This is a long post, y’all, but I encourage you to grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and read through the whole thing, as excruciating as it may be to invest the time to read my wordiness in our very fast-paced world…In the past, I have only put together one reading plan – our family’s reading plan – and shared with others just in case it may be helpful to another family. This year, I aim to create four different reading plans.
Four different reading plans?!? Why?
Well, some folks find our family’s reading a bit over-the-top, and you know what? That’s absolutely a-okay! Although I’ve always loved books, we did not start out reading dozens and dozens of books per year. We first started reading out loud a little bit at a time (and by a little bit, I mean a. little. bit.). My children’s attention spans for longer read-alouds grew over time. And when I say “attention span,” I mean that our six year old still plays with toys (seemingly not paying attention) while I’m reading longer, non-illustrated books. In reality, he has actually heard much of what we’ve read together. Believe it or not, it’s not picture perfect around here like it looks on the cover of every single homeschool curriculum catalog. Did you know that parents and children pose for those? It’s okay for homeschool to be a bit chaotic. Life can be a bit chaotic.
We’ve been doing this reading-a-lot thing for several years now, so my reading plan is not overwhelming to me. In fact, it’s a lot like a Sonlight reading plan. But… I’m hoping this makes it simpler for those who are not ready to plunge knee-deep into books. (And.. it’s a more affordable option, too.)
What you’ll find here:
CC Cycle 1 Reading Plan: Using only CC-Recommended Resources
CC Cycle 1 Reading Plan: Using CC-Recommended Resources Plus a Little Bit More
CC Cycle 1 Reading Plan: Our Personal Reading Plan for the Lit Lovers
Coming later (hopefully): Cycle 1 Reading Plan: Usborne Books Only
But first, let me present my list of disclaimers for those who have missed it in the past…
Disclaimer #1: For those in the Classical Conversations Foundations program, you do not need lesson plans, or booklists, or lists of links.
All you really need is:
:: The Foundations Guide
:: A tin whistle
:: If possible, the Classical Acts & Facts History Timeline Cards. (If your children ask who, what, when, where, how, or why about Monroe Doctrine, take out the timeline card and read it together!)
:: A math program (We use Saxon, but that’s another story.)
:: A language arts program (until your children are old enough for Essentials). We use a spelling program that teaches phonics and then we teach sentence structure, punctuation, parts of speech, and so on via copywork and dictation. Our family no longer uses a formal English grammar program before Essentials. We found it is not necessary for our family. The Foundations English Grammar memory work will prepare students for Essentials.
:: A library card. Your book selections need not even match up with your history or science memory work. Just read anything that your children enjoy!
:: Paper and pencil.
Disclaimer #2: My own personal preference is to have an “aggressive” reading plan in place (aggressive for us, anyway). Over time, I’ve discovered how much better it is for our family to spend time reading together. Among other things, our children’s imaginations have flourished.
“As Lewis got to know the children, he was surprised by how little they read and how dull their imaginations seemed to be. Remembering the books and make-believe world of his childhood, he knew how much they were missing. One day, one of the girls, busy exploring the house, grew curious about a large, old wardrobe in a spare room upstairs. ‘May I go inside of it?’ she asked Lewis. He opened the door and let her poke around the heavy coats hanging inside. ‘I wonder if there is anything behind it,’ she said. The girl left the room and rushed outside to play, but her question sent his mind to work. He decided to write a story for the children to encourage their imaginations and point them to Jesus Christ. Lewis entitled the story, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe… Lewis wrote many books and nearly all of them became best sellers. But Lewis was not a wealthy man because he gave away the money he made on his Christian books to ministries and charities. Although C.S. Lewis died in 1963, his books continue to show people the way to Jesus Christ.” -from Trial and Triumph, p. 280-282
Disclaimer #3: I am one of those obsessive planner types. I like to have a plan laid out before me, and usually my plans are too ambitious – not because I think we will do everything, but because I need everything in front of me or very little will get done. We usually do not finish everything we plan when I have it scheduled. (I’m so glad we have a 24-week school year at the Foundations stage so we can “catch up” the other 12 weeks.) But I absolutely mean it when I say I am incredibly absent-minded and forgetful. I have to have a checklist, or nothing will get done.
Disclaimer #4: Please do not order everything I have listed here! As I said before, you need not supplement CC with books that correlate with the history, geography, or science. You can use the extra time in the grammar stage to pursue interest-led learning with your children! We personally own a ton of books and act as a sort of library for our local homeschooling friends (because we are somewhat lacking in the library options in our neck of the woods).
