This is a post by Kathy Rabideau, co-founder of Catholic Schoolhouse.
There is much discussion this time of year about next year’s plans for at-home Catholic Schoolhouse study. Directors and veteran users of Catholic Schoolhouse often get this question, this time of year:
Catholic Schoolhouse was created with the idea of flexibility–that we could create a place where Catholic families with diverse teaching styles, goals, and methodologies could come together for community in an academic setting. With a love of classical education and to accomplish that, we chose classical memory work as the backbone of the program. Because, you see, memory work is useful and the topics are relevant for all homeschool environments.
Many parents are looking for an easy way out: Tell me what to do each day, or tell me where I can find such a plan. They want to home school, but they are also afraid. We need to understand the multifacted role we have as mothers and educators. First, we are a coordinator of our child’s education plan. We have resources at our disposal, each one providing different amounts of ease, authority, control, freedom, work, and joy.
On one end is the educator that follows the child, exploring with no plan at all (sometimes called unschooling). At the other end is the child that is enrolled in an outside program delivered to their home or online that tells them every assignment, grades and delivers assessment (sometimes called correspondence school). And every permutation in between!
You, and only you must choose what type of parent educator you wish to be. If you choose to enroll in a different school, you are choosing that school to be the authority and should trust their order and methods. Their studies will not align with Catholic Schoolhouse, instead CSH will function as valuable review in the grammar stages and bring the necessary interaction and communication skills in the upper level.
If you wish Catholic Schoolhouse to be your spine, you will be the authority. You can continue to use program materials you love, but in a different way. Choosing from the available courses, you can choose materials that follow the CSH sequence, matching as closely as possible. (posted grade levels are not as accurate or relevant as many new educators think). As you desire more autonomy, you can branch to materials from other publishers or even decide to go without a packaged course, instead utilizing the library, internet, and your own imagination to study the way you and your children want to study.
Planning your own curriculum (with help from outside texts or unit studies where desired) will always be the best fit with CSH. The spine of CSH was carefully researched and developed to give the parent educator peace of mind–confidence that the topics typically covered in elementary school all have a springboard from Catholic Schoolhouse.
One of the great blessings of Catholic Schoolhouse is our focus on family unity. A parent that is monitoring work and shuffling students from one task to another may not be experiencing the joy and relationship building that is homeschooling. “School at home” can be a huge burden, as you have 7 students in 7 grades with 7 courses of study. CSH offers a unique option–that you can school as a family in most subjects and bring joy and unity to your homeschool. Even if students have different plans, books, or texts, the conversation around the dinner table becomes possible because of the similarity of topics the parent has planned into their day. Then, the conversation begins and their school becomes a little more classical.
So, does X program work with Catholic Schoolhouse? The answer is yes, and no. You are welcome to use Catholic Schoolhouse and join a Chapter while using your current course of study. But, no, they were not designed to fit hand in hand–you should choose whether you are fitting CSH into X or fitting X into CSH, or looking for a new way to homeschool, as the primary educator, joyfully, independently, and maybe a little classically.
- Begin by reading the blog–it contains lots of fun, family activities for young students. Here’s the link to the Tour 3 weekly directory which can be found by hovering over “blog.”
- If you are brand new to the CSH idea, visit Now What do I Do? on the CSH website.
- Then move on to read CSH Planning for the Grammar Student and CSH Planning for the Dialectic Student.
If you are in a Chapter, you will have access to resources on Basecamp that can further help you develop your homeschooling plan using CSH: (These links will only work for those with access to Basecamp, by being members of a CSH chapter- an amazing benefit of being part of a CSH community!)
- Rhetoric planning helps, including a high school planning at a glance sheet with typical high school requirements are found in T3 Printable Docs & Files-Members, upper level folder. These lay out what will be done in CSH, and even give a list of options for your at-home time. Remember they are options–YOU, the parent is the primary educator and in charge of final decisions! And, enrolling is not necessary to get a transcript. HSLDA has great resources for your families that want to learn more.
- You will also find a weekly resource sharing message thread for each week–created by members for members, like this one for T2, W22. T3 resource threads will be started once registrations are complete 🙂
- Book lists and other shared resources are in the project T3 Printable Docs & Files-Members National (Tour III) Here’s the direct link to some lesson plans shared by other families–be sure to share your own to grow the CSH resource library!
- Looking for a simple lists of some texts from various publishers that line up? Read What Else Should I Use? to get some beginning ideas. (This list is about 5 years old, now, so send me your great new ideas that you think fit the CSH homeschooler.)
- Still have families wanting CSH to “fit” with another program. Please read my response (and the responses of others) to this Memoria Press thread. It may help you find the words you need as a director.