Start a Homeschool Co-op with Help: Four Catholic alternatives to Classical Conversations

Catholic homeschooling families across the U.S. are coming together to create Catholic alternatives to Classical Conversations! Here is an overview of four programs now available. We believe you will find the persons involved in each program very helpful and encouraging as you try to start a homeschool co-op of your own.

1. SCHOLA ROSA: HOME & CO-OP CURRICULUM: This an exciting new resource that The Rolling Acres School is proud to offer!  It is a Catholic, classical, Charlotte Mason inspired program that is easily accessed online, providing materials for English/Poetry, Religion/Catechism, Science, Art, Music, History, Virtue-Training, Latin/Greek and including guidelines for implementing the Classically Catholic Memoryprogram.  In addition to lesson plans for all Schola Rosa subjects, the online suite includes worksheets, group activity/ field trip plans, digital books, audio readings, links to resources, maps, and more.  There is also a “Co-op Manager’s Manual” with directions, how-to videos, and sample forms to aid a prospective co-op in getting up and running.  As the title implies, there are materials for the entire week—for the home and the co-op day.  The program covers Pre-K through 6th grade, but R.A.S. also offers middle and high school courses for co-op use that complement the style and sequence of Schola Rosa.  Call or email today for a tour of the Schola Rosa program or watch the introductory video below:
2. Classically Catholic Memory is a four year Catholic, classical memory work program that provides challenging and inspiring memory work material in eight subjects: Religion, which covers Catechism and Scripture; Latin, which includes both prayers and hymns ranging from the Pater Noster to the Tantum Ergo and the Salve Regina; History, which is comprised of chronological and challenging short paragraphs about important historical topics, events, and persons; Science, which covers Life Science: Animal Life, Earth Science/Astronomy, Chemistry/Physics, and Plant Life; Math, which includes skip-counting, formulas, and conversions; Timeline, which consists of 144 events tracing history from Creation through John Paul II; Geography, which fully covers political and geographic features of 6 continents; and Great Words, which covers age-appropriate classic poetry and important historical documents and speeches.
The memory work in Classically Catholic Memory is quite challenging, orderly, and chronological. CCM is meant to be fully usable by individual families at home, as well as in a co-op setting. To that end, we provide the following high-quality materials for each year: a Student Text (in full color with classic art work); a Teacher Text (which includes the Student Text, plus teaching notes for all subjects); a set of five laminated maps (in full color with a sheet of sticker labels for all geographic features); and an audio CD set (on which the memory work is presented both by week and by subject, with the history sentences sung to familiar tunes to facilitate memorization). The same set of 144 Timeline Cards is used during each year.
Because the cost of the CCM program is only for the materials, the CCM program is very affordable. Please see our website at www.ccmemory.com or contact us at info@ccmemory.com for more information.— Mission Statement provided by David and Donna Freidenfeld, Founders
3. Aquinas Learning aims to be a classical education mentoring program which guides students toward wisdom and virtue. Students meet once a week for a class day with their mentors and peers and, using materials and on-line support we provide, students continue studying the curriculum with their parents and siblings at home.By studying the liberal arts and discussing the great ideas of Western civilization, in full communion with the Catholic Church, the students will develop a taste and love for what is true, good, and beautiful and the skills of thinking, writing, reading, speaking, and listening through:
  • Good books with Socratic discussions
  • Core subject discussions (Catechism, History, Science, and Civics)
  • Memory practice (Latin, Grammar, Timeline, and Geography)
  • Fine arts studies (music and art appreciation, chants, and art projects
  • Oral presentations – elocution, listening and note-taking skills
  • Language Arts – IEW, Grammar, Diagramming, Copy Work, Spelling, Handwriting
The students will form a habit of mind, that of being inquisitive, perceptive, ordered, and contemplative which will lead to moral and intellectual virtue, right reason applied to right action following God’s will for them. — Mission Statement provided by Rosario Reilly
4. Catholic Schoolhouse is a homeschool program that gives homeschool families the opportunity to enrich their homeschool by coming together once a week in a classroom environment. All children at all ages have a place — studying similar topics, just at their level. CSH introduces these key concepts in an organized three-year cycle. Additionally, CSH provides an in-depth science and art project each week that simplify at-home prep-work and activities.The comment that I most often hear from participants in our local program is how nice it is to belong to a well organized group. The director ensures cohesiveness, each tutor knows her job, and families can simply participate or work in the program as they desire. Catholic Schoolhouse has really met the needs of my family. With its academic nature, my children learn classroom etiquette, gain a peer group, and are exposed to topics that either re-enforce what we have previously covered or introduce new ideas. As my oldest is now in fifth grade, I am reminded by how important it is to have exposure to a concept in more than one setting.” — Megan, Co-founder
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14 Responses to Start a Homeschool Co-op with Help: Four Catholic alternatives to Classical Conversations

  1. Eva says:

    Don’t you think that the Classical Memory is way too expensive?

