Sunday, August 3, 2014

Our Big-Picture Educational Scope and Sequence Integrated with Classical Conversations

Or “On Guinea Pigs” or even “I Might Get It Right By Child #4”

Take your pick. [grin]

Purpose of Education

I’ve been blogging about homeschooling for 7 1/2 years now, since my oldest turned 5. In all those years, you’ve read about what we want to do, what we are doing, what we did, what we didn’t do, what we wish we could find time and self-discipline to do. We started out using The Well-Trained Mind as our very general guide. Four years ago we switched things up a bit and started participating in a local Classical Conversations Community. Each year we’ve had to take things as they came depending on ages and stages of the kids.

The truth is, we just start from where we are, use what is available, and do the next thing. There is no benefit to regret or anxiety.

I recently posted extensive curricula lists as well as 5 different options for integrating The Story of the World with CC [Classical Conversations].

Some people love to read those type of posts, but all the options can be quite overwhelming. And sometimes it is very hard to see the forest for the trees.

As I’m making plans for this coming year, I need to see the forest.

The following is our family’s current, basic “ideal” recommendations and progression through the ages and stages. I hope some of my readers find it helpful!

The other thing to keep in mind is that most of our curriculum is used informally and most of it is buffet-style, soul-nourishing, delight-filled reading and watching and learning.

This year I have one child in each category! (K4, 3rd, 5th, and 7th)

Always and Everyone

Read good books about everything (spread the buffet!). Listen to quality music. Look at beautiful art. Savor lovely words and ideas. Spend time together. Ask good questions. Talk and have conversations about everything. Make the learning atmosphere inviting. Encourage curiosity. Exercise and breathe fresh air. Pay attention to the world around us!

A few posts for context:

Childhood Essentials (posted 6 years ago!)

Educational Goals

The Good Life

K4-K5 (Lola)

[CC only if older siblings are attending] [We are waiting until next year to enroll Lola. She doesn’t turn 4 until October.]

All About Reading/Spelling (10-20 minutes daily)
Phonics Readers by Nora Gaydos

Handwriting Without Tears (5-15 minutes daily)

Living Math and Manipulatives

Poetry and Songs (read. sing. learn by heart.)

Lots of Great Read-Aloud Picture Books

Children’s Bible (Sing the Word From A-Z Bible Verse Songs)

Play! Hands-on fun!

[Join older siblings when interested]

1st-3rd (Leif)

CC Foundations Cycles 1-3 (regardless of which cycle student begins with) (One morning each week, 24 weeks)

Review memory work (10-20 minutes daily, listen to CD in car, casual and joyful!)

Many High-Quality Picture Books, Simple Chapter Books, and Read-Alouds: non-fiction, literature (including myths, legends, and fairy tales), poetry, and historical fiction corresponding w/ CC topics in every subject and a 3-year history cycle (Ancients for cycle 1, Medieval/Renaissance for cycle 2, and American History/Modern World for cycle 3). (This does not have to be formal or scheduled work.)

Children’s Literature Read-Alouds (great for bedtime reading)

Memorize poetry (Robert Louis Stevenson, etc.) and Bible verses (Sing the Word or AWANAS) (15 minutes daily, listen to CDs in car)

All About Spelling, levels 2-4 (includes dictation) (15+ minutes, 2-4x weekly)

(More All About Reading? Student Reads Aloud/Independent Reading)

Handwriting Without Tears/Copywork (from poetry, literature, Bible, and/or memory work) (15 minutes daily)

(Narration or Primary Arts of Learning from IEW if you wish for more writing)

Life of Fred Math, Manipulatives, and Games (skip counting for CC and math facts drill) (casual and joyful!)
Teaching Textbooks level 3 beginning in 2nd grade (daily)

Map Drawing (2+x weekly)
Step-by-Step Drawing

Telling God's Story and the Children’s Illustrated Bible

Song School Latin (casual and joyful!)

MCT Language Arts series [begin reading all books (grammar, writing, vocabulary, poetry) together in 2nd grade (casual and joyful!), only do sentence analysis practice, use CC English Grammar memory work wording]

Choir (with music theory) or Piano

Sport or physical activity

[Optional: More science, fine arts, history projects, etc. at home if they are enjoyable]

4th-6th (Luke)

CC Foundations Cycles 1-3 (One morning each week, 24 weeks; review memory work at home)

Memory Work in Timeline, History, Science, Geography, English Grammar, Latin, and Math (Memory Master)
Public Speaking, Fine Arts, Science Projects

CC Essentials Cycles 1-3 (One afternoon each week, 24 weeks; complete grammar and writing assignments at home)

English Grammar, Writing (IEW history-themed for subject integration), Math Games

(Repeat) 3-Year History Cycle

Cycle 1: Ancient History (Creation – Fall of Rome, 450 A.D.)
Cycle 2: Medieval and Renaissance (450 A.D. – Age of Exploration, 1600 A.D.)
Cycle 3: American History and the Modern World (1600 A.D. – Present) [I will be posting a Modern World book list soon.]

