Random 5 on Friday – Parent Practicum

Random 5 FridayThis week was our Classical Conversations Parent Practicum It is a fun time of encouragement, enrichment, and great conversations. The parents attend workshops about classical education and the kids go to camps learning about fun things like art, geography, writing, and logic, to name a few. I always have a great time at practicum. This year I had to plan the practicum – that was a whole different experience for the practicum but a learning and enlightening experience. And I still had a wonderful time.

So for my Random 5 Friday post I’m going to tell you –

5 Random Things I Learned about Myself at Practicum

1 -Whether the group is big or small, you can have some very wonderful conversations. I had such a good time talking with other moms and families this week. Whether I was talking to the entire group or a mom or two at lunch, the conversations this week were so great.

2 – I love sharing my love for Classical education and, particularly, Classical Conversations. Each year I homeschool I find I am more and more impressed with the classical method of education. And Classical Conversations is such a blessing to our family and I love that I can share it with others who may find it as wonderful as we do.

3 - My kids love learning – especially when they don’t realize they are learning !!  It was such a great time watching the kids excited for camp all week. And the fact that they were learning while having fun is even better. I loved peeking in on them throughout the camps and watch them having such a good time and then telling me all the way home about the fun they had and what they learned.

4 – If we had to get up and go to school every morning, we would be EXHAUSTED! Funny…the practicum showed me that if we went to a traditional school every day and had to get up at 6am each day, get ready, pack our lunches, catch a bus, and head out to school we would be a mess. By day 3 were we totally over rushing out the door each day. Thank the Lord for homeschooling!

5 – Planning a 3-Day Practicum is hard work. But its fun to see everyone enjoying themselves and realize you helped with that. I have planned events in the past – in the military, in previous jobs etc. But this year was the first time I have done a full planning of a practicum. It was very involved and took a lot of help from a LOT of great people (THANK YOU to those of you that helped – you know who you are) and I am blessed with talented, wonderful people that made the practicum go well. I made a LOT of notes and hope that next year will go smoothly! But, overall it was a good experience and fun to see everyone benefiting from the practicum.

Be sure to check out more Random 5 Posts.

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials – Classical Conversations

homeschooling essentials 400x550As we wrap our week of 5 Homeschooling Essentials I will be sharing about why Classical Conversations is a Homeschooling Essential for us.

If you are not familiar with Classical Conversations, you can check out my post on things we love about Classical Conversations here. We are currently in our third year with Classical Conversations and I continue to be amazed at what the wonderful program provides our family and our homeschool.

So, why is Classical Conversations an essential?

We find that Classical Conversations keeps us focused on our educational goals, provides us with challenging and fun materials, and gives us the opportunity to spend time with other, like-minded homeschoolers, and gives the kids friends and peers.  Additionally, the opportunity to learn and discuss with fellow homeschoolers gives the children the opportunity to experience learning outside our home classroom.

Classical Conversations meets one time per week for 12 weeks in the fall and 12 weeks in the spring. This is great because it allows us to be engaged but doesn’t give have a major time commitment outside the home. The program can be used as a full curriculum or a supplement and is available for K4 through high school.

It is an essential to the success of our homeschool in that it provides such a complete and rich curriculum for us to follow. Much of the memorization for the Foundations program (the program for K4-6th grade) is put to music and therefore easy for the kids to learn and memorize. It is amazing how well they learn these facts and can recall them when prompted. It is an amazing thing to watch. I can remember my excitement (and frankly, shock) the first year we were in Classical Conversations and heard our then 2 year old singing the names of the 3 ships that Columbus sailed in 1492. It is just amazing!

Next year will be our first year repeating the history cycle (the history is broken into 3 cycles) and I am excited to see how much deeper we are able to go and how well my daughter retains information even as my little man starts his first year.

I can’t imagine where we would be without Classical Conversations and feel blessed to have found it.  I look forward to continue with Classical Conversations and see how it leads our children’s education. It is definitely an essential to the success of our homeschool.

You can learn more about Classical Conversations on their website.

Check out what other TOS Crew Members consider their homeschooling essentials and be sure to read the rest of the series of our 5 Homeschooling Essentials including:

  1. The Library
  2. Quiet Time
  3. Laminator
  4. Field Trips
And check out more of my Crewmates and their Homeschool Essentials here.

