September 19, 2011

First Day of School 2011

We started "school" two weeks ago.  This is our first "official" year in Classical Conversations. 

Let me back up...some of you may know that we had a unique opportunity to join a homeschool community called Classical Conversations last Fall.  Children don't start CC until they're four years old, so my kids were too young to begin last year. BUT...the younger siblings of CC students attend an age-specific pre-school class. Last year, Amy, the director of our B/CS CC campus, asked me to teach the three-year old class, so Asher was one of my six students.  We got the benefit of observing the community and the way that CC operated without committing to it, entirely.  Teaching Asher's class was SO MUCH FUN for both of us! (I was actually surprised by how much I LOVED teaching preschoolers!) It was a fun way to channel my creativity/detail-oriented/party planning passions and a sweet experience to share with my little smarty-pants.  McKlayne attended the two-year-old class which was pretty much just structured play.  But she

So...after prayer and much dialogging back and forth, Charlie and I believe that classical education is the route that we want to take with our children.  I know there are MANY STRONG opinions out there about education models and methods.  I'm not trying to say our way is better than yours.  We believe that, for now, this is the route for us.  We hope that our kids may truly learn how to think and articulate (I still don't think I have :) through this classical process of gaining knowledge (grammar), understanding (logic), and wisdom (rhetoric) based on the trivium. Heidi does an excellent job of explaining it all here.

This year, since Asher's still only four, we're just getting our feet wet. It's a learning year before we jump in full-force.  Meaning, the only time that we're doing much of anything Classical Conversations-related is the 3 hours one day a week, that we come together as a community.  (Other than listening to memorization cd's, occasionally, while he colors or plays in his room.) We have other big aspirations the rest of the week, such as perfecting handwriting and learning to read and explore the world around us.  And, honestly with three children four years old and under, life is busy, so I'm not stressing out about adding one more thing to our hectic schedule.  A stressed out Momma never makes for a pleasant day for anyone around here.

Okay, so I may have fibbed just a bit about saying "the only time that we're doing much of anything Classical Conversations-related is the 3 hours one day a week".  But I wasn't fibbing about life being ridiculously busy.  Charlie is fortunate enough to be the teacher (the students refer to him as their "tutor" since generally their mom's are their primary "teachers" at home) for Asher's class.  (Charlie's boss has been so flexible and generous to allow him to make up the four hours that he misses on CC mornings, at other times during the week.)  Asher, of course, thinks it's the coolest thing EVER that his Daddy is his teacher and the other students in his class have responded really well to having a male tutor.  I mean, who wouldn't love a teacher who will break out in a Barney voice to get their attention?  I'm also the Nursery Director this year. So, when I'm not needed down in the Nursery, I'm in Asher's class to help assist either of my guys.

McKlayne graduated to the Monkey Class this year.  And, if you can't tell from the big grin on her face, she is just tickled about this. Her class is "rowing" Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? this month.  (I'll tell you what that means at a later date. What?! You don't believe me?)

And, if you haven't noticed, she had LOTS of fun posing for the camera....she is quite a little camera ham, these days.

After the picture above, she tossed the chalkboard aside and said, "Mommy, I want one like this now...."

Maybe she thought it would make her arms look more flattering? I don't know where she's seen that before...

I learned something new on the first day of school:  My four year old can draw, and I had NO CLUE!!  (I don't know why this came as such a surprise considering who his Daddy is and that he is self-taught in handwriting, but still...) The Fine Arts for this first 6 weeks is Drawing.  When I came back up to Asher's class after checking on the Nursery classes, I was shocked to see these:

I asked Asher, "Did you draw that? By yourself?" (Did I mention that I was very skeptical?)

A: "Yep!" (with a big grin on his face.)

Honestly, I didn't believe him. I thought that he must have either traced them or that Charlie had helped him.  So, then I walked over to Charlie and asked, "Did Asher free-hand those?"  

C: "Yeah, all by himself! He just looked at a picture and copied the shapes to draw the animals."

I still didn't believe it until Charlie got home that night after work.  "Are you sure that he didn't have any assistance with those?"

C: "No, Kirby! He is just a brilliant artist and we had no clue!"

As thankful as I was to discover this new-found gifting, I kind of felt like a loser of a mom!  We paint and cut and color and glue and craft and write and create ALL.THE.TIME. at home...but never do we DRAW!  (I guess that's because I'm not very good at drawing.)  The mommy guilt began to set in: It's like there's something that's been hidden inside of him, all bottled-up, that nobody knew was in there, just waiting to be discovered.  And, I, of all people, had missed it!

I decided right then and there, that we were going to make time in our daily schedule for him to draw, if he wanted to.

He drew this last week after looking at the goat in The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle.

This monkey was from the second week of class when they worked on drawing mirrored images.

So...all you Mommas, out there...have you ever been surprised to discover a gifting or passion of your child that you didn't forsee? Or am I the only negligent one?


Liz said...

I am going to have to hear all about CC some time. It is actual on the top of my list for my children. I love the ideology behind it. Since the oldest isn't 4 yet, I still have a whole year to look into it... and of course, hear how it is going for the Apels!

Kirby said...

We'll let you know, Liz! I definitely do not think it's necessary to start at 4! 5 would be a great age to begin, BUT we really wanted to "lock in" to this campus that was about to fill up because of the families that were involved! We really believe that WHO you do it with, makes ALL the difference!