Queen of Heaven Academy

April 9th, 2014

When you’ve decided to educate your children at home, there are many choices to make.

  • What’s the goal of your school?
  • What subjects will the children learn?
  • What resources, like textbooks, will you use?
  • How will you measure success?
  • How will you provide a transcript?
  • How will you schedule school activities?

Regina Coeli Academy is well known in home schooling circles for delivering on line education to families.  The school began in 1995 and has developed a model which is fairly close to the familiar brick and mortar Catholic system.  Classes are at scheduled times.  Each class has a teacher and students who are together for the year.  The school year is divided into quarters with exams and major essays.  Homework has deadlines.  Each class has an experienced teacher. How do they do all that? The students are divided into classes based on subjects and time zones and each has an instructor.  Classes meet on the computer using Adobe Connect (they use to use WebEx).  These technologies allow for students and teachers with cameras and microphones to hold video conferences.  The teachers share their materials as presentations and shared whiteboards.  The students interact live or through a chat.  It’s just like I do at work!  All the tools of modern business collaboration are at the disposal of the educators at this on line school. Homework (assignments) and tests are managed in a system from an educational startup named Populi.  The system is a web based school management system.  Each student logs in and has a dashboard with links to current assignments and class meeting rooms.  There are discussion boards and a calendar.  Most exciting for me as a parent (and programmer), there’s an API which I can query for live information.  Let’s pause there for a moment.  I am able to get a list every morning of all assignments which are due for my children.  I choose to look 10 days out just in case there’s a big test coming up which needs extra study, or a biology lab which need time for the radishes to grow and can’t wait until the night before.  As a father, I can be engaged in the management of my children’s workload in a much more intimate way.  I can pull reports on grades…. in real time.  I choose to generate a report card every morning.  I get an e-mail every time an assignment is graded.  Does that mean I micromanage my students’ work?  There’s a real danger there.  The benefit is that the students learn to manage their own time and I can step in before something goes wrong.  For example, on the rare occasion of a missed assignment I can take the time to teach my child how to contact his teacher to ask for another chance.  This is one of the benefits of an assignment driven system.  If a student is not doing well in a class, I can see why. I can tell whether the problem is in homework, quizzes, or class participation and can reinforce changes in behavior.  The school also uses external testing systems including MathXL and quia when it makes sense.  It is inspiring to see technology used for such a good purpose as assisting in the education of children. What subjects are taught? My freshman is enrolled in:

  • Mass and the Sacraments
  • HSAlgebra 1
  • HSEnglish 1
  • HSPhysical Science
  • HSHistory 1
  • HSLatin Text A
She has already completed the CLAA Latin Grammar and was registered in a higher Latin class after a simple test.  I’ve been impressed with the flexibility offered by the school to place students where they fit based on their experience.
My sophomore is enrolled in:
  • Catholic Morality
  • HSGeometry
  • HSEnglish 2
  • HSBiology
  • HSHistory 2
  • French 2
  • Philosophy for Biology
  • Latin Text
Note that the biology class is split into two parts.  The second is a philosophy class.  My impression is that this exposure to philosophy joined with the science is a good step toward healing the break between science and philosophy which has come about over the centuries.  My son has also completed the CLAA Latin Grammar but really wanted to learn French.  The school was very flexible and registered him in the Latin Text at the college so that he could take the French which was offered at the same time.
What about sports and all that?
That’s up to you.  We’ve got Boy Scouts, the Richmond Kickers Recreational Soccer, the An Cor Rud school of Irish Dance, Little Sisters of The Poor Hospitality club, and a great piano teacher who comes weekly.  The schedule allows for integration of many activities.

Why is the title of this post Queen of Heaven and not Regina Coeli?

That’s an interesting story.  The school was founded in 1995 as Regina Coeli Academy.  The school is accredited and has a time tested curriculum.  If you’re worried about going to college, there’s a list of colleges which have accepted students from the school.   See #14 on this FAQ.  Once in a while an opportunity that’s too good to be true comes along.  Imagine if a Catholic College with an on line program wanted to develop a school where you could complete your senior year of high school and your freshman year of college at the same time.  Brilliant!  In 2013 Regina Coeli partnered with Fisher More College in Texas to provide a program under the name Fisher More Academy.  The program flourished and all seemed well for a time and there was great hope and joy in this new thing.  The experiment only lasted for a year and with the closing of the college residential program, the principals of Regina Coeli have separated from the college and now the program is called Queen of Heaven.

Hives 3 and 4 No More

August 14th, 2013

It was nice while it lasted. The Langstroth never really did grow well but lasted into July. I swapped the sealed bottom board and top entrance for a bottom entrance and a few weeks later the hive was empty. There were some SHB, but not the devastation that I saw in the past. The TBH did thrive in the 15 inches or so near the entrance. I checked the hive before scout camp and drilled some drainage holes in the back of the hive. After scout camp the bees were gone.
Thus ends the third set of hives.

Hives 3 And 4 - Day 1

May 14th, 2013

I drove out to Lynchburg today to pick up some Dadant packages.  I’ve set up two hives and installed the packages this evening.

The first hive is the top-bar hive from last year.  I’ve put it in a different spot and have dipped the bars in hot linseed oil (300 degrees F).  The other hive is the Langstroth from hive #1.

Pierogi Recipe

April 9th, 2012

This Easter we made pierogi again with good success.  The recipe follows:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (maybe more)
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water

Combine eggs, salt, water then add flour.  Kneed until dough is firm and well mixed.  Cover with bowl or plastic for an hour.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface.  Our first batch made a circle about 24 inches across.  The thickness matters in the final product.  Think about the thickness of lasagna noodles as a rough guide.

