Sunday, October 11, 2015

Just some thoughts...

     I love Classical Conversations' Essentials program. This is my fourth year actively being a part of it. I am learning English Grammar and composition like I have never learned it before. My older daughter benefited greatly from her three year journey in Essentials. But... we all have different needs, abilities, and maturity levels.

     My younger daughter is nine; old enough to be in my Essentials class. (I'm the tutor.) But she is not ready for this curriculum as it is written so I have tweaked it to fit her needs. She is extremely intelligent yet quieter and more thoughtful than daughter #1. Because of this, her grammar and writing instruction has taken a slightly different slant.


We read... and read... and then read some more. We identify the parts of speech in what we're reading. We talk about figures of speech, adjectives, adverbs, and personification. We look at punctuation. We discuss whether a verb is intransitive or transitive. And she narrates.

     The narrating is the best part. She retells something she has read from a thoughtfully chosen piece of literature and I type it up just as she says it. As one would expect, this narration consists of one long sentence with endless coordinating conjunctions. After I print it out, she circles all the coordinating conjunctions and decides which ones to remove in order to make shorter, more concise sentences.

      She identifies the verbs, chooses adverbs from the adverb list in the Student Resource Notebook from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), and writes them in.

      I retype it and voila, she has her own composition to be proud of. In fact, she's quite surprised that she's actually able to compose a three paragraph essay. But she is able and she has done it. Granted, she didn't write it all out on her own, but she did think it, say it, and it is all her own doing. In our present narration, she is not only adding adverbs, but will include adjectives.

     Since I embrace Charlotte Mason's philosophy of short lessons, we do this a little bit at a time. The whole process takes about three weeks. For a young student, learning to write this way makes sense to me.

     One reason we homeschool is to meet our children's educational needs by adapting various curricula.  The Essentials program has all the information necessary for the student to obtain a solid grip on English Grammar and writing, but its methods can certainly be modified to accommodate each child's individual personality.

She used strong verbs, quality adjectives,
and an adverb (-ly word) to compose
an original cinquain poem.

     So... here are my thoughts. ~ As homeschooling parents, we are the teachers. Don't be afraid to change it up in order to provide the best education possible for your unique child. Be your curriculum's master, not its slave.

     How do you change it up? I'd love to hear your thoughts.