As we wrap up our second school year using Catholic Schoolhouse and interacting with many educators on Facebook interested in the program, I thought it would be helpful if I went through and wrote out some of the things I have learned about how to use this program at home only or in conjunction with the Chapters. I do not want anyone to start using or be confused on how to use this REALLY SIMPLE and amazing program. Even though I had five children at the time in our school, only my smaller children used this program. My oldest was a junior in high school when we started and I didn't want to uproot him at this point so he completed his studies with Our Lady of Victory School but unenrolled. So my children at the time were ages 4, 6, 8, and 9 when we started using Catholic Schoolhouse.
Last year was our first year using Catholic Schoolhouse, we started with Year 1 so that we were following along in the Blog and the Chapters even if there wasn't a chapter near me. We started mid school year because we ALL needed something different (burnout and all that jazz). It was totally a leap of faith and after begging DH about doing this mid year, he agreed and we did it.
BEST. DECISION. EVER!
Since it was our first time using it I decided to keep it simple and just follow the program. We did, we loved it and this year continued on to Year 2 but this time I went ALL OUT and got WAY TOO MUCH to do, some of which we didn't even touch. Mid Year (it's like the Heavens open for me in January that I always have AHA moments during this time) I read Dorothy Sayers's The Lost Tools of Learning. HA! I should have read this FIRST! Then I'd realized I was trying to do too much. We minimized and voila! found our happy medium! We learned SO MUCH and had SO MUCH fun! So what do you need to do to get hooked like I am? Here you go, an easy to follow, step by step approach to using CSH at home.:
STEP ONE: Read this First!
If you are new to Catholic Schoolhouse, before doing anything else, please read Ms. Sayer's free pdf article entitled The Lost Tools of Learning. It really helped me grasp the bigger picture about what Classical Education really is and what I wanted for my homeschool and my children, to enjoy educating them.
STEP TWO: Decide on the Year to Work on!
Here is the Scope and Sequence broken down by year.
STEP THREE: What to Buy?
As a new Catholic Schoolhouse parent, you only need the Tour Guide, the Timeline Cards, and the Music CDs. You can build your ENTIRE curriculum around these three items. If you want the Science experiments that line up with the Science memory work, get the Supplemental Science Guide. (If you are like me who never got around to doing hands on science, this is a MUST!). If you want Art projects that line up with the History memory work, then get the Supplemental Art Guide. (If you are like me that left ART for the very last and never had time for it, this is also a MUST!). So in addition to this, please DO NOT think you need to spend more money or your sanity on other things that you may not have. You will need to decide which Year you want to start with. I highly suggest you do the same year as the chapters even if you are not in one yourself (or yet).
STEP FOUR: Check your bookshelves!
You will be surprised to find you probably have many living books that line up with CSH already. Add these books in gradually and do not be like me and over do it! :) Keep it simple, one book per topic should cover things. If you are set up in quarters, one read aloud per time period is fabulous. Read it together and have LOVELY discussions with all your children.
STEP FIVE: Add math and Language Arts/Phonics
You will want to add a mathematics book of your choice and also a Language arts program and Phonics book of your choice. Use what you already invested in or what you already have at home. Chances are you will not need to switch out of this OR eventually decide you want to do something simpler as I did for Language Arts. You can also check out Kathy's "What Else Should I Use?" PDF
So the bottom line is you DO NOT need to supplement to this program if you don't want to with just one exception, you will want a Math book and a Reading program. You can, however, just stick to the memory work and do your separate math and language arts and phonics lessons and you and your children WILL still walk away with an amazing classical education and an incredible love of learning.
Make sure you follow my blog as I work through my series of blog posts on using Catholic Schoolhouse At Home. Next time, I will be writing about What CSH at Home looks like.
Have a beautiful day!