What is CatholicScience?
CatholicScience is an online curriculum resource that offers science courses to
Catholic homeschooling families. Our courses are designed to provide course
resources that are aimed at the needs of homeschooling families, and which present
competent modern science within the Catholic intellectual tradition.
What is the format for the courses?
CatholicScience courses provide a set of sequential lessons containing readings,
presentations, and comprehension and review questions and assignments. Each
lesson will test students on new content as they go, as well as provide high
repetition and review of old content so that students are well-practiced and
comfortable with all of the course material by the time they finish (rather than just
“well-studied” on the latest topic.)
Each lesson must be completed and passed before the student can move on to the
next, and while this may sound challenging, we believe it is important to understand
material before moving on. Every question and answer will provide immediate
feedback to help students understand questions they get wrong and help them go
about determining the correct answer.
Courses are open enrollment so students may begin at anytime during the year.
Once enrolled students have one calender year to complete the course. If, however,
an extension is needed it may be granted on an individual basis.
What texts are used for your courses?
All texts are written by CatholicScience and are currently only available through
using the online courses. They are just as rigorous as other commonly used
homeschooling textbooks, but are specifically Catholic in that they reference the
Church’s history, scientists, and philosophy. We do intend to have a printed text in
the future for those who would prefer that option.
What about labs?
All of our courses include suggested labs that tie into the course material. Because
homeschooling families have different abilities in completing these labs, they are not
part of the graded progression, but are suggested and highly encouraged. They are
also written with the homeschooling family in mind, and will utilize as much as
possible activities that are both instructive and accomplishable without high-tech lab
How can science be “Catholic”? How can science be done
honestly if you are “loyal to the Magisterium”?
Science itself is one method of investigation of the natural world, and the Catholic
Church grants to science its own authority in its field. Studying the natural world
fully requires more than just science, however, and the discoveries of science will
influence and be influenced by other areas of intellectual activity. In particular, we
will conduct our investigation of science in its place in the Catholic intellectual
tradition, providing reference to the Church’s long history of philosophical and
theological thought. This is in contrast to many other available courses which
attempt to present science in the context of either materialist atheism or biblical
Why do we need to study science? Isn’t science just something
used to attack the Faith, and who really cares about random
Science is a human discipline which has developed fully only in the modern age. We
believe that true modern science is not in fact opposed to, but rather the fruit of the
Catholic intellectual endeavor (see the writings of Fr. Stanly Jaki for more on this
idea.) While modern science is mistakenly assumed to be a product and supporter of
materialism and atheism, we believe that modern science in fact depends for its very
existence on philosophical principles that point to the Creator God, and is in fact a
truly Catholic field. We believe Catholics should not abandon modern science but
should instead reclaim it.
In addition, we heartily support the Chestertonian sentiment that God is an artist
who created a world full of wild and remarkable particularities. Discovering and
delighting in the art and architecture of our home in the universe is our way of
praising God as the Creator of all.
What do CatholicScience courses teach about creation,
evolution, and the age of the universe?
Rather than beginning from a “creationist” or “evolutionist” or “intelligent design”
perspective, we seek to begin with the first principles of Catholic philosophy and of
the honest practice of science. We do accept an “Old-Earth” and “Old-Universe”
perspective in our courses (that is, we accept the general consensus that the
universe is approximately 14 billion years old, and that the Earth was formed around
4.5 billion years ago.)
We agree with Pope John Paul II’s assessment that evolution in some sense is “more
than a hypothesis”, but also with the Church’s intellectually sober approach to the
question of evolution. The principles of evolution are taught in our biology course as
they are a major part of the practice of modern science. We believe students need to
thoroughly understand these principles, in the first place to understand why the
Church holds that they do not threaten our Faith (as atheistic evolutionists falsely
claim), and in the second because if students do wish to critique evolution they must
be sure to understand it first. Our discussions of evolution will include both a look at
the picture presented by modern science and the chief philosophical and theological
questions involved in assessing the theory of evolution, with reference to magisterial
teaching and to orthodox Catholic commentary on the issue.
Shouldn’t students be out studying nature hands-on, rather
than learning from structured books and online courses?
Mathematician Henri Poincare once pointed out that while science is made of facts
as a house is made of bricks, a pile of bricks is not a house, and a pile of facts is not
Science begins with hands-on observation, but then goes on to organize that “pile of
facts” into a coherent, intelligible whole. Hands-on study is the easy part, any one
can and should get as much of it as they can (as our labs will help you to do.) What
a science course especially helps to provide, though, is the framework for putting
those experiences into a coherent and understandable whole.
We believe science is not either/or, but rather both/and.
Your classes are all for junior high and high school. What
We currently offer only high school courses. We are planning to expand into
elementary materials in the future, so keep your eye out. The younger ages are the
prime time for building up the hands-on experiences that will later be systematized in
advanced courses. Our biggest recommendation for grammar stage science study is
twofold: first, to focus on the grammar essentials of reading, writing and math, and
second, to read, read, read. Encourage your younger children to be curious about
investigating nature in every way they can get their hands on — books, nature
shows, museuems and zoos, and especially the backyard.
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