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