Sunday, August 30, 2015

CC Reading Correlations: SOTW, MOH, Scholastic Match-Ups

Mystery of History Volume 4 is here!!

After Mystery of History Volume 4 was released earlier this year, I updated our reading correlation pages for all three cycles of Classical Conversations (to be used with Foundations Guide 4th Edition). I recently updated the Cycle 1 Reading Correlation, so I thought I'd republish this article for those who may not have seen the update! You can download reading correlations to all three cycles below:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Awestruck by a Pinto Bean

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day. Genesis 1:11-13

It's something I've seen thousands of times in my lifetime, and yet I marvel. Honest-to-goodness, I'm seriously astonished over a pinto bean.

How could I go about my days not seeing the incredible wonder of something so complex and mysterious? The commonplace is astounding when you look at it a little deeper.

I've known this for quite a long time now, but I've never really noticed it: This pinto bean has everything it needs to become a new plant. God made it that way - he designed plants whose seed is in itself according to its kind, way back at the beginning of time. Beholding this makes me cry.

Though I lack the time to do this justice with a well thought-out and organized post, I wanted to share this beautiful experience with others. It's just too marvelous, wonderful, and amazing to keep to myself.

All we did was soak some beans and store them in damp paper towels. Then... we observed and witnessed in detail what God created this seed to do. Here's where we started...

And a few days later, we split a different bean open...

...and this is what lay before us:

Amazing!! There is an entire plant inside the bean!!!

As we continued to grow a different bean, we observed firsthand how the cotyledons (pinto beans have two, hence the term "dicot") provide just enough food for the baby plant until...

... mature leaves form, allowing the plant to start making its own food through photosynthesis.

Isn't it amazing?!?

I just can't get over it! God's handiwork is everywhere, and I somehow miss it as I go about my days, pressing through the next math concept or the next writing assignment (or the next time my husband returns from Brazil). I pray that God helps me to slow down and recognize more of his glory that's all around me!

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

May we diligently seek Him in all we see and do!

To download a pdf of definitions along with the above images, click here.

How to grow a baby bean into a plant:
  1. Soak some beans overnight. (You want to soak more than what you actually want because not all of them will turn out like this!)
  2. Wrap the soaked beans in dampened paper towel(s).
  3. Place the paper towel(s) inside a sandwich baggie but do not seal closed. 
  4. Check the paper towel(s) daily to ensure they are still damp (but not soaking), and check beans daily to ensure they are not molding. If they are molding, they are too wet and aren't getting enough air. 
  5. In a few days, your bean should start to sprout. You can transfer it to a plastic cup (like the one in the plastic water bottle in the picture) so you can observe it more easily. As the cotyledons start to shrink, you can move it to a windowsill (or replant it in soil). Simply marvelous!
A few extension activities:  Grow other types of dicot seeds (e.g., a variety of beans) for comparison, continue to attempt to grow a bean that only has one cotyledon still attached, grow a monocot seed (like corn) to see how it differs.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Planning, Scheduling, and Curriculum Choices (oh, my!)

In this season of my life, there's probably nothing more ironic than me trying to explain to others how I plan do anything. In fact, I am hesitant to write my response to the planning questions I've received for fear that someone will think I a) have it all together, and b) possess any real words of wisdom. I'm just the same as any other mama - just figuring it all out. There are others that have a much better handle on planning than I do. (See Pam Barnhill over at edshapshots, for example.) Although I had hoped to write this up in short bursts throughout the summer, that did not happen. So a word of warning: I'm using the brain dump method here to say everything I can think of about planning as it relates to our family. I'm not sure it even makes sense, but here goes...

When we started our school daze days three weeks ago, little did I know that I would be changing so many gears so quickly. Let's just say... it's a question of circumstance. (At least it's one of the Five Common Topics.)

So, with a toddler in tow, a husband who has been gone nearly all summer, a new Challenge A student, and a community directorship on my hands, I thought I'd share with you how I "get it all done."

Truth #1: I don't get it all done. My plans are just that: plans. For example, all of my plans for this summer - the leading of an on-line "bloom" group, the reading and co-leading of a Facebook book club, and all my blogging and article-writing intentions - fell by the wayside due to more pressing responsibilities (like motherhood, teaching my children, and directing a Classical Conversations Foundations/Essentials Community). As far as our school year is concerned, starting three weeks early has given me time to do things like... find our missing Song School Latin book (which I didn't realize was missing), switch to a more engaging math curriculum for Levi (really? What am I thinking?), incorporate a new spelling curriculum for our second son (when I really just want to stick with what we've been using), and "taper up" or ramp up to a full-fledged school day (sort of). We faced several setbacks to our school schedule as we juggled Popcorn & Pudewa sessions, Family Orientation and Tutor Meeting preparation, and the general blessed chaos of chasing a toddler around the house. Truth is, I'm not sure how we get much of anything done. Progress in our family is an example of God's grace.

