Essentials Week by Week, Tour 1 – Week 4

Essentials Week by week, our first tour through Classical Conversations Essentials program, the details of our week 4

Welcome back to our week by week tour through Classical Conversations Essentials. This is the account of our first tour through Essentials – a sort of peek behind the curtain between Foundations and Essentials. If you are starting out with your first year of Essentials, follow along week by week to get a good idea of what another family is doing.

We are not doing anything perfectly, but we are attempting to remain diligent in our Essentials studies.

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I will mention: I am preparing myself to teach my student by reading the EEL guide each week before we go to class. Taking notes in a composition book for each week, I make sure I am ready with any questions for the tutor. I highly recommend this practice because it acts as a refresher for the week.

Each week, I also take a moment to print out any extra blank charts for the week ahead – I do this as part of my Prep Rally.

Essentials, In Class

There are no new charts for EEL this week, but there is a new purpose for sentences – imperative. This is not in itself difficult to understand, for kids. However, there is a slight nuance with the implied you.

Kids in class were calling it all manner of words beginning with im- or in-! Ha. This is a vocabulary word which we had to go over later at home to make sure we were on the same page.

We played some games with interjections as well. These helped kids to identify interjections they already know.

Math games are pretty standard fare by this point for the kids. It is interesting to watch them enliven and engage when it is math time!

Essentials At-Home


By now we have settled into a routine of copying charts and reciting charts. My student prefers to recite the Verb Chart (D) and the Pronoun Chart (F). These are straight out of the Foundations memory work and are easy for us to work on aloud. The noun chart we usually start out singing the Latin noun cases song from Cycle 1. Then we add on as much of the rest of the chart as we can.

I woke up out of the fog of Essentials newness to realize we had not gone over our Essentials spelling in the past few weeks. I did an extensive match-up last summer for Essentials and All About Spelling (our preferred spelling program) and found Essentials would be good review for our All About Spelling. My student is currently working through All About Spelling Level 6, so the Essentials spelling words are super simple. I can just do a quick “spelling test” with her – more like a check-up – and we can move on.

If you are interested in reading more about my research into the relationship between All About Spelling and Essentials spelling, please read this article.

I also realized in writing this article and looking over the past couple that I have neglected to mention our work on the Analytical Task Sheets at home. We have done this in fits and starts. Some weeks getting only one sentence done and some weeks getting two or three.


At home, we are diligently working through Saxon Math 5/4 and playing math games when time permits.


This is the week where we just kept missing the bus! We did not even get around to completing a key word outline for this week’s assignment.

After having a conversation with a number of my fellow first-year Essentials mom friends, I have decided we are ok. This is a BIG jump! And there is a LOT here. If we can stay on track and keep working a little bit each day, we will be fine.

I am reminding myself of the “Easy plus one” admonitions from Mr. Pudewa and our Essentials tutor. And I am NOT pushing! Sometimes that means not a lot gets completed at this stage.

Essentials Tips for Week Four

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:

It is just too much to keep at Fix It throughout the Essentials year. We will get back to it in the summer as review, but I am simply not even going to attempt it any more. And honestly the EEL editing exercises are not getting done either! Guess what. I am not going to stress about this! This is our first tour through Essentials and it is a LOT! We will have exposure, we will gain basic understanding, and we will come back next year to conquer even more territory!

There it is! Week 4 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!

Essentials Week by week, our first tour through Classical Conversations Essentials program, the details of our week 4

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