Simple Classical Conversations Review – Updated


a simple approach to memory work review for Classical Conversations Foundations - any cycle, any year, any homeschool

A few years ago I wrote an article on this blog talking about the simple way we review the memory work at home. And this is the way we still do it today. But, there have been some changes and some updates along the way. We have added new students, changed community days, lived through COVID (almost done, please God!), and experienced many ups and downs in routines. Basically, I mean to say, we have lived life.

We were at our Classical Conversations local community orientation last week when the discussion turned to memory work review. Typically, in group settings I do everything I can to control my tongue, keep my mouth closed and listen. This is very, very difficult for me because I like to dialogue almost as much as I like to write. Before I speak in these settings, I struggle internally with my motivation for sharing “my insights.” I question my contribution to the conversation and weigh whether it really needs to be offered.

So when the conversation turned to memory work review, lots of other moms were talking about reviewing all the memory work for each week every day of the subsequent week. They offered insights and suggestions for how to make it easy. And they were all good ideas.

But I could see the new moms in the group nervously shifting in their seats, staring wide-eyed at the various moms sharing this approach.

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I felt led to share our approach to memory work review. And here’s why: I don’t want new homeschool moms to bear the weight of experienced homeschool moms.

Although we have been there and “done that,” so we realize the memory work is bite-sized, new CC moms are looking at an entire Cycle and thinking, “How am I ever going to teach this to my kids?” It’s already so overwhelming because it is new! Hearing that it needs to be covered every single day – all of it. It just seems heavy!!

I write over here at Simple.Home.Blessings. with the idea of simplifying and finding the joy in our every day life. When I find a simple solution, not only do I joy over its blessing in my home, I pass it on! I absolutely love sharing the simple solutions I have found with others.

That is not to say there are no bumps along the way. We are not doing any of the things (homeschooling, Classical Conversations, life) perfectly. But we have settled into a great groove in homeschooling and with CC. We have even had many successes along the way.

Our Approach to Using CC Memory Work in our Homeschool

As I prepare for the coming year, I have been thinking about what makes CC work for us when other families struggle and/or move on. I think, for us it comes down to not making Classical Conversations memory work the schoolmaster, but utilizing the Classical model’s tools to add value to our homeschool day.

We are not the family who has chosen to go solely with CC memory work and a math curriculum (and a reading curriculum). We blend CC with a CM approach. We utilize the scheduling and book lists from Ambleside Online; but, again, we are not slavish about it. I would consider our homeschooling approach to be relatively laid back. It has structure, but it also has quite a bit of flexibility.

Since I have four kids ages 10 and under, I try to make our homeschool a one-room schoolhouse as much as possible. It happens naturally because we are all learning in the same space. My kids are constantly involved in one another’s independent schoolwork anyway. Especially when we do our CC memory work, I make sure we are doing it all together. It takes no longer than 30 minutes each day and is engaging for all my students – as much as possible – we do have very human attitudes sometimes. Ahem.

Anywho. We have come up with a super simple schedule for memory work review that I thought might be helpful for others to see. And I have some ideas for helping Foundations students review the memory work. The memory work review schedule we have settled into has allowed for my oldest daughter to be Memory Master for 3 years (and I even made Mama Memory Master once!). I share that not as a way to puff up anyone, but to share that it is possible with a more relaxed approach.

My younger students are not interested in Memory Master and there is no pressure around here (or in our community) to do it. All the kids get the same review schedule as anyone who wants to be memory master. We work a little more with my Memory Master candidates later in the year, which you can read about here.

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A Simple Memory Work Review Schedule

Alright, what you have been scrolling for is here! Our grand simple review plan goes like this:

We review one-two subjects per day, with Geography review every day. We have Community Day on Monday, so I do not have review on those days. Likely, the kids will be singing the songs or talking about the new Grammar on the way home from Community Day. I also do not allow my kids to “preview” the Grammar before Community Day (until we get to the latter weeks, if we are preparing for Memory Master).

Our review time is limited (by timer) to 15 minutes. And we have 15 minutes for Geography review, too. All told, this part of our day takes 30 minutes.

Here it is laid out with some of the actual things we do on the review days:

Monday: Community Day – no official review, we might play the Timeline song in the car at my kids request. I recently wrote an article about how we approach community day. You may find some truly helpful suggestions and resources in that post.

