How We CC at Home

My daughter is four and this is our first year at Classical Conversations (if you have no idea what I am talking about, go here for a great explanation).  I first heard about CC through some friends about a year ago. They were currently enrolled and really benefitting for the program. I took a few months to do research, attend a homeschool convention (yes…it’s every bit as nerdy as it sounds) and visited different communities to see which was the best fit for us. By the summer, we were sold on home-based education in general, and the classical model in particular (visit the Recommended Reading tab for my favorite homeschool books).

I attended the CC Practicum (kinda like a CC bootcamp with varying themes from year to year) over the summer, bought everything I needed to get started, and even agreed to be a tutor. We were ready to go and I was so excited!

The first twelve weeks were honestly very bittersweet. Tutoring brought unexpected challenges that were difficult to handle, and Delaney had a hard time adjusting to me as a tutor AND her mom. Aside from those issues, we have LOVED CC. The program is so fun, easy to follow and helpful in general. I’ve met some great friends and it has been so nice to see them every Thursday morning. We definitely plan on continuing with CC for years to come!

So here is what we do with CC at home. My kid is one of the youngest, so we don’t do a lot, but we do try to keep up every week. Since I am a tutor, we are a week ahead at home. That helps me feel prepared for class when we have been reviewing and learning this material all week at home. So the day that we get together in our community is the last day of our CC week, whereas for most families that day is likely the first day of their new week. Make sense?

So each week, I write or print our our new grammar and post it in our school room. Delaney can’t read yet, but I read them to  her and she follows along. I also post our timeline cards for the week as well. After we drill the new stuff a few times, I play the weekly CD while they are coloring or doing something else, just so they can hear it even more. The next day, instead of drilling like we did the first day, we might do some coloring sheets that correspond with the info (CC Connected, this blog, and Pinterest are loaded with resources). Again, I play the weekly CD in the background. On other days, we use the iPad app for CC Cycle 1. I LOVE this app. Delaney can do it independently which is nice. We also listen to the Timeline song in the car or while we’re eating. They also like to “perform” the Timeline song in princess dresses and crowns for guests that come over:)

So that’s what we do. I also try to find some books that I can read to them that have something to do with our material that week. Here are some things I want to work on as we get older and better at this whole homeschool thing…

  • Draw/trace maps for geography
  • Use the timeline cards more so they can relate the picture to the event…we only sing and do the occasional hand movement (the ones we can remember)
  • Add on more history reading (we own Story of the World Volume 1 and tried to correspond the readings with the history CC stuff and it drove me bananas, so next year…or maybe the next…we’ll reevaluate that)
  • Talk Leigh into banishing the Tin Whistle (can I get an AMEN?!)…I kid (sorta)…my class did surprisingly well with the dreaded whistle!

How do you CC at home?

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Friday

We had unseasonably high temps for a few days last week, so we spent most of the day outside on Friday. It was such a beautiful day! Felt like Spring. We went upstairs to the school room and knocked out some school work (I was actually able to function on Friday). The girls really like the room, and it is working so much better for us. I’m sure it has something to do with them being six months older as well…and a little more used to this “school at home” thing. Here’s some pics from our Friday!

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Homeschool Goals for this Semester

I started out with big dreams.

I had the year all planned out. We would try to get in a phonics lesson, math lesson and read from history books everyday. If we had time, we might even tackle some science experiments.

Then we started school. And I realized my child was only four and didn’t need all of these plans.

So I regrouped over the holidays and put together our goals for this semester. Age appropriate, realistic goals:

  • Finish All About Reading level Pre-1 in the letter of the week format. Instead of going lesson by lesson, we are combining three lessons in one (Capital, Lowercase and Sound) and going with the Letter of the Week theme. I use this to supplement.
  • Read at least an hour a day- This is broken up into three different 20 minute chunks at breakfast, lunch and rest time. I would like to gradually increase it to two hours by adding on mid-morning and bedtime reading. I might try audio books again as they are older now. They weren’t a huge success in August.
  • At least 15 minutes outside everyday- If it’s cold, 15 minutes will be plenty of time, but if the weather is nice, it will be much longer. We all feel better when we get some time outside.
  • Continue with Classical Conversations- review our memory work weekly using the CDs and app on the iPad.

Those are the goals! Pretty simple right?

