Setting up for our year in the Classical Conversations Essentials program has been a trial and error for us over the last two years. I encourage new moms to ask those ahead of you what they have done – and then make it your own!
There are three areas of weekly work you do at home when your students takes the Essentials Course through Classical Conversations.
Each week gives you 5 sentences to us in following the tasks. Our family usually does 4 since we have our community day (as anyone reading this probably does too). Sometimes we do 2 sentences twice, and sometimes we do them all in one day. It depends on the week. My first year, we used small whiteboards at home. Determining I would like to keep these at least throughout the year, I decided to copy the sheets and spiral them together. We will be doing this again next year, but I’ll add a piece of chip board to the back to make it sturdier. With about 21 of the weeks containing diagramming tasks, I copied about 84 pages for each of my boys.
I created an ELABORATE (notice the emphasis) chart binder my first year in Essentials. When you opened the binder, there was a copy of the chart on the left and a blank sheet on the right. Aaron, my oldest, was supposed to copy the chart while looking. Then, the following page had two bank charts for him to copy from memory.
Waste. Of. Time.
This year, we had a binder with one copy of each chart and a spiral notebook. As cute as I got was color coordinating the binder and spiral to their favorite colors. I also placed a copy of the sentences in the front of their binders in case I needed them to work without me for a little bit.
Your EEL Binder can also be kept simple. I kept the following sections:
1. Tab for student papers (even though that is IEW)
2. Tab for current six weeks of EEL weekly lessons
3. Tab for week 3 lesson as it explains the task sheets in great detail
4. Tab for charts that are not on the trivium tables for Essentials. Make sure you have a pocketed tab for your trivium table(s) if you would like to keep them in the notebook.
5. Keep some blank paper in the binder in case it is needed for math games.
The EEL guide provides you with editing from the scriptures. For our family, this was too complicated. Punctuation in scripture seems to be over my head, not to mention theirs. If you choose to use this, I would suggest copying the edits your first year and then editing without looking in subsequent years.
Based on the advice of a friend, we chose to use Fix It! Grammar, from IEW. Starting with the first book, I think the pace is a little slow, but I insisted we start at the beginning so we didn’t miss any building pieces. As we move further into the book, the challenges are at a good level. There are a few other things we do with Fix It Grammar that lean toward the IEW portion of the class, but that is for another day.
This is our set up. What special organization do you use for Essentials?
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