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Monday, September 24, 2012

Choosing Fun Over Formal…

Like I mentioned in my most recent post and last week, we’ve really been struggling with Classical Conversations Essentials.  If you want to know more about what Essentials is about, just click on the highlighted text above.  I won’t try to explain it all here.  LOL!
We are loving the Foundations part of CC, but the Essentials just isn’t going over well.  It is probably because we’re not part of an Essentials group, but even still…I don’t know that it would make a difference if we were.  Caleb struggles with the task of writing, and there’s a LOT of writing involved (copying charts daily).  Yes, I let him skip a lot of the writing, but there still wasn’t much content for the program.
So, after much prayer, thought, and discussion, I’ve decided that we are going to ditch it for the most part.  I will still keep doing the Punctuation/Capitalization Rule and the Spelling Rule/Homophones sheet.  We’ll also continue with the dictation and Analytical Task Sheet (these two go together).  Other than that, I won’t use it formally.  I may use their terminology, and I may still reference the charts, but it’ll only be a tool…not our English program. 
In fact, I’m going to ditch formal English altogether.  As I’m sure you are all aware, English concepts repeat year after year.  However, they just get harder and more in-depth.  So, frankly, I don’t think taking a few years off of formal English grammar teaching will hurt Caleb at all.  I feel confident that he’ll pick it up smoothly when we transition back into a formal program in middle school (that’s my plan…wait until 6th grade to go back to traditional pen/paper/textbook English grammar). 
Until then, we’re going to have FUN with English grammar.  We will read books on parts of speech and other English concepts.  We’ll play games on the computer that teach and review those same concepts.  Caleb will watch You Tube videos and DVDs that discuss English grammar.  I’ll spend time making (with guidance from the Internet and books) some hands-on learning games that teach grammar skills.  I will also use the books he chooses to read during his daily reading time to discuss English skills with him (show me the nouns, where are the verbs, what’s the subject, etc).  Occasionally, he will have to show me how he’s progressing by doing an oral or written assessment. 
I will continue to do the Institute for Excellence in Writing (used in the CC Essentials program) though.  So, this will give him more opportunities to gain some grammar skills through his writing.
Since Caleb is missing some of the fun, too, I’m adding in a few days of math games and arts & crafts.  He’ll also go back to choosing three topics to learn more about each week.  I probably won’t do too much with those other than getting books from the library, but we may add in some lapbook/notebooking activities as time and the subject permits. 
So, wish us well as we begin this new schedule and approach today.  As a homeschool mom, I always worry about whether or not I’m making the best decision for Caleb.  I pray that I am…only time will tell.  Happy schooling!!!


Jeanette said...

I agree! The reason we homeschool...or one of the reasons, is to tailor education to fit our children. If it isn't working for you DITCH IT. And I have a firm belief that kids learn about proper grammar usage from being good readers. I applaud your changes and hope Caleb starts having FUN again!

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