What does Classical Conversations look like at home?
Well, if you scan through our blog, it hopefully will answer that, as almost everything we use simply builds upon the framework offered by Classical Conversations. So you know, I think of myself as a Classical Educator with a touch of Charlotte Mason and a whole bunch of eclectic-ness thrown in to boot. (That narrows it down, eh?) When I first started homeschooling, though, I defaulted to the only method I knew, which was the traditional method of using worksheets and seatwork. It was not a good fit for the boys or me, although in our home math lends itself to traditional methods (model and repeat) fairly often.
So, since Classical Conversations only meets once per week, what do we do the rest of the time? Here is what our schedule looks like most days:
Our Schedule on a Utopian Day:
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM: New memory work; Review previous memory work. Mostly we sing and dance our way through the 8 subjects (Bible, Timeline, History, Science, English Grammar, Geography, Math), but we sometimes play games (such as homemade Trivial Pursuit) and draw or label maps. We also complete handwriting and penmanship practice during this time. I make worksheets of our Bible memory work and timeline using the Print Handwriting Worksheet Maker. The focus is to practice penmanship (and learn letters for our pre-k children) and strengthen fine motor skills. I also make handwriting worksheets of their names, our address, or any other information I want them to learn or practice.
|Our weekly memory work. We use page |
protectors on a tri-fold board.
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM: Language Arts. Until students can join the Essentials program (Grade 3 or 4), a separate Language Arts program is needed to supplement Classical Conversations. Because our 2nd grader has been a strong reader, we tackled a couple of the Total Language Plus workbooks, which you can learn more about on our blog post What Language Are You Speaking. We like doing unit studies and lapbooks, so literature studies were a good fit for us this year, though now we are simply using Rod & Staff Grade 3 curriculum. We have used a couple of different programs for spelling as well. A phonics or reading program is also needed to supplement Classical Conversations until your child advances to Essentials.
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM: Lunch.
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Finish Language Arts. Because Language Arts includes oral reading, spelling, grammar, and writing, we usually split it up into two hours. Our pre-k student works in his Rod & Staff A-B-C Series books, and we practice our calendar, and he writes on his writing cards. He uses http://www.starfall.com/ and http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/ to practice pre-school activities. We also use a Hooked on Phonics program for reading and phonics. As a side note, reading is not something we do only during Language Arts. We read A LOT.
2:00 - 3:00 PM: We split up our other subjects as follows:
Art & Music
Science Study & Experiments Lapbooking
After 3:00 PM: Finish anything we didn't complete.
Tuesdays are our Classical Conversations meeting days, so on Mondays we spend some time putting together presentations. For our pre-schooler (in the Abecedarian class), this usually consists of me trying to figure out which toy he wants to "show-and-tell." Most of the time he takes a book that he knows and reads it to his class, or he takes his Legos to explain how to count to 10, or he talks about a field trip we took using a toy as a prop. Our 2nd grader's presentations are more formal - we put together note cards or other helps for him. I give both of them quite a bit of freedom in this area, as it is simply a skill that we want to practice and gradually refine as they get older.
This schedule is general, as sometimes we start earlier or later, but we still allocate about an hour's time for each subject. Because the boys usually finish each of our scheduled "hours" of tasks before the end of the hour, they have a break for the remainder of the time. (This means that our two-year-old's breaks are longer than our 5-year-old's breaks, which in turn are longer than our 7-year-old's breaks.) And we also incorporate nature study into our school days. Everything tends to go much better if we go outside every day to enjoy God's creation!
How do we "build" upon the Classical Conversations curriculum?
Our 7-year-old loves lapbooking, building things, and making crafts. I usually find a way to incorporate these to learn more details regarding our memory work. For example, this year we studied six weeks of astronomy facts. So, in addition to this, we completed a rather large Astronomy Lapbook (see our previous post). We did the same thing for the Medieval and Renaissance Periods. Because much of the material we studied during the spring has been about world wars, history was not a focal point in our extra work this semester (it's an emotional topic for young children). However, we watched and discussed The Sound of Music, listened to the corresponding Story of the World audiobooks, and completed some unit studies on South Korea and Norway. Our favorite sites to find additional free activities are: homeschoolshare, crayola.com, currclick.com, papertoys.com, and thetoymaker.com. To be honest, there are so many free resources out there. Select something your child likes to do and go for it!
If you have more questions, please feel free to contact me using the "Contact Me" button.