How to Start a Program
Thanks so much for your interest in becoming a Catholic Schoolhouse Program Director! This page will scratch the surface of what we have to offer to program directors.
Catholic Schoolhouse strives to lay the foundation for learning in elementary age children and provide additional opportunities for older children as they move into the dialectic and rhetoric stages. Through a structured program of rigorous, coherent, academics, and fine arts enrichment, our children will be guided in both knowledge and character in a positive, Catholic classroom environment.
Step 1: Preview the Program and Products
The Catholic Schoolhouse materials needed for each family in a program are:
- Tour Guide – $32 – These include quarterly overviews of the material covered as well as full color weekly sheets with all of the key information to be memorized available at a glance.
- History Cards – $36 for a complete set of 120 4.25 ” X 5.5” cards with a full color picture on one side and key event/person’s description on the other. Year 1 has 105 cards instead of the usual 120 because studying your state history has been integrated into the program during the last 3 weeks of the year.
Program: Your group will meet for a total of four 6-week quarters to cover the memory work found in the Tour Guide. During a 3-hour morning tutors will introduce the students to the memory work through a variety of activities. Students will move to a different class for integrated science and art projects (30 minutes each class, detailed lesson plans provided).
As a director, you will also:
- Lead (or recruit a leader for) the morning chorus
- Schedule a quarterly mom’s night & dad’s night
- Plan (or recruit another to plan) one field trip per quarter (preferably related to Catholic Schoolhouse study)
- Plan the Mid-Year and Year-End Family Programs
- Send a weekly e-mail to keep your group updated and unified
All the details you need are provided in the Registered Program Director’s Packet.
Step 2: Gather Your Group
Whether you have an existing co-op that is simply transitioning to the Catholic Schoolhouse format or are starting a new one, holding an informational meeting is the first step. Choose a date, review the materials and philosophy, and publicize your event! After the meeting, you will want to collect registration forms with deposits to secure the commitments.
Planning the Information Night
Catholic Schoolhouse makes it easy to plan an information night with ideas for locations, how to publicize and what to expect.
Information Night – What to Say & Do?
We offer detailed ideas and instructions so you won’t have to worry about leaving something important out! We’ll tell you what to bring, how to introduce the classical method and how to explain Catholic Schoolhouse and more.
A great way to get people interested is to bring brochures (available at no charge), a tour guide, history cards, and a sample of the music.
Step 3: Find a Facility
Finding a facility can be tough. We’ve helped many people find a suitable site (as well as going through it ourselves) and have learned how to overcome many obstacles. Here are a few ideas for where you could meet:
- Catholic Church
- Community Center
- Library Meeting Rooms
- Someone’s House/Basement
- Technical College
- Other Christian Church
Step 4: Consider the Classes
These are unique to each program. We’ll help you consider your age range, class size and nursery needs so that you can get the classes organized in the most effective way possible.
Step 5: Tutor Selection
One of the beneficial elements of this program is that tutors are compensated! This cuts down (and nearly cuts out) tutor burnout and shortages. You will enjoy having less tutor struggles in your program than in a normal co-op as you put our win-win philosophies into place. We’ll also guide you in the number of tutors you need, how to train them, and how to show them they are appreciated.
Families will wonder how to integrate Catholic Schoolhouse into their own homeschool. It can be used with structured programs like Seton, Kolbe, Mother of Divine Grace, or Catholic Heritage and also seems to complement a Charlotte Mason style wonderfully. The Tour Guide can then be used as a springboard to go further in depth with the topics of their choice or as an extra contact point for review if a structured curriculum is used at home. These can be fun for unit studies! The “mental hooks” formed from the memory work will give your student a place to hang their future knowledge and you will quickly see them forming connections with our integrated approach. Parents must still have math and language curriculum to use at home to cover the three “Rs”. For memorization, just listening to the cd or quizzing your children on the facts for 5 minutes over lunch can yield surprising results!
A nursery is an essential part of the program. Our experience has shown this and given us some great ideas for planning a successful nursery and reassuring parents, including that a paid nursery worker is a must! These ideas and tips are at the disposal of every registered director.
We feel a serious approach to academics helps raise the bar for our homeschool families. Our families like how the Tour Guide helps prevent holes in their education while reinforcing what they are doing at home. They also like that their children are learning appropriate classroom etiquette. Our classroom rules (virtues) that we post include: self-control, courtesy, responsibility, generosity and respect. Tutors are trained to encourage a positive attitude in the classroom where everyone feels accepted and loved. In all cases, just a few minutes of review each day at home prepares the student to do well in class.
Middle School & Beyond
Catholic Schoolhouse is a program for the whole family. Following Dorothy Sayers’ classical stages of learning, we move away from memory work and toward the dialectic stage. Families may still find the Tour Guide structure valuable to structure their curriculum at home around. We work to promote family unity while seeking what is true, good and beautiful.
What a Typical Day Looks Like – Elementary
8:45 – 9:00 Chorus, Prayer (Come Holy Spirit) & Pledge of Allegiance, entire group
9:00 – 9:30 Academics (memory work) with homeroom tutor
9:30 – 10:00 Integrated Art (break for homeroom tutor to observe her own children or nurse a baby)
10:00 – 10:30 Bathroom break, snack & presentations with homeroom tutor
10:30 – 11:00 Hands-On Science (break for homeroom tutor)
11:00 – 11:55 Academics (memory work) with homeroom tutor
11:55 – 12:00 Closing Prayer, Angelus, announcements
Gathering for lunch and playtime after class gives moms a chance to chat and social time for kids.
What do I do Now?
Joining with the experience of Catholic Schoolhouse directors throughout the U.S. will help avoid the need for your group to reinvent the wheel. But don’t worry, Catholic Schoolhouse leaves you in control with much flexibility for your group. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know that you have read the introductory information, and we’ll arrange for a free phone consultation to get you started on your journey.