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This is our 5th year of Classical Conversations and we really do love it! We are in our 2nd community and having a blast this year.
We have tried many different ways to review our memory work in our home. Many have worked and many have not. But the most important thing I have found that works for my kiddos is VARIETY! Nothing is worse that doing the same thing over and over again in the same way EVERY DAY.
Yes, the memory work is repetitive. But that doesn’t mean you can’t mix up how you go over it. Sometimes we sing it, sometimes we draw it, sometimes we write it and sometimes we chant it. We play games, we read stories, and we draw pictures. WE HAVE FUN reviewing our memory work.
WHAT ARE LEARNING ACTIVITY BOOKS
Now, if you have read my blog before, you know we love A Journey Through Learning and their products. We have been supplementing our studies since we first started homeschooling with their lap books and various fun products. We were delighted when they paired with Classical Conversations to have CC endorsed products that go hand in hand with what we are studying in Classical Conversations. And we were ecstatic when A Journey Through Learning added the Learning Activity Books.
There are Learning Activity Books for each cycle. They are available for Foundations students in 3rd through 6th grade in their Learning Activity Book and for Kindergarten age through 2nd or 3rd in their Junior Learning Activity Book. Since I have a Foundations student in each level, this year we are using both the regular and the Junior Learning Activity Books.
The Learning Activity Books are an excellent resource for working through the weekly memory work. Each weeks worth of memory has a place for writing out the memory work. In the Learning Activity Book, each week has the fun place to fill in the memory work for Science, Latin, and English. Then there is a full note booking page for History and Science. Then you have page dedicated to fine arts – this is a place to practice the fine arts drawing skills learned in class, work on something related to the tin whistle like vocabulary or draw notes or fill in finger codes, or note booking pages for famous composers. Then there is a page to practice drawing your weekly map for geography, and finally, a page to do copywork of your history sentence. Check out some sample pages here.
The Junior Learning Activity Book is very similar to the Learning Activity Book; however, there is a little less writing and working on basic writing skills as well. In the Junior Learning Activity Book, there is a place to write a word associated with the history sentence (i.e. commandments, greek) and then there is a picture to color that is associated with the sentence. Next there is a page for writing out the entire history sentence (or whatever portion you would like) on ruled paper. Next there is a geography page with the map of the region being studies that the student can use to trace the area or identify the geography locations studied. For English, there is practice of the alphabet, tracing the letter and then tracing a work beginning with the letter (i.e. A, apple) and then a page for tracing and then writing a word associated with English grammar (i.e. preposition). For math there is a place to practice tracing the numbers that are being learned in the skip counting memory work. There is a page for tracing the science memory work, with a little picture to help jog the memory. Then there is the fine arts page to practice whatever is being learned during fine arts including practicing basic drawing skills or working on something to do with the tin whistle or cutting out and gluing a picture by the famous artist being studies. You can check out some sample pages of the Junior Activity Book here.
HOW WE USED IT
The great thing about the Learning Activity Book and the Junior Learning Activity book is that you can use it however works best for your CC memory review at home. It is important to note that the memory work is NOT included in the Learning Activity books, you will need the Foundations guide to use these books.
We used them at least twice a week as part of our review. Some weeks we take a clear page cover and place it over the page so we can use dry erase markers on it and reuse the pages. This is good for the my older student as she might use the book more often during the week than my younger child.
On the last day of review we use it to fill out as much as possible without needing to look at the board or in the Foundations guide. You can use as much of the books or as little as is helpful to you. I liked that there was practice on the letters and numbers for younger student. However, if you we were to do ALL the pages each day it would be too much. So, for instance, as we practice math, he may trace the 3’s one day and the 4’s another day, but he would SAY and go over both each day.
My daughter likes to color and my son does not, so he didn’t use all the coloring pages, but my son skipped over a coloring page one week, my daughter would ask to go back and color the picture during review.
My daughter did not use the science or history note booking pages every week, but this is something I would like to see us use more often. Maybe this will be something we will add for next year for her. As a master’s level Foundations student, she is “digging deeper” on the subjects and this might be a nice way to transition her from Foundations to Challenge in her final year next year.
I loved that the fine arts pages were easy to use. Especially the drawing and tin whistle. This gave me something guided to work on during the week. We usually one do art one day each week during review so we use this page without the page protector when we do the work.
I like the notebooking pages for the famous artists and composers because it gives us someplace to write something as we study them as well as note our favorite art or musical piece.
In the Junior Learning Activity book, there are some hands on/craftsy additions as well. For instance, when the child is studying leaves there is a place to draw or glue in parts of a leave next to the identification words. I liked that these little extras are sprinkled throughout without being something that is on every week.
Also, in the Junior Learning Activity Book, I like that there is some guidance eon the history coloring sheets tell the student WHAT to draw on one page and guidance on writing a couple of helpful key words. The other history coloring page has room for the sentence and has another picture to color with guidance on what words to write on the picture.
The math in the Junior Learning Activity Book is nice in that you trace the numbers during the skip tracing weeks and then, as you get into measurements, there are picture to help with memory including rulers and tablespoons and circles and fill in the blanks for distributive laws. It is important to note that there is NO math practice for weeks 1-13 in the regular Learning Activity Book but it does pick up with room for it in week 13 through 24.
WHAT THE KIDS LIKE
The kids really like their Learning Activity Books. They like some of the tracing, the coloring pictures that coincide and the fine arts review pages. My daughter likes that its all in one place and my son likes that he has his own notebook. My daughter did NOT like that there was not room to write her math facts for the first 12 weeks and my son has to do the writing in sections because it is a LOT of writing if you do it all in one sitting, which we do not.
WHAT I THOUGHT
I like the notebooks. It gives me a place to see how they are reviewing and ensures I don’t leave out things like fine arts and science. If you redo the science experiment at home, the science notebooking page is an excellent place to record your experience. Having a page dedicated to the terminology or music and the tin whistle was good so that I did not only focus on learning the songs they wanted to practice.
Overall, we really like using the Learning Activity Book and the Junior Learning Activity Book. This is our 2nd year using them and I know we will continue. It is a great way to mix up our memory work with something different other than singing, chanting or repeating. We still do all these things but the Learning Activity Book gives us one more way to go over the memory work. We all know that it is important to go over it different ways, especially for those that need to write it out sometimes and see it on paper.
I think if you use Classical Conversations as your primary curriculum (because it is all you need in the Foundations years) that these Learning Activity books are an excellent resource. It allows you to not miss what you are reviewing and also it gives you a wonderful place for your Junior learners to practice their handwriting. You wouldn’t need another handwriting books with these.
My only two suggestions to making the Learning Activity Book better would be to include a page for math practice in notebook. It could be blank so that if the student is still working on skip counting they could practice writing out the skip counting numbers or, if they are at the master’s level and working on their multiplication facts, they could write those on the page as well. Since Classical Conversations states that this is all the math a child needs at that Foundations level, I think having a math page in the notebook is important. We will likely print out a math pages and add it to our notebook next year. Though we DO use another math curriculum, math time during Foundations memory work is when we go over our math facts.
In the end, this is an valuable addition to our homeschool and one we love using. If you are in Classical Conversations and looking for something to help your students in their memory work, you will want to check out these great Learning Activities Books.
Be sure to check out the other Classical Conversations cycle 1 resources on their website.
We have chosen to do a couple of the lap books this year to compliment our studies. Check out these we are doing (and be sure to watch for our reviews!)
Be sure to check out all the rest of the lap books that A Journey Through Learning has to compliment any curriculum, and even some stand alone studies. Great lap books for any age.