Saturday, July 2, 2016

Practicum Play Camp 2016

Practicum – Play Camp

The free parent practicum that Classical Conversations offers each summer to their parents and students is one of the best parts about being a member of a CC community. Every summer, these meetings are held giving parents the information, encouragement and motivation they will need to continue homeschooling in the next year in the classical model. The afternoon sessions also offer the required training needed for the CC tutors who will be leading the Foundations, Essentials, and Challenge level classes.

A vital piece of these practicums that I have never been a part of before are the classes offered for the children which are called camps This year, I was asked to teach a Play Camp with 14-18  three to five-year-old children. I wasn’t completely sure that I wanted to do this, but since I had been asked, I decided I should do it.

Another piece to this is that older CC students are the volunteer helpers in the children’s camps. The advantage to this is that the older students (Challenge level) are able to practice their leadership skills as well as interact with the younger CC students. It’s inspiring to watch these young people develop and use their gifts to help the younger kids coming up.

It ended up being a wonderful 3 days even though day one was a bit challenging! Things settled down on the morning of day 2 and I actually looked forward to day 3. In the end, I am happy that I agreed to teach the Play camp and was able to serve and bless our Classical Conversations communities in this way.

Here is a pictorial run down of what we did this week along with links to the projects in case you’re interested.

Coloring and Crafts:
To supplement the teaching of OILS, I found these line and shape pages from Crayola.

Lunar Eclipse:

Thanks to Pinterest, I found this fun and simple craft to teach the concept of a lunar eclipse to little ones.

Parts of Plants:

Pinterest again helped out with the crafts for learning about the parts of plants.

Parts of a Plant teaching poster

Hand print plants

Parts of a Plant cut and paste:

Plants in a Pot:

This next project was one that I came up with on my own. It turned out really well, so I will post a separate tutorial for it.

Books and movies:

 For quiet time, which is much needed after the lunch hour, I chose books and videos related to our teaching topics. There are so many wonderful children's books that have to do with plants and the moon that I chose a few of my favorites that I already owned.

I chose to show the video of The Lorax by Dr. Suess as it related well to plants. We also watched a Charlie Brown movie and Veggie Tales. During the hot afternoons, this was a welcome break as we were under a heat advisory warning, so our normal outside play time was brought indoors.


The teachers are able to choose any artist they like to teach about during Play Camp.  I chose Henri Matisse because he is an artist who enjoyed cut paper collages.  This is fun and easy to do with preschoolers as well.  They just loved using the scissors and glue. Of course, we made a gigantic mess, but the creativity was flowing!!!

The three days of Practicum can be long and intense, but I hope the children and parents this year saw the benefits of and enjoyed being a part of Play Camp and Classical Conversations.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Tutorial: Easy Tin Whistle Storage

It's about time for Classical Conversation students' 6 weeks of tin whistle study.  When we began CC two years ago, someone suggested a "sleeping bag" for the whistle in order to keep it protected and also to be used in class to keep it put away until the tutor was ready for the students to get them out.

Last year, I was able to make a bunch of these "sleeping bags" out of pieces of felt for my CC Community. It was an easy project which the parents and kids loved; so I've decided to share a tutorial on how to make them.

Step One: Buy several pieces of the 9 x 11 more or less rectangles of various colors of felt found in the arts and crafts section at local stores such as K-Mart and Wal-Mart. Each piece will make 2 "sleeping bags."

Step Two: Cut the felt rectangle in half long ways so that you now have two long rectangular pieces of felt.

Step 3: With a complimentary color of felt, cut out strips or wavy pieces of felt to use as a pattern on the "sleeping bag".

 Step 4: Sew the complimentary colored pattern pieces onto the half piece of felt.

Step 5: Fold the half rectangle piece in half long ways with the pattern/complimentary color on the inside. Sew the edge of the bag and the bottom of the bag, leaving the top open.

Step 6: Once sewn, turn inside out. You should now have a long, thin rectangle case with a pattern on it.

Step 7: To make a cover clasp, cut a 1" x 2" strip of the complimentary color of felt. Sew this piece onto the inside top of the "sleeping bag".

Step 8: Use a seam ripper tool to cut a button hole in the top portion of the strip that you just sewed into the bag.

Step 9: Sew a button on to secure the closure flap.

Step 10: Surprise your kiddos with this cute protective case for their tin whistle.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Introducing the Essentials Puzzle

In the past few years in all of my Essential tutor training classes, the veteran Essentials tutor chosen to lead us through our training has used a puzzle as an illustration of what the Essentials class is like. I have always enjoyed that analogy and decided to use it with my students and their parents this year. Since they seemed to enjoy it, I wanted to share the idea.

