Sunday, December 14, 2014

5 Ways Classical Conversations Foundations Rocks

This is our first year back in a CC Community after a 7 year break. Ah, it's good to be back! CC Community can't be beat for a couple of simple, profound reasons:

1. The Tutor Tutors, the Parents Teach
Foundational to a CC Community is parental involvement. My role as a Tutor in the program is NOT, I repeat NOT, to teach the kids. I am teaching the parents and drilling memory work as we go. What am I teaching the parents? How to train their kids brains to retain, mnemonics, tips and tricks of the teaching trade. As a Tutor my goal is to fill the parents toolbox to overflowing so that they can teach their kids despite and because of their learning styles gifts, abilities, challenges.

2. Tools for the Memory Work Toolbox
We drill and drill and drill some more- the old kill and drill routine. But that drill is not boring. It can take the form of movement, call and response, copy work, kids leading, singing, etc. 7 subject areas recited 7 times in a 1/2 hour. There is no time to be bored! At home the kids drill memory work in the same way. oOur school doesn't look that text-booky but my kids sure learn a whole lotta stuff every year.

Kids ages 4-12 get over the #1 fear in life- that of public speaking- by getting up once  a week and  doing a 2-3 minute presentation. For the younger kids it's more show and tell. For my Master's class we talk about what makes a good presentation, what makes a good listener, applaud effort, ask questions and stand amazed at how much 2-3 minutes a week of concentrated effort contributes to self confidence and personal presentation.

4. The Scientific Method
The Scientific Method is presented to the kids over and over again. They realize that good science is re-producible and that solid science is not the same thing as a scientist demanding that their opinion be listened too. They begin to understand the importance of good note-taking (or picture drawing, depending on how old the kiddo is), they realize that good questions are a valuable piece of the inquisitive, creative life; they see that logic is useful and that directions -good or bad- can change everything. They get that good science can take place in their bedrooms, kitchens and million dollar labs. When kids show up during presentation time with science experiments they've created and implemented on their own at home, you know something profound and important has taken place.

5.  Art for Everybody! 
Foundations overviews art technique, music theory, great artists and the orchestra. What's so great about that? Kids are naturally creative. At the same time that they are memorizing history and math facts, Bible, Latin and grammar - filling their brains with non-negotiables- they are learning methods and techniques that allow them express their knowledge and take part in the great conversation of others who have expressed their knowledge, faith, love, hopes and dreams through the ages via art and music. Foundations gives our kids the grammar of artistic expression.

Of course there are other reasons to participate in Foundations, like MapBlobbing, Sack lunches and playtime in the gym, Human Tic-Tac-Toe, Mental Math, Speed Zap and much more, but you'll just have to visit your nearest community to find all that out for yourself!

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