Our first quarter of Classical Conversations is almost done! Is that possible? Tomorrow is week 5 already. Weeks 3 and 4 were so busy and a ton of fun. We switched church locations in between, which was a little transition but which offers us a serene location, a wonderful playground for all ages, and a colorful campus. Love it! The kids are all getting more confident with their public speaking and are thoroughly enjoying Medieval history. Our after-school Medieval history class is wonderful and the big kids are getting so much out of it. I love their crafty creations! My class of pre-k and kindergarteners has really opened up and makes each day a challenge, in a good way. It’s fun watching these kids learn!
The calm before the storm…
So long as we have plenty of songs, games, and hands- on activities, these kids can learn anything! Week 3′s speech topic was about a geographical location or a biome and all of my kids talked about the wetlands. That’s the predominant biome where we live. E and D both memorized a poem I wrote for them about the wetlands. We introduce the topic Tuesday, practice Wednesday through Friday, and polish Sunday evening. So far so good! This year, we’re trying to present speeches without looking at our papers (for the big kids at least). Loud volume and enunciation are a challenge but we’re getting there. For D, we work on memorization and also rely on visual cues to help him along. The kids have all done great with their presentations. Even 3-year-old B can do it, with a bit of prompting. They’re all so proud of themselves. They should be too! Some of the kids in my class were too shy to present at first but are now getting up and giving it their best. Awesome!
There was a ton to learn in week 3 and this isn’t light material! We mastered our Western European Countries with map work and lots of fun poems and songs. We learned our pronoun order and Latin endings. We colored shields for Richard the Lion-Hearted while singing about his life and played a food chain game to learn about parts of the food chain. We also read a book about a goat who eats everything and the kids liked that a lot. I try and bring in a selection of topic-related library books each week. Not only are they awesome supplementary time fillers should we finish our work quickly, but the kids love stories and also look at them independently should they finish a project before their classmates. You’ve got to love the library!
Science was fun too. It can be challenging doing hands-on science experiments with so may young kids but parental involvement makes it possible. We could not do this without our amazing moms and grandmas to help out! We learned about Saturn this week. After a basic book about the planets, we put together models to see how we can still see Saturn though its rings. This was a big hit! Art was also fun. We reviewed our basic elements of shape and practiced finding shapes in the classroom before delving into upside-down drawing. Now that was challenging. The kids did really well.
Young Scientists at Work…
Random Week 3 Shots…
Vikings and Charlemagne
My mother-in-law stayed with us for several weeks and was able to join us for two Classical Conversations classes. She didn’t know anything about the program at all before but was totally impressed. She was very helpful too! She helped out in class and at home she helped with projects and reading the kids our mounds of supplementary library books. The Story of the World complements our history sentences so well!
Here is one of our favorite at-home creations, rice-crispie treat castle:
Week 4 introduced us to European Rivers, which were quite challenging. We worked on it together and the kids did great. I’m learning so much along with them. We read all about evil King John and the Magna Carta and discussed the meaning of this document. In class the kids stacked blocks as a skip counting activity and really enjoyed this. Not only did we practice our 7′s and 8′s many times, but they loved building towering, leaning towers as well and cracked up whenever one fell over. We’ll definitely do this activity again.
Before the kids arrived for the day…
Our new room has no white board… time to improvise!
Skip Counting Blocks
The morning brought a new challenge. Each week, a class gets a challenge question at morning assembly. This week, whichever child from the ABC class could get up in front and recite their timeline (weeks 1-3) got to bring home Eddie the giant Elephant and keep him for the week. D volunteered and did it, albeit very quietly. He was so proud of himself and thrilled to be the first to bring Eddie home and add one clothing item to him. Eddie has been drug all over the house, loved on, wrestled with, and sat upon and is going back tomorrow with an eye patch as his first accessory.
Eddie the Elephant
The kids were all ready to get to work and we started with speeches. D recited Psalm 23 from memory. Big boy! That one took a lot of work but he did it! I hope it stays in there. B recited Genesis 1: 1-2. The kids all did great. Mapping went well too and although we didn’t love this week’s history song, the kids were all able to reassemble the history sentence (in pictures) in the right order by the time we were done. The natural cycles were fun and we spent some time on the water cycle, singing songs and reading a Magic Tree House book on the topic. The kids were so engaged! Now they all know what it would be like to be water. Science was so much fun. We learned all about the sun and how gasses move at different speeds in different parts of the sun and also saw how planets closer to the sun orbit faster than those farther away. For art, we learned about abstract art and created our own masterpieces. That was definitely a highlight. Lots of parent and grandparent involvement made this possible. Thank you, helpers!
Hard at work…
How cute is this?
Mapping European Waters
These are some big topics this year and with my kids I don’t expect mastery. Exposure to new ideas and concepts is enough. I’m surprised at how much they’re absorbing though! B loves geography and talks all about parts of Europe. She can also point them out on the map. D has most of his memory songs down and can also tell me about the topics based on the supplementary materials we’ve read and the projects we’ve done. Score!
8-year-old A absorbs it all and more. She’s getting so much out of this program! I LOVED their projects from their after school class too. Their teacher decked the room out like a monastery and played Gregorian chants while the kids learned the history of the day and wrote with quills. They even got to dress up in Monk’s robes. It’s not every day one gets to be a Monk for an afternoon! I hope that one day they realize how unique their education really is.
On to tomorrow! A whole new adventure, a new week of learning is about to begin.
E’s script with a quill
A writes with a quill like a Monk