St. Jerome Library publishes individual courses for many subjects as well as lesson plan books that cover all subjects for a combined preschool and kindergarten and for individual grades one through ten. Lesson plans for grades 11 and 12 should be available within a few years. Their lesson plan books utilize their own publications plus some resources from other publishers such as the Saxon Math series.
The publishers describe themselves as “Pre-Vatican II Traditional Catholics.” They say that the St. Jerome Library and Bookstore ("and Bookstore" has since been dropped) was founded in 2014 by a Catholic family with ten children. They had been homeschooling for years but found it challenging to find traditional Catholic resources that were beautiful, edifying, and interesting to children. They decided to reprint older resources or create their own to fill the need. In 2018, this became the St. Jerome Library & School, although they do not function as a school in which students can be enrolled. Instead, they provide lesson plan books and complete curriculum for each grade level as well as individual courses and books.
They say, “Our main goal is to create a quality curriculum that raises saints for Heaven, but is also manageable for the busy family who understands that homeschooling is just one important aspect of a Catholic life.” To keep things manageable, their courses require a relatively low amount of direct instruction by parents once past the point where children can read independently.
The St. Jerome Library publications are solidly Catholic. Some of their books are reprints of textbooks and workbooks that were used in Catholic schools during the 1900s, while others are new. For example, the St. Jerome School Readers are essentially the same as the De La Salle Readers from the early 1900s, and the St. Jerome Grammar series is reprinted from the Voyages in English series by Loyola University Press (1950s editions). Some of these reprints have added full-color images. Some of the new books they have published are the St. Jerome Spelling series, the Vocabulary Voyages series, and Catholic Art Appreciation.
The lesson plan books are lovely to look at and simple to use. You are expected to use a separate lesson plan for each student. Up through eighth grade, the books have a two-page spread for each week with a chart showing assignments for all subject areas. For high school, there is a page for each day which allows for the more thorough record-keeping that is usually required for high school. There is plenty of space to write your own notes, additional assignments, activities, field trips, etc. There’s also space for you to note grades or brief comments on individual assignments each day. A year-end report card form is at the back of each book, and there are sometimes maps or other resources that you will use for that year. The high school lesson plans include a transcript form.
The lesson plans include a thorough study of the Catholic faith—including study of the Baltimore Catechism, church history, lives of the saints, and devotions. Study shifts into theology and philosophy in high school. Students will use the Douay-Rheims translation of the Bible. Great literature is included as students read complete books such as Otto of the Silver Hand (in fifth grade), The Hobbit (in ninth grade), and The Merchant of Venice (in eleventh grade). Students also study art, music, and critical thinking.
The curriculum as laid out in the lesson plans is both comprehensive and deep with just a few exceptions. Aside from a world history course in fourth grade, world history is taught indirectly through Bible and church history (grades 7, 9, and 10) and novels such as Where Valor Lies (in sixth grade) and The Gauntlet (in seventh grade). A modern history course for twelfth grade is in development, but world history could use more attention at both elementary and high school levels.
St. Jerome Library is continually adding new publications. As of May 2020, in addition to the lesson plans, they offer resources such as:
- Catholic Math K and Catholic Arithmetic for kindergarten through second grade
- St. Jerome Grammar series for grades one through eight
- Science in God’s World series for kindergarten through eighth grade
- Phonics is Fun series for kindergarten through third grade
- St. Jerome School Readers for grades one through eight
- St. Jerome Catholic Spellers series for grades one through eight
- Vocabulary Voyages series for grades nine through twelve
- Catholic Voyages in History series for grades four through eight
- Living My Religion series for grades one through eight
St. Jerome Church Latin: Volume 1 (a two-year course for grades ten and eleven)
They also offer a very inexpensive rental service so that you can try some of the books before purchasing them. You can apply the rental fee to the purchase cost.
St. Jerome Library has grown very quickly—to the point where they now have complete programs for all levels with resources that support their religious and educational philosophy. I know that many Catholic families will appreciate having so many more resources available to them, and some will love the convenience of the prepared lesson plans.