Disclaimer #5: Please do not judge Classical Conversations based upon anything that we plan or do as a family! Classical Conversations works for those who are creative or not, for those who are extreme-planners or utterly disorganized, for avid readers or structured notebookers. You don’t have to be someone you’re not – just add the memory work to your schedule each day and enjoy your children. Seriously, be the person God has made you to be and resist the temptation to make comparisons!
Disclaimer #6: Although I have skimmed through all of these books, I have not read all of them. They are simply books that we will be reading together over the coming year.
Disclaimer #7: As with any plan, this isn’t perfect. It certainly won’t suit everyone. But perhaps it can help at least one other person, to which I would exclaim, “To God be the glory!”
I’m sure I need other disclaimers, but I’m drawing a blank. (I’m sorry! I didn’t have a checklist in front of me!)
So… here goes nothing!
Option #1: Cycle 1 Reading Plan using only CC-Recommended Resources.
Story of the World Volume 1*
Story of the World Volume 2 (Revised Edition)*
Quick Flip Arithmetic
Our Mother Tongue
Dictation Resource Book
Janice VanCleave’s 201 Awesome, Magical, Bizarre, & Incredible Experiments*
Discovering Great Artists*
Classical Music for Dummies*
Song School Latin*
History/Timeline Acts & Facts Cards*
Science Acts & Facts Cards
The Bronze Bow
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
The above links take you to ClassicalConversationsBooks.com. While some of the items can be found elsewhere at a better price, I want to share something with you.
- First, I am not a paid spokesperson of Classical Conversations. I’m just a mom who is thankful for CC.
- Second, the people who work for Classical Conversations are just moms and dads like us. They invest tons of time and energy and are not paid exorbitant amounts for doing so. (Au contraire, friends, on a per hour basis, many of them could get paid more working at McDonald’s.) When you make purchases off of ClassicalConversationsBooks.com, proceeds support the parents who keep CC running smoothly: support managers, area managers, program managers, etc. (In fact, for Foundations and Essentials, none of the tuition goes to “upper management.” It all stays within the community to support tutors and directors within the community. Tuition goes to other parents you know personally, who are equipping other parents in a classical education.)
- Finally, Classical Conversations is not a cult or fad or other popular bandwagon-type idea. Our Classical Conversations community was a godsend for me years ago in a time when I had no support. I was in my first year of homeschooling, I was seriously doubting my abilities as a homeschool mom, and we had moved to a rural area where I knew NO ONE. I had no idea how we were going to achieve this grand vision we had for our children when they graduate from high school. I came dangerously close to giving up. But then… I found a Classical Conversations community. I am grateful for the years of upfront time and monetary investment that the Bortins family and the rest of the pioneering team put in to establish Classical Conversations. It wasn’t easy; they didn’t see a profit for over a decade, yet they continued because they had a vision to help others provide a classical, Christian education to their children. And that’s why I can wholeheartedly recommend making your purchases at ClassicalConversationsBooks.com if and when you can.
- If you have less than $175 to spend, you can save money on shipping by purchasing books at your local Parent Practicum. While you’re there, you can also pull together an order with others in your area/community and receive an extra 10% off (for orders over $250).
In addition to these books, there’s a reference section that includes reading correlations using the following books (that may be purchased outside of ClassicalConversationsBooks.com).
- Mega Fun Card Game Math
- Scholastic’s Everything You Need to Know about World History Homework – 1995 Edition (This is the edition that matches the page numbers in our reference section. There’s an updated edition, but the pages are a bit different.)
- Scholastic’s Everything You Need to Know about Science Homework (1994 Edition)
- Mystery of History by Linda Lacour Hobar (Volume 1 = 2nd edition)
I know I just wrote a long essay, but now you get to download the plan!
Option #2: Cycle 1 Reading Plan using CC-Recommended Resources Plus a Little Bit More.
To the above plan, I have added the following books:
God’s Design for Life: The World of Plants
God’s Design for Heaven & Earth: Our Weather & Water
A Child’s Geography: Explore His Earth (Volume I) – Download first 3 chapters free
*Affiliate links are included for books outside of ClassicalConversationsBooks.com
My two middle children (who our are only Foundations level children) have requested more science study. I chose these books because they are simple (a daily reading is only about 10-15 minutes), and I just absolutely love them.
Option #3: Cycle 1 Reading Plan: Our Personal Reading Plan for the Lit Lovers
To the above plan, I’ve added our own personal reading selections for next year. Click here to go to our Cycle 1 Reading Plan.
Within these plans I have included helpful links, and explanations about how to use these planners.
If you have questions, please let me know! For those who have used our reading plans in times past, our personal reading plans (with weekly read alouds and picture books) are in the works. When they are finished, I will add them to this post (and republish to notify those who subscribe to Half-a-Hundred AcreWood via email.). I also hope to put together more posts about how this looks in real life, so stay tuned!