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A Classical Conversation

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A Day at the Redwine Academy

Posted by Tiffany
Tiffany Redwine serves as a help-meet to husband Paul of 17 years, as a mother
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on Wednesday, 22 June 2011
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“How do you do Classical Conversations at home?” This question is one I hear most often at Parent Information Meetings. Since every home school looks different from the next, the answer is different from home to home. I always enjoy a sneak peek into other home schools though, so here is a peek into a day at Redwine Academy as we look to further know God and make Him known.

Day 1 of our school week begins with our CC campus community day since three of our four children are Foundations/Essentials program ages. Let's take a snapshot look at day 4 of our school week in our home-centered school.

On Mondays the children, ages 10, 9, 7, and 2, rise at 7:00a.m. After accomplishing a few personal and household chores and consuming breakfast, we get our school day kicked-off at 8:00a.m. with math. Our 10-year old daughter decidedly dives into her Saxon Math lesson for the day while I meet with our 9-year old son and 7-year old daughter to go over the new concept they are learning for the day before setting them lose to practice their new and review concepts. When they are settled with their work, I move around the dining table to our eldest to see how she fared on her drill sheet and to dialog through that day's mental math problems. All three children work independently, while asking questions of me if needed, until our math hour is completed. If they have finished their math lesson before the hour is up, then they tackle more chores in their Chore Packs. If they still have unfinished work when 9:00a.m. comes around, then they set it aside to finish later that afternoon. My husband or I, depending on our schedules, will check their work with them that evening for accountability.

At 9:00a.m. we begin our Foundations memory work recitations. By day 3 of our school week we have already read through and discussed that week's Veritas Press history timeline cards, so we simply recite the timeline up to our current week; the children use hand motions learned at campus to aid them when needed. We use up our memory review hour by singing history sentences, speaking science and math facts, chanting English and Latin grammar facts, locating geography pegs on our Memory Master Notebook maps, and reciting Scripture for as many campus year weeks as we can fit in while we aim for Memory Master.

When 10:00a.m. rolls around we are ready to quiet ourselves again. The children grab their current instructional reading (a classic book slightly above their reading level) and their “fun” reading (a book they are pleasure reading that is at or slightly below their reading level) materials. I meet with our 7-year old first for 20 or so minutes of instructional reading while the remaining children curl up with their selected pleasure readings. The 2-year old does too! Next, I meet with our 9-year old for 20 or so minutes of instructional reading followed by our 10-year old.

At 11:00a.m. we begin language arts. The children start out with practicing that week's spelling lists from Susan Anthony's “Spelling Plus.” Once they have completed practicing their personal list, the 7 and 9-year olds move onto copy work and handwriting exercises I have created while the 10-year old moves on to her Essentials work. Our son and second daughter usually finish their language arts work before 12:00 noon, so they fill the remaining time with completion of chores and/or playing with their 2-year old sister. Once our first-born has completed her Essentials of the English Language work, which includes me some for dialoging through practice sentences, she moves on to her Institute for Excellence in Writing assignment to put the finishing touches on her rough draft that I shall proof with her the following day. Whatever she is unable to complete by 12:00p.m., she will finish later in the afternoon.

We break for lunch at 12:00 followed by a couple clean-up chores and free time. We meet back in the living room at 1:30p.m., snuggle onto the sofa together, and I read aloud to the children from either a children's history or science book containing material relating to that week's Foundations history sentence or science fact or from a classic novel. Right now, we are enjoying Ralph Moody's “Little Britches” series.

2:00p.m. marks the start of afternoon “quiet time.” Our toddler is laid down for a two-hour nap. The school age children disperse to various areas of the house apart from one another. The two eldest kids each use 30 minutes of our two-hour household “quiet time” to practice that week's piano lesson. They use their daily quiet time to finish math lessons and IEW assignments. Any left over time is used simply to quiet their minds and bodies through meditation on God's Word, pleasure reading, and practicing their drawing and painting skills.

From 4:00p.m. until suppertime, our children play. My husband leads us in a small Bible study at the supper table. When supper chores are completed, and if his energy level is enough after a busy day of running our pest control business, he conducts a Koine Greek lesson with the three oldest children. They wrap up their day by listening to Susan Wise-Bauer's “Story of the World” in bed.

While our household schedule is quite organized, thanks to Teri Maxwell's counsel in “Managers of Their Homes” and “Managers of Their Chores,” every academic period throughout our day is filled with the expected, real-life chaos of toddler training, character training moments for every member of the household, as well as spontaneous, exploratory, life conversations. The schedule helps me to keep keeping on when I simply do not feel like keeping on, and it helps me to meet my basic goals when life interrupts the schedule.

The biggest help to me in my daily journey as a home-centered educator is conversation time with the Lord. When I fail to listen to Him through the reading of His Word and speak at Him through prayer, my day unravels quite quickly.

“How do you do Classical Conversations at home?” At Redwine Academy, we do it with our family's own style based on the personalities, talents, and Spiritual gifts the Lord has given us. To Him alone be the glory!

Tiffany Redwine serves as a help-meet to husband Paul of 17 years, as a mother to Lydia, Luke, Priscilla, and Phoebe, as the southern Ohio CC Outreach Leader, and as a Foundations and Essentials Director at the Colerain Township campus in Cincinnati. She and her husband own Redwine Pest Control. They worship and serve at Highview Christian Church. Tiffany's hobbies are acting, singing, and reading.