Tuesday: Math and English – for math we use skip counting cards I created, For liquid equivalents, I created some super simple flash card resources which we use in many ways around here. I also use sticky notes for the Laws in later weeks, we made up songs for the geometry and measurements. We also climb the stairs in our house to review skip counting. Our preferred math curriculum, Saxon Math, also has skip counting review built into it – which I love.

equations review - math memory work for Classical Conversations; part of a simple schedule for memory work review

English – we use songs/chants to review terms and lists. I have loved using First Language Lessons Levels One and Two in the past few years to help reinforce the memory work. I have reworked their definitions to fit the memory work. However, First Language Lessons does not replace our memory work review. We do both on Tuesdays – so there is double review on those days, in some instances. We are not always covering the same concepts in First Language Lessons as we are in CC English.

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Wednesday: Science – we try to find songs that help us remember the science work. I created some simple Q&A cards for each cycle of CC, which I laminated {homeschool mama high five}, and we use them during our science review to play a super simple review game. Since science includes so many lists, we will play hide and seek with sticky notes and the question. As we find each answer, we will say the memory work question and answer, adding each item on the list as we go. I also created a flip book, of sorts, using resources I found on CC Connected. My Memory Master candidate can do her more independent and intense memory work review with that flipbook.

Thursday: History and Timeline – listen to the history memory work and timeline. I put out the timeline cards for the kids to see throughout the week. Sometimes we will work on scrambling them up and putting them back in order. Most of the time, I wash dishes while the songs play (and we do a quick clean-up around the house while we listen to the songs) – a definite WIN! Note: Because of our household’s lack of CD players (in cars and in our house), I have to rip the CDs to a thumb drive. That process makes it easier to take our memory work anywhere. I also figured out how to add my songs to YouTube Music, so we can play it on our Google device. I wrote an email detailing this procedure earlier this year, if you are interested in reading it.

Friday: Latin – listen to the Latin memory work. I also created some resources for the Latin declensions and Latin conjugations which make it easier to review together. If I am feeling really prepared and there is time for it, I add Song School Latin on the way home from community day. We got a minivan {shock} with a Blu-Ray player in it {can you believe technology these days?!} and my kids think it is such a treat!

Geography: daily we listen to the Geography songs created by CC Happy Mom. They are invaluable to our home geography review!! We get out the map and make sure we are pointing to the right locations along the way. I do not allow my kids to use the map with labels after the first day of review. I want them to get used to finding the geographical locations by sight rather than hunting for it by reading. Every once in a while we do a little bit of map drawing.

geography memory work review for Classical Conversations - part of a simple memory work review schedule

That’s it! It is honestly super simple and laid back. I do include it on the to-do schedule every day. We usually tack it onto the end of our Gathering.

Our Gathering

I include as much CC memory work on our Gathering Placemats as possible. I create a new collection for each month of the school year for my kids. In addition to the memory work, they feature beautiful artists, hymns, and poetry. There are some fun things in there, too – simply silly jokes, tongue twisters, and various games. They have become the anchor of our homeschool days and a tradition we treasure.

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Blessings to You

By the way, there was a nice end to my CC community orientation story. In the afternoon, after lunch, one of my CC mama friends, who has been in our community for three years, came up to me and said, “How did I not know about your memory work review. The only reason [my son] has never made memory master is because I couldn’t figure out how to fit in the long-term review.” In this case, I guess it was worth it to share my simple solution.

I pray this simple approach to memory work review will be a blessing in your homeschool, too! I absolutely love hearing from other CC/homeschool mamas. So, if you have any questions along the way, please leave a comment or email me.

a simple approach to memory work review for Classical Conversations Foundations - any cycle, any year, any homeschool

If you are interested in reviewing memory work in a similar fashion to my schedule, I have a little something for you! You can use this template to adjust the memory work review schedule and then print it to help you remember it. Go into Canva – you can get a free account or a paid account – and use this template. You can change everything about it – fonts, schedules, picture, etc. I made it Instagram size, so I could print it and put it into a square frame I have in our homeschool room.

a simple approach to memory work review for Classical Conversations Foundations - any cycle, any year, any homeschool

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