“I am I doing too much?” “Is this enough?” “How long should this take?” “I feel like this is taking all day!”
I have heard these questions asked on social media, in community, in my own head, sometimes. And I have never really had an answer.
There seems to be a veil between the Essentials and Foundations years of Classical Conversations which obfuscates any attempts to prepare. We are often admonished, “trust the process…it will all come together someday.” For those of us who are standing on the other side of the veil, craning our necks to see the mysterious Essentials years, it is small comfort. So, we push on with memory work that makes some connections, while longing to see the bigger picture.
Ah, Latin! The most intimidating aspect of a Classical education. Right? Most of us parents feel inadequate to teach Latin because most of us ever took an actual Latin course.
Interestingly enough, I had a class in 7th grade which was an exposure to various languages. It started with Latin. We moved 3 times that year, so I only got the first part of the Latin unit. I am proud to say I can perfectly remember one Latin phrase: “Quid agis?” “How are you?”
Somehow I don’t feel this is adequate preparation to teach Latin. But here we are.
We are embarking on our first tour of Essentials through Classical Conversations. And I have been spending much of the summer thinking about and creating resources to help my first time student with the work. I try to create everything beforehand and get everything lined up, so we can have breathing room during the year.
One of the things I came across when perusing the massive Essentials of the English Language guide, tucked in the very back, were spelling lists for each week, divided by tour. At first glance I didn’t think I would utilize these spelling lists. They seemed too easy for my first tour Essentials student.
Our kids are growing up SO FAST! As we finished up 3rd grade with my oldest this year, I reminisced about the beginning of the year. Our first day of school was filled with tears over a simple math problem. There were tears for a couple of weeks if we didn’t begin the week with Pagoo. So many tears.
I took in all the information those tears taught me, made adjustments, prayed, had delicate conversations with this 8 year old wonder before my eyes. And together, we learned so much in 3rd grade.
At the end of the year, we stacked up all the books we had read together discussing the merits of each one. We had traveled to the farthest reaches of Asia with Marco Polo, plunged to the depths of tiny tide pools tossed about with Pagoo, and suffered through Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Long Winter. I looked at my girl, sitting before me and marveled at how far she had come in one year.
I wouldn’t have the joy of witnessing this without the bonds we have forged through our homeschooling journey. The seeds sown, the struggles strained; the fruit is beginning to ripen.
I am peeking out from my piles of painstaking planning to say, “Hey, CC Cycle 3 planning parent!” How’s it going? Are you overwhelmed yet with all the “extras” you want to add to your favorite curriculum this year?
Or are you still in that beautiful planning stage where every detail is settled and each puzzle piece placed into the picture-perfect year? All you have to do now is carry it out to the letter.
How’s that perfect puzzle now?
Oh, sorry. Did I mess up your idea of those perfect plans?
Good. Because this is real life and it is going to get messy. That puzzle you crafted throughout the summer of 2020 – it is going to get tossed around a few times.
And guess what… it’s okay. Life will hand you things this year no plan could account for. It happens every year.
Memorization. Analog clocks. Poetry. Penmanship. Times Tables. Phonics. The Bible.
These are obsolete. Or so we have been told. The studies are in and they say these things are not beneficial to children. They don’t increase test scores. They are actually burdensome to students – filling their heads with useless facts and knowledge. Thus, they must be excised from education.
Good thing we decided to homeschool our kids. Now I get to do all the old-fashioned, unworthy-of-my-time activities I want to. I can ignore the studies and the tests. I can fill my little learner’s heads with goodness, truth, and beauty.
One of the many time-worn practices now considered passe by public school teachers is cursive. Cursive is no longer necessary because of computers. What we need to teach our kids is typing – the better the word-speed, the smarter the kid, right?