Thanks for joining us this week on our Essentials Tour One week by week updates. If you have not read the previous posts in this series, I recommend you do, just to get the lay of the land – the reason for the series and what to expect in the weeks ahead.
As I mentioned in my first week Essentials post, there exists a sort of veil between the Essentials and Foundations years of Classical Conversations which obfuscates any attempts to prepare. We are often encouraged to “Trust the process.” For those of us who stand on the other side of the veil, craning our necks to see the mysterious Essentials years, this offers small comfort. Thus, we push on with memory work that makes some connections, while longing to see the bigger picture.
I promised myself that when I finally got to see behind the curtain, I would look back and let others know the treasures unveiled. So, I am ambitiously promising to give you updates, on a week-by-week basis, of our First Tour through Essentials.
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Warning: The wall of sickness – we slammed right up against it this week. All who entered our house, it seemed, plowed right into the wall. And there is nothing to do but rest; and eat and read Chicken Soup with Rice.
Thus, this week’s update may be a bit light on content.
Essentials, In Class
Sadly, we had our first round of seasonal allergies and colds in our house this week. So we had to miss class. I heard the kids got to play a version of Headbandz to review the Grammar from EEL. They also played a version of War for math practice, alongside the favorite Number Knockout.
It is hard to miss a week of Essentials Class time, especially in the first year. But life happens and we will spend the next couple of weeks “catching up.” We primarily fell behind in IEW.
We reviewed Charts A and B from the first week, as well as Charts C and D. Chart D is covers Nouns. Much of it is covered in two ways during Foundations Cycle 2 (English Grammar, Weeks 17-18 and 20) and Cycle 1 (Latin, Weeks 1-2 and 13-14).
In our household we regularly sing the definition of a noun song we have known for years and we remembered the song we learned in Cycle 1 for Latin Noun Cases. Thus, the review here is relatively easy! And we kind of a get a freebie review of Latin Noun Cases, too.
Chart F covers the Pronouns. Almost all of this chart is covered in Foundations Cycle 2 Weeks 2-13. As we continue in our Essentials work, I am truly impressed with how well prepared our students are just by the memorization of the information in the cycles!
For both Chart E and Chart F, we reviewed them orally at least 2 times. I also had my student copy the charts. We are settling into a routine where I print out the charts from the previous weeks once and the other charts 3 times. Since our school week is 4 days, she can choose to mix and match which charts she wants to do, selecting 2 per day.
Summary: Copied Charts E and F two times. Reviewed Charts A-D orally and written.
We didn’t get around to playing Number Knockout at home this week. But we did continue our Saxon Math 5/4 discussion of problem solving together. We have one more day to roll those dice and see how many numbers we can knock out for Number Knockout! Hope springs eternal.
This week in IEW represented a big jump from the practice of taking notes from one paragraph to create a key word outline. The key word outline is stretched into the Story Sequence Chart. I wish we could have been in class for this first week! Since we couldn’t be in class, I did the best I could by remembering Mr. Pudewa’s video instructions for the Story Sequence Chart.
I gave my student a highlighter and asked her to highlight the things she found: interesting, important, and relevant. From her highlighted selections, we worked to create a key-word outline for the Story Sequence Chart. It wasn’t as hard as it seemed at the outset! But it did take us a couple of days to get through the entire passage.
Once we had our Story Sequence Chart/key word outline completed, we worked on the style practice activities from the guide. These are truly helpful for the student to think of phrases to dress up along the way.
I sent my student off to write her first paper!
She came back with a phenomenal rough draft. So fun! Then we got to do the editing. Using the checklist from the guide, we made sure we checked all the boxes. She did a final draft of her paper and was ready to read in class…soon.
Summary: key-word outline completed, paragraph completed!
Essentials Tips for Week Three
I have been meaning to mention the recommended reading list from IEW! We are a read-aloud family! And we read throughout the day. But I decided over the summer I would collect the IEW-recommended selections and read them at night with my first year Essentials student and her almost Essentials student sister.
We are loving this practice! We cuddle up in my bed and read a chapter or two a night. There is no narration, no assignment to complete after reading. Just reading for enjoyment! And we are enjoying it! The first book we have read this year is A Lion to Guard Us. So good!
Editing – An Update
What I said just last week:
“We started using IEW’s Fix-it program for grammar and editing at the beginning of our summer term this year. And we immediately loved it! It is another review-heavy, incremental learning program that fits perfectly with what we have already memorized in the Foundations years of Classical Conversations. Although we have been cautioned against continuing to use it with Essentials (because it may be too much work), we have opted to use it in place of the editing exercises included in the EEL guide.”
How I Feel This Week:
We cannot continue with Fix-it during the CC school year. It is just too much. We are barely getting around to doing the Analytical Task Sheets from the EEL. This has gone by the wayside.
However, I still love the Fix-it program so much, I am planning to return to it during the summer.
There it is! Week 3 of Essentials Tour 1 is in the books! Stay tuned. It is hard to keep up with all the things and write about it as we go. But I will get around to it eventually!