Read The Story of the World Volumes 1-4; read many corresponding picture books and chapter books aloud or independently—non-fiction, literature (including myths, legends, and fairy tales), poetry, speeches, and historical fiction; create timeline notebook; and memorize corresponding poetry and speeches. Year-round! (This is a great time for corresponding movies/documentaries and field trips as well!)

3-Year Science Cycle (Real Science 4 Kids—just read through books or do labs/workbooks and fieldtrips if enjoyable or desired)

Cycle 1: Biology and Geology
Cycle 2: Astronomy and Physics
Cycle 3: (Human Body) and Chemistry

All About Spelling, levels 5-7

Prescripts Cursive and Drawing (may use when CC is not in session to maintain fine motor strength in hands)

Teaching Textbooks 5 and 6, Saxon 7/6
Life of Fred Math (read through Pre-Algebra)

Map Drawing
Step-by-Step Drawing

Bible (And memorize Bible passages with Sing the Word or AWANAS)

Latin (I like Prima Latina, Latina Christiana, and First Form Latin by Memoria Press, but they all use Ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation so your mileage may vary)

MCT Vocabulary and Poetry when Essentials is not in session (read through books together) and use Practice sentences for additional sentence analysis or diagramming

Choir (with music theory) or Instrument

Sport or physical activity

7th-8th (Levi)

CC Challenge A and B

[Henle Latin, Literature/The Lost Tools of Writing, Saxon Math, Geography and Mock Trial, Logic/Rhetoric, Science]

Music and Sport


CC Challenge I – IV (This is where I pray that we’ll have all Challenge levels available locally)

[Each Challenge level includes Math, Science “Research,” Latin, Literature and Composition, Logic/Rhetoric, and Debate.]

Music and Sport

[My children will have more say in their academics once they’ve completed 10th grade/Challenge II. They may opt out of CC and do a dual enrollment program through the Community College or something else. We’ll see when the time comes.]


I think that covers the basics. Any essentials that are missing? What changes would you make?


Anonymous said...

Faithful, longtime reader here. Just an observation, you seem like you are in a really good place right now! Thanks for all this good info. Wondering if you would ever tutor or direct CC.

Christie said...

I'm curious if your Challenge student will be doing extra literature or history at home.

Heidi said...

Anon~ Yes, I'm feeling really great about where we're at! I would consider tutoring Essentials in the future, mostly just to off-set the cost of having 4 kids in CC and tutoring a Challenge level may be further in the future (like several years from now). But I'd rather not tutor Foundations, and I would not be a F/E Director. But that's just my own preference. :)

Christie~ I'm certain my Challenge A student will be doing extra reading this year--mostly because he's a voracious reader and I couldn't stop him if I wanted to. ;) Anything more than that I plan to play by ear. I'm not adding anything the first month so we can both get a feel for the Challenge work load. I'll keep everyone posted as we go through our year.

Jennifer said...

Curious as to your transition into Saxon. We have started ours with Horizons, then into TT. The 4th grader will be doing TT 6 this year if we continue it, but I am considering switching to Saxon. I was also considering waiting until middle school to make that switch. Opinions?

Heidi said...

Jennifer~ I'll have more opinions as we go into our year. I wish Levi had more time to work on Saxon 7/6 before transitioning into Saxon 8/7. We'll see if it's a tough year or if he can manage it. Math is definitely not his strength. The other boys shouldn't have any problems.

Danielle said...

Hi Heidi! I'm a long-time follower and love your posts. I know you've written about the MCT language series before. They sound very interesting to me. We are doing First Language lesson level 1 right now. We did it all last year (1st grade) and need to finish the level 1 book this year (2nd grade). When would be a good time to move from First Language Lessons into MCT? Also, would this be one's primary writing "textbook" for early elementary years?

Heidi said...

Danielle~ I think the Island series (the first level) is designed for roughly 3rd grade, but I read it to my 2nd and 4th graders together. I found the actual writing assignments (not the writing instruction) to be too creative/open-ended for my boys, but I suppose it would depend on the student. I plan to use copy work and ease into IEW (PAL or the first level of IEW themed writing) for actual writing assignments before Essentials in 4th grade.

Karen said...

Hey there!! Just a quick question,why did you go from TT to Saxon?? Also, how did you find the transition?? My son is in grade 5, but is finishing Pre Algebra this year of TT. What level of Saxon would he be at??

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