Book Review: The Homeschool Experiment

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This week, I read a charming little book, The Homeschool Experiment by Charity Hawkins. I have a tendency to read a lot of non-fiction, so this year I’ve added more fiction into my reading list. The Homeschool Experiment was my first novel of 2013 and I loved it! The story is told by a homeschooling mother of three, Julianne. Her children are 6, 4 and 1 as she begins her first year homeschooling. The novel opens with Julianne at a homeschool convention, trying to choose between the endless options and methods of homeschooling. It follows her and her family month by month through their first year of homeschooling. It’s equal parts relatable stories and encouraging wisdom. I laughed out loud many times as I was reading this (my favorite LOL moment involved  the Salvation Army). I would recommend this book to any mom, homeschooling or not. Plus, the Kindle edition is only $3.99 right now!

The School Room Redo

At the beginning of the school year, we fixed up our upstairs room to use as a school room/office. I was really happy with the way it turned out, and pumped to start school.

We used the room for approximately two weeks before I wanted to pull my hair out.

We ended up taking a little crate full of our stuff we would need for the week down to the dining room and doing school there for the rest of the semester. It worked well for us, but I really wanted to get back upstairs. Matt and I just don’t like the school clutter in the dining room.

We made the mistake of not having any floor space for school the first time. This meant that Delaney lad to sit at the table (which she didn’t really like), and Darcy was constantly climbing on the table…which I didn’t like. We needed more room for us to spread out, and we needed it to be more two-year-old friendly.

Matt and I reorganized everything last week. My dad helped me move around the furniture, and I really like the way it turned out! The girls have also liked going up there to play, so I am hopeful that this set up will serve us better. IMG_3377

We moved the table from the middle of the room to a wall. It’s more of a desk now. Matt uses it and I will use it as well. If we need to spread out for a project for school, we will go downstairs. IMG_3375

We moved the bookshelf to the opposite wall. This shelf has all of my school stuff. It’s not nearly full, so I like that we have plenty of room to grow. The craft cart I originally got to use as workboxes. Honestly, I’m not really sure how I’m going to use it now. I’m not really sure workboxes work for us (the BEAUTY of homeschool…if it doesn’t work, change it!). We also got a new color printer for Christmas. I’ve been really happy with our big laser printer, but I missed having the option to print something in color. IMG_3374

This part of the room pretty much stayed the same. The bookshelf on the left is my stuff (teacher manuals, CC file box, books, etc.). The shelf on the right is craft/office supplies. The trunk under the window is filled with toys for Darcy. IMG_3372

I put the art desk that was in Delaney’s room into the window nook for Darcy. I think she will like coloring over here. IMG_3371

The area over by the attic is all Matt’s. He has a shelf for his books, guitars are in the corner, and his road bike is still waiting for a permanent home. IMG_3376

This is Delaney’s desk. My grandmother gave it to her and she loves it. She would much rather sit here and do schoolwork (or on the floor) than at the big table…and that’s fine with me!

So that’s the room for this semester. We kick of school tomorrow. Last night, Delaney had a meltdown and was screaming, “I don’t want to do school never forever!” Great. We sat in the floor of the kitchen and cried and prayed. This morning she said she felt better about it.

I’m thankful we get to do this, that I get to be with them everyday and see them while they are learning. Last night, we had some friends over and Delaney and Darcy were saying “pumpernickel” (they think it’s a funny word). Someone asked Delaney what it meant and she said, “I don’t know but it has part of the word “pickle” in it!” Yes, sweet girl, it does. She learned that from me:)

Ice Skating

Delaney really wanted to go ice skating this year. She was taking dance lessons for a little while, but decided she really didn’t like it and wanted to try ice skating. A local rink has a homeschooling day where we can go for a great price. I took her for her first time a few weeks ago.IMG_3238

Her cousins were there, so she had a lot of fun skating with them! She started off holding onto the bar thing, and then talked me into skating with her. By the end, she was skating all by herself and doing great!IMG_3251 IMG_3248 IMG_3247 IMG_3239 IMG_3244

 

She asked if she could take lessons:) We go back next week!

A Day in the Life…

I always enjoy reading these, so I thought I would do one for our family. Here is what we did yesterday…

6:00am- run with Traci.

7:00am- Devotion and early morning reading time with Matt. Also drank a protein shake for breakfast and ate a peach.

7:30am- Girls got up. We all piled on the couch and played for a little bit.

8:00am- Darcy helps me unload the dishwasher and we eat breakfast, read the Bible and review our memorized scripture.

8:30am- Shower, get dressed, make up beds, sort and start laundry.

9:00am- head upstairs for school. We watched a lesson from Math-U-See (lesson 5 on rectangles) and did a few sheets on rectangles. We picked out all the rectangles in the house. We did one lesson in All About Reading level Pre-1 (capital G), colored, practiced writing Gs. I read to them while they colored and played (they halfway listened so it was a success!). Then we reviewed all of our new CC stuff (sang songs, looked at cards and learned new motions). School was done in about an hour!

