Saturday, November 5, 2011

Essentials in Classical Conversations: A First-Year Survival Method

Our first year of Essentials has proven T-O-U-G-H.  It would have been a challenge even if we hadn't been battling all the noise from the ongoing construction, for we are studying material that I learned my junior year in AP English - and we're learning them well (despite the fact that I am using a bunch of banned words and other Essentials & IEW no-nos in this blog post).  If you are considering the Essentials Program for language arts and want to know what it entails, you can download this at-a-glance info sheet from Classical Conversations for free.

In the process of learning how to do Essentials in our own home, I have discovered some ways to make it work for us despite the fact that:
  • My Essentials student does NOT like writing.  He doesn't even like the act of holding a pencil.
  • My Essentials student does not like being "timed" for ANYTHING, and we've been timed in class on filling out lengthy English grammar charts and math activities for almost the entire semester.  In a few (or more) instances, this has caused one grumpy kid.
  • At age 8, my Essentials student is the youngest child in the class and gets overwhelmed because he's not keeping up with the senior sitting next to him.
Despite the occasional feelings of failure and frustration, I'm really glad we decided to tackle Essentials this year. (We both "audited" an Essentials class last year to see if it was something that we wanted to attempt.)  My Essentials student understands and memorizes so much beyond his level but is limited by the act of writing because his "hand hurts."  But because he will be in Essentials for 3 more years, we have quite a bit of flexibility to glean what we can this first year.  My main goal is to keep him from throwing the towel and saying he doesn't want to ever do Essentials again.  And so, after a good deal of trial-and-error, here's how we approach Essentials:
  • I've made an Essentials CD of all the songs from Cycle 1-3 that are on CC Connected.  We do most of the chart practice orally now, and the kids absolutely love to listen to the English grammar songs (and I love to watch them listen to the English grammar songs).  The writing was becoming too cumbersome for my Essentials student, and I was losing him to a loathing of English grammar, which was NOT what I wanted.  So, we memorize the structure of the chart by using abbreviations.  This he writes out, but because it's abbreviated and more of a structural-design-of-the-chart thing, it looks a lot like a hieroglyphical code of some sort.  But that's okay because he likes writing in code, as long as it doesn't cause hand cramps.
  • He LOVES diagramming sentences.  I think it's because it's like a hieroglyphical code of some sort.  So, I let him code and decode sentences.  He asks to do it (especially trying to un-diagram sentences - because he can do it orally!  Less writing = happy child.)
  • We have a fairly consistent schedule where we pace ourselves throughout the week. (See below.)
  • But before looking at my schedule, be sure to refer to your Essentials guide because a schedule is already in there for you!  Also, be sure to download the Understanding Your EEL Guide document on Classical Conversations' CC Connected Guest Library (which contains several free resources from CC!).  [Note:  Specific page and appendix references in the Understanding Your EEL Guide document refer to a past edition of the Essentials Guide.  Classical Conversations did an extensive restructure of the guide from 3rd to 4th edition, so where this document references the Appendix, in most cases it's referring the Grammar Mastery Charts in Part III:  Gear.  Where it references definitions and parent references is now incorporated into each of the weekly lessons (Part II: Itinerary).  So, you can disregard all but Page 2.  Page 2 shows how to scale the work up or down for Level A, B, and C students. ]
Our schedule for Essentials:
Day 1
Essentials Class at CC
Day 2
Practice CC Cycle 1-3 songs for overall English Grammar Chart Practice.
Practice one chart on paper using abbreviations.
Drill 5 simple sentences (like “The dog growled.”) with Question Confirmation.
Complete analytical tasks for two sentences in EEL Weekly Practice Sentences Chart.
Introduce Spelling List.
Introduce Spelling/Punctuation Rule (at the end of each chapter in the EEL guide).
Work on Editing Exercise or Grammar Rules (from IEW Student Resource Notebook).
Day 3
Practice CC Cycle 1-3 songs for overall English Grammar Chart Practice.
Practice one chart on paper using abbreviations.
Drill 5 simple sentences (like “The boy caught the ball.”) with Question Confirmation.
Complete analytical tasks for one sentence in EEL Weekly Practice Sentences Chart. 
Practice Spelling List on SpellingCity.com.
Review & practice Spelling/Punctuation Rule (at the end of each chapter in the EEL guide).
Work on Editing Exercise or Grammar Rules (from IEW Student Resource Notebook).
Day 4
Practice CC Cycle 1-3 songs for overall English Grammar Chart Practice.
Practice one chart on paper using abbreviations.
Drill 5 simple sentences (like “The dog growled loudly.”) with Question Confirmation.
Complete analytical tasks for one sentence in EEL Weekly Practice Sentences Chart.
Practice Spelling List on SpellingCity.com.
Review & practice Spelling/Punctuation Rule (at the end of each chapter in the EEL guide).
Work on Editing Exercise or Grammar Rules (from IEW Student Resource Notebook).
Day 5
Practice CC Cycle 1-3 songs for overall English Grammar Chart Practice.
Practice one chart on paper using abbreviations.
Drill 5 simple sentences (like “The boy caught the white ball.”) with Question Confirmation.
Complete analytical tasks for one sentence in EEL Weekly Practice Sentences Chart
Test Spelling List & Spelling/Punctuation Rules.
Work on Editing Exercise or Grammar Rules (from IEW Student Resource Notebook).

