Catholic Schoolhouse: A Review

We decided to do a trial-run with homeschooling 3.5 year-old Magoo this year. In my search to find a Catholic curriculum I came across Catholic Schoolhouse (CSH), which is “a supplemental program designed to enhance and add accountability to any homeschool style or structure.” Children ages 4-11 all study the same topics, but delve deeper into those topics as they grow older. This makes Catholic Schoolhouse perfect for families of multiples because it eliminates the need for multiple textbooks and workbooks for various ages. Material does not become boring, old, or monotonous because Catholic Schoolhouse has broken the content up into three years and provides you the option of purchasing the materials as a bundle or purchasing a la carte and ordering only what you think works for your family. All children learn differently; some are visual learners, some hands-on, some auditory. The wonderful think about Catholic Schoolhouse is that it incorporates all methods of learning; art for those who do their best with hands-on, Memory Work audio CDs for those whose minds are sponges when they hear something aloud, and written word and images for those who do their best with visuals.

I spoke with co-founder Kathy Rabideau, who explained the philosophy of Catholic Schoolhouse and put me in touch with Toni Graff, Director of the Northern Indianapolis chapter of Catholic Schoolhouse. Initially, I was only interested in using Catholic Schoolhouse at home, but Jeremy has expressed concerns in the past about lack of socialization if we chose to homeschool Magoo. I spoke with Toni over the phone and was offered an opportunity to not only enroll Magoo in our local Catholic Schoolhouse chapter, but also work as an assistant in the Nursery room. Being that Magoo is only 3.5 and the material is geared for children ages 4-11, Gloria is in the nursery until next year. Our nursery works more as a preschool of sorts because our time together is filled with educational activities that the children adore. Despite being in the Nursery this year, we have had the opportunity to try some of the Year 2 (the current year that Catholic Schoolhouse is teaching) materials with Magoo and I couldn’t be happier with them.

Catholic Schoolhouse is probably one of the most flexible bundles of materials that you will find for homeschooling your child with focus on the Catholic faith. The Tour Guide is not a curriculum in itself, but is more of an outline of matCatholic Schoolhouse Year 2 Materialserial to cover with your child, the backbone of your work with your child for that school year. Catholic Schoolhouse is currently working on their Year 2 materials, so I have been using the Year 2 Tour Guide in conjunction with the Year 2 History Cards Year 2 Memory Work CD set. We have yet to explore our Year 2 Art Guide, which focuses on Ancient-Medieval Art, simply because we are seriously lacking in art supplies at this time. All of the Catholic Schoolhouse materials can be found here.

In the Tour Guide, you can expect to find a visual one-page layout each week of the material that your children will be working on, which includes lyrics to songs that are found in the Memory Work CD and imag
es of the history cards that will be used that week.

The first week that we attempted to use the Catholic Schoolhouse materials Magoo was disinterested. It was a different style of learning that we have foCatholic Schoolhouse Tour Guidecused on up to this point, so keeping her attention was difficult. I decided to take a break from the materials for about a week before trying to explore them again. We recently started with Week 1 again and Gloria has enjoyed the material tremendously this time around. She has been working on memorizing the Memory Work that is featured on the CD and had fun sitting with me and looking at the History Cards. I would be happy with using Catholic Schoolhouse at home solely if that were my only option, but being that we are fortunate enough to have a local group filled with wonderful people I would venture to say that we will continue on with our Catholic Schoolhouse journey for years to come.

If you are interested in joining a local chapter of CSH, you can find a list of local chapter here. If there are no chapters in your area, yet you are interested in the philosophy of CHS, I encourage you to prayerfully consider starting a Catholic Schoolhouse group in your community. The process is straightforward and Catholic Schoolhouse helps you every step of the way. When contacting Catholic Schoolhouse, whether to join a chapter, order materials for home use, or to inquire about starting your own chapter, please let them know that Circle City Mama sent you.

Blessings,

Jess

Catholic Homeschool Planner

As many of you know, this year we are embarking on a homeschooling journey with Magoo. We will be doing preschool at home to see how home study works for our family before making any definitive decisions about her future schooling. I’m someone who needs lists, charts, planners, etc. to keep organized. I am also trying to find ways to incorporate our Faith into all of our daily activities, so when I came across Jennifer Rainey’s Catholic Homeschool Planner 2015-2016 I was thrilled. It features

  • Daily, undated planning pages for 52 weeks
  • Monthly planning pages for August 2015-July 2016
  • A list of Holy Days of Obligation and selected saints’ feast days for each month
  • Space to list quarterly and yearly grades for up to eight students
  • Pages to document your curriculum, reading lists, field trips, and more
  • Information on the Rosary and the Sacred Heart devotion
  • A list of common Catholic prayers
  • Saints’ quotes

“Jennifer Rainey is a Catholic convert of 10 years. She and her husband, Travis, have four beautiful children. After a career writing for a Catholic television show, Jennifer is now a proud homeschool Mom. Jennifer is also the author of the Kindle e-book A Catholic Mom’s Guide to Working From Home: 101 Tips to Help You Make Money Without a Commute.”

I contacted Jennifer and was able to obtain a PDF copy of her planner to familiarize myself with it. I’ve already planned Week 1, which I have scheduled for us to start on August 17.

Below are screen shots of our Week 1, which gives you an example of how you can use the planner. In another post I will elaborate on our Week 1 schedule and what some of the acronyms stand for.
Week 1 Catholic Homeschool PlannerWeek 1 Catholic Homeschool Planner

I was able to easily print these sheets out and place them on our refrigerator. This allows for Jeremy to be abWeek 1le to see what the plan for the week is. Even though he generally isn’t home during the study hours because he working I still want him to be involved in what Magoo is learning. We will try this schedule out for Week 1 and if it works many of the activities will be continued on into subsequent weeks.

There are also pages for individual months that allow you to pencil in the following:

  • What I want to accomplish
  • What I want my children to accomplish
  • Spiritual goals for the month
  • Special activities

At the bottom of the page the selected feast days are listed. I absolutely love and recommend this planner and I am looking forward to familiarizing myself with it even more throughout the school year. I love supporting small business, I love supporting our Faith, and I love supporting fellow homeschoolers. $10.54 to do so a small price to pay and you definitely get more than your money’s worth with this little planner.

Blessings,

Jess