How to Prepare for
Classical Conversations – Foundations
This next homeschool year will involve some changes; changes I’m excited about. Our family has made the decision to put our kids into Classical Conversations. There are many reasons why this is a good fit, but the success of Classical Conversation graduates is one huge reason for us! As I planned out this upcoming school year, I put together a Classical Conversations Cycle 3 booklist! As an advocate of various styles of learning, I also put together a Cycle 3 board game and movie list!
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Although we have loosely done Classical Conversations at home, we just had not become a part of the community until now. I decided to the best thing for me to do was prepare my kids for this new educational venture before diving in!
The first thing I did to prepare them was seek out advice and help from a tutor and blogger who has been a part of the Classical Conversation community for several years! Having said that, the rest of this post (mostly) is brought to you by my friend, Tanya Wright, from The Natural Homeschool.
Let me start off by giving you a little bit of an introduction. Classical Conversations Foundations is exactly that. It is the foundation to your children’s classical education throughout the homeschooling years, so, as “stick in the sand” as it can be, I cannot stress how important it is to give it the attention that it requires.
The foundations years start at four years of age and they go up to about age eleven. During the earlier years, all we do is listen to the CDs, play with the app, repeat, repeat, repeat. But as the kids get older, it is very important that they can start doing more research on the topics that are being studied and memorized.
This is why I am writing you this post. It is important to prepare mentally and physically for the CC Foundations year. How do I prepare for the classical conversations foundations school year? It is easier than you think. Continue reading as I share with you five important tips to make your year successful and to get your money’s worth you spent for the community.
- Don’t skimp on materials.
But at the same time, don’t rely on materials only. Let me explain. It is important to pay attention to the must-have materials to make the CC year successful and the Foundations Guide is definitely at the top of the list. If you have extra money to spend, I highly recommend the Timeline Cards as well as the Famous Artists book. I invested in a wonderful set of binders to keep our timeline cards in place and safe from getting bent, folded, lost or soiled.
- Take it seriously.
Yes, take CC seriously because if you don’t, your kids won’t either. Practice at home daily. It is not enough to just go to community and forget memory work for the rest of the week. Take 15-20 minutes a day. Believe me, that is all the time you will need to review the Memory Work, if not less. Also, make sure you help your children prepare for presentations. Invest the time because the art of public speaking is a lost art and is such a precious skill to foster and nurture.
- Be involved.
When you are in your child’s class, and he expresses an interest in a particular topic or asks questions seeking to learn more about the subject, take note of that and be sure to answer that question at home. If you don’t know the answer, then make sure that you do the research. We really need to take advantage of that open door that we have when a child is curious about a topic and is interested about a specific topic. Remember that our wonderful tutors are there to guide you, the parent, on how to teach your kids at home, but they are not to teach extensive parts of the material. That is your job to do at home.
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- Dig deeper with older students.
Point number three brought me straight into point number four. For example, in Math, the Memory Work is skip counting. Well, for older students, starting at approximately ages seven or so (sooner if you feel they’re ready), they need to actually start multiplication tables as well as skip counting. So, whenever you are going through Memory Work, find ways for older students to dig in deeper into at least one subject per week. It might be reading the backs of the Timeline Cards or re-doing the science experiments to learn more about the specific topic that they’re studying that week and experience it firsthand. But whatever it is, the older the student is, the deeper they should dig in to the topics to benefit more from their learning. This will prepare them really well for the Challenge years.
Don’t forget to prep mom too! Here are a few resources we highly recommend for mom and/or dad!
The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical EducationClassical Christian Education Made ApproachableTen Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your ChildA Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First CenturyTeaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace
Don’t make Classical Conversations an afterthought. Remember: this is the Foundations level. This is where we start putting pegs into the wall of their knowledge. As time passes, those pegs will hold more knowledge to expand the information they are exposed to. So PLEASE don’t take this time for granted, but do enjoy it with your children. Make Classical Conversations a priority in your homeschool. It is the foundation for classical education and from there everything branches out. Build a firm foundation for your children.