Category Archives: learning

Our Learning Plans Using Catholic Schoolhouse

Many families look at programs like Catholic Schoolhouse and because we have been programmed in the brick and mortar mentality of textbooks and workbooks, a program like CSH seems a bit foreign. When I first looked into CSH, I had just come back from a one room schoolhouse field trip so I could see beyond what most consider a normal classroom setting. You can read all about that field trip and my AHA moment when I realized I needed to group all of my children as much as possible in as many subjects as possible.

What stumps many families from using programs like CSH? Many of my friends thought I was nuts for going into a program, initially designed to be used in a co-op setting, where I would need to do a lot of the leg work. Well, I truly looked at this as an exciting opportunity to have the flexibility I wanted but also have a focus or guide with the Tour Guides that were already so nicely organized. It did mean I needed to do my own research on trade books we would use but that was no big deal for me, being a reading specialist and also because so many Catholic programs have their reading lists already available online, all I had to do was compile and select what I wanted to use with my own children. I knew I needed three things:

1. a Teaching Plan for me for Whole Group Learning

2. An Individualized Plan for each of the children to also contain whole group learning but include individualized subjects like spelling, Math, leveled reading, Composition, Religion, and Grammar).

Individualized Plans per student

3) l knew we need a uniform method of keeping track of papers and print outs, drawings, and maps. This is how my two plans and our notebook was born.

After completing two Tours of using Catholic Schoolhouse (CSH), I was able to get a feel for what we liked to work on on a daily and weekly basis, so I created a list of routines we used for each subject. This is how I was able to come up with Our Learning Guide which helps me plan for our whole group learning. If you are not familiar with CSH, it is a classical approach to education with memory songs to help children remember important basic facts and historical names and dates. This led me to create two organizers, one for me to write and organize what I will be using with all the children during our whole group lessons, and the second sheet are for the children to check off their daily work, have their spelling and geography terms in one location and also I added their daily chore routine at the bottom of the page. This helps me keep them accountable for what my husband and I require of the children as members of this family and our homeschooling students.

Individualized plans are in presentation folders with dividers.
Samples of filled out plans.
In this I also include our book list which is required in our portfolio, this also helps me keep track of the texts and trade books each child has read per school year.
At the bottom of my Individualized plans I list our daily chore routine as well to remind the children everything that needs to be done.
Additionally, I include the scope and Sequence for the year of CSH we are using.

Next we also use a binder to keep track of their whole group work. We use a three inch binder per child with dividers for each subject we work on together. This is the method we have been using all school year and it has worked wonderfully for my children in grades 6, 5, 3, and 1. The younger children have received additional support from myself or the older children. In keeping their notebooks up to date and organized where the older children are expected to maintain theirs on their own after guidance from me during first quarter. So the binder is like a portfolio which keeps their work nice and organized and in one location. For those of you in states that require portfolios, I highly recommend this teaching and record keeping method.

Interested in getting copies of my two files? Here is what to do (using the honor system):

1. Please make sure, if you are on social media, that you are following me either one or both: Facebook or InstaGram (@raisinglittlrsaints).

2. Leave me a comment, letting me know which method you follow me.

3. Click to view and save locally (so you can edit and personalize) the two documents:

A) Whole Group Plans/Routine

B) Individualized Plans/Routine

Thank you! Erika 🙂

Homeschooling Methods 101

If you have been following our series, I first wrote about the 10 Steps to Start Catholic Homeschooling and then on Goal Setting in the Catholic Homeschool, now we are going to discuss the different homeschooling methods available to you. So you’ve decided to Homeschool, you looked up the laws in your state, you contacted the local organization and even want to join a homeschool co-op. Now what? Well, now you need to decide what method you will use in your homeschool. First, I would like you to learn a little bit about yourself as a teacher and a former student.

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Review & Giveaway: Rock N Learn Sight Words DVD

If you have little ones learning to read, like I do (two of them actually), then you know the importance of teaching them Sight Words.  {A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post about what sight words are and why they are vital in teaching little ones to read, if you missed it here is the link}.  Since repetition is important in teaching these words as they do not follow a phonetic pattern, it is important to make learning these words as fun as possible.  This is why I loved being able to review Rock N Learn’s newest DVD on Sight Words.  They put these words to music and in context throughout their colorful video that both boys and girls will love.  Mine did!  In the summer I got to introduce them to this DVD and though they weren’t 100% able to identify all the words when I began this school year I was so surprised when my daughter saw a sight word and recalled the scene from the DVD!  It was great!  Its important for children to learn these in so many forms that putting these words in context on a DVD was a brilliant idea!  

My kids love watching it, for my 6 year old it’s great review, for my 5 year old it is a fantastic part of her Reading Program and for my 3 year old, a wonderful opportunity to expose him to these words already (and my 18 month old loves to dance to the music)!  As a reading specialist myself, I was not surprised to find out that to put this DVD together Rock N Learn worked with reading specialists with 50 years experience combined!  It is a great addition to your homeschool’s reading program.  I love all of our Rock N Learn DVDs because I know my kids can watch them time and time again and always learn something new.  PLUS, I love hearing them sing the words to educational things instead of silly songs to cartoons!

Here is a little clip of what this DVD is like, I love how they expose the kids to the sight words in context (opposed to isolation):

Sight Words Covered:
 • up • down • come • go • in • out • of • the • a • where • is • it • here • there • one • two • three • red • yellow • blue • little • big • look • see • find • run • jump • play • away • and • you • I • we • can • make • funny • face • get • to • for • me • my • give • from • came • as • are • no • not • now • said • help • will • he • she • his • her • they • that • was • with • on
Bonus Sections:
  • Word Shapes
  • Pronouncing t-h-e

Description:Sight Words, a new DVD program from Rock ‘N Learn, helps kids learn to read. Using fun music and exciting characters, kids learn to read over 60 words. These are the most common words used in the English language and are words kids need to know automatically. This program is perfect for parents with very young kids who appear advanced and eager to learn, as well as older students with remedial needs. It’s effective at helping kids learn to read at all ages. Developed along with four reading specialists having combined classroom experience of over 50 years, Rock ‘N Learn Sight Words is designed to hold the interest of kids and get results. A bonus section helps kids practice their spelling skills and focus on the shapes of words. The program engages kids to participate along with the fun characters. Approximately 50 minutes in length, it’s most effective when kids watch again and again. Before too long, they are reading the sight words with ease.

Want to get one for your homeschool?  We are hosting a give away!  YAY!  Here is what you need to do:

Don’t want to wait for this giveaway to end?  You can buy one for your little ones at Rock N Learn’s website but wait there is more, if you us this code:  JQ7711 you can get 25%off your order.

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