10:15am- Head to the Little Gym to test it out. Here’s how it went.

1:00pm- Ate lunch at my mom’s house (she lives close to the Little Gym).

2:00pm- Both girls have rest time in their rooms. Darcy sleeps, Delaney does whatever she wants as long as she is quiet and in her room. I read, worked on some PT stuff, emailed the parents in my tutoring class, paid some bills and set up some Advocare appointments (I’m on day three of my 24 day challenge and am already down 3 lbs.!!).

4:30pm- I finally woke Darcy up. Matt took them outside so I could start dinner.

6:00pm- Sat down to eat together. We had lemon chicken, quinoa and corn on the cob. It was a 75% success (D1 is a tough one to please).

6:30pm- Watched Wheel of Fortune…like we do every night (totally counts as spelling when you’re a homeschooling family).

7:00pm- started bath/bed routine.

7:30pm- Girls in the bed, parents crash on the couch! I finished some laundry (that I started at 9:00am!) and we watched the pilot of The Mindy Project. We snacked on hummus and almond chips and talked.

9:30pm- Fall asleep on the couch.

10:00pm- Wake up, start the dishwasher, go to bed!

That’s a typical day for us!

Weekly Wrap Up

Well, it’s the end of our first official week as a homeschooling family. We made it! Overall, I would say it was a great success! We got off to a rough start, but each day we have tweaked our routine to something that is more and more natural.

Thursday was our first day at our Classical Conversations community. I am the tutor for one of the 4/5 year old classes. There are nine students in the class and almost all of their mothers are there with them…so it’s a full class! D1 is one of my students, which is an interesting combination:) Everything went great for our first day. D1 took Jonah with her for her presentation. We came home absolutely exhausted, but it was a really good day.

Other than school, we had the girls’ check-ups this week. We hadn’t been to the doctor in a while, so it’s has been nice having everyone well! It was D1’s four year check up and D2’s 18 month…even though she’s almost 20 months. We’re a little behind. Poor baby had to get three shots and it was as awful as ever.

Some friends of ours moved back to the area a few weeks ago and we got to hang out this week. They have two boys that are a little older than our girls, but we had so much fun! They are also a homeschooling family and a ministry family, so we have a lot to talk about!

One afternoon, we had a picnic outside. We took a blanket, books and a snack on the front yard after rest time.

After that, we played in the sprinkler. Don’t ask me what they are wearing!

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We had a great week, but I am looking forward to relaxing this weekend!

Okay, I’m writing this from the iPad and didn’t realize all the pics would be on the bottom. Sorry!

 

This should have posted a couple of weeks ago…not sure why it didn’t!!!

Plans this week…

Good morning! I just love Mondays. A new week! Matt and I started our 24 day challenge today! I’m really excited about getting all of the yucky toxins out of my body, and pouring in the good stuff for the next 24 days. Should be fun:) I even took some before pictures and measurements…that you will never ever see. Here’s what else is on the agenda for the week…

Tuesday– 3 mile run in the AM, then taking the girls to try out some classes at The Little Gym. Also to do on Tuesday: schoolwork, laundry, bank and pay the bills:) For dinner we are having chicken that will cook all day long in the crock pot with some herbs (whole chicken that I’ll debone and use for other meals this week) with quinoa, squash and zucchini.

Wednesday: Early morning strength training at the gym, then home for schoolwork. At lunch, I get to tell some lovely ladies about the glorious world of exercise, supplements and being healthy. I also need to get the towels washed before we go to friends’ house for dinner!

Thursday: Classical Conversations in the AM! Home to crash and make chicken noodle soup using the leftover chicken from Monday (with rice/veggie noodles, veggie broth, carrots, bay leaves and other spices).

Friday: 3 mile run in the AM, followed by schoolwork with the kiddos. I have a lunch meeting for a personal training consultation, and then we will get ready to leave for a little Labor Day getaway:)

Weekend: Rest. Get in one 3 mile run.

Here are some goals for the week:

-Finish Don’t Make Me Count to Three (parenting book) and Ignite the Fire (personal training book). Book reviews coming soon!

-Complete all three runs, and one strength training session this week.

– Successfully complete first week of challenge (cleanse phase) by taking all the supplements and sticking to the diet.

– Finish all the lessons I planned for three days of homeschooling this week.

That’s my week! What do you have going on this week? Are you looking forward to it?

Scientific Method Printable

I have scoured the internet for a simple, age-appropriate printable for the scientific method to no avail. So I made this one and thought I would share it! Here ya go!

Scientific Method