First of all, I wanted a puzzle with 24 pieces to represent the 24 weeks that we will be in Essentials together this school year. I was able to find a large floor puzzle with 24 pieces - perfect!

I took all of the pieces out of the box and put them in a generic plastic shopping bag. On our first day of Essentials together, I placed all 24 of the pieces on the table in a pile and asked the students and parents to identify what picture it made. They were not allowed to touch the puzzle pieces or move them around - just look at them and then identify the picture.  Of course no one could do it. We had a lot of good guesses based on parts of pieces that they could see and that looked somewhat familiar.

After this, I showed them an enlarged poster of a blank chart A.
(This is a copyrighted chart from the Essentials Guide.
You can find out more here.)

This was my script:  "Chart A is just like this pile of puzzle pieces.  It contains all the information you need to fully understand every sentence that you can form in our English language. But, if you only see part of it or little bits of it, you don't fully understand it as a whole. You need to see and understand each piece to fully understand our English language. Throughout this school year, we will be putting together this puzzle, one piece each week, while at the same time putting together the puzzle of our English language. Each week, I will bring in a new puzzle piece to be added to the ones from the week(s) before; and each week, I will show you a new piece of the puzzle of Chart A - a summary of our entire English Language."

The students and parents were excited about the prospects of both finding out what the puzzle picture is as well as understanding the puzzle of Essentials.

For you fellow CC educators, I hope this is something useful for you as you embark on this year of Essentials.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A New Breed of Homeschooling Moms

I just loved this article found on the Dallas Moms Blog.  Everything this new-to-homeschooling mom writes about, I have experienced.  Find out the 3 main characteristics of homeschooling moms. I'm proud to be a part of the group!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Classical Conversations Practicum 2015

It's that time of year again - heat, humidity, AND helpful Homeschooling conferences.

As a family that has homeschooled for 13 years, it is quite unusual that I have never been to a homeschooling conference. It's almost unbelievable. But, to be honest, conferences overwhelm me. Hundreds of people all in one place and hours of sitting in seminars and lectures just isn't my cup of tea. Since I am not an auditory learner, listening to amazing speakers does not necessarily do much for me. They may be the best in their field of study. They may have the highest of credentials. They may be sought after world wide. However, I personally do much better in learning from them in the quiet of my own home with a snack and a beverage cuddled up in a favorite blanket reading their words and taking notes on what I've read. This is how I learn and retain best. So, when our family joined a Classical Conversations group two years ago and I agreed to be a tutor, I was a little concerned to find out that I was required to attend Practicum Tutor Training each year.

This summer, at this moment in time, I am currently attending and enjoying my third year of tutor training seminars. The group is small enough that I feel comfortable. The training tutor is just one of us - a commoner you might say - who has been tasked with relaying and reviewing what it means to be a CC tutor and how we go about "tutoring" our class of Foundation or Essential students. These seminars are 3 afternoons of enjoyable conversation and interaction with other tutors who also love to share their love of learning. I have found that the other tutors attending the training are warm, kind, and humble people. Spending 3 days with them each summer has been a pleasure. And, I leave having learned something new each time. I've gained new ideas to put to use in my classroom each year. I also have met and begun new acquaintances and friendships with others who believe the way I do about educating our children and who can walk this journey beside me - even if only through exchanges of email questions and helpful answers.

Attending Classical Conversations Practicum is a joy. It's a little break in the summer heat and humidity to enjoy the fellowship and camaraderie of other helpful homeschooling moms just like me.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Learning the importance of Blood

November 2014

A visit to the local Blood Bank was a great way to follow up our recent study of blood in our Classical Conversations group. 

The students had recently learned memory work about the parts of blood as well as the jobs that blood performs.  It was great to be able to take them to the Blood donations center to hear about how important blood donation is to saving other people's lives. 

We were able to tour the center, watch a video that showed survivors whose lives had been saved through blood donations, and watch as a donor gave plasma and another donor gave blood. 

Some of the students thought it was just gross and others were fascinated.  I hope the experience sticks with them and that someday they become willing and joyful blood donors of this precious gift of life that God has given us to share. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Be an Encourager!

I really loved this article written by a homeschool mom from Illinois. She, like myself and so many other homeschooling moms have undergone the questioning and scrutiny of well-meaning but uninformed folks who don't homeschool. Her responses are kind and gracious but honest, and her suggestions for how to approach those who school differently than you do should be taken to heart.( It is always wise to put some thought into a question before blurting out the first thing that pops in our mind, Right!?!)

Here's the link to the article. Enjoy!!!

Quad City Moms Blog