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. Or they may be asked to assist in some role.Parents are required to be a part of the community.

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. The formation of a strong, Catholic community depends on all members being present.

How many families do I need to have a successful program?

The program is best done with a minimum of six families; however, more families offer a variety of peers and allow for more age groups. If you would like to discuss the number of families and how to start a chapter, contact chapters@catholicschoolhouse.com.

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.  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 and rhetoric stages of learning while immersing them in a positive, academic peer environment. Keeping topics aligned with the Tour Guide maintains family unity.

Do you offer tutor training?

Yes! Tutor training occurs every summer online and in a growing number of site locations through out the country.

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 assistance in finding insurance in your state. Contact us when starting your group for more details – we would love to share our hard-learned expertise!

What exactly is the cost?

This Cost to Join Chart 2021 shows all costs associated with joining a Catholic Schoolhouse Chapter. Remember that directors and tutors are compensation which offset their families fees in the program and that all supplies are provided for the students. Tutors and directors are compensated based on the size of the program. All student and supply fees stay with the local chapter. If you wish to use CSH at home with your family, simply purchase the materials you feel beneficial–there is no additional tuition or unexpected fees.

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, as afternoon add-ons 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. memorizing is made easy with the CD — which contains more than just a few subject, but everything in the Tour Guide and more.  The History Cards 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?” You can also check out the CSH at Home tab for planning tips and the blog for week-by-week ideas that align with each Tour.  If you still have questions, get in touch–we’ll help get you set up

I live outside the US, can I still use Catholic Schoolhouse?

Yes! In 2018 we had our first international chapter in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We are beginning to learn and explore new ways we can support the international community, including a possible removal of the US history segments. Stay tuned! We have shipped books for military families around the world.

Shipping internationally is handled directly through shipping@catholicschoolhouse.com.

We are new to homeschooling and don’t know where to begin, help!

Homeschooling is a journey, best done when called by God through prayer. We were first called in 1999 and have received blessings beyond our expectations. First, you must discern your style. Do you enjoy learning with the children, doing projects and exploring, perhaps reading aloud as a family? Or do you desire a more defined “school” environment where children do workbooks as laid out by others? Do you desire to be the primary educators, knowing your children and choosing approaches that suit their unique gifts? Or as they grow would you prefer to use online resources, having others do the educating, even if in a home environment? This is a good discussion for you to have as a couple.
Most families find themselves somewhere in a blend of the scenarios I have laid out above.
Catholic Schoolhouse provides a flexible framework for families. We have done the research for you to determine the “what” to study, while you get to choose the “how.” Thus, it gives you the flexibility to use workbooks or texts where desired, while exploring other methods of learning in other subjects. It lays out a scope and sequence that ties art, saints, musicians all to the historical timeline to give a consistent tour through history. With Catholic Schoolhouse your students would be learning the same topics together –separating only for developmental subjects like phonics and math.

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. This flexibility is unique, allowing you to take charge of your child’s education. 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, some 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:

I’ve decided to use Catholic Schoolhouse. Now what do I do?

What Else Should I Use – curriculum suggestions