Monday, August 1, 2016

Where We'd Rather Be

This year I'm trying to be more intentional with my schooling agenda. I'm looking at our curriculum and streamlining it to cover what we need to accomplish and what we are really going to do. I'm figuring out where we'd rather be. I have a plan.

First, I did an assessment of my daughter's present skills grouped into the trivium stages of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric.  I find that this breaks it all down for me so that I can focus on skills rather than content; become empowered instead of overwhelmed. I'll revisit this list at the end of 18 weeks and see where she is at that time.** Next, I outlined the skills she'll be working on this semester and the curriculum (content) she will use to achieve those skills. I'll also return to these in four months, reevaluate, and make adjustments.

I'm planning to totally embrace CC's Challenge B curriculum partly because I'm directing the class but mostly and more importantly because it's an unbelievable program. The material is so engaging and relevant that I only wish I had had the opportunity to be a part of it when I was in 8th grade... many, many years ago. Thankfully, I'm blessed to be a part of Challenge now. Better late than never.

This is what we're planning to accomplish 1st semester 2016 with Grace (and hopefully, with grace.) I've accentuated the skills she'll work on in order to keep them foremost in my mind. By daily referring to this list, I intend to stay on track as we venture into this territory called Challenge B.

Grammar (Latin) Henle First Year Latin
* Pay attention to detail.
  • Decline and conjugate new words
  • Make grammar and vocabulary flash cards to memorize.
  • Recognize Latin words, roots, and derivatives in all subjects.
* Engage in dialogue by asking questions, defining terms, comparing ideas, and recognizing patterns and rules.
  • Parse from Latin to English and English to Latin.
  • Apply Latin structure to Logic and English.
  • Discuss/practice vocabulary and grammar in class utilizing the Five Common Topics.
*Embrace the study of Latin as a means to begin in conversation with all of mankind.
  • Develop and practice the skills required to learn any language.
  • Participate positively in classroom discussions.
  • Come to class prepared to discuss and present concepts from homework.
  • Be able to recognize and express the integration of Latin in the other strands.

Logic (Math) Saxon Algebra 1/2
* Read the alphabet (symbols), memorize the proper vocabulary (facts), and internalize the structural rules (laws and operations).
  • Continue to memorize math formulas, laws, and facts.
  • Make flashcards of terms, laws, and formulas to help with memorization.
  • Complete a math lesson/test each day.
* Ask questions that lead to clarity about how math works and how to use numbers in relationship to one another. What am I being asked to find? What information am I being given? What operations or relationships help me rightly relate the information given?
  • Improve speed and accuracy while logically applying math laws to basic algorithms. 
  • Demonstrate all the math work.
  • Discuss concepts and math problems by way of the Five Common Topics.
* Develop an appreciation for math equations because they balance, because they give us a mystery to talk about, and because it reflects the nature of our Creator.
  • Manipulate and use the text to teach self.
  • Explain math problems.
  • Come to class with work completed, ready to discuss and present.
  • Recognize and express how math exhibits itself in all subjects.

Rhetoric (Logic) Introductory Logic
* Memorize precise definitions.
  • Memorize the vocabulary of Formal Logic.
  • Make flashcards of Logic terms.
  • Memorize syllogism rules and fallacies.
* Sharpen the skills of sound reasoning, of good discernment, of thorough analysis of ideas and thoughts, and of correct argument. 
  • Discuss the skills of clear reasoning and critical thinking working towards understanding.
  • Order information into usable form.
  • Participate in class discussions.
* Consider ideas thoughtfully and use those ideas to build greater understanding of the world and their place in it.
  • Come to class prepared to present concepts.
  • Identify Logic in the other strands (and in life.)

Debate (Current Events) News Articles
* Define terms related to specific events.
  • Define and recognize bias.
  • Identify reliable news sources.
  • Define various current events topics.
*Exhibit curiosity by asking good questions.
  • Formulate questions by way of the Five Common Topics: Definition, Comparison, Circumstance, Relationship, and Authority.
  • Organize facts into a persuasive format.
  • Participate in class discussions.
  • Read news articles critically.
* Join in the classical conversations of mankind, seek and discover knowledge, and promote freedom and justice.
  • Discuss controversial issues with passion not emotion.
  • Defend a premise with supporting facts.
  • Present persuasively in class.
  • Connect current events with past historical events both secular and biblical.

Exposition and Composition (Literature) The Lost Tools of Writing
* Define the parameters of each assignment.
  • Read each assigned book.
  • Compile a list of unfamiliar words and their definitions.
  • Practice the mechanics for writing an essay. 
  • Plot the history and geography from the literature on a timeline.
* Analyze and compare the work of excellent writers through a rich literary environment.
  • Narrate each assigned reading.
  • Create sentences using the new vocabulary words correctly.
  • Develop thesis statements.
  • Use the Canons of Invention and Arrangement to create outlines.
  • Actively participate in class discussions.
  • Identify LTOW elements in the essays of peers.
* Develop speaking, writing, and thinking techniques by exposure to the greatest thoughts expressed with the finest, most apt words.
  • Write persuasive essays with proper technique and style utilizing the Canon of Elocution.
  • Be able to discuss cause and effect and antecedent and consequence.
  • Present in class utilizing the Canons of Memoria and Pronuntiatio. 
  • Evaluate self and peers by the method of assessing to bless. Point out one thing done well AND what could be done differently the next time to make the presentation better.

Research (History of Science and Science Fair) Independent research
* Accumulate definitions which will become the pegs on which richer definitions are hung.
  • Memorize the Scientific Method.
  • Take notes.
  • Plot scientists on the timeline.
  • Place the geography associated with each scientists on the map.
  • Memorize timeline.
* Take the facts of the natural world and ask questions about those facts, seeking to understand those facts by defining, comparing, and relating them to each other.
  • Organize research into a fused outline.
  • Follow the instructions in the guide to complete each assignment.
  • Use time well to complete the science fair project. Plan ahead and stay on schedule.
  • Participate in class discussions using the Five Common Topics.
* Realize the potential for incorrect conclusions which can lead into further dialogue that continually defines, compares, relates, and considers circumstances and authority either to build further upon that which has already been discovered or transcends and corrects that which has been hypothesized incorrectly.
  • Write a concise five paragraph expository essay.
  • Present in class using appropriate public speaking skills.
  • Reflect on how science builds on past hypotheses and discoveries.
  • Be confident about the the science fair project and be prepared to answers questions.
  • Evaluate self and peers by "assess to bless".

As I finish this outline, my mind is busy thinking about all the adventures coming our way this semester. Together, my daughter and I are beginning a journey along the road towards where we'd rather be. There may be some rough spots ahead but the ride should be thrilling!


** Diane Lockman's Trivium Mastery Map available through her Mom's Course.
* The Question by Leigh Bortons. This book is fantastic!

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