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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hello, Classical Conversations

Brandon graduates preschool 5/22/12

This is very much a transitional year for us in homeschool. For the past seven years, we have used My Father's World as the bones of our homeschool curriculum. Seriously, I cannot say enough good things about My Father's World. It combines all the philosophies and elements of homeschooling that I, an ecclectic person, could not choose between; Charlotte Mason, Classical method, and Unit studies. I could have used My Father's World all the way through and never looked back. But alas, I am not the only on who must thrive on our homeschool "diet." Naturally, so must my students.

My students, whom I thought would thrive on the gentle approach laid out by Charlotte Mason philosophy, often took on more of a "lazy" approach; not wanting to be challenged and preferring to take the path of least resistance. "That's natural," some say. Well, just because it's "natural" (say some) doesn't mean it's good for us. Radiation from the sun is natural, but clearly it's not best for us to soak it in. No, I teach my children to strive for excellence and so we (my husband and I) determined that a change was in order. This is the year.

This year, we are implementing year 'round schooling; not only because we feel it's best for our children over the "I'm bored" summer months, but also because our local schools went this route and we kind of like some things about the model.

And this year, we decided to enroll our children in our local Classical Conversations community. Oh my goodness, teacher-mom is overflowing with excitement about this big change. For one, the challenge will be there (ironically, the upper levels are called the Challenge levels, hee hee). It is a rigorous program based on the Classical model of education. My children will study history, geography, math, grammar, writing, oral presentation, science, music and art (classically), and Latin in a classical framework (even 4 and 5 year olds will begin work in Latin). They will attend classes once a week alongside their peers, then work on similar content at home during the rest of the week. This will provide friendship, support and encouragement for them, but also for me, teacher-mom, as a parent must attend along with the student(s). And, this next part thrills me to no end,...all students must give a weekly oral presentation. In the younger years, it begins with a show-and-tell and/or two minute presentation. In the upper years, it is more detailed, where students research and report weekly on science topics and writing projects. This skill is sadly underdeveloped in many educational realms, and I'm ecstatic that my children will be working on it weekly with Classical Conversations.

I'm also quite excited about the positive peer "pressure" that my children will now encounter. I want them to experience other students who are ambitious, driven, bright, and polished. I want them to be motivated by those examples and by facing accountability to another adult instructor other than mom. Oh my word, I could go on and on about the things that draw me to Classical Conversations, but this gives you a glimpse into our thoughts at this time. I am attending a 3-day Practicum June 26-28 to better prepare me for my at-home role as a classical educator. We will still be using My Father's World, by the way. Only, Classical Conversations will now serve as the "bones" of our homeschool, while My Father's World will provide the supplemental "meat."

Stay tuned. My oldest begins on August 20th. I'll be reporting on this new journey as it gets underway.

Live wise in Him!

~Toni~

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11 comments:

  1. Will you still be using MFW? For several years I've been wanting to do MFW but have hesitated, for some reason. We do CC and love it, but at home I struggle. I thought MFW might help with the planning and such that I'm not doing so well, but not sure how it will mesh with CC. Any thoughts?

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  2. Yes, Jennifer. We do plan to continue with MFW. It is laid out nicely and, with the exception of 1850-modern times (which is a bit heavier on day 5 of each week than the other levels are), it's doable to make MFW work as a 4-day/week program. I won't be doing MFW "full on" anymore. Rather, I'll loosely follow the teacher's guide and giving myself plenty of freedom to drop, add, or change the schedule to make our week flow and not get bogged down. I haven't fleshed it out on paper yet, but plan to over the next 6 weeks or so. What I'm probably NOT going to do is to try to line up the CC history timeline with MFW, other than to use the MFW level that best corresponds with the current CC cycle (so this year I'll use Creation to the Greeks). I'll just follow the MFW teacher's guide with that freedom I mentioned. I definitely think that MFW and CC can be a good fit.

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  3. It was SO great to read your comment! I have missed you! :) It sounds like, once again, you and I are in the same pattern at the same time. I have resisted classical conversations for various reason, so I will be really anxious to hear how you like it. We have definitely been eclectic around here, and I have upped the ante for next year as well. I am preparing myself for some negative feedback for the less-than-enthusiastic workers among us. Ahem. Glad to hear you are doing so well! Bless you, sister!

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  4. You will be encouraged at the practicum! Ours is not until July but we love CC and what the children learn amazes me. Shoot, what I learn amazes me, lol!

    Looking forward to sharing paths!

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  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I also used MFW before CC. This year my tot and preK'er will be doing MfWK and my 1st grader will be doing Memoria Press 1st grade. I do love MFW---but CC really provides great framework AND all of the other benefits you mentioned. I look forward to following your journey.

    Blessings,
    Kathie

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  6. Hi! I just found your blog and am excited to follow your CC and MFW experience! I am getting ready to begin my first year of homeschooling my 2nd grader and K. We also belong to a CC Community and are loving it. I had already decided on MFW before finding CC and I purchased ADV and K. We have not started MFW yet, as we are in the process of moving, so we have only been focusing on CC work for now. As we have gotten into it, I have begun to rethink whether or not I want to do ADVENTURES or instead purchase Creation to Greeks, since it so closely aligns with the CC Cycle this year. Do you think that would be a wise choice since my oldest is only in 2nd? Does he need ECC first? Will CTG be too much for him? Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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  7. Hi! I just found your blog and am excited to follow your CC and MFW experience! I am getting ready to begin my first year of homeschooling my 2nd grader and K. We also belong to a CC Community and are loving it. I had already decided on MFW before finding CC and I purchased ADV and K. We have not started MFW yet, as we are in the process of moving, so we have only been focusing on CC work for now. As we have gotten into it, I have begun to rethink whether or not I want to do ADVENTURES or instead purchase Creation to Greeks, since it so closely aligns with the CC Cycle this year. Do you think that would be a wise choice since my oldest is only in 2nd? Does he need ECC first? Will CTG be too much for him? Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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  8. This next year will be our second year in CC and I am thinking of using MFW with it. My oldest is moving to challenge but my 5th and 2nd grader will do MFW with Foundations and Essentials. Would you recommend starting MFW with ECC or with the one that matches up most closely to the cycle we are in for CC? Thanks!

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  9. I don't think it's necessary to start with ECC since there is so much geography work going on at CC, which only increases in Challenge A. The one MFW resource that would make a wonderful addition to your CC geography work is the ECC book "Windows on the World." It would add a cultural element to your CC geography work, and help your children to see the prayer needs for those regions/countries. The missionary stories from ECC are also great.

    Thinking "big picture", I personally would tackle MFW chronologically (because in 4 years, you would cover all of history chronologically.) I, myself, would not worry about trying to line up the history. Fact is, if you're purposing to master the memory work of CC with your students, those "pegs" will be there in their brains, ready to make connections at any time with any relevant materials you use to expand their knowledge base. And really, that's the whole point of memorizing during the grammar stage; creating and SECURING those pegs for future use. This is why I feel free from the burden of trying to line up materials each year (the only reason I previously stated, above, that I would line up materials is because I already have all levels of MFW and so I have the option to do so. Having been through our first year of CC, I now don't feel that's practical or necessary.) That said, I know other moms totally prefer to do so, and we all have to figure out what works best for OUR homeschools. HTH and God's very best to you in the coming year. Thanks for stopping by.
    Blessings,
    Toni

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  10. Which MFW lines up best with Cycle 2?

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Live wise in Him!
~Toni~