"From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised." Psalm 113:3

Monday, January 2, 2012

Why We Love Classical Conversations Essentials (and How I Know That's Not a Complete Sentence)

Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

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.

Right.

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

Reading
and Beyond: Language Arts in Our Homeschool
by Laura O in AK @
Day by Day in Our World

Language
Arts that Work for Us
by Melissa @ Grace Christian School

Learning
Language at Our House
by Jessica @ Modest Mama

Virtual
Curriculum Fair: Language Arts
by Christine T. @ Our Homeschool
Reviews

The
Learning of Language
by Dawn @ tractors & tire swings

Reading
and Spelling: Modifying the Magic
by Pam @ Pam and Everyday
Snapshots

An
In Depth Look at All About Spelling
by Missouri Mama @ Ozark
Ramblings

Virtual
Curriculum Fair: Let's Talk About Words
by Debra @ Footprints in
the Butter

Why
We Love Classical Conversations Essentials (and how I know that is not
a complete sentence!)
by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun

Virtual
Curriculum Fair---Playing with Words: the Language Arts
by Angie
@ Petra School

Whole
Language vs. Phonics
by Christine @ Crunchy Country Catholic

It's
All About the Art of Language
by Brenda Emmett @ Garden of
Learning

Watching
Movies for Language Arts Class
by Debbie @ Debbie's Digest

Only
5 Spelling Tests a Year! (Can we do that?)
by LP @
justpitchingmytent

Playing
with Words, the Language Arts
by Cindy @ For One Another

Language
Art at Our House
by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Virtual
Curriculum Fair Week One Playing with Words: the Language Arts
by
Leah Courtney @ The Courtney Six Homeschool Blog

Heart
of Dakota- The Fine Details part 1- Language Arts
by Lynn @
Ladybug Chronicles

Playing
with Words by Chrissy
@ Learning is an Adventure


Happy Blog Hopping!

10 comments:

  1. I may put Funny Bunny in Essentials next year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. oooh, oooh, pick me! Subject - Verb Transitive - Direct Object - Object Complement Noun, lol

    I love essentials too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am considering the Foundations class for my oldest four. I would love for my 5th grader to do Essentials, but I think it'll be too long of a day. Did you find that it is worth the money? Always a consideration for us on our limited budget.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @ Melissa--nice job! Kind of fun rolling those words off your tongue, isn't it?! Haha!

    @ Modest Mama--if it helps, we did Foundations for two years, and last year added Essentials in too. This year we are strictly going up there for Essentials. I personally feel that Essentials is much more of a value for the money for my older one than Foundations would be this year for my youngers. My older got a ton out of Foundations, but I could not justify the expense this year for the littles. I hope that helps--if not, feel free to ask more about it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's awesome you are using Heart of Dakota too. I felt the same way about the L/A's part so we are using the Writing Tales Grammar curriculum alongside the HOD curriculum. Looking forward to reading your posts over the next month on how you like and use HOD.. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment..

    ReplyDelete
  6. Okay...I need to check into Classical conversations...I keep reading about it and like the idea of the Heart of Dakota working for different ages/skill levels.
    Thank you for sharing with NOBH...
    ~Kara @ The Chuppies

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Essential classes sound really good. Glad you've found something that works for your family!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Can you help a bit with advice? I am thinking of joining CC as well for a few reasons. We have 4 children and are using HOD which I absolutely LOVE! I was thinking as well as starting my 5th grader in the Essentials program. She struggles with the Charlotte Mason style teaching and cannot seem to retain the info from HOD. I think the drills and community style may help. She was in AWANA a few yrs and her motivation to memorize there was AMAZING. So now I'm considering Foundations as well but not sure because I am not really willing to give HOD up completely. Can I supplement CC with alot of HOD's books? I have the TG's from HOD thru CtoC...what do you think?
    THank you so much

    ReplyDelete
  9. Can you help a bit with advice? I am thinking of joining CC as well for a few reasons. We have 4 children and are using HOD which I absolutely LOVE! I was thinking as well as starting my 5th grader in the Essentials program. She struggles with the Charlotte Mason style teaching and cannot seem to retain the info from HOD. I think the drills and community style may help. She was in AWANA a few yrs and her motivation to memorize there was AMAZING. So now I'm considering Foundations as well but not sure because I am not really willing to give HOD up completely. Can I supplement CC with alot of HOD's books? I have the TG's from HOD thru CtoC...what do you think?
    THank you so much

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When we did both, we used HOD as our main lessons, and CC as just an extra supplement. I think it would be hard to use CC AND HOD as main curriculum. We would do our HOD lessons, and then work on our CC memory work separately. Now, adding in Essentials, Turtle just used that work as all of her Language Arts work, instead of what HOD recommended. I know that there are also some blogs that have CC lesson plans written out, so that you could use CC as your main curriculum, but we've never done that, personally. I would just choose one or the other as your main. We love, love, love HOD as well, as have tended to use that as our core. Does that help at all?

      Delete

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