Over the past four years of homeschooling my kids, I have grown to understand just how difficult the job of those one-room schoolhouse teachers was. Though we have settled into our homeschool routines, there are many interruptions, many adjustments, many opportunities for growth. There are days when I choose to take the long view of our children’s education, rather than checking all the boxes.
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.”
The concept of the one-room schoolhouse must, as a necessity, be a reality in our home. This year we are homeschooling a 4th grader and a 2nd/3rd-grader, introducing a pre-K/K mash-up student. while trying to keep a busy and quick learning 3-year-old occupied. It’s a lot. The idea of separating these kids and their learning into completely different boxes is just not feasible.
ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE + A NEW STUDENT
My new little student (AG, almost 5) is what I would call a reader! It is kind of ridiculous to have these little readers walking around, showing off their magical powers. And for a long time now, he has been working on what we work on for school. He has insisted on having his turn at the spelling table. He has soaked up all the songs and poems his big sisters have sung and recited since he was cognizant of words.
And he is now, officially going to start Classical Conversations alongside his big sisters. He is over-the-moon-excited. Thus, I have been working diligently to meet him where he is at. I have been contemplating again how to make the one-room schoolhouse a reality for where we are now. And I have been creating resources to surprise and delight him – to encourage him to love learning as much as his older sisters do.
A few years back – the last time CC went through Cycle 3 – I made a simple Latin-English reader for the big girls to use for their Latin and Bible. But I wrote it with my little guy in mind. I wanted it to be super simple and engaging for him. It was. It worked for him back then (a good indicator for our little 3-year old this year).
But I needed to update it because the 5th edition of the Foundations Guide changed a few things.
You may be wondering why I included the Latin along with the English. When I started our homeschool journey with Classical Conversations, I would have wondered that, too! I mean what kid under the age of 6 needs to know Latin. For that matter: what elementary aged kid needs to know Latin?
Back in those early days of homeschooling, I referred to our choice of Classical Conversations as a “big buy-in.” I didn’t understand it all. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I was pushing all my chips in and not planning on turning back.
The study of Latin in the earliest years of Foundations was just one of those gifts with purchase, if you will. I didn’t know if any of it would stick. I didn’t know if it would be helpful at all, but it was part of the deal. Back then I bet on my kids learning the Latin in their early elementary years paying off in their later school years.
Mind you, it wasn’t a shot-in-the-dark kind of bet – there’s research involved. You have heard good things about teaching kids a foreign language in the early years? I heard even better things about teaching kids Latin – improved vocabulary, improved determination to learn, etc. I have read books on Classical education which extol the virtues of learning Latin, too.
Obviously, I don’t have kids in the later school years, yet; but I remain steadfast in hope this will put them in good stead for the future. Thus I am sowing the seeds as simply as I know how. Meeting my kids where they are at and keeping expectations low.
Who knows? It could turn into a marvelous party trick for our kids when they get older.
In the years since we started Classical Conversations, I stopped referring to it as a “buy-in.” I haven’t gotten it all figured out yet, but I have discovered that we lean heavily in the direction of a Classical model for education. Classical Conversations has proven to be a fit for our family. And we have already started to see the fruit of the early years of Foundations.
Still waiting on that Latin…
The success we have experienced in Classical Conversations has spurred me on to create resources we can use for years to come. Even the Latin. Thus, I reworked the Latin English Primer I created 3 years ago.
Psst…If you are not a Classical Conversations family and don’t see the importance of teaching Latin to early elementary and elementary students, no worries! You can still use the Latin-English primer without the Latin – just omit the Latin pages. I won’t even know!
John 1:1-7 A Simple Latin-English Primer
I am really excited about how our Latin-English Primer turned out. It is simply the Latin text and English text (from the Vulgate) with SUPER simple illustrations. The book, once assembled, is over 30 pages.
You can get a download of it over in our shop.
How We Use the Primer in our One-Room Schoolhouse
Since we are a one-room schoolhouse, we have to appeal to all ages. And I have decided to try to invest in the early years of our schooling in lasting things. I am purchasing items with long-term use in mind, knowing these things will be used by 4 students. I am also trying to find and create educational resources that will appeal to as many of our kids in the stages they are in today.
My older girls already have experience with learning the Latin and English for John 1:1-7. This resource is now something they can read to their younger siblings while getting important review in.
Our Latin-English reader is a wonderful way to introduce very simple concepts about God to our 4-year old. We are talking about Jesus being the God that was in the beginning, the one he already knows about from Genesis. We are talking about how some people don’t know Jesus and how they are the ones in the dark. And we are trying to field the many questions about Jesus as often as they come.
By the way, I am not going to be placing a huge emphasis on speaking the Latin portion of the book to our little guy. Rather, I am reading the Latin and he is reading the English. He needs a tiny bit of help with the bigger words right now, but he will soon be ready to tackle them all by himself!
And for my littlest learner (N, 3) I am using this book to introduce simple shapes along with simple concepts about Jesus. I am also using this book during our one-on-one time because she tends to LOVE the books Mama reads to her during that special time. What better time is there to reach her tender heart than in one of her favorite times of the day, when she has my full attention?
Ages ago we started working our way through John 1. It was a super simple inductive study with the girls, reaching them where they were at. I have written a little bit about it. Amazingly, to this day, I can start saying, “In the beginning…” and the girls can follow me with the rest of the first few verses of John 1. As the little ones have grown up, they have joined in the fun. The other day both of them mentioned we needed to do our “Bible time on the table” again. Encouragement accepted!
Keep checking back to walk through our inductive study of the book of John. It should take a LONG time!!
Also, if you are looking for some more simple ways to help your kids memorize this passage of Scripture (with help for those tricky pronunciations!), this song includes the Latin and English. Songs are such a wonderful way to help students of all ages learn.
As with all of the resources I create, I pray this blesses you in your homeschool journey. If you have any questions about this or other homeschool topics, I would love to hear from you!