History is my jam. I was a church history major in college. My favorite all-time teachers, the ones who impacted me the most, taught me history. Impressed upon my heart and mind, I can still see Mrs. Berry (10th grade World History) standing at the front of class, speaking like Demosthenes. I can still remember my 8th grade American History teacher’s impressive display of Civil War artifacts.
As I tend toward history and literature or language learning, it was easy in our early years to attempt to make the Classical Conversations history sentences come alive to my student(s) by simple activities. In those early days, we did very little extra. but most of the time the extra would be history. We wrote better than Charlemagne; held spontaneous coronation ceremonies; “nailed” pretend 95 Theses to the wall; visited a building with a Magna Carta mural; went on a presidental tour around town; and on and on.
Then, as we began to practice a bit more of a Charlotte Mason approach to our education, we practiced the arts of noticing, attending, and storytelling as we read living history books about the characters who dotted our Classical Conversations Timeline and history sentences. Often, we stopped to sing snippets of the Timeline song or a history sentence related to what we had just read.
All that I considered simple, not because it was easy (because it was) but because it was natural. It was borne out of my natural love of history. I suspect other parents would just as easily and naturally add to the sciences or math.
As I transitioned into teaching my kids at home, I was the new student trying to get the lay of the land. The landscape was vast, dotted with an immense amount of information. Feeling overwhelmed with the task of teaching my kids was not a possibility, it was a reality. It seemed a mountain range lay before me. I had to choose one to climb. Even when I settled on a specific mountain (curriculum) to climb (Classical Conversations), I found a valley lay beneath it, filled almost to brimming with books to match every detail of the curriculum.
I saw match-ups for science for each week, nine to ten books a week…and crafts, and worksheets. Then I saw match-ups for history, 4-5 chapter books a week, and crafts, and worksheets. It seemed I could reserve two-thirds of the library and still only be “covering” two subjects with my kids.
Isn’t this whole Classical Conversations supposed to be done with a stick and some sand?
This past year our girls learned the Preamble to the US Constitution. Well, I should say, we ALL learned it. Previously, I didn’t know it past “We the people!” This homeschooling thing is good for all of us!
Anyway, as we were working on memorizing the Preamble, I had an idea for a simple craft for the girls to do in order to help them spend some time with the words. It is a sort of puzzle to make the American flag. I spent a long time creating it and when I printed it out for G to work on, she informed me I had gotten it wrong. I guess it took me so long to do the craft, she memorized the Preamble in the interim.
In fact, the Preamble states, “We the People of the United States in order to form a…” I was leaving out “of the United States.” Nothing like having a 6 year-old correct you.
There is always a good reason to celebrate our freedoms as Americans, right? So, I thought I would share our printable puzzle activity with you.
The concept of the one-room schoolhouse must, as a necessity, be a reality in our home. This year we are homeschooling a 1st grader and a pre-k kid, while trying to keep a busy and quick learning almost 2-year-old. Well, we are homeschooling in between nursing the baby and dealing with tantrums and naps and meals (and, and, and). And there are days that go incredibly well and days where nothing happens of seeming importance.
These are the days when I have to take the long view of the education of our children.
I take a deep breath (or a fresh cup of coffee) and remind myself we have a LOT of days in which to educate and train our little ones. I also remind myself that the older two, for better or worse, are test cases. Hopefully, I have much more figured out once the younger two are walking through the stages we are going through today with the older. I think: “We can make mistakes. We can take breaks. We will have another chance to do these things.”
A few years ago we joined the Classical Conversations community as a supplement to our homeschool. When we started homeschool, we started Classical Conversations. So at this point, our girls don’t know homeschool apart from CC. We are extremely happy with our choice of CC.
That is not to say there have not been some bumps along the way. And we are not doing any of the things (homeschooling, Classical Conversations, life) perfectly. But we have settled into a great groove with CC and have had many successes along the way.
UPDATE: If you are looking for our Actual Plan for Cycle 3, it is here!
Hey, planning parents (waves)! Don’t you just love the process of planning for the next school year? The activities, the crafts, the projects, the copywork! And do you ever look back over those carefully crafted plans and think, “When are we ever going to have the time to do all this?”
Or maybe you are still in that hazy-headed place where all plans are perfect and every day of the next year will hold happiness in the palm of its hand because you did it ALL.
Well, I don’t want to burst the beautiful bubble you have fashioned for yourself and your family…
but this is real life.
And real life is a bit more complicated than any lesson plan can parse.
This is our second time through Cycle 2 for Classical Conversations. And this time, I am really…no really, planning what we are going to actually do.
And it may surprise you to know that it is super simple!