Truth #2:  Without "tapering" into the year, I would likely be too discouraged to ever get started. We started our school year with just Bible and math (and our traditional Monkey Bread breakfast). After a few days, we added penmanship, and after about a week, we added in phonics and spelling (which is when I found that David had forgotten most everything he learned last year). After another week, we added in the study of Latin vocabulary cards made from Classical Academic Press's free Song School Latin Coloring Pages, Book 1, which we printed on cardstock, nine pages to a sheet:

After much consideration about how I would like to incorporate more Latin, I've opted for cultivating a love of Latin in the early years. Our children really like their new flashcards, along with the Song School Latin DVD, and that's good enough for me! (Plus, Stephen picked up with Henle Latin no problem, despite the fact we didn't do much Latin outside of our memory work in Foundations.) The "taper up" thing can also be referred to as Pudewa's EZ+1. Do what's easy along with one more thing.  It sure makes for an easier start to the school year!

Reading is a normal part of our home regardless of whether school is officially "in session," which brings me to my next point...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Timeline Thumbnails {Free printable}

While my children are mostly auditory learners, I am not. I discovered this when we had listened to the Timeline song a bajillion times and I STILL could not remember what came after Early Native Americans. In fact, I should have noticed this during Cycle 1 when our family visited Serpent Mound in Ohio and I absentmindedly sung about Mesoamerican civilizations. (Note: Ohio is not in Mesoamerica. I hate to admit that I sometimes forget to engage my brain in thought processes.)

Memory work songs do help me, but I just need a little visual help in addition to singing. (Some would argue that I need help with singing, too.) 

Enter: Timeline Thumbnails.

I sat at the table one day reviewing Weeks 1-6 of our timeline and sketched out the first thing that came to my mind for each timeline event. In some cases, I just wrote a single word or abbreviation, and in other cases, an image popped into my mind. 

Would you believe it?!? After three years of just singing the timeline, this year I have finally mastered the first six weeks! All I needed was another method!

To download the Timeline Thumbnails Templates, select from:

For a better list of image ideas to use for Timeline Thumbnails, you can visit Nicole at Teach Classically. I discovered she was doing something similar when she shared her posts via the Cycle 3 Weekly Link-up

Here's hoping this little tool helps other visual learners like me!!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Resources

Welcome to our on-line resources for Classical Conversations Cycle 1!  While it is not necessary to supplement Classical Conversations with crafts, worksheets, videos, and other on-line resources, we offer these lists as a quick reference on our family website for those who wish to easily find such resources.

However, please note that simply drilling the grammar (or knowledge) and reading literature as a family will give your child an incredible grounding for the logic (or understanding and application) and rhetoric (or wisdom and communication) levels of classical learning. In fact, you need not even match up your reading selections with what we are learning in Classical Conversations! The memory pegs will come up in whatever you are reading whenever you are reading it - whether it's now or several years down the road!

For a simple plan on how to use these resources, download our Cycle 1 sample activity plan family uses an approach similar to that shown in our sample activity plan, but we primarily use a reading plan along with activities to encourage science exploration and art/music study in our home. Our plans do not equal reality. The plans are a general structure for our days, but the flexibility provided by the 24-week Classical Conversations Foundations schedule allows us room to postpone or add books or activities as we progress through the school year. {Although we prefer to correlate some of our readings and activities to the cycle we are studying, it's not necessary to do so. Feel free to study whatever it is your children show an interest in! In fact, please read this article about Freedom in the Grammar Stage.}

I offer everything I create on this blog for free but request that you do not copy and re-post these lists as your own work. You are free to print any of my personal downloads and to use any content on this website. When sharing our printable downloads with others, please consider referring back to our blog posts instead of linking directly to the file(s). For more information, please refer to my Terms of Use.

Copyright note: It has been brought to my attention that my files are being uploaded to Facebook and other external websites. If you wish to share my work with others, please provide a link to the respective page of whatever you are sharing. I invest many hours into creating files and uploading them to share with others. I'm so glad to provide my work for others to use, but please, please, pretty please with sugar on top, honor my Terms of Use. Thank you so much!

Click on the pictures (or links) below to access our lists of resources for each subject. If the images do not display correctly, scroll down to the list of links at the bottom of this post. A few of these pages are still being updated. We hope to have all of the pages updated and reposted before June 1 eventually? With my husband gone almost all summer as I prepare to direct our community this school year AND with a toddler thrown in to the mix, it has been a bit crazy in our neck of the woods! I still have full intentions of updating this page, but I'm not sure when time will allow for me to do so. Having said that, if you come across broken links, please let me know! I'll repost each page as I finish updating and improving upon it. Hopefully that will happen before December. (haha, sort of.)