Let me interject here that we don't do everything on this list yet. But this is how I would like to approach our school week.  Because I didn't even realize they existed until last week, we have not yet incorporated the Spelling/Punctuation Rules from the EEL guide.  We've also been using a Rod & Staff spelling workbook instead of EEL.  But we are trying to transition to this method.

Our schedule for IEW:
Day 1
Essentials Class at CC
Day 2
Student write Key-Word-Outline. Introduce vocabulary. Select a "word of the day" (where we select one word from new vocabulary that we will try to use as often as possible throughout the day).
Day 3
Student dictates paper/poem/story from Key Word Outline while parent types.
Practice vocabulary. New word of the day.
Day 4
First edit:  Rearrange sentences to eliminate banned words. (Team effort by student and parent.)
Start incorporating dress-ups, sentence openers, and/or decorations. (Team effort by student and parent)
Practice vocabulary. New word of the day.
Day 5
Final edit:  Finish incorporating dress-ups, sentence openers, and/or decorations.  Check punctuation/spelling.  Parent re-types.
Mark-up of Final Draft by student.
Practice vocabulary. New word of the day.

This is really how we approach IEW.  It makes it doable and keeps us from cramming it all into one day, which would cause a major blow-up at our house. 

Why I love Essentials:
  • The EEL guide has everything you need for Language Arts:  spelling and punctuation rules to memorize each week, weekly spelling lists (three years' worth), weekly practice sentences for the analytical tasks (which includes diagramming and dictation exercises), charts for every aspect of the English language, editing exercises, and, of course, lesson plans for the parents.  I did not realize how much was included and I am still trying to incorporate all the different pieces of the program.  Good thing we have three more years of Essentials!
  • It is challenging, but the intention is that you just learn a portion the first year, then layer upon that until you've mastered it in subsequent years.  I love that method because... I just know I'll see how much easier it is next year!
  • I like the IEW approach to writing, even though it can be challenging for us at this point.  But my Essentials student is learning methods now that he can use throughout his life in his writing.  And the IEW program steps us through going from a blank sheet of paper to something, which is saying a lot.
  • We will really know and understand English grammar when it's all said and done.  I'm starting to understand now why foreign language has always been so difficult for me:  I never really understood the English language.  (You could say I'm highly educated but don't know squat.)
If you still have questions about Essentials , or if you are confused about what I've stated here, or if you just need someone to identify with you as you attempt Essentials for the first (or second or third) time, please feel free to post a comment or email me directly.  Above all, don't give up!  It is such a useful program; you will learn tons, and, even if you only get a little bit out of it, you will still get a lot.

(Banned words were used in the making of this post.  Feel free to print it out and give it to your Essentials student as an editing exercise.)

37 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post, I am debating whether or not to put my 7 year old in for next year. I slept thru English class in high school so I'm a little nervous about signing my son up for next year because I will have to learn all the materials too! Do you sit in on the class, is it like foundations? Do they have childcare for your younger kids during Essentials? Our CC is starting a Essentials class next year for the first time and my son will also be the youngest if I sign him up. How long does the homework take? Will I still have time with my other kids or will I be spending hours on Essentials?
    It seem like you would do it the same all over again and sign him up.
    http://lindyandjeanne.blogspot.com/

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    1. Seven is far too young for Essentials. Just have him/her copy mastery charts at home and listen to grammar songs.

