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~ Psalms 25:4,5

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Classical Conversations Homeschooling – Part 3
What do you do at CC?
Classical Conversation communities are found throughout the nation and the goal is to keep the format fairly consistent.  We heard testimony from several women at our Practicum about how wonderful it was when they moved that they could plug into a community in their new city and how the familiarity was so helpful.  

So, I’ve shared about the overarching vision.  What does the actual time together in this “community” look like!?!  As there are a Trivium in the three stages of learning (Grammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric), there are three phases of the CC program.  They are called: Foundations, Essentials, and Challenge.  I can explain more later, but for now I will explain Foundations since that is the “foundation” that begins the Grammar phase and the one we began with last year.  Foundations is for children in those Grammar years of learning, ages 4-12ish. 

One day a week Classical Conversation meets (larger cities have multiple locations, some meeting on the same day, others on different days – often times Friday or Monday).  It starts about 9:15 and ends at noon, with a 12-1 lunch/recess built in.  (Each family brings their lunch).   The format is as follows:

9:15 – 9:30 – meet as large group, have announcements, say Pledge of Allegiance, a Pledge to honor Scripture, and review the Scripture passage that all CC communities are memorizing. (This last year was Ephesians 6, one verse for each of the 24 weeks).  Then there is a family presentation time.  This is a short time that rotates through so each family has an opportunity to share a bit about themselves.  It can be as simple as just introducing yourselves and your likes or as creative as playing an ensemble together. 
9:30 – Dismissed to classes
9:30-10:00 – Learn new Foundations Grammar
10:00-10:30 –
10:30 – 11:00 –
11:00 – 11:30 –
11:30 – 12 – Review Grammar from earlier in the morning and previous weeks
12:00 - 1:00 - Lunch/Recess

The middle three half hour blocks can happen in different orders, but they are Science, Art, and Presentations.  I personally was thankful that I knew my son was getting specific science and art input each week because for some reason I just rarely seemed to get their on my own at home! 

The Science time rotates through six weeks of experiments, six weeks of something else, six weeks of something else, and six weeks of something else (this last year the last six weeks was building and testing craft stick bridges and egg drop protectors.

The Art time rotates through six weeks of drawing, six weeks learning/practicing the tin whistle, six weeks of famous artists, and six weeks of classical music/orchestra appreciation.

The Presentation time begins for the young ones as a glorified show-and-tell with the purpose being to learn how to give a presentation with an introduction and body and conclusion (Hi, my name is….and today for my presentation I am going to…That is the end of my presentation. Does anyone have any questions?)  These presentations are also exposure to public speaking in order build that comfort and skill.  There are suggested ideas each week and as the students mature, more is expected from their presentation (with a maximum of 3 minutes).  The presentation time is also later used to hone those rhetoric skills of communicating effectively and prepare them for life-after-formal education where presenting can be an influential part of the role God has them in.

The “recess” time was also such a perk!  It was an opportunity for me to build relationships with and fellowship with and learn from other homeschool families and the time to play with a group of kids was a highlight for my kiddos.

Other Foundations Factoids:

Who is teaching this material?  A Tutor.  They call them “tutors” as opposed to “teachers” in order to emphasize that you as the parent are the teacher.  The tutor comes along side you and presents the material in an organized and fun way for you to then be able to go home and practice with your child(ren).      

This sounds like a great time for me to run errands…WELL…the design of CC goes back to the “community” aspect.  The parents are learning with the kids and being modeled things like hand motions to go with songs to aid in memorization and pronunciation of tricky countries, et al.  Kids under 4 usually have a “nursery” option while the parent sits in on the class or floats between classes if they have multiple children in the program.  Some may baulk at this (and to be honest there have been times I would have preferred to be elsewhere) but overall it is enjoyable with the right attitude and when you have the vision in perspective it makes sense.  Part of our motive in homeschooling is that we want to be engaged in our child’s education and not just drop him/her off to learn from someone else, right!?!  Plus, the other benefits of our learning and gleaning from presence with community!

Class size: Each class is broken up by age and capped at 8 students (although I did hear that under rare circumstances they may have accepted 9) and each community is capped at 8 classes (or less if the facility cannot house say, more than 6 classrooms…speaking of facility, they are usually held at a church.) 

Grammar: So, you’ve probably picked up that “Grammar” is “information/knowledge,” but I can expand more specifically on what “New Grammar” looks like for the first 30 minutes of class time.  It is broken up into seven subjects...    

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