Friday, October 24, 2014

Classical Conversations During the Rest of the Week

Classical Conversations Community Day Day is obvious; it's 5 crisp 1/2 hour segments, new grammar, science labs, art, presentation and grammar review. It's fast, furious and fun.

But at home, what then? There is no Well Trained Tutor at home (unless you're the Tutor, too, like me). If you aren't one and want to become one, check out my list of must-reads here and get yourself to a CC Practicum.  Here are the CC Must Have tools and what we do with them on a very regular basis at home, between Community Days.
CC Must Have Tools
Time line cards
CC Cycle CD's- timeline, weekly and subject CD's.*
Black line master geography maps- laminated.
Latin flash cards
CC Foundations Guide *
CC Multiplication Tables, Squares and Cubes 
white board and markers (optional, but great to have. We have a 4 x 6 on the wall and a 1 x 3).

As you can see, you don't need to spend a fortune to make this work.

The Plan
We do a lot of what we do at class day at home. I get out the flashcards, the geography cards, the science cards, the states and capitals Popsicle sticks and map, the Latin cards and then we go from subject area to subject area. I do have some more elaborate games that I take to Community Day for review, but at home, it's mostly just the basics.

We listen to the Timeline song several times a week -at least 2-3 times, all the way through. We do the timeline flashcards. This includes my "flashing" the cards while the kids say them in order, as well as my mixing them up and having them put them back in order. Because my kids are old-hat at the VP history flashcards, they learned the CC cards in about 2 weeks, thanks to the CD. We still go over them at least twice a week. Review is key to long term memory acquisition. They generally love doing it. They also spend time reading the cards. They are a bit different than the VP cards and I was worried that they wouldn't be able to make the transition well. The CD is worth every penny as once that song is in their heads (and yours!) you'll be singing it morning, noon and night!
We listen to the subject CD 2-4 times a week, especially focusing on grammar, Latin and math up to the week we are on in Community Day. We live out of town and drive to town twice a week. During those times we listen to the CD's. While the 20 year old who is traveling with us once a week feigns exasperation with the CD he is often the one that pauses it to tell us unique and idiosyncratic facts about various people mentioned on it. Just yesterday he recounted a  fascinating piece of history about the English Kings. That's what a decade of dedicated timeline work gets you. History geeks in the extreme. Which I love.

We listen to the weekly CD up to the week we are on in Community Day at least twice a week and then in the car on the way to community day. I'll also play it when the kids are cleaning the bathrooms or we need something easy, but effective, to do.

We do timed multiplication tables, at least 2 a day. My kids are older and know their times tables, but speed is another issue and we are working towards getting super fast at all of them through 15's. We also go over squares and cubes regularly, because we are doing them in Essentials already. They have familiarity with it, so we are working ahead. The term "squares" and "cubes" is relatively new grammar for Flower. By drilling it regularly, she is becoming familiar and fluent with the concepts and better able to apply it when it comes up.  For younger kids, I would recommend doing the skip counting and numbers chart a couple of times a week, focusing on the numbers introduced that week.
We go over the geography 2-3 times a week.. I include the postal abbreviations, I ask capitals or states, they I.D.location on the map. I point and they have to I.D. state and capital,river or landmark, etc. I also have geography flashcards that I found at the teacher supply store. These have the shape of the state on the front and the kids have to ID the state and capital by shape. In addition, they both work on drawing, using blob map techniques at first and going from general to specific.

We do Latin flashcards- both Latin and English 3-5 times a week. We utilize mnemonics, including ASL to help with particularly tricky vocab, such as irregular verbs.

Along with that, I do go over the Foundations Guide memory work for the week we are on at least 2-3 times a week.I drill it and drill it and drill some more. The kids have been doing this since they were 4 and 7. They get it. They see the value of it. In the past, I've put it on a large white-board, just like at Community Day. Thanks to CC connected, I have "Fridge Facts" posted, along with the entire Latin and English Bible Memory work and different graphics on Grammar. Because this is not the first time through a Foundations Cycle for my kids, some of this memory work seems so easy. We still drill. Recall is different than long term memory.
We are also doing Essentials. We copy charts 3-4 times a week, 2 each time. I dictate sentences for the task sheet the day after class.  I drill Keys to the Classroom at least a couple of times a day. For the writing, we do KWO one day and then write and do dress-ups another day. Cub has his own groove with papers and usually just knocks it out. Flower needs a bit more help and so I usually help her at the dress-up stage, along with help for spelling.

This is a simple and effective program, but does require time on task and intentionality. Most kids still need  a good amount of parental input to make this work and to really own the material.

Also, remember that the first 160 timeline cards are a challenge. The next 160 points on the timeline are more easily accessible, because they already have 160 points of reference. It builds on itself exponentially from there. Same with the foundations memory work. Don't be discouraged if your 4 year old doesn't get what an infinitive is. Just trust the system. When they hit Essentials, you'll be amazed at how quickly they recall complicated definitions and how readily they apply them. That's the beauty of long term memory- your kids own the material and when it is time to apply it, they can with ease.

Questions, comments?

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