Boil

  • 4 or 5 potates
  • with a little salt

drain and add

  • cheese
  • white pepper

mash up potatoes and cheese and pepper.  Have a taste to make sure this is right.  Last year we used cheddar and mozzarella.  This year we used a sharper cheddar and jack.  Both are good.  Choose the cheese for the taste.

As the potatoes cool, cut out the pierogi dough.  I used a 3.5 inch glass this year with good results.

In each pierogi round, place a spot of the potato filling, moisten the edge, fold and seal.  Try not to squeeze out filling, but avoid leaving air inside.

Boil the pierogi for 4-5 minutes and let dry on a cooling rack.

Pierogi can be bagged and stored in the fridge or freezer.  They can be eaten immediately or even cold.  I prefer to fry them in butter before serving.  This can be done immediately after the boil or days later out of the fridge.

Note on ingredients:

My flour is organic hard white wheat which I grind, so it’s whole wheat.

2011-07-03 Inspection

July 6th, 2011

The brood comb that I put in the back of the hive has been mostly cleaned up:

I took it out, cut out the brood cells and returned it to the top of the hive leaning up against a brick.

The inspection lasted almost 30 minutes. Here’s the 4X:

The bees appear to be building at a slight angle. The comb at the left is set back while the comb at the right is forward of the bar. Several combs are build across two bars. One of the full combs (built out with honey and good brood) dropped down off the bar. It stayed vertical, so I left it in place and made spaces on either side for the bees to fill in.

The SHB were there as before. I dispatched about 30 of them from the back end. They may be hiding in the corners along the bottom board. I think about how to get the SHB frequently now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_hive_beetle

http://beehivejournal.blogspot.com/2009/02/cd-case-small-hive-beetle-trap.html

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2009/03/splits-and-new-small-hive-beetle-trap.html

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?228063-Small-Hive-Beetle-Nematodes

http://www.beehacker.com/wp/?p=131

http://www.wasba.org/SHB.pdf

http://www.beeworks.com/informationcentre/small_hive_beetle.html

http://southeasterninsectaries.com/custom3_1.html

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/nov07/beetle1107.htm

http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/enpp/ento/aethinanew.html

2011-06-24 Some Cleanup

July 6th, 2011

Cleanup time! I took out some wonky comb. The bees are building across top bars. Comb with brood I put in to the back of the hive. We didn’t need the honey so I set it on a plate and put a Langstroth super up on the front end of the hive. Here’s the plate with the comb on it:

Here’s the super from the outside:

Note that the super hangs off the sides of the top bars.  The next bars that I cut will be an inch longer so that standard Langstroth equipment will work with it.  I’m not sure the details, but it would be useful if I could both rest equipment on the top bar as in this picture and hang the top bar in place of a frame.  I think an adapter is in order.

The brood comb I set in the back of the hive followed by a view of the inside of the hive:

This technique seems to be pretty successful in that the bees will clean up the comb and I don’t find new brood back there. They do put in some nectar and fix the comb to the box. They also built some new comb nearby on a top bar and there, I found some SHB back there:

They don’t appear to be strong throughout the hive which is good, after last year, I’m still nervous…

H2D36 - Speedy Inspection Video

June 10th, 2011

Jay came over and we looked at the hive and talked for a while about bees.  The video is 14 minutes which I know is way too long for you to watch, so I sped it up to 4X.  You get a full inspection in only three and a half minutes.  Enjoy!

Today I took the two funny shaped combs and moved them to the back of the hive with some space around them.  My hope is that the brood will hatch and the bees will clean out this comb and replace it with straighter comb.

I’ve noticed that the comb curves off the guide at one end of the bar.  You can see a corner of unsupported comb falling off in the video.  I put it on top of the hive then brought it in and put it on a plate.  John said it tasted very nice.  What I’m wondering is whether I made my triangle guides too short.

I also noticed that the bees are resisting the guides and building farther out.  Maybe they’ve finished with brood and want to move to honey spacing?  I’ve also noticed that they started two combs on the bar at the back (the first one you see in the video).  Maybe I need to paint the triangles with wax.  It seemed to work for the center bars.

I still need to number the bars for reference.  I saw three large hive beetles.  I got one of them with the hive tool.  Maybe I need a real roof?

H2D33 - Bees Flying Around

June 7th, 2011

There was a nice cloud of bees out around the entrance today.  I drew the bar back a bit and took some video:

In the air:

At the entrance:

HD2D29 - Inspection

June 3rd, 2011

The last time I took a quick look at the hive, there were two combs stuck together.  I took all the combs out today and separated them.  I wonder whether I should take the two funny combs and put them off at the back to encourage the bees to clean them out and abandon them.

I still need to number the combs for better tracking.  I removed the cleaned out comb that I had dropped some time ago.  There were a few hive beetles hiding underneath it.  They are now deceased and the hive appears to be quite free of SHB.

A review of the video shows 10 bars of comb.

H2D19 - Quick Look

May 24th, 2011

I opened up the hive today.  Two days ago I took off the back bar and squashed a small hive beetle (SHB).  I’m a bit worried that they’ll be back this year, so I went in for a look.

Here’s a shot from the back of the hive.

I took a bit of video and you’ll see that there’s good brood and that the bees are attaching the comb on the right side (looking from the back).  You’ll also notice that some of the front combs are stuck together.  I didn’t pull the front comb out as I didn’t want to drop it.  It’s time to number frames for better note keeping.

Here’s a shot of the stuck combs from the top.

Here’s a look at the comb from the front of the hive.