholic education in the United States. From the late 19th century, when American Catholics struggled over whether to establish independent, specifically Catholic parochial schools or to accept the equivalent of today’s charter schools (government-controlled but allowing after-hours religious instruction) — the question of how Catholic schools might realize their Catholic identity while offering a truly humane education has been a hot one.
Unfortunately, the assumption has sometimes been that a Catholic education is somehow opposed to a fully humane education. That to have one it is necessary to diminish the other.
Old St. Wendelin School,  Recovery Township, Ohio
History, however, tells a very different story. From the early medieval monastery and cathedral schools, to the universities of the high middle ages, to the Catholic colleges and universities of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, the Catholic educational tradition has been explicit – faith and reason are not opponents, but friends. They do not contradict one another but complete one another. The Catholic mind does not shy away from the discoveries of human reason, nor should human reason see the Faith as a restriction on its proper functioning and freedom. Both are involved in the search for truth.  

It is this truly catholic educational philosophy that inspires and directs the Catholic Textbook Project. Our history series does not accept a diminished historical research in order to salvage a Catholic understanding of the world. Nor does it reduce the Catholic faith to an exercise of mere personal piety. Catholic identity does not spell historical amnesia. 

Accurate, scholarly, well-written and beautiful – our books are fully within the rich tradition of Catholic education that Robert Hutchins praised 77 years ago.

CTP comes to CHCs

If you are new to Catholic homeschooling or are curious about it, Catholic Homeschooling Conferences, or CHCs, are simply an invaluable experience.

Typically they are one or two day events held at a Catholic parish or conference center where speakers offer practical advice and vendors display curriculum materials. The speakers are often a mixture of veteran homeschooling mothers, Catholic priests, and professional educators who explain the basics of homeschooling and elaborate on some of the motivations behind doing it.

Vendors, like Catholic Textbook Project, are usually arrayed in a large area in which different Catholic curriculum providers, publishers, and retailers have tables displaying thousands of homeschooling books and products. Examining the vendor materials allows you an unrivaled opportunity to look through the pages of actual homeschooling text books and lesson plans.

Even more importantly, you get to see and meet numerous other Catholic homeschooling families; ordinary mothers and fathers just like you, who care deeply about the welfare and education of their children, and want to do what seems best for them. Getting this concrete experience with other homeschoolers can make a world of difference to a family deciding whether or not to homeschool.

Homeschooling is often hard work, and for veteran homeschoolers, the reason to come to a conference is often to be rejuvenated. Even if on an intellectual level you think homeschooling is the best, the fact is that having a once a year gathering where you can feel uplifted, encouraged, and feel connected with other homeschooling parents is often just what is needed to approach the new school year refreshed and eager.

The opportunity to shop for curriculum with the physical books and lesson plans in your hand is just a categorically different experience than trying to shop online with only a few sample pages, sometimes depending on vague book descriptions to make very important choices about your child’s education.

Look for us at the following upcoming conferences: