Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Classical Conversations at Home, Yet Another Take

Our school day has morphed over the past few years.  When we first started homeschooling only three years ago, it looked a lot like: do this workbook page, do that workbook page, do this workbook page, read this reader. Okay, we're done!  And my son did just fine in first grade, but it was not instilling a love of learning.  I finally happened upon lapbooking, and that gave us a little more excitement towards the end of that year, the year we also moved from big-city Houston to rural Tennessee.

The next school year, we found Classical Conversations.  So then our school day looked a lot like: do this workbook page, do that workbook page, do this workbook page, read this book, practice our memory work.  Okay, we're done!

But that was the year that things started changing.  Classical Conversations and Leigh Bortins's books (The Core and Echo in Celebration) were a catalyst that led me towards more PASSION in learning.  Her words inspired me so deeply that I wanted to discover more with my children.  So, you can blame her for what I'm about to show you.  :)

After reading and applying those words to my life, I started to discover that the adventure is IN the learning... IN the discovery of God's creation... IN the revelation that all things were made by Him and for Him and thus all subjects are unified in pointing back to Him.  Seriously, I ENJOY learning with my kids.  It is not something else I have to do just so that we can end the day so that our children and I can finally spend time together playing.  The playing is in the learning. The learning is in the playing.  But I just want to remind anyone who is reading, I did not START here.  I ENDED UP here.  It was all in little bitty baby steps.  And great big prayers.  And, thankfully, He's still working on me!  (Because my life is NOT Utopian, and we are NOT living in a fairytale, and I have failures, and my plans do not always turn out the way I'd like them to....)

Before showing you what our schedule looks like now (with ESSENTIALS, which is the one thing that requires more forethought for me than ANYTHING else), I ask that you read the essay "Recovering Quality in a World of Quantity Academics."  Please know that if our quality is suffering, we will reduce the quantity until the quality is where it needs to be.  If I start to get stressed and my children and I are not enjoying the learning, we will adjust (like when we made adjustments after I fell to pieces back in January - only I hope to adjust before I ever make it to that point again!).  Even so, that is not to say that learning is not sometimes hard.  I am sure I will be scratching my head multiple times learning Latin this year myself.  But we are taking it slow and easy so that we don't throw up our hands and give up!  (Foreign language is incredibly tough for me, so I've decided to model how to learn for my kids by tackling a bit of Latin this year.)

I only share this because others were wondering how I was going to approach our school days this year.  Note that this year we are participating in two tutorials, which has greatly affected how our plan looks.


Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Around Breakfast
Dancemat Typing (10 minutes)
Book of John
Dancemat Typing (10 minutes)
Book of John
Dancemat Typing (10 minutes)
8AM-9AM
Math
CC Day
New Grammar
Fine Arts
Science Projects
Grammar Review
Math
UCA Day
Five-in-a-Row Instruction
Music Theory
Art & Drawing
P.E./Sports
Math
9AM-10AM
Handwriting
Read aloud
Handwriting
Read aloud
Handwriting
Read aloud
10AM-11AM
Language Arts
Games (PreK&K)
IEW
*Final Copy/Mark-up
*Vocabulary/Word of Day 
*Grammar Rules
EEL
*Chart practice
*Task Analysis on 1 sentence
*Question Confirmation Drill
*Spelling
*Editing Exercise
Language Arts
Games (PreK&K)
IEW
*Key Word Outline
*Vocabulary/Word of Day
*Grammar Rules
EEL
*Chart practice
*Task Analysis on 2 sentences
*Question Confirmation Drill
*Spelling
*Editing Exercise
Language Arts
Games (PreK&K)
IEW
*Rough Draft / Revise
*Vocabulary/Word of Day
*Grammar Rules
EEL
*Chart practice
*Task Analysis on 2 sentences
*Question Confirmation Drill
*Spelling
*Editing Exercise
11AM-12PM
Memory Work & Maps
Memory Work & Maps
Memory Work & Maps
12PM-1PM
Lunch
Lunch
Lunch
1PM-2PM
2PM-3PM
Presentation Prep
After 3PM

Timeline Cards, Book of Centuries, and/or Timeline Wall using Hold That Thought figures





A few other tidbits:
We block off an hour for each subject. Normally, it does not take the children that long to finish their work, so their breaks are automatically worked into the schedule.  When they are finished, they have free time until the next hour.  If for some reason the subject takes longer, we will come back to it later in the day, and I give them at least a 10-minute break before they move on to the next subject.

Our oldest can work independently on several subjects.  I use this time to focus on my younger two, which I will be teaching together with games more than anything else this year.  Then I give them free play time when I need to focus on our oldest and answer his questions.

We also limit the number of activities each child can participate in per semester.  Only one of our children is interested in piano and soccer, so we have only two times per week we are going to those.  And we may be doing a little with Cub Scouts, but that is still to be determined.

We also limit screen time, which gives us a lot of time to do other stuff.

Regardless of what our plan looks like, you must do what is best for your family!

For those new to Essentials, this plan may look like a foreign language. You may want to visit Essentials Planning to better understand what I have listed on this chart.

Some other posts that may be helpful:
Classical Conversations at Home (Our school day schedule our first year - second semester of CC)
Classical Conversations at Home, Re-Visited  (Our school day our second year with CC)
Practicing Memory Work
Cycle 1 Memory Work Tri-Fold Board
Cycle 1 Planner - Free Download
Classical Conversations Essentials Planning
Preparing for Essentials
Our Curriculum Choices  (also includes our daily checklist)
History/Geography Project Ideas
Science Project Ideas
Ideas for other subjects

Any other questions?  Feel free to ask!

4 comments:

  1. This post encourages me so, especially this: "But I just want to remind anyone who is reading, I did not START here. I ENDED UP here. It was all in little bitty baby steps. And great big prayers. And, thankfullly, He's still working on me!"
    From one slowly-parting-ways-with-workbooks momma to another, thank you!

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  2. Just want to share that I laughed to find someone else intimidated by foreign language teaching/learning with our kids. After a hundred or so lessons of Latin I am comfortable saying that I was downright AFRAID of Latin previously. With no hesitation I say I love learning Latin now! The kids and I are learning together and that is an ingredient for success right there! They think it's great when Mom takes longer to "get it" than them. My willingness to sit with them through it is very motivating for them.
    One of the best tools for learning has been a technique I learned from another mom. Each sentence we translate is written in big print on a whiteboard or whatever works for you. The child speaks the sentence in Latin, then tells you what part of speech each word is, which you label underneath in whatever shorthand form makes sense to your family, then translate. This reinforces all those noun types, verb conjugations and parts of speech. It is worthshile to always make them tell you what person each verb is in and whether singular or plural.Your goal is mastery. This practice also helps us understand how to "think" in Latin. We only translate 10 sentences a day and it's incredible how much we've learned and are retaining. The other big help is to make a Latin tri fold where you add each new noun, verb, preposition, rule, etc. but some curricula come with one so you may not need it. Happy learning! It's hysterical how the things we hate can become the things we enjoy the most! We're never too old to learn!
    I don't know how I will find the time to continue with my teenager especially into upper levels of Latin so I hope to light the fire enough to get him going on his own.

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  3. Thank you for your encouragement and your ideas! I loved how the Parent Practicum this year modeled this for us, too. I am assuming you use a Latin translation dictionary?

    I am so excited that I will have the added benefit of learning English better as I learn Latin. I was always so terrible at my vocabulary - I had a knack for short-term memory just to ace the test, but then I would subsequently forget each word I had learned. Now with what little Latin I have learned thus far, my English vocabulary is getting some grounding. It has "roots" now that grow much deeper, pun intended. :)

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  4. Thanks for sharing your schedule. I've been struggling with the idea of participating in a Catholic fine arts co-op this year; we've done it for the past two years and love it, but I've been wondering if it wasn't too much for us to do that and CC and get all our other work done. I'm glad to see you do it (successfully, i assume!), so maybe I'm not insane :) I'm planning to limit our screen time this year too, which should help tremendously. I also want to read The Core - I picked it up at our practicum in July, and it looks inspirational!

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