Is Catholic Schoolhouse just like a co-op?
No. Catholic Schoolhouse is a tuition paying program with trained parent-tutors. Think of piano lessons, or gymnastics. This has many benefits. Because the tutors are trained and compensated, they do not mind dedicating the time necessary for good preparation. Parents who don’t feel called to lead a class or are reluctant to make another commitment with their time aren’t required to do so to be part of the program. While the tutors lead the children in their memory work, all teaching and mastery of the material is up to the parent.
What do parents do while their children are in class?
Parents can simply observe the class noting teaching techniques, how their child interacts with his peers, or even discovering some different resources. Parents are required to be in their student’s class room. Parents with more than one student can rotate between their children’s classrooms.
Is Catholic Schoolhouse a drop-off program?
No. Catholic Schoolhouse is parent involved at all times. Parents spend the morning observing in their student’s class, and assisting the tutor when necessary. Observation is a powerful experience that unifies the families and brings everybody to the same page. As an observer you pick up great tips that can be used to reinforce the memory work at home, as well as ideas to use in other areas.
How many families do I need to have a successful program?
The program could easily be done with two to three families; however, more families offer a variety of peers and allow for more age groups. It really depends on the number of children.
I already have a co-op. Can my whole co-op do Catholic Schoolhouse?
Of course! As long as the co-op members understand the philosophy, a great group can be formed.
How do we find a meeting place?
The easiest way is to start with your own church – just ask! Since my church has a school that utilizes the facilities during the day, I checked with local libraries, recreation centers, and other churches. We even considered a friend’s basement at one point! A nearby Catholic church turned out to be the perfect solution for our program.
What is a Tour Guide?
Our Tour Guide is a week-by-week presentation of all the memory work covered in Catholic Schoolhouse. These topics form the core of our grammar stage program. The tutors use this guide to present the Tour Guide topics in class. The parent at home will want to have this guide to re-enforce, practice, and expand upon the topics at home.
Who tutors the students?
Parents or other interested individuals (such as a supportive family member or church member) act as the tutors for the program. Prior to tutoring, they are trained in key areas such as classroom behavior, academic preparations and expectations. They also meet regularly for planning and idea sharing.
What about all the little ones? Catholic families tend to be large.
A nursery and pre-school are a necessary part of our program.
Do middle and high school students have a place in Catholic Schoolhouse?
Yes! These are some of the years when regular peer contact can be a real blessing. They meet with their age group while the younger children are with their tutors. The goal is to help meet their needs in the dialectic stage of learning. We work on skills that will help our students become good Catholic citizens while having a positive peer experience in an academic setting.
Do you offer tutor training?
Yes! Local directors have been given information for a tutor training program. Also, a tutor training program is being set up during July. Contact us for more information.
I don’t know very many homeschool families, where do I start?
By placing ads with local homeschool accountability organizations, homeschool support groups, and in church bulletins. One ad can be e-mailed to many groups very easily.
My church requires us to have liability insurance. Where can I get this?
Currently, Catholic Schoolhouse can offer insurance to groups in certain states for a good rate. Contact us when starting your group for more details – we would love to share this hard-learned expertise!
What exactly is the cost?
Is Catholic Schoolhouse just like a Catholic Classical Conversations?
Well, yes and no. While there are many similarities, we are a unique program. We follow Dorothy Sayers classical stages of learning, encouraging Grammar stage students to memorize basic, core facts in many subject areas. Older students move on to Dialectic and Rhetoric activities in our Upper Level Program. Our hands-on science program and integrated art curriculum are unique, presented as a separate class by a specially prepared tutor. We are fully Catholic, and in keeping in line with the unique needs of the Catholic family, all of our program takes place in the morning. This allows little ones to return home in time for nap time. Of course, local directors are welcome to add additional classes, such as IEW in the afternoon if there is enough interest. Chorus, drama and other fine arts help round out the desires of Catholic families for “one-stop” enrichment for the whole family.
May I use Catholic Schoolhouse outside of a Catholic Schoolhouse community?
Yes, by all means. The Tour Guide will give you a spine and add structure to your homeschool. The Flashcards may be purchased to use with the Tour Guide, or on their own. If you are implementing Catholic Schoolhouse in your home and would like more information. Start by reading the article “Now What Should I Do?” If you still have questions, get in touch–we’ll help get you set up.
How do I use Catholic Schoolhouse at home?
Each of our families who participate in a Catholic Schoolhouse chapter uses something different at home as each home school is unique. Talking to the other moms in your program is the best way to get ideas, but here are some thoughts to get you started.
Many vary how they use the Tour Guide each year. Some simply use it as memory items to review each day to expose children to a variety of areas while focusing on a single area. For example, I used Apologia’s Astronomy for one year’s science, but using the Tour Guide science topics for memorization allowed me to feel I hadn’t neglected many areas of science to which my children should be exposed. Other years, I have used the Tour Guide science framework as the structure for my science at home and done unit studies that moved with our topics. Both ways have been effective for us.
All of our participants use their own math and language programs, and most keep their science and history either overlapping with the Tour Guide or following it. Following the featured saints and musicians/artists in the Tour Guide keeps everything in the same time period. Catholic Schoolhouse is designed to leave the parent flexibility to use Charlotte Mason , Montessori, or classical methods in the mix that is right for their family. However, moms in our programs also use a more structured homeschool curriculum like Seton. Kolbe Academy, Mother of Divine Grace or Catholic Heritage. CSH gives them valuable review. In the end, the Catholic Schoolhouse Tour Guide can be used to either add structure to a free environment or simply enrich one that is already structured in many ways. We don’t want to replace the parent as the primary teacher. We just want to offer more opportunities–the structure will free you from hours spent deciding “what” to study, and allow you to focus on the “how.”
Want more information? Check out our Catholic Schoolhouse Pinterest board, and the following resources:
What Else Should I Use – curriculum suggestions