I joined a new Classical Conversations group, without understanding what it was. Actually, I didn't just join, I had to Jenny-fy it and sign up as a tutor, too.
I like things messy.
Not totally my mistake, really, Classical Conversations is kind of hard to explain. Here's my take, as I see it, after going through tutor training and having taught now 3 weeks....
The clearest way I can paint what CC is, would be to say it is closest to a co-op, but it's NOT. Clear?
It looks like a co-op, walks like one...but is not. Classical Conversations is a community of homeschool parents (mostly moms) who come together once a week to hold "Classical" classes. The big lure, the reason it is so brilliant,-- all the decisions about what to learn/memorize, when, how, how much...have all been made by Classical Conversations-the organization; and---- I love this part----they even have ready made materials such as songs and flashcards to help you do it.
I love the thought of Classical homeschool, I agree that memorization is very important at the grammar stage. But.- it just wasn't happening at my house. I'd research, collect some catchy songs to memorize things, intend to put it on my ipod and "start me some learning"...and never get around to it. Kind of busy doing the basic three R's, teaching phonics, keeping the dog from loving the hens too much, cleaning, laundry, making meals, being taxi mom...
My Classical Conversations day looks like this so far.... stay up way too late Monday night gathering my materials, packing them up...like the bell for family feud game, flashcards, cd player, maps I printed out from the CC website. But, I'm getting better at it and each Monday has been less late.
Tuesday, I arrive early, set up my classroom and then we all meet in a big assembly. There we have prayer, pledge of allegiance, Bible memory work and one family does a public speaking sort of presentation. We run through the history timeline cards with hand motions, too.
Next we split up into individual classes, which are set up by age. I have a 4th/5th grade group. I then have from 9:30 to 12 to push them through all our material before we break for lunch. It is a dizzying large amount of material and so far, as I'm setting up, I'm thinking..."why am I doing? This is crazy? I don't want to do this..." I clearly have issues with teaching in front of a classroom, but I knew this going into it... I should mention the class size is 8 students, it's kind of cozy and not as scary as facing a class of 30...
And yet, it is a fast ride, we have a blast, and before I know it, it is lunch time. And, get this...
The kids are eating it up, and they are learning all the material.
The material I keep thinking is too much.
They memorize it, and spit it back at me with glee.
I write up my white-board diagram the night before. People, I have to tell you, the white-board idea is inspired! It's genius! I've decided it's the answer to my life's problems...but that will have to be another post...
ahem, I set up my white-board, it has listed on one side each subject we will go through, including 'review old grammar work' and also I write out the new grammar, such as geography terms, Latin nouns, the history sentence, etc. As we work down our list, I erase each item.
It's stinking brilliant, I'm telling you!
The kids start each week with a public speaking turn. We then work through our new grammar, reciting/singing/using flashcards. I throw in some quick review as we are doing it and award tickets that they can cash in once a month. We have a time slot for a science experiment and a slot for a simple art lesson. We have a big slot for reviewing all the old material from previous weeks, this is the kid's favorite part. We play games, such as jeopardy style, family feud style, what-ever the tutor comes up with...and the kids just love it!
and then it's time to stop, and we all meet for lunch...the moms visit and the kids play.
After lunch, there is a class for the older kids covering English grammar, math games and writing. It's like a co-op because all the moms have to attend with their children. But, it's not a co-op because the moms do not take turns teaching, one tutor teaches each class all year. The moms are there to learn from what the tutor is doing, so they can run their children through the material at home. As a tutor, I'm not really teaching...just facilitating, presenting the material. The moms do help out and pass out papers and help with bathroom breaks and such. Or, like last week, I tried to sing the parts of an animal cell to the tune of 'happy birthday' and could not pull it off...I asked one of the moms to bail me out!
So, this is a view of what CC looks like from where I am sitting. In case you were wondering.
did I mention I now know the 5 kingdoms of living things, and the classification of living things? Also the definition of a preposition. I have to say the Latin is just enough to make me dangerous...
homeschool- we are forever learning.