Friday, August 26, 2016

Diving in...

Here we are launching year eight with Classical Conversations. I suppose I should be a pro by now. Yeah... right. Because my habits follow those of most homeschooling moms, I've spent more than the necessary amount of time figuring out the nuts and bolts of teaching our girls this year. In other words, I've been wrestling with the issue of whether I can broaden their minds without losing mine in the process. Hmmm. I think I've probably already crossed over that line. 

Mentioning the desire to keep as much of my sanity intact as possible compels me to chime in about the Morning Basket trend. This is the attractive habit of sharing inspirational readings, gazing upon lovely art, and discussing inspiring thoughts with each other first thing in the morning. Well, I've finally realized that one of us (I won't name her, but she just turned thirteen this summer) is not especially warm and fuzzy upon wakening, so keeping my basket to myself as we begin the day is the safest and the wisest morning ritual at this house. But I digress.

This morning my ten year old daughter christens her seventh year of CC alongside her small, beloved, group of friends as she begins her maiden voyage in the Masters class. Whoopee! One thing I know for sure is that the Foundations and Challenge programs have provided our homeschool with necessary structure and abundant knowledge. I've tried managing the beast called homeschooling without this guidance and community. Talk about losing my mind! I quickly returned with my tail between my legs. 

Now that we're at the halfway mark in our educational journey, I can see that obtaining knowledge at the grammar stage is sort of like riding waves aboard a sailboat. Memorizing the facts the first time around makes for a beautiful and eye opening journey with only the occasional rough water. It's not too difficult to stay pretty dry. Yet at some point the water becomes too tempting to resist. That's where we are now. This girl is longing to jump into the sea and swim. She's ready to get soaked to the bone.

I'm a sucker for books and it shows. Our bookshelves are overflowing with every kind of classical curriculum I can get my hot hands on, always trying to find the next best thing. But seriously... enough is enough. This year I'm forcing myself to employ the resources we already own as I coach my daughter and set some expectations. I have to keep myself coming back to the fact that there's way more information in this world than I could ever expose our children to and that my role is to teach them the skills that they need to navigate this Sea of Knowledge by themselves. But I also know myself. I need a plan to keep me focused on our goals; to keep us headed toward the horizon.

My plan is to use CC's Cycle 2 Sea of Knowledge as the diving board for my daughter's plunge into her own dialectical and rhetorical ocean. Navigating these waters will definitely be daunting at times (maybe more often than I'm prepared for), but with the correct equipment, instruction, and guidance it certainly will be possible. I hope.

I've compiled a list of the skills that I'm expecting my daughter to practice this semester along with the sources she'll use to accomplish this. The CC memory work serves as a means to perfect her grammar skills while the added curriculum provides the substance necessary to develop her dialectic and rhetoric skills. 


  • Complete several math lessons weekly and engage (with me) in conversation about math problems and concepts each day.
  • Play math games.
  • Parse and diagram sentences. LOE/Essentials
  • Explore 1st declension nouns and 1st conjugation verbs. Lively Latin
  • Create key word outlines. IEW
  • Read and narrate living books about the people of Cycle 2's history including various scientists, composers, and artists. AmblesideLiving Books, Local library  
  • Read, listen to, and narrate stories about the Middle Ages. The Story of the World
  • Relate historic people and events to each other by placing them on a timeline. 
  • Connect history to world geography by placing locations on a world map.
  • Study the science of astronomy by way of narration, note taking, and hands-on projects. Guide to Astronomy
  • Listen to the music of great musicians. Classics for Kids


  • Explain several math problems to me each week.
  • Write a structurally sound paragraph from a key word outline.
  • Incorporate various stylistic techniques into the writing assignments.
  • Compose sentences made up of the different sentences structures, patterns, and purposes.
  • Use proper grammar and appropriate parts of speech when speaking and writing.
  • Exhibit some understanding of planetary motion. 
  • Narrate the major events and historic people of the Middle Ages. Veritas Press 
  • Participate in class presentations concentrating on public skills.
  • Create works of art that relate to famous artists
  • Observe nature and keep a nature journal.

I intend to refer to this list often letting it act as her lifejacket and my buoy. Even though I want my daughter to wholeheartedly dive into the water, I certainly will make sure that she doesn't drown. She'll probably need to stick some water wings on here and there but then again so will I! We'll navigate this Sea of Knowledge together one stroke at a time. Somewhere way across that ocean is a beach full of wonderful secrets just waiting for her to unfold. 


And where will I be eight years from now? Ahhh... My crystal ball reveals a sweet scene. Through a dreamy fog, I see my husband and myself relaxing in the sun, reading mindless novels while sipping chilled Chardonnay topped off with those cute little umbrellas. We'll hopefully be basking in the warm thoughts of a job well done. 

Seize each day.