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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hello, Classical Conversations

Brandon graduates preschool 5/22/12

This is very much a transitional year for us in homeschool. For the past seven years, we have used My Father's World as the bones of our homeschool curriculum. Seriously, I cannot say enough good things about My Father's World. It combines all the philosophies and elements of homeschooling that I, an ecclectic person, could not choose between; Charlotte Mason, Classical method, and Unit studies. I could have used My Father's World all the way through and never looked back. But alas, I am not the only on who must thrive on our homeschool "diet." Naturally, so must my students.

My students, whom I thought would thrive on the gentle approach laid out by Charlotte Mason philosophy, often took on more of a "lazy" approach; not wanting to be challenged and preferring to take the path of least resistance. "That's natural," some say. Well, just because it's "natural" (say some) doesn't mean it's good for us. Radiation from the sun is natural, but clearly it's not best for us to soak it in. No, I teach my children to strive for excellence and so we (my husband and I) determined that a change was in order. This is the year.

This year, we are implementing year 'round schooling; not only because we feel it's best for our children over the "I'm bored" summer months, but also because our local schools went this route and we kind of like some things about the model.

And this year, we decided to enroll our children in our local Classical Conversations community. Oh my goodness, teacher-mom is overflowing with excitement about this big change. For one, the challenge will be there (ironically, the upper levels are called the Challenge levels, hee hee). It is a rigorous program based on the Classical model of education. My children will study history, geography, math, grammar, writing, oral presentation, science, music and art (classically), and Latin in a classical framework (even 4 and 5 year olds will begin work in Latin). They will attend classes once a week alongside their peers, then work on similar content at home during the rest of the week. This will provide friendship, support and encouragement for them, but also for me, teacher-mom, as a parent must attend along with the student(s). And, this next part thrills me to no end,...all students must give a weekly oral presentation. In the younger years, it begins with a show-and-tell and/or two minute presentation. In the upper years, it is more detailed, where students research and report weekly on science topics and writing projects. This skill is sadly underdeveloped in many educational realms, and I'm ecstatic that my children will be working on it weekly with Classical Conversations.

I'm also quite excited about the positive peer "pressure" that my children will now encounter. I want them to experience other students who are ambitious, driven, bright, and polished. I want them to be motivated by those examples and by facing accountability to another adult instructor other than mom. Oh my word, I could go on and on about the things that draw me to Classical Conversations, but this gives you a glimpse into our thoughts at this time. I am attending a 3-day Practicum June 26-28 to better prepare me for my at-home role as a classical educator. We will still be using My Father's World, by the way. Only, Classical Conversations will now serve as the "bones" of our homeschool, while My Father's World will provide the supplemental "meat."

Stay tuned. My oldest begins on August 20th. I'll be reporting on this new journey as it gets underway.

Live wise in Him!


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