Monday, January 2, 2012
Why We Love Classical Conversations Essentials (and How I Know That's Not a Complete Sentence)
It was February. You know how February gets: boring, strangely really (REALLY) long, full of days using curriculum that looked oh-so-exciting at the beginning of the school year, but now--not-so-much. So that February my search began for a much-more-exciting curriculum to use for the next school year. And I found this really neat program called Heart of Dakota. And the more I looked, the more excited I got. (Yeah, because this never happened before with curriculum *wink*).
But here was my problem.
I was going to have a third-grader who was struggling and had some significant special needs. And a gifted sixth-grader. And I wanted to do as much with them together as I could.
After much (much, much) soul-searching and prayer and research and talking, I decided to go with the Heart of Dakota program. I picked Bigger Hearts for His Glory--perfect for my Firefly (3rd grader), and with an extension pack I could use with Turtle (6th grade). Awesome! Great fit! Except sorely lacking in the Language Arts department for my bigger lady. Hmmm, now what?
Enter Classical Conversations. We had taken part in their Foundations program before, but their Essentials program is what I was really looking for to fill the gap I had created. Now, every Tuesday afternoon, Turtle and I go to "class". We spend the first forty-five minutes in Grammar. This is NOT your average a-noun-is-a-person-place-or-thing grammar class. This is intense, sentence diagramming, sentence classifying, chart memorizing, learn more than I EVER knew about grammar class.
Anyone know what S-Vt-DO-OCN means? Well, I do now. And so does Turtle! Despite the *sometimes wonderings* that I have about the depth of information that she is learning, she is truly learning it--and using it across her other subjects. Well, occasionally. But it does happen.
The next thirty minutes of class are spent in math drills and games. And can you believe that a class full of later elementary-aged children spend the first almost-hour clamoring for math time? Yeah, me neither. They love math time! Mental math, Twister math, Sum 20, Around the World--you name it and they play it. But shh--don't tell them they are math drilling!
The last forty-five minutes are spent using the tools from the Institute for Excellence in Writing. We are doing American History this year, so we are using the manual that goes along with that. Turtle has always been a reader and writer, so we have never had to struggle too much with getting her to do it. For her, some parts of this program may actually be a little too restrictive. I think she enjoys being given a topic to write about and then being let loose to do it. The IEW program encourages kids to essentially re-write pieces of work that are already written, introducing the use of alliteration, quality adjectives, dialogue, and other "dress-ups".
The rest of our week after the Essentials class is spent with follow-up work daily. By the time we get to class next, Turtle has classified, taken apart, and diagrammed several sentences, and written a rough draft and / or final draft of a paper, to be presented the following week. All very manageable to do in a week. And a nice, clean "fit" for our family. (And, yes, I know neither of those are complete sentences!)
**In case you couldn't tell from the picture above, I am taking part in a Virtual Curriculum Fair this month. Each week, several of us bloggers are going to write about what we are using, what we aren't, what's working for our families, what isn't. Just click at that little icon up there and you'll find all kinds of neat posts. Thanks for visiting!
Here is a list of the other bloggers this week:
Reading on Time by Cindy Horton @ Fenced in Family
Playing with Words: the Language Arts by Christa
Darr @ Fairfield Corner Academy
and Beyond: Language Arts in Our Homeschool by Laura O in AK @
Day by Day in Our World
Arts that Work for Us by Melissa @ Grace Christian School
Language at Our House by Jessica @ Modest Mama
Curriculum Fair: Language Arts by Christine T. @ Our Homeschool
Learning of Language by Dawn @ tractors & tire swings
and Spelling: Modifying the Magic by Pam @ Pam and Everyday
In Depth Look at All About Spelling by Missouri Mama @ Ozark
Curriculum Fair: Let's Talk About Words by Debra @ Footprints in
We Love Classical Conversations Essentials (and how I know that is not
a complete sentence!) by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
Curriculum Fair---Playing with Words: the Language Arts by Angie
@ Petra School
Language vs. Phonics by Christine @ Crunchy Country Catholic
All About the Art of Language by Brenda Emmett @ Garden of
Movies for Language Arts Class by Debbie @ Debbie's Digest
5 Spelling Tests a Year! (Can we do that?) by LP @
with Words, the Language Arts by Cindy @ For One Another
Art at Our House by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Curriculum Fair Week One Playing with Words: the Language Arts by
Leah Courtney @ The Courtney Six Homeschool Blog
of Dakota- The Fine Details part 1- Language Arts by Lynn @
with Words by Chrissy @ Learning is an Adventure
Happy Blog Hopping!