New to Classical Conversations Foundations? Looking to figure out the organization of it all? Start simply. Start by exploring your Foundations guide front to back. If you have yet to do this, you’ll probably be surprised with all it has to offer. When I first received my guide three years ago, I thought it simply contained the memory work. I knew it didn’t contain lesson plans. But, it contains so much more! Allow me to direct you through it!
You can consider the first four sections letters from Leigh Bortins, CC’s founder. In here, she simply and realistically explains how to approach Classical Conversations easily. Leigh removes the intimidation factor and makes classical education approachable.
1. Bortins Personal Homeschool Story: Leigh shares an overview of how their family began homeschooling and an update to include how they’re homeschooling now (a few years old now). I find her simple approach to classical education reassuring. Teach the basics, teach them well. The rhythm of their day encourages me to schedule our days, but also to enjoy time with my littles.
2. About the Foundations Curriculum: New to classical Christian education? Most of us are or were at some point, including Leigh. So she takes the time to explain what it is and how the Foundations curriculum is based upon it.
3. About CC: Want to know why CC has one tutor teach all subjects? Or why memorization is key in Foundations? How about the purpose of the community? It’s all explained in the guide!
4. Bringing Classical Education Home: Find encouragement for the long road ahead, tips for teaching (juggling!) multiple children, and the basics of classical homeschooling. The scheduling technique Leigh shares in this chapter is what I based our most recent schedule on and will probably use as a basis for many years to come.
5. Memory Work: Contained in the guide is an overview of all 3 cycles, the weekly memory work, and the memory work by subject. In the second half of the book, you’ll find tips on how to memorize the work at home. Read this part! There is so much helpful information here, including age appropriate expectations on the memory work.
6. Extras: Finally, in the appendices located at the back of the book, you’ll find info for the science experiments and fine arts portion. This is mostly for classroom benefit, but there are benefits to knowing what your littles will learn in advance. You can support the tutor more during class time and discuss the work better with your littles after. In some cases, you could fill in the gap at home if you need to miss a week. (This might not work for the week where crayfish are dissected! But, could for the week with the nature hike.) You’ll also see proof sheets for use if your student wants to test for memory master and map keys, including student samples.
Because classical education is new to most of us, this encouragement to get started is crucial. Dig in, underline, highlight, and re-read if you need the encouragement afresh to keep it simple and classical. If you simply follow the directions in the guide…no more, no less, you’ll be off to a great start with classical education.