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  2. aww...thanks for the encouragement...I quit though...lol We are still doing the IEW writing, but I quit the grammar. It's just not where we need to be right now. HE was doing fine...I just hated it so much...I feel a milllion pounds lifted off of me. I haven't decided yet for next year.

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  3. A parent is required to sit in on the class (usually next to the student, especially for the younger ones). To me, it seems that the Essentials class is more for the parent than the student in that the parent learns the material as it is introduced by the expert (the tutor), they give you a head start on what you'll be doing for the coming week and how to approach it, and you'll be given the assignments and some tips and tricks for success. Parents participate in all of the activities that the students are doing in class. So, yes, childcare is required for those in Essentials. Last year the children usually watched a parent-approved movie together. This year, we have a college student working on a degree in Physical Education who coordinates an official P.E. class for the younger children. We also have a CC teenager for the nursery.

    I have heard some say that the homework can take them up to 4-5 hours per day (for the older students). However, we spend maybe an hour on English total (aside from playing the CDs). It is difficult sometimes because it takes my undivided attention help Stephen do the IEW work especially. It usually just takes some reminders to get him back on task for the Essentials charts, but I have to help him through the Analytical Tasks a little bit still at this stage as well (another focused requirement for me as mom). When we do Quid et Quo (breaking each word of a sentence down into which type of verb, etc.) next semester, I'm not sure how much time it will take. But as I said, I do not want him to just give up, so I will adjust the work according to his needs.

    With IEW, we are still very much in training mode. I usually have to coach him through it.
    Some people have told me that they just don't do some of the IEW assignments. If you know who the Essentials tutor will be, you might suggest that she hold an IEW Syllabus DVD Workshop before Essentials starts next year. I was only to make it to one day of the two-day workshop that our Essentials tutor held, but it was SO WORTH IT. It helped me to know upfront that young boys can be coached into writing. So, as long as I keep "suggesting" words that can be used as quality adjectives or strong verbs, he can pick and choose until he can do it on his own. It will give him a sense of ownership until he matures.

    I would put Stephen in again, as I think it's a great program. But because he's a perfectionist, it has been frustrating at times for him. I've had to get the tutor to tell him it's okay to abbreviate, etc. I love the accountability and the strong ally I have in our Essentials tutor. Having that accountability and tutor is a very powerful tool for getting him to do things that he may not do otherwise.

    And, yes, it takes some time from my other children. But I've tried to keep that in check, and sometimes Stephen does his charts on the playground while I play with the kids on the swings or something. I don't think this takes any more time away than last year when we were doing Total Language Plus. Hope this helps!

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  4. Oh, the horror! LOL!!! I understand. I think sometimes we just have to back off and say, "I'm ignoring that chart right now. It doesn't exist." That's how we've handled it. And I'll say, doing the charts orally has helped us tremendously. It is just a lot of writing to write out all the prepositions, but it takes just a few seconds to sing them all. On the other hand, I'm thinking about ditching the IEW assignment this week because that is the one that puts about a million pounds on my shoulders. LOL!

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  5. Oh, and let me add one more thing: Stephen enjoyed Classical Conversations more last year when it was just Foundations. He feels like he's missing out because he doesn't get to go to the P.E. Class. For us, it has been the only significant drawback to being in Essentials.

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  6. Brandy, I love love love your blog. It has been my lifeline this year. We are a first year CC family. I signed on not only to tutor Foundations, but also Essentials. (I'm an overachiever) I got so overwelmed and had so many panic attacks at the idea of tutoring Essentials that I had to graciously bow out. Now I'm going through it with my daughter 11 and feel it is over our heads. My son, 9, was so angry and battled me every day we did Essentials the first few weeks that I gave up and pulled him from the class. I haven't even attempted to teach him any of this at home because of the "hand hurting" thing you mentioned. It's just one more battle. I love your ideas here. I can't wait to try this next week with him. Thank you for sharing your journey, it is so encouraging. I have really wondered whether we should pull out of Essentials and do another program, but know it's just such a goooooooood program. I didn't want to give up, but know we struggle keeping up each week and even grasping it all. We leave our class on Friday's after being there all day with Foundations, dizzy in the head, so exhausted and quite often frustrated more over the lack of understanding then anything else? Wondering are we ever going to "get this". I've been encouraged by your post and will keep praying for perserverance and will keep going! Bless you. ~Christine

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  7. I am so far from essentials (K4 here) but I am wondering about IEW's primary curriculum. Any thoughts on that? We are doing 100 Easy Lessons for reading and Handwriting w/o Tears now... trying to find info about IEW writing for the future... maybe 1st Thanks For having such a helpful blog!

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  8. FOUR to FIVE HOURS? Did I hear that correctly? EEL doesn't come CLOSE to suggesting that ... so whoever says it takes that long at home is just KILLING their kids. We are in the position of having a 7th grader in for the first time with a decent grammar background. And a 5th grader for the first time (with dyslexia) with NO grammar background (other than one cycle of grammar memorization). I feel okay about it myself because I am the type of mom to analyze and then immediately determine what each child should do, what I should explain before I explain x, how to go about introducing y, how many times to review z. kwim? I have found that doing it orally most of the time for my 5th grader is the key. He has dysgraphia as well ... so the truth is, copying teaches them NOTHING. Because the act of looking for the word, trying to remember the letters and just to get that down (which they don't ... they skip letters, put things in the wrong spot, ...) is pure torture. And he is a kid who will totally do it. But I feel for the parents who don't have a grammar background. I would like to know where you get your 5 simple sentences? I make up my own sentences so that they can diagram something that actually goes directly with what they are learning. But if I were left to just giving them the 2 or 3 sentences that are considered "basic" each week, it's not nearly enough. And I have to explain each part of speech and concept a lot. I think that if my older son was better at remembering the past grammar I've taught him, it would really help and if I had done something simple with my 5th grader (or had been able to), that would have had them coming in with something to go on.

    This is such a long conversation. One thing that I noticed is that the new EEL doesn't have the suggested/correlating Our Mother Tongue chapters ... which would be really helpful as the EEL doesn't have any practice other than memorization and a few sentences. So that actual work of finding prepositions or conjunctions or whatever in a sentence are up to momma to create.

    Also, I've noticed that it would seem like they could at least make a set of 1st year/2nd year/3rd year sentences? Having those 5 sentences somehow fit the levels of all those kids ... not seeing how that worked very well yet!

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  9. About 4-5 hours: Maybe that person is having them fill out all the charts every day, or maybe they are including the time it takes to write the paper from KWO to final draft in a single day. Not sure about that one, but I have had more than one person tell me that... I would not spend that much time on it, even if we only had one year to do Essentials.

    I agree that the EEL guide could have some additional help for us (or maybe a supplemental download that includes application practice of the grammar studied and other helps).

    I make up five different simple sentences every day (off the top of my head following whatever pattern/purpose and eventually structure we are drilling) just to drill the act of Question confirmation - to get in the habit of asking, "Who or What (verb)...?" Label SN or SP; "What is being said about the (subject)...?" Label V, "(Subject) (verb) what or whom?".... and so on. Those are just drills for the question confirmation until it becomes habit. Now, we use the sentences in the EEL guide, and we don't do any additional ones at this point. He doesn't mind the more challenging ones - he likes them all. As we get the hang of all this I will be looking for more sentences to diagram from an outside source. (Actually, we practiced the analytical tasks using sentences on a pamphlet for the Downtown Aquarium in Houston while we were there, so you can pull the sentences from just about anywhere...) I, too, accommodate for my Essentials student (who is only in the 3rd grade at this point). I feel like I'll have it better together for us next time around - and thank goodness there's a next time around!

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  10. I have not seen IEW's Primary curriculum but have heard it is good! Have you checked out the free sample downloads and video excerpt on IEW's website at http://www.excellenceinwriting.com/pal-wc? Cathy Duffey's review can also be found at http://cathyduffyreviews.com/phonics_reading/Primary-Arts-of-Language.htm. Hope this helps!

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  11. Do you have a daily schedule that you would mind sharing? You do so much more than I seem to be able to. How do you keep your other children busy while you are working with Stephen?
    Do you have a maid, is your house a mess or do you clean during your sleep? I just don't know how you do lapbooks, Essentials, keep a blog.....I must be wasting time somewhere?

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  12. It's a bit funny around here this year with the construction and all- when my husband's gone, we conduct school from morning to bedtime, but it's off and on and all over the place. In fact, the boys just finished the science video. It's been too noisy to have a normal schedule right now. Sometimes certain subjects have suffered, such as math this week, because it takes more concentration and we do not have the ability to focus with all the racket. Stephen is a very independent learner, so I can usually set him free to do most of his work. It's just Essentials I have to focus on with him usually. He even teaches himself his Saxon math lessons and just gets my help when needed.

    With David, he works in only three things: Saxon Math 1 (which takes him very little time to do), Phonics Road to Reading (just practicing phonics sounds right now), and Rod & Staff Preschool ABC Book Going on Eagerly. It takes very little time to work with him.

    When my husband is home, I can focus more on direct teaching with Stephen as Gary takes the other two.

    With blogging, I schedule some of them using the schedule function in blogger. And I also write before or after the kids go to bed (or when Levi is napping and Stephen and David are playing together). So, in a sense, I do miss sleep to do this. But it's worth it to watch the boys read through the blogger books after they are published, or to know that Gary is reading them over in Tanzania. :)

    I'm just really fortunate right now with our family dynamics. God has blessed us so that I can balance life right now in such a way (though I did NOT balance life well today, but that's another story that I'll choose NOT to blog about. LOL!). Be sure to read my inspirational readings about how imperfect I am. Seriously. I'm not wonder woman. And I failed a lot today. And I don't get around to doing everything I aim to do. (I think because my husband's gone, we are able to get more done than someone who has a normal family life with a daddy coming home every evening.)

    Oh, and by the way, the interior construction is ALMOST FINISHED. By this time next week, we should have peace and quiet once again. I won't even know what to do with myself!!

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  13. Oh, and my approach this week has been "fly by the seat of my pants." I did not write down one thing we were planning to do (I was too busy making a new planner to use! LOLOL!!!). I didn't write down anything we did until I started putting together our Week 10 post which is coming up tomorrow, I think....

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  14. I am so confused with Essentials. This is my daughters first year she is 9 and in 4th grade. She is the only 4th grader in her class but not the only first year. She is clueless in class her tutor is great with modifying the work for her and she loves math time. I am doing about 90-95% of the work in iew and she sits with me looking for a quality adj. Etc.
    It's stressful on both of us and not sure if I should pull her out. She tells me herself that she doesn't understand anything they talk about in class. I talked to our director and others about this and they say keep her in so she can listen and next year it will be easier. I am wondering if I should pull her out and use something else to prepare her better? Maybe shurley or writing with ease? Just label me a very confused stressed out mom!

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  15. Be of good cheer! Christmas break is almost here! LOL! I've been in a constant state of wondering if we're ever going to "get this." I have to be honest: I miss last year when we just did Foundations, as it was mostly all joy and wonder at this new method of learning with this wonderful new group of people. I'm not sure I can say EXACTLY the same thing now that we are in Essentials, but I finally just let up (because I really had no choice due to our circumstances). Did anything I suggested work? For Stephen, he does the KWO and narrates back to me what to type on the computer. We sit down together to try to spruce it up with sentence openers and dress-ups, but mostly he looks through the Student Resource Notebook or uses his digital thesaurus. However, a lot of times I have to suggest words for him to use. So, I feel like I write quite a bit for IEW, but it is the exposure and equipping them to feel like they did it themselves. I HIGHLY recommend watching the IEW Syllabus DVDs (not purchasing them, but borrowing them). Our Essentials tutor held a 2-day workshop to watch it, and it alleviated much of the expectation for me. If I had not gone to the workshop, I might have been more overwhelmed and frustrated by the IEW portion. Now, as far as EEL, we do most of it orally. It helps with the hand hurting scenario. :) Good luck, and have a great break! Hang in there, but if you have to pull out, don't feel guilty - there's always next year! (We have a senior in Essentials as a supplemental Language Arts program this year, which has also been a great encouragement to me!)

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  16. No labels! I'm usually a very confused and stressed out Mom, too. I understand!!

    How is your daughter doing in the English grammar portion of Essentials?

    About IEW: Have you seen the IEW Syllabus DVDs? Our Essentials Tutor held a 2-day workshop to watch it and discuss before our school year started, and it was such a GREAT ENCOURAGEMENT to me. (These are expensive, but if you can find someone who has them, try to borrow them over the break - even if you only watch a portion of it, it may help you like it did me!) In the DVD, Pudewa states that it's okay to just give answers to your kids and have them agree with you - in the end you're trying to equip them to become great writers, and it will come naturally after exposure over a period of time. And if you suggest something, and they repeat it back to you and write it down (or, in my case, I write it down), they will feel like they did it for the most part. (I'm assuming you downloaded the Student Resource Notebook and are using it, too?)

    Does your daughter understand how to write a key word outline? Stephen usually writes the KWO. The next day I have him narrate/dictate back to me what he wants to write from his KWO (I usually do not interrupt this process at all, even if it has a ton of banned words in it!) as I type it, and then I print it off and we analyze it for banned words. Then we try to spruce it up together using dress-ups, etc. We use the Student Resource Notebook for a list of adjectives, -ly words, and strong verbs to help us. Stephen also has a digital thesaurus to help, and then many times I suggest a word (which sometimes has the benefit of me introducing a new word he does not know), and he repeats it back to me, giving him "ownership" of the word. (The reason I know he feels like he does it himself is because of how much he loves to get in front of the class to read his papers.) Also, we sometimes alter the requirements so that it's not so overwhelming. As I've said, I think it's a great program, and I know that with the exposure, over time, he will take ownership of the process and have tools with which to write.

    The only other official language arts program we've done is Total Language Plus (aside from Abeka in 1st grade). TLP is a good program as well, but it does not have a lot of creative writing. Stephen has never enjoyed creative writing, but he is okay with journaling in his "invention" journal. That's why I like IEW - it gives him a way to go from a blank piece of paper to something. Also, I have heard that Shurley is a good program.

    Maybe take the Christmas break to try to break down all the things that have been introduced. Maybe start at week 1 and see where it is where the confusion starts. But, in the end, if you have to pull her out so that she does not detest English grammar, don't feel guilty! It is OKAY. After all, there's always next year! :)

    With prayers and blessings to you!

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  17. LOVE your plan! My 9 year old son is taking his first year of Essentials this year and really enjoys everything except copying the charts. I did have him learn to type over the summer in preparation for all of the writing he would have to do, because he is like your son - does not like handwriting!

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  18. I am pretty sure we won't do Essentials next year, but I want to prepare for the following year. I was thinking of buying the IEW Ancient History Book and starting to memorize the EEL Charts, do you think that would help prepare for the next year? Do you have different suggestions of what would help so we don't sink? The IEW Syllabus DVD Workshop, is that the Structure and Style program that you are referring to above?

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  19. Yes!

    I have seen the IEW books for next year, and it looks SO MUCH EASIER. One of the problems we were having with IEW is that the content was not what was intriguing and exciting to us, so it was more tedious to complete the assignments. Looking ahead, the content is what Stephen finds exciting - and the source texts look more simple, too! When you purchase the IEW book, be sure to download the free copy of the Student Resource Notebook (should be noted in your IEW book). IEW is all about structure and style in writing. The IEW Syllabus DVDs are very helpful, but I would recommend getting together with some other Essentials parents to view it together. Maybe check with the Essentials tutor to see if she would like to work with you in hosting a "Popcorn and Pudewa" seminar where you watch the DVDs together. It was so great to be a part of that, and it helped me to realize that it's okay that we didn't make it through IEW this year!

    What we are doing now is keeping a log of the stylistic techniques (strong verbs, -ly words, quality adjectives, metaphors, similes, personification, etc. and the variety of sentence openers) as we read Sign of the Beaver. Just trying to keep it all fresh in our minds for when we start IEW again in the fall.

    We made a CD of all the English Grammar songs for Cycles 1-3, and that helped us to memorize the charts. The charts were not hard for Stephen - he even liked the challenge of memorizing them, but he did not like writing them all out multiple times throughout the week. If you have completed Cycles 1-3 of Foundations English Grammar, the Essentials charts should not be that difficult at all!

    I do not regret doing Essentials this year. I would do it again, even if it were still only half a year. We learned so much from it, even if we didn't make it to the end of the year.

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  20. Thank you so much for you advise. It a huge help to me in planning for next year!

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  21. Hi we started home education just over a year ago,I just didn;t have a clue, the children came across a video
    on you tube classical education timeline song, and they love it to my surprize there are actually learning it ...
    So I looked up latin sites and came across flash dash latin , again the children took to it like ducks to water,
    I am not well educated and really took the children from school only because of bullying issues, as this was affecting there education seriously.
    I enjoy teaching them but I am really concerned that its not enough .
    If you could please offer any advice Iwould be really greatful, I am sure you must be very busyand would like to thank you in advance for your time

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  22. We will be new to foundations and Essentials next fall. My son, 5th grade,but dylexic.We are working on finishing the dyslexic program we are on. The last 40 lessons works on study skills and parts o speech. We have done Winston Grammar and review of paragraphs, but I am not sure how much stuck. He doesn't write, but a few sentences alone. We have the IEW workshops on writing and was in some of Andrew P. workshops at conventions a few years ago. I appreciate all your helps and ideas. Our group does have 3 weeks on 1 week off. So that will be a break every bit and I think will be good to break from the program or catch up if needed. I still feel like I am getting cold feet. It feels so over-wheming at the moment.

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  23. I know it's overwhelming! I can totally understand how you feel!

    Just remember that with Essentials, it is intended that a child go through it three times, picking up a bit more each time. Your child will be a "Level A" student, regardless of how many years he will be in Essentials. (We had 12th graders in our Essentials class this year!) Having said that, be sure to scale back for him. You can get ideas on how to do that from your Essentials tutor. And it is not intended that he understand everything and get it all down pat the first year. That is intended the third year. So, it's okay to do whatever it takes to make it an enjoyable experience for you both! (I love your Essentials schedule - I wish we had a week off every now and then! :) ) I'm assuming you saw my most recent post: http://www.halfahundredacrewood.com/2012/05/preparing-for-essentials.html Hopefully it will encourage you!!

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  24. I'm super-nervous about Essentials this coming year, our first with CC. I'll have 3 kids in Foundations & my oldest daughter (4th grader next yr) will be in Essentials. We also have a 2 yr old in the mix & I'm having our 5th child in about 6 weeks. Oh yeah, & my husband will be deployed at least once for a couple months during the school yr. One bright note, it will be our 5th yr homeschooling, so I've come to embrace/expect the chaos that a homeschooling lifestyle inevitably brings. I'm NOT naturally organized so I appreciate your posts laying out how the Essentials binders should be organized. I have my materials...it just looks like a lot, but I'm encouraged by your (& CC's) insistence that we won't be expected to master everything this yr. I joined CC attracted by the age spread of the Foundations curriculum. My kids memorize easily & LOVE anything put to music and/or motions. Praying Essentials doesn't sap the life out of the "fun" of Foundations for them. Our Essentials class begins w/4th grade but I'm considering having my 2nd child (3rd grade son) do some of the exercises with his older sis so he's got a head start & she doesn't feel like she's got a TON more work than everyone else. Then there's also the 1st grader I need to work with to improve her reading during this critical yr. Just seems like a lot riding on this yr when we bring in yet another baby to the household & all the exhaustion that causes. Thanks for your suggestions. I'll be putting them into practice soon.

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  25. You mention that you made a CD for English Grammar from cycles 1-3. I have the CD from Cycle 3 but the English Grammar on it is not put to song. Did you find songs on CC connected? Are there songs by a particular person you would recommend? I want to start going over these with my daughter before she starts Essentials this fall.

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  26. (Still trying to figure out where my response went when I tried responding via a smartphone.) It's a great idea to get these under your belt before you start this fall! We use CC Connected for our songs - search for nogreaterjoy5 and marykbry.

