Oh my, I probably could not be more excited about this upcoming CC cycle!
This will be our 6fth year using Classical Conversations materials, and our 4th year participating in a CC community. We’ve done a little of everything. We’ve done CC memory work on our own at home, and we’ve been a part of 3 different local communities. I love my CC community that I’m currently in and can not imagine doing this homeschooling gig without them!
Every year I feel like our homeschool journey becomes brighter and more beautiful than the year before. This past year things really began to click for us from about November on. I began to not just find what works for us, but also what I love! I’ve finally discovered the things that make me excited to do another homeschool day.
I’ve always loved Classical education and Charlotte Mason. However they definitely have their differences with each-other which in some ways makes them seem like opposing views. But what has happened as of this past year is that I’ve finally found how to merge the things that I love most about each philosophy. Those places where there are differences have offered me the opportunity to balance things well. For example, CM doesn’t promote rote memory and Classical does. Funny thing is, I believe in the power of the young mind to memorize, even if it makes no sense to them (classical), but I also know the power of laying a feast of interesting stories and experiences before my children and watching them fall in love with their material in a way that keeps them begging for more. Enter the balancing act: as we learn our memory work (which my children greatly enjoy because it’s singing songs while dancing and twirling around the living room in their sock feet or working through an adult coloring book!) it offers us launching off points to dig into beautiful living books, narrations, nature studies, and hands on experiences that will cause my children to not just “know” the information, but to also experience it and fall in love with it. There’s an old quote that I love, “Education is not the filling of a basket, but the lighting of a fire.” (I’m not sure who said it, and I may have misquoted slightly, but it really is what I desire for our homeschool.)
I want to preface this by saying that you do not have to approach CC as I do. There are actually many ways to approach it. Some use a more straight forward “stick in the sand” method. “Stick in the sand” is just a fancy way of saying keep it really simple! You could do CC with a pen and paper, and some extra stuff as the guide explains. Read the guide! It truly helps the teacher know how the curriculum is meant to function. From there you can tweak it with your own homeschooling preferences. Since I love the Charlotte Mason approach, I’ve opted to expound upon the CC curriculum with a great deal of CM flavor.
With that little explanation of the way our little Classical / Charlotte Mason / CC homeschool flows,
I give you my plans for this upcoming CC Cycle 3 school year!
(All of these plans I make are always Lord willing. I trust that He will direct our path.)
My girls will use the Geo app on our kindle fire for 15 minutes a day to practice (Seterra is another good one for android or iphone). We will also be using the CC songs that our community supplies with the CDs they give us (They have geography, science, and English grammar songs so that all of our memory work can be set to music. I love that!) My pre-k child will simply learn the songs and we will work on the app together a few times a week. We will read the books above together and listen to the audiobook “Paddle to the Sea”, we’ve listened before, but will do again and trace out the journey on a map. Each day as an independent assignment for my big girls they will work step by step through the “Draw the USA” book. It looks so neat that I’m going to try to learn how along with them. “The 50 States” book is such a big beautiful book that we will work through as our memory work introduces us to the various states. It has a lovely US map in the front with an index, then it goes through each state telling little interesting tid-bits that will make each one memorable.
The first 12 weeks we will be working through the Apologia Anatomy book. I do not plan to do the whole curriculum as is, but instead to pick and choose the portions I want to focus on. I will have my bigs do narrations and notebooking using the charts and pictures, and we will do some of the suggested hands on activities. I got the audio CD to it as well so that we could listen to it if we wanted to. I love to read to my girls, but sometimes it’s nice to sit back and have someone else read to us. The See Inside Your Body Usborne book. This book I will work through with my pre k child and my bigs will explore it on their own. In fact they already have been digging in and loving it! I actually bought it from amazon, that’s how I buy all of my Usborne books. Cheaper prices and free shipping! For weeks 13-18 we will use The Elements and our Usborne Encyclopedia of Science using our same notebooking and narration approach. I’m planning on some friendly games of periodic table battle ship and messing around with this interactive periodic table. We will likely visit a local Science Museum to learn a bit more about these things first hand as well. Weeks 19-24 we will dig into What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs, Jonathon Park auido books, and portions of “It Couldn’t Just Happen”. That last part will likely go through the summer because we homeschool year round. Those last 3 are all great resources to support creation science and to demonstrate the fallacies of evolutionary scientific thought. I’m also hoping for a family trip to the Creation Museum as a hands on learning experience for this portion of our science.
This may be the part I am most excited about!!! I purchased this set from Beautiful Feet Books when it was on sale, and let me just say, these books are exquisite! I also will be going through American Pioneers and Patriots (another really fabulous book!) and Stories of the Pilgrims which I really appreciate for it’s approach to the faith of many of the Puritan pilgrims that settled in America. I plan to read these to my girls and have them give me oral narrations as well as do one weekly written narration for their notebooks. And we will keep on with Story of the World. We are just now wrapping up Book 3 (perfect timing, we are learning about the early explorers to America) and will continue on listening/reading and discussing these books together. Story of the World is written in such a way that it really needs discussion and parent oversight to wrap Biblical worldview around the things presented. I use it not only as a history curriculum, but also as a launching off point for important Gospel and/or ethical discussions. There is a lot in human history, and humans are evil and wicked apart from Christ, and it’s in child language, but she doesn’t leave much out and she doesn’t do the discerning for you. (so there’s your warning) It will be a full year! And I’m hoping to venture on some US history field trips as well. I still need to do a little research on that front.
So look out CC cycle 3 cause here we come!