Three Inspired Homeschool Co-ops and How They Grew

Adrienne is joined by three expert guests who have started Charlotte Mason inspired communities. Each is very different and our guests provide a wealth of infomation and ideas for starting homeschool communities and collaboratives.
About our Guests

Randan Steinhauser with Sweetwater Scholé in greater Austin: Randan Steinhauser is a mother of four who recently launched a Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschool co-op, Sweetwater Scholé. In addition to their home education, her children attend a University-Model Classical Christian collaborative school in Austin, Texas. Randan is the founding partner of Steinhauser Strategies where she works with clients on education-related efforts including school choice and homeschool freedom. Prior to moving home to Austin, Randan was in Washington, DC where she worked for former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Randan has worked in more than 40 states on educational freedom initiatives. A native of South Carolina, Randan holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina and an M.A. in Communications from John’s Hopkins University. 

Valerie Bishop with Living Education co-op in Flower Mound, TX:  Valerie is the founder and Director of Living Education Co-op in Flower Mound, Texas, a Charlotte Mason-inspired Fine Arts co-op, where she teaches high school and middle school classes History & Humanities and Shakespeare. Valerie also creates Charlotte Mason-inspired curriculum for her high school classes and greatly enjoys seeing her students rise to the challenge of delightful, rigorous coursework. She is passionate about republishing and bringing classic books to life with classic paintings, such as Story of the Greeks, Story of the Romans, Saints and Heroes Vol. I, Saints and Heroes Vol II, and forthcoming illustrated versions of Homer and Virgil’s epic poems. Valerie has been married to Troy for 22 years and has six children, ages 18 to 6. Prior to homeschooling, Valerie earned an Associates of Arts from The Art Institute of Dallas and enjoyed a career creating content as a graphic designer.

Jennifer Hartenburg with Bluebonnet Scholars in Houston, TX: Jennifer Hartenburg is a Published writer and classroom teacher, Jen Hartenburg holds a bachelor of arts in English Literature and a master of arts in Education from Biola University where she remains a perpetual member of the Torrey Honors Institute. She began teaching literature and writing in 1997 and helped pilot an interactive online program for high school students through Biola University beginning in 2000. She has been offering summer writing camps and classes in the Houston area since 2015, and she is an Accomplished Instructor with the Institute for Excellence in Writing. Her educational approach continues to be informed and refined by the living stream of Christian tradition, the classical liberal arts heritage, and the writings of folks such as Charlotte Mason, Jacques Maritain, C.S. Lewis, and Sofia Cavalletti. A homeschool parent/teacher of two, Jen also enjoys hiking, dancing, drinking tea, listening to the rain, and writing. Her poetry and creative non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in literary journals including Rattle: Poets Respond, Weber—The Contemporary West, The Saint Katherine Review, The Other Journal, Dappled Things, and The Christian Century. Jen is continually rediscovering the power of word and world to startle and heal us with beauty.

Show Notes
Have you wondered how to bring a breath of fresh air to homeschool? Classical Education host, Adrienne Freas, brings forth workable ideas from her guest panel members. 
  • Valerie Bishop for the love of learning, started a co-op fulfilling the mission to carry out a living education. 
  • Randon Steinhauser listened to the needs of others. Wanting a blended style of learning inspired by nature, she created a nature-focused gathering. One of the biggest challenges has been to find ways to accommodate more and more students. 
  • Jennifer Hartenburg started a hybrid homeschool community in the Christian Liberal Arts Tradition which grew out of a Charlotte Mason book club she began in 2016. 
The ideas shared in this podcast are truly inspiring, while surprisingly simple. Gathering with others is golden wherever you begin your homeschool journey. Listen to the end of this podcast for the inspirational closing quotations. Ask yourself what your homeschool community would look like, while remembering that "the flowers aren’t new, but the children are. "- Charlotte Mason. 

Some Topics and Ideas in this Episode Include:
  • Biggest challenges in starting a co-op
  • Building your classical education community 
  • Specific steps in order to begin with intention and clarity 
  • Modeling, teaching, and delegating tasks according to gifts
  • Ways to include creativity in your homeschool 
Adrienne's Favorite Mason Quotation:
"All is mystery, being what the heart of man could not conceive of unless it had been revealed.
'Great is the mystery of Godliness: God manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.' [1 Tim 3:16] And what a barren and dry land should we dwell in if our spirits were narrowed to the limits of that which we can comprehend! Where we err is in supposing that mystery is confined to our religion, that everything else is obvious and open to our understanding. Whereas the great things of life, birth, death, hope, love, patriotism, why a leaf is green, and why a bird is clothed in feathers––all such things as these are mysteries; and it is only as we can receive that which we cannot understand, and can discern the truth of that which we cannot prove, and can distinguish between a luminous mystery and a bewildering superstition, that we are able to live the full life for which we were made."
- C. Mason, Ourselves, 201. 

Resources and Books & Mentioned In This Episode

Course Offerings for Bluebonnet Scholars:
Primary Curriculum for Sweetwater Scholé:
A Thinking Love by Karen Glass
Ourselves by Charlotte Mason

This podcast is produced by Beautiful Teaching, LLC.

We exist for the benefit of both parents and teachers. Teaching is an art and teachers need opportunities to cultivate their craft. Parents need to feel confident that their children are receiving the best education possible. Therefore, our goals are to help parents make well-informed decisions about the education of their children, and to help teachers experience true joy in their vocation. We desire to bridge a large gap that currently exists between most classical schools and the parents who send their students to these schools. 

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Three Inspired Homeschool Co-ops and How They Grew
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