Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Classical Conversations

(To view the video, you'll need to view this post at the site by clicking here.  Also, you might wish to pause the music player on the right sidebar as well.)

Peter is in first grade this year, and Miss Boo is in Kindergarten.  To help supplement what I do with home schooling (Math, Reading, Science, History, etc.) I signed up both Peter and Miss Boo for a program called Classical Conversations.  Here's a quote from their website:

"Based on the classical model of education, families meet weekly to introduce new memory work (or grammar of a subject) and review old memory work using Classical Conversations’ Foundations Guide as the heart of the curriculum. A trained tutor creatively introduces the memory work and leads the classroom time. The memory work is divided into 6 subjects: timeline/history, geography, math, science, Latin, and English grammar. In addition to the memory work, students also participate in a fine arts project/lesson, a science project, and an opportunity to practice oral presentation skills each week." 

Mrs. Dillow is their tutor (Miss Boo and Peter are in the same class), and does a wonderful job.  Miss Boo especially loves Mrs. Dillow, and insisted that she get an invitation to Miss Boo's party.  She (Miss Boo) has also very much enjoyed having some girls to hang around with for a change, although the other little girls had to adjust to my daughters rather over-exuberant temperament.  (As I mentioned to one of the other mothers, having a shy daughter isn't all that bad.  She could have my daughter, after all.)

I cannot say how thankful I am that I took the step to do this.  It is a lot of extra work, but the benefits are so well worth the effort.  Once a week the kids get almost a full day of interaction, science experiments, "traditional" class room scenarios, as well as art projects and music projects.  (I think that both of my kids know their material pretty well, but unfortunately their classroom listening skills are lacking.  Every Monday afternoon after CC is done I feel like hiding in shame, but I'm told that desire is par for the course of motherhood.)

My favorite side benefit of CC is that I get several hours of time in which I can sit and knit.  The tutor presents the information, and although I do need to be present to help her if she needs it (and to occasionally threaten my children with dire consequences if they don't sit still and stop talking) I do have large periods of time in which I can relax and knit.

(Perhaps this is the real reason I like CC so much).

One of the teaching aids that I purchased for CC was a CD that outlines all the memory work.  Each week the kids learn a fun history fact set to music (hearing Miss Boo sing about the "Evil Period" and "Popa Leo III" is hilarious).

Even Gabe is benefitting from the material, as without much effort on my part he can now count to twelve and has a somewhat accurate grasp of the latin verb amo in the present and future tense.  (It's an odd experience to have a two-year-old singing amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant while sitting in the cart at the grocery store.)

Mondays are a pretty packed day for me, because after getting home from CC around 3:00, I have to get the kids down for a nap so I can begin teaching music lessons at 3:30.

(We usually eat pizza for dinner on Monday night.)