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  27. Brandy, Is there any way you could share your Grammar songs from your CD on this blog? I was in a CC community last year, but for various reasons am not able to participate in a community this year. The C3 subscription was my lifeline last year. I abruptly discovered, however, that the subscription is $60/month for non-community participants, and I certainly can't justify that cost. If not, I understand. Momma always said, "It never hurts to ask." :-) I really can't express how thankful I am for your blog!

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  28. Hi Laila. I think I responded directly to you about this question via email. If I did not, please email me at brandyferrell at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

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  29. I'm sorry!  I'm not able to share those files because they are not my own work!  You could register for CC Connected for one month and download all the English Grammar songs for all the cycles, but that would still be $60!

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  30. Brandy, I am registered for CC Connected, but this is our first year. Could you just list the songs that you downloaded so that we could make our own CD?

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  31. Hi Nikki!  I unfortunately do not have an easy way to list the names of the song files because I renamed them all in itunes when I burned them.  But our English Grammar songs are by users NoGreaterJoy5 and MaryKBry (and the Foundations Preposition song).  You can sort the files by subject (English Grammar) and then by user to find and download the files for all three cycles.
    I hope this helps!  If you follow up with more questions and don't hear back from me, it's because I am still healing from surgery.  But do feel free to ask anything, and I will answer as soon as I can!
    Blessings to you!  Brandy

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  32. I want to poke my eyeballs out over Essentials. I can do EEL but when it's time for IEW, I freeze up and put if off till tomorrow, repeat, repeat, till Friday and we have no paper written, it's ludicrous I tell ya, I'm abashed. To me, there are to many things to put in a paragraph, vocb, ly, w/w, etc..............................this is our first year with the whole CC thing and i tutor Foundations. to many ores in the water or should i scale back on the expectations of IEW????

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  33. Hi Andi! The few times we procrastinated on our iew assignments, I wanted to poke my eyeballs out, too! I found thhat cramming it all into one or two days actually cultivated a loathing of language, instead of a love for its beauty. So... I recommend finding a balance - here's how we do it: day 1 we'll write our kwo (and/or brainstorm), day 2 we write our rough draft, day 3 we'll revise it by eliminating our banned words and go straight through our checklist using the lists from our student resource notebook (the downloadable document from the iew website), day 4 we write the final draft, label the margins, and practice reading it out loud.
    Our first two years of essentials we scaled back and only focused on certain items. I coached my son a lot (as andrew pudewa states in the iew seminar dvds). I would have him dictate what he wanted for his paper while I typed his words. (This year as a 5th grader he now writes his rough draft. I still type the final copy for him, but aside from that, he is now much more independent with this entire process.) So... if you have a reluctant writer, don't be afraid to spoonfeed him/her. He is learning a process and will become more independent as you layer the learning!
    And... in some cases I would combine assignments. Ultimately the parent is the teacher and should control the curriculum (instead of allowing it to control you). My best lesson learned was that scaling back was not a bad thing - it returned the joy to our homeschool days and gave us a joy for writing! this year my son has gained so much autonomy and has improved his writing so much, it's shocking.
    Be sure to also ask your tutor for ideas on how best to scale back. I truly hope this helps! Thank you for the question!
    Blessings!
    Brandy

    Sent from Samsung Mobile

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  34. Heather @ A Nurse's WildflowerOctober 20, 2013 at 2:35 AM

    Oh My Word….I love this! Thank you thank you thank you! You are my saving grace. We are slow going with essentials. I totally linked this post on my place today. If you have any other essentials scheduling jewels hiding in your blog somewhere will you let me know? Thanks a bunch!

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  35. Erin Kindred GarciaMarch 17, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    Would you be willing to post your CD of Grammar songs already combined so that I would not have to work so hard?

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  36. Hi Erin!  I am unable to post the songs due to copyright (they contain the CC memory work and I am not the creator of the songs).  However, when you're logged in to CC Connected, use the drop down menu to select category English grammar and user nogreaterjoy5 and marykbry.  Almost all of our English grammar songs come from those two users.   User clafrombois has a Chart A song on the Foundations tier.  Also, if you sign up for the Essentials tier, nogreaterjoy5 at one time had songs for all of the Essentials charts.  (After selecting the category and user, if you still need to narrow down the selections more, the file types would be: .mp3, .m4a, .wav, or .wma)
    Blessings!
    Brandy

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