One-Room Schoolhouse on Wheels

Posted by Stacy
Stacy is a Foundations tutor and mother of four.
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on Wednesday, 01 June 2011
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You might have experienced the “Benadryl fog,” the morning after taking this drowsy antihistamine. However, on Wednesday mornings the Schrader household wakes up to battle a similar condition known as “CC fatigue.” After an energy-packed Tuesday with Classical Conversations learning, tutoring and late baseball games, we have adjusted our Wednesday to accommodate recovery and the myriad of enrichment activities that homeschooling allows.

After a quick breakfast, the whole family spends 30 minutes putting things back into place, unloading backpacks, and completing chores. The next 30 minutes we review AWANA Bible verses and piano homework. Each child brings their completed assignments for me to sign and begins packing up work for the day.

At 9:30am, we head out the door, loaded down with juice boxes, snacks, schoolwork, audio CD’s and the library box. We officially begin our day of “carschooling.” On the way, we pop in the CC CD and review history sentences. At 9:45am, we drop off my girls (ages 4, 6) at an enrichment class led by a homeschool graduate. Last week they studied the five senses and dissected a cow eyeball. This week they will learn about Grandma Moses, paint an art project, and skip-count to 100.

After hugs, we head to piano lessons, switching the CD to Latin. The boys (ages 8, 10) begin lessons at 10am. While one child is being taught, the other is working on school assignments. As they open their take-along bags, they find two maps and a list of locations to label, a blank Latin conjugation chart to complete, and their next math exercise to finish. If they have additional time, their latch-hook project is packed for fun.

Now I begin some of my most cherished time of the week! I connect my iPhone to the car and listen to a lesson on the Sermon on the Mount. Besides my morning devotion, this is my quiet study time of the week. While errands beckon me, I only allow myself a quick stop to drop off a baby shower gift. I soak in the God-centered teaching and even chuckle as the pastor mentions the importance of translating a passage as an “imperative” command, and noting the use of nominative plural pronouns.

My enthusiastic girls bounce out of their lesson at 10:50am. We head out again while listening to audio books, reciting the books of the New Testament, and practicing speech therapy homework. The boys are still tickling the ivories when we arrive. When they finish at 11:45am, we immediately head for the Arby’s drive-through to satisfy the growling stomachs. The minivan’s CD player is getting a workout now playing the next chapter in the “Story of the World.” The kids eat in the car, enthralled by the escapades of Charles Martel and Charlemagne.

As we pull into the library parking lot, the kids beg to finish listening to the rest of the audio story. We head into the library and emerge 40 minutes later with the library box full, and a spontaneous lesson regarding the Dewey Decimal system after one son tried to be helpful by reorganizing the DVD’s alphabetically.

We need a little down time now, so we insert a DVD about postwar and contemporary presidents into the van’s movie player. It is a fascinating DVD sharing the highlights and lowlights of each presidency despite its bias. Our family discusses the differences between biography and commentary from the movie. As we arrive home and unpack, I gather a quick critical thinking lesson on fact vs. opinion to follow-up our discussion.

The clock reads 2pm and it’s beautiful outside. RECESS!!! At 2:45pm, I repeatedly call the kids inside. It’s reading time. The boys read independently, and we all take turns reading to the girls. Most days the boys choose their own books, and some days they finish assigned reading from history or book club selections.

It’s 3:30pm and we are on the road again. For this journey, our selection is Bible verses set to music. We arrive for a 4pm speech therapy appointment. In the waiting room, my oldest works on his Essentials assignments while I assist my other son with his Language workbook. Our youngest entertains the entire waiting room with her choreography to the “Tangled” music.

Our “school” ends at 5pm when my precious daughter emerges from her appointment, stickers and new work in hand. We pile in the van looking forward to dinner and church. The rest of our week resembles a more “typical” schedule of work in our schoolroom. However, we all have our days of carschooling in which we celebrate our freedom, flexibility, family and faith.

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Day in the Life - Patty Bianco

Posted by Patricia
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on Friday, 13 May 2011
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As a homeschooling parent, I have to expect the unexpected. I may have a plan of how I want our day to be accomplished, but more often than not life gets in the way of my plan. The beauty of our homeschool is that we can use everything as a teachable moment. Here is what a day in our homeschool is generally like.

I rise in the morning, later than I would like, and knock on 3 doors. “Time to get up,” I say as I get our dog ready for a walk. When I return, I see that not everyone is up and ready for our morning devotions. I call up the stairs for the missing child or children. Once we have all assembled in the living room on the couch, we begin by singing a hymn. This is not always the best audibly as we still have sleepy voices, but it is a great way to start the morning. Today, Ada will read a chapter from the New Testament. She reads aloud as we all listen. After she is finished, we will practice memorizing our catechism questions. Then we close in prayer, taking turns. I implore the kids to then take a quick shower, get dressed, and get breakfast.

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Day in the life march 11

Posted by Cyndi
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on Tuesday, 15 March 2011
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When I was asked to chronicle a day in our homeschooling life, I wondered what that might look on paper.  In my rich fantasy life, I would answer this assignment by effortlessly extracting my color-coded schedule from my color-coded file, (with my colored-coded fingernails).  After eight years of homeschooling, I'm beginning to realize that I may never be that sort of mom.  Though we aren't tightly scripted and efficient, we do doggedly pursue excellence in our homeschool.  Some days, this looks like a dogged pursuit of mediocrity.  Nevertheless, we're dogged!  God willing, we seem to be making progress. 

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