Classical Conversations PreScripts Review

Logo photo classicalconversationslogo_zps461acbc8.jpgIf you have been reading my blog for long, you know we are a Classical Conversations family. What that means is that we participate from September to May (24 weeks) with other families in our Classical Conversations group once a week to further our children’s classical education.  In addition to their successful, international group of Christian, classical educational communities, Classical Conversations also has a wonderful assortment of tools to help parents who educate at home, typically with Classical Conversations. This year Classical Conversations came out with PreScripts, a set of 4 books that work on cursive handwriting, copywork and art.  As a Classical Conversations family going into our third year with our group, we were excited to add this to our homeschool; therefore, I was definitely interested in reviewing the product when the offer came along.

What is PreScripts?

As mentioned, PreScripts is a set of four, spiral bound books that provide one year of instruction at 4 different levels.

PreScripts Cursive Letter and Coloring is for ages 3-7 and is used as an introduction to cursive writing. If you child has not learned cursive yet, this is the place to start.  Student work on finger tracing as well as writing and tracing basic cursive letter. Additionally, there are short, basic art lessons that accompany these lessons throughout the book. This book can be purchased for $11.99.

PreScripts Cursive Words and Drawing is the next in the series and considered appropriate for ages 5-10.  In this book, student copy and trace letters and short words from the Bible. The art lessons are built to work toward the drawing of simple figures. This book can be purchased for $12.99.

PreScripts Cursive Sentences and Art Lessons is designed for ages 7-12.  Students practice writing longer sentences in cursive. The sentences are history sentences, and match up with Cycle 2 history memory work for Classical Conversations. However you do not have to be memorizing these sentences to use this book. It is a standalone instruction book in cursive and art.  The art lessons are a little deeper, exploring depth and point of view and light for example. This book can be purchased for $12.99.

PreScripts Cursive Passages and Illuminations is for age 9 through high school. In this book student copy length, paragraph sized passages from historical documents. They work on artistic illumination by enhancing their passages with their art work. This book can be purchased for $12.99.

What We Received

Sentences and Art Lessons photo classicalconversationssentencesandartlessons_zps272de630.gifI was given PreScripts Cursive Sentences and Art Lessons to review.  This was the appropriate level for my 8 year old daughter to start with because she has already had some cursive instruction and worked on basic letter formations, words, and simple sentences. Additionally, we will be going into Cycle 2 with Classical Conversations in the fall and I think this will be an excellent way to work on reviewing her memory work while working on cursive handwriting.

How it Works

PreScripts Cursive Sentences and Art Lessons is a beautiful book all-in-all. It is 144 pages and has the lessons compact and easy to move through.  The beginning of the book includes a note to parents explaining the development of the PreScripts series as well as a little about how the book was intended to be used. The books is designed to, not only develop the cursive handwriting, but to help the child learn the history sentences that are used as copywork.  This means that the child could master 24 history sentences from Medieval to Modern history by using this book. There is a review section after every set of sentences to help explore the mastery level of the student of both the cursive writing as well as the history sentences.

The lessons include 2 trace and write pages for the history sentence, a picture that relates to the history sentence with an explanation of the artwork as well as an explanation of how to draw the work on your own.  There is a blank page supplied with each lesson for the student to do his or her own drawing. You can see a sample lesson here of the PreScripts Cursive Sentence and Artwork.

How We Used It

We used it three days a week – two days of handwriting and one day of art.  Monday we did a trace of the sentence and then writing of the sentence page. Wednesday we read the explanation of the artwork, discussed the art concept discussed and she drew her own composition.  The third day she did another trace and write of the history sentence. She also finished anything on the artwork that needed finished.

Every 6 weeks there is a review of the material with 6 history sentences to trace then write and 2 pages to practice drawing two of the art concepts learned during the 6 weeks.

What We Thought

I believe this will fit in nicely with our Classical Conversations week doing three days a week. It will give us another means of practicing the history sentence for the week. Additionally, our cursive practice will continue, which we started this year via another resource.

I like that PreScripts Cursive Sentences and Artwork is spiral bound along the top so it accommodates left handed and right handed students. And the fact that it is very easy for the student to work independently is nice. The instructions are clear and concise and the lesson fair quick.

The tracing was a nice way of practicing cursive and the artwork going along with history sentence is a nice way to deepen the study of the history sentence. My daughter liked the lesson and thought it was easy to do and was very happy to see the good writing with tracing the sentence. She was a little frustrated at first with her sentences not being perfect when she wrote them but we discussed that it was a work in progress and she got better. She liked being able to write directly below what she was copying. It made it easier for her to accurately write the letter I believe. Overall we thought it was great and will be an excellent fit into our curriculum next year.

If you are looking for a good cursive writing program, whether you participate in Classical Conversations or not, this may be for you. Be sure to check out the Classical Conversations bookstore site to see sample lessons and read more about how PreScripts works.

Be sure to read what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members had to say about these PreScripts products here.

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