Let me explain some of the basics of using Catholic Schoolhouse. I will blog more about what classical education is in a future post, but for now, here is what it looks like. (And let me fully disclose–I am not being paid to share this! I am very blessed to use this program with my children, and I want to spread the word about it with you!).
We use Catholic Schoolhouse as our #1 resource to encompass a variety of topics. Catholic Schoolhouse is our springboard into choosing what topics to learn. It is a classical approach. Since it is a 3-year program, it is well orchestrated to cover a breadth of topics that children should learn throughout K-6th.
Catholic Schoolhouse helps the children learn a memory verse or memorize vocabulary about the following subjects every week:
- Math (Skip counting, geometry, etc.)
- Science (Botany, Chemistry, Astronomy, Physics)
- Geography (continents and countries)
- Religion (Bible stories, saints)
- History (timeline starting with creation)
- Art (learn about famous artwork)
- Language Arts (parts of speech, etc.)
- Basic introduction to Latin and Greek
- Music (Percussion, strings, etc.)
- Virtues (self-control, responsibility, gratitude, etc.)
It is a very complete program. The content is made easier to teach because basic tools for success are provided.
To use the program at home, it is best to purchase the Tour Guide, Timeline cards, and CDs.
The “Tour Guide” has all of the memory verses for each week; it is in full color.
There are 5 timeline cards per week; they are also in color. On the back of the timeline cards are optional in-depth information about the historical event. This saves you time from “Googling” any events you can’t quite remember.
The CDs have catchy songs to assist children in learning the weekly memory work from the Tour Guide. There are tracks on the CD to learn the history timeline cards. My husband transferred the files from the CDs to our I-pad to make it easier.
Three Year Cycle
For Catholic Schoolhouse, there is a three-year-cycle. Most families and co-op chapters are using Year 2 this year (2015-2016), and there are many resources to assist you in teaching the material.
Basics of the Classical Approach
In the classical approach, about grades K-6th are considered in the Grammar Stage. In this stage, the teaching approach capitalizes on children’s natural ability and interest to memorize facts. Really! It is amazing what my kindergartner and second grader learn every week.
Why This Works Well for Families
If you use Catholic Schoolhouse, even if you have children in multiple grade levels, your life will be easier because all of your students are studying the same basic material. You will have different goals for a 6th grader than for 3rd and 1st graders, but there will be much more overlap. It will prevent you from bouncing from one subject to the next; as a teacher, this is helpful considering how many subjects we cover with each of our students.
If you use Catholic Schoolhouse as your springboard for your curriculum courses, there will be no more jumping from teaching your 6th grader about Chemistry, then teaching your 4th grader from his science book about astronomy, and then teaching your 1st grader about Biology. Instead, you will focus on the science that Catholic Schoolhouse is studying that quarter.
Right now we are in 2nd quarter, and we are learning about Chemistry for science. I am using the same chemistry book for my 2nd grader and kindergartner, but when I go over the book with my kindergartner, we stick to the basic ideas and I skip a lot of the text. With my 2nd grader, I can require her to read it on her own, and then we discuss it. As a mom, sticking to the same general topics for my two students saves me from being too scattered mentally!
If you use a program like Seton or CHC, you can continue with it. Families who do this then use Catholic Schoolhouse only for learning the memory verses, and they do not supplement. You will find that in Seton and CHC, the topics your students memorize from Catholic Schoolhouse will start to “pop-up” throughout your materials. For example, although we don’t use all of Seton, we use their language arts. While my 2nd grader is learning grammar in the English 2 book, she can sing the parts of speech memory verses from Catholic Schoolhouse to remember the definitions.
Catholic Schoolhouse in a Co-op
If you are in a Catholic Schoolhouse co-op, the tutors assist you by introducing the topics to your students. Students are divided up into classes. Never the less, you remain the primary educator of your children, and you are responsible for teaching outside of the co-op.
Choosing Math and Language Arts Program
With Catholic Schoolhouse, you will also need to choose a complete math program and language arts materials. We use BJU Math, and Seton for Language Arts. I will share more information about those programs in a future post.
The Children Love Catholic Schoolhouse!
If you are looking for a way to unify your homeschool programming, I highly recommend Catholic Schoolhouse. It has simplified many things, and my students love it! It has stretched my students, who are in Kindergarten and 2nd grade, to learn about topics I would have waited to teach–such as atomic weight, protons, and electrons. I have been impressed with how much the children can learn. Children are like little sponges!