Thursday, August 20, 2015

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 1

So we are officially a hodgepodge of homeschool styles and philosophies.  Is it even possible to be Classical Charlotte Mason Montessori Waldorf Delight Centered Unschoolers?  All those words don't seem to belong together!  But who needs titles, I dislike labels and boxes anyways... but that's basically what we're doing, gleaning good stuff from all those methods and philosophies and applying it in our own way for each child.

We are doing Classical Conversations on our own this year so we could use a day of our week for other enrichment classes and mama could get a little one on one time with my toddler.  The kids are loving their enrichment days and although we liked CC, I figured this year if I was going to pay for something and get everyone out the door in the morning it might was well benefit me too and give me a little break and the kids a break from each other.  They are best buds but also worst enemies at can anyone be who you are with constantly so I thought it would be nice for them once a week to have a "school" like day with their own classes with their own friends.  So far it's been great!  

We are doing CC using the foundations guide I already had and the CC app on my phone.  I had looked ahead of time taking notes and using my Art History texts for maps, references and inspiration for projects based off of our CC memory work.  I  also using my Art History texts for some picture study, and the text includes broad deep historical info in all the history sentences in this cycle of CC so I was pretty excited.

And I get all nerdy excited having great images like this to open up to and show my kids as we do our geography of the Fertile Crescent and Assyrian Empire and it makes my heartso happy we are digging into these text books I couldn't bring myself to sell back in college because I loved them.  I love that it's getting ME into these text books that have been collecting dust and that it just feels fun.

Flipping through and just looking at the pictures with my kiddos, we can add little snippets of is the Epic of Gilgamesh...the best known literary work from Mesopotamia...

We finished off our week 1 memory work and picture study purusing this text with a hands on project using crayola air dry clay and we made one if the tablets and carved the first 5 commandments as that was the history sentence for the week.  We also talked about how the Fertile Crescent lead to villager and cities which because of farming, not everyone had to worry about working to grow or find food so other skills were developed and workshops for milling flour, making bricks, pottery, textiles and metalware  sprang up and the construction of temples and palaces keep builders and artists busy.  - pg. 28 Art History Volume One.

After making our engraved tablet my daughter made a pinch pot... Her first attempt at pottery. 

Honestly I'm more excited about doing CC than any other year before because rather than just doing the rote memory work at class without any context, we are able to go deeper and make it more part of our curriculum...I guess I could have done this before but having the new baby I wasn't as invested in the CC work myself, that was my break and I was doing my other curriculum in addition and just fighting our way through that so we definitely didn't make the most of CC.  

The unschool/delight centered part of it is I have gotten prepared ahead of time, thought of fun ways to make it come alive and great things to show them and read to them, but I follow their lead.  If they are totally bored I just keep it short, if they are interested We go deeper....I mean just doing the memory work is fine on its own so anything extra they get out of it making deeper connections to the memory work is's like I said I kind of view CC as a form of strewing.  Each week they are introduced to a bunch of new vocabulary on different subjects and it can really be a great launching pad for sparking interests.  I love the idea of unschool/delight centered learning...but how can your kid find out they love learning about ancient Mesopotamia or Aztecs if it isn't some how introduced?  

Doing CC at home was actually the kids idea.  They think the songs are fun to learn and they like getting treasure box at the end so we have treasure box here too with little things I know they might like, dollar store stuff or other little things. Yesterday my sin asked if I could make tickets for treasure box that let them play minecraft or watch a show so I added that.  It was funny because it's not like I never let them watch tv or play minecraft,  when they do I never use a timer.  But I made tickets for 15 minutes of minecraft or 1 show on amazon prime.  They both picked minecraft tickets for treasure box and I put an alarm on my phone to go off in 15 minutes and they happily stopped exactly's funny Bc often the probably play more than that but whatever.  Oh and one more thing I do different with our CC work....I don't do Latin or English.  I really don't see a point to it.  My daughter wants to learn Spanish so we will work that in but even the English....I just see it as being anything they ever need to know.  English was always one of my best subjects and the terms in CC's English I've often never even heard what is a Gerund?  Why would anyone need to really know that?  So I leave that out and instead have my kids do a little math quiz I make up based on what skills they are working on and I write out questions on the chalkboard for them to do and it's the last thing they do before treasure box and Ice never seen kids so excited to do math questions! Lol 
So anyways that's our CC so far and how our first week was. 

If you go on my Instagram page you can find my daughter excitedly sharing week 1 science sentence featuring the Classifications of living things.  I'm just going to make a wild guess but I could totally see this girl going into the health sciences department someday.  

Outside of doing our own twist on CC we are following Ambleside Online's recommendations for each year with the big picture in mind but not in a detailed day to day implementation.  I love the book lists and recommendations for each year.  I also find Waldorff so dreamy so we incorporate Waldorff elements into our day as we can minus the mystical and the knomes. We are part of a Charlotte Mason nature club where we advebture into nature, learn, play, bring watercolors and nature journal.  

A major focus this year will using Simply Charlotte Mason's Laying Down The Rails and implementing the Montessori staple, care of the environment.  Life was pretty crazy for the last coupe years and we are finally getting settled and I feel like I can make a more intentional effort to foster better habits and give the kids more responsibility.  

I'm just feeling really excited and happy and at peace as The Lord has brought me back to the resources and way of living with my children that Ge started out showing me in the beginning but I got away from due to insecurity and trying to please everyone.  But I've gotten over needing everyone's approval of what we do, and just going back to what He originally showed me He wanted for our family and I couldn't be more thankful.  God is good. I Pray for wisdom and inspiration in the moment daily and when I do that and follow the gentle nudgings, things always go much better than when I try and follow and keep a preset plan and let that rule over us.  It's a beautiful thing when we can trust and be free to realize how much you're kids can learn and how much more you can enjoy teaching and learning with them without feeling like your being sucked dry when not held hostage by curriculum or by what others are doing.

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