Our kids have the blessing of only knowing homeschool alongside Classical Conversations. As such, they have always had a sense of community, a place to stretch their social skills, and supportive, awesome tutors. My kids LOVE going to Classical Conversations community days.
They aren’t the only ones who have benefited from the community we have in our local Classical Conversations group. I have found like-minded mama friends who encourage, support, and share their wisdom and solutions along the way. We are collectively thankful for our Classical Conversations experience.
As we head back to our community, I was thinking about how we “do” community day in our household and I thought I would share with you our approach to community day.
First Year Students
Starting Classical Conversations in community is such a BIG deal! Kids can feel the range of emotions – just like with any school situation – nervous, excited, scared or bold.
So far we have had a broad range of reactions to starting CC in community. My oldest student jumped in with both feet at 5 years old. True to her bold and confident demeanor, she never needed a hand held or a motherly encouragement along the way.
My next student needed a lot more of my support. She, by nature, needs a few minutes to adjust to new situations. She needed some time to build confidence in her tiny Abacedarian class of 4 students. It took quite some time before she was able to stand up at the front of the class without mama by her side.
And my little man, who had his first year last year, only managed to do 2 presentations without holding my hand the entire time, while I led the presentation. He struggled to participate in class without my hands on support and engagement.
All these reactions and more are to be expected in first year students. However, I have a rule which has served us well in our first-years. The rule – Mama goes with the new student all year, every week.
All of my kids are aware of this rule, so they understand I won’t be able to watch their presentations or help out in their classes. I truly believe it to be a blessing to my kids – to give them confidence, my full attention and support throughout that first year. In a larger family, where the kids always seem to be fighting for my attention, this rule has settled a bunch of bugaboos.
If this is your first year in Classical Conversations, can I recommend you go with your new student all year, every week. I understand if that is not possible for every one for a number of reasons. But it has been a big deal around here for my kids!
Classical Conversations communities are run by dedicated moms who are serving our families. Giving of their time each week to prepare and plan their presentation of the memory work, art, and science elements of the Foundations morning, they work extremely hard!
Since I recognize all the work going into each week, I try to follow some simple guidelines each week.
- I do not move from class to class during the community day. I pick a kid to go with each week and rotate through the kids, week by week. Since I have 3 kids in Foundations and there are 24 weeks, each kid will get 8 weeks of mama-in-class time.
- I try not to get on my phone at all! It is super hard to keep 8 kids interested and engaged in the Foundations memory work and the extras each week. If I am not engaged in the process, my kid will notice that and think it must not be important.
- I try to lend a helping hand where ever I can. Because I am paying attention, I notice when a tutor is transitioning from one thing to the next and needs a helping hand. Being available to support the tutor whenever possible is important to me.
Getting Ready for Community Day
The mad rush in the morning is just a thing – apparently. I am so thankful we only have to do it once a week! #thisiswhywehomeschool #amIright? I have finally hit a groove of getting ready in the past couple of years and our mornings are a little less stressful. Here’s what I try to do the night before community day:
- plan/prepare lunch for the entire family
- read Essentials materials for the week
- pack my school bag and put it in the passenger’s seat of our minivan
- set an alarm for a little earlier than usual
Then the morning of, I:
- wake up the kids
- get breakfast started for the little ones while they listen to the Gathering Playlist
- run through the shower and get myself ready
- pack up the lunch and my snack
- have a goal time to open the garage door – if I make it, I reward myself with a coffee!
My kids are getting to the age where they can get themselves ready for the day. This year I put together a checklist for them to make sure they stay on track each week. I am going to laminate it and hang it up by their lockers.
Every kid, in any school setting, has had that moment of realizing she forgot to prepare a presentation! We have all done it!
I try to make sure my kids have their presentation in mind throughout the week. I write it on the schedule the last school day before our community day, so they are reminded to be thinking about it.
This year I upped my game on that and created a presentation Bingo card for my kids. The moment they saw it, they started planning for their presentations for the WHOLE year! I guess it was motivating.
Since my kids are prepared ahead of time for their presentations, we practice once we get in the car to go to CC community day. Each kid practices their presentation and takes questions from their siblings and me. Preparing a presentation and practicing it has helped to give my kids the confidence to get up there in front of their friends.
More Classical Conversations Resources
That’s how we get ready for our community days! I hope it sparks some ideas in your head about how to make community day special and easy! Would you like a copy of these resources I made for my family? You can get them when you sign up for my Classical Conversations Friends email list. I send out emails with tips and resources to encourage you in your CC journey. You can sign up below.
I have started writing enough about Classical Conversations that I created a segment of my mailing list devoted to CC. If you are interested in receiving updates on our CC journey, encouragement for your CC journey, and notification of new resources to help you, please sign up here. If you are already a subscriber, it will NOT double-subscribe you.