    • admin says:

      They all seem to be too expensive on the face of things, but the prices are for a full year’s worth of materials. CCMemory’s prices seem fair, however, considering printing costs these days and considering it is home-based business. For example, if you were to try to print the maps at a local print shop, it would cost more than what they charge (our group had to do this with our maps this year!). Their student text and timeline cards are cheaper than ours from Catholic Schoolhouse, and not everyone would necessarily need the teacher text if you were in a co-op. With CSH we would need 3 sets of history cards, which means we would pay 3 times as much for flashcards. On the other hand, they do not do the same timeline each year, but a specific timeline for each year. They all have their merits. In my opinion, starting a co-op in your community with your pooled skills is a great idea and can be done without any of these programs, but many moms appreciate having a framework to get started, so these programs provide that framework and relieve some pressure.

      • Eva says:

        You are probably right about the cost and I have heard that their materials are high quality.

        We have a co-op here, my husband even teaches high school in it, but I don’t like the co-op set-up. It is too much like school! Our co-op is Christian (more or less protestant), although they don’t really teach religion. I have found that selected enrichment classes in addition to what we do at home are much more efficient and helpful. The children learn to be in a group setting, but you have the freedom to choose what is best for your family, When you participate in our co-op there are too many things you have to do which don’t really fit in with what we are studying right now.

        • admin says:

          It is a tough decision whether or not to do a co-op. The problems we have encountered with any programs have been in the details. “The Devil is in the details”, right? This is our argument for using programs if you do choose to do so that are flexible and allow you to change the details.
          In the end, I have participated because we have no family in this area, and we are still quite new to Virginia. The co-op proved an excellent way to meet and be around other Catholic families. Imagine! We usually agree on what books, etc. to use because none of us want the co-op to be something “extra” during the week, but something that actually replaces some of the work in our homeschool week-to-week. If it does not accomplish this, we find it to be too tiring and burn-out is reached quickly. Love to hear your thoughts!

          • Eva says:

            Well, if the co-op really helps with learning and is not extra work, it is certainly a good idea. I just found that what our co-op offered was never what I wanted to teach my children. First Aid for a first grader with lots of graphic videos was not my idea of teaching small children! I also thought we would make friends at the co-op, but the way they were doing the classes really annoyed me. Now our friends come from different places and most of them are not homeschoolers! I’m also not a group person, I like to do my own thing (maybe that’s why I came all by myself to this country :)). We actually bought CMM (Alpha Year) and do like it so far (it was one of my birthday presents). I bought it more for my older children although it is meant for younger ones. Our younger ones like to participate too, though.

  2. VA says:

    Compared to Classical Conversations, a co-op version of CCM is much, much cheaper. The materials themselves come out a little less initially. Everyone does need to have the teacher’s manual in a co-op but could get by without the student text, timeline cards, maps and cds. In our co-op, everyone recommends the cds as being very useful.

    • admin says:

      Yes, now that I have looked into these programs more closely, I lean more and more toward CCM. What I like best is that there is no oversight! Groups don’t pay a part of tuition to CCM, so you really are JUST buying the materials. I have yet to review their materials, but will do so soon. ~A. Rolling.

  3. Margaret says:

    What part of VA are you in…we took part in CC the last two years and really enjoyed it, but I am being called to focus more on Catholic than Christian in general with my boys…I have looked at the groups for all three and none are close enough for my driving pleasure…we are actually in DC…I have contacted two of the Aquinas Learning groups and then all three about any opening campuses…I do like that all three do offer an at home fully option if needed…but what I would miss the most is the accountability of the weekly meetings…

    • admin says:

      Margaret,

      Greetings! We are in Front Royal. Here is the link to our co-op group: http://www.scholarosa.blogspot.com/ We are going to use CCM and CWH for children aged newborn to 13. I would certainly miss the co-op meetings most of all, so the at-home-only option is not so appealing to me. Feel free to contact us with questions!

  4. Ann says:

    What is CWH? Also, no one commented on Aquinas Learning. Has anyone used it? It sounds like it would be geared for older children.

    • admin says:

      Ann, CWH is “Connecting with History” at http://www.rchistory.com. We have not used Aquinas Learning here in Front Royal, though we did consider it briefly. It seems to be a good program, but we could not afford it. Perhaps, others know more! Blessings, Alecia

      • Lori says:

        So what are your thoughts on these a year later? We are starting a co-op and looking for curriculum from 1stgr. thru 12th. Any thoughts? thanks,Lori

  5. Jean Barnes says:

    Is their a way I can find out if there is a home school co-op in my area?

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