Posted by: ourtravelingcircus | August 23, 2010

Back to School


It’s that time again. We had our first official day on Friday. Today was our first day (ever) at a homeschool coop. Ours is called Classical Conversations. ( The idea behind the morning classes is to teach the children the grammar, or skeleton of the various subjects so that later, in junior high and high school when they need to apply it, the framework is already there. There are Classical Conversations groups all over the US but the one here is brand new this year. We jumped in with both feet, as i’m teaching the first through third graders during the morning. There are nine of them. So, this is what our morning looked like:

6:45 Up. This is, er, rather early for us. It’s usually closer to 7:30 on a school day.
7:45 Out. Van packed with a white board, a huge tote with binders, a bookbag for each child, a bag of teaching props for me, and a cooler full of amazing lunches prepared by Katherine. She was inspired by Japanese bento boxes. They were beautiful. I wish I’d thought to take a picture. Kind of like this:

8:05 Arrive at the church where coop is held.
8:05-8:30 Unload van and frantically prepare my board. Everyone arrived early today for a meeting. Usually we will start at 9.
9:00 Went to the classroom. For the next 30 minutes, we went over the classroom rules and then each of the kids came up and I interviewed them. They have to give a presentation of some kind every week. I think this is going to be fantastic for the kids.
9:30 Introduced the week’s memory work. They have something to memorize from 7 different subjects each week. Do you know who crowned Charlemagne, and when? How about the first conjugation of Latin verbs, present tense? The seven biomes? Do you know whether the old kingdom in Egypt came before or after the tower of Babel? Neither did I……til I started preparing for today’s class. It’s mind-boggling to watch first graders recite this stuff.
10:00 Science projects. We went outside and figured out what the difference in temperature was between a sunny area and a shady area and why. We also did one involving satellites and the earth. That one was pretty much a bust. I’ll take some credit for it but I didn’t have much to work with. Oh well, I don’t think the kids realized I was clueless. Some of the parents probably did. (There were four parents in class at various times. As much as possible, they want the parent with the child so that the parent can continue teaching the material at home throughout the week.)
10:30 Drawing lesson. We learned about the different shapes you need to know in drawing. Circles, curved lines, dots, angled lines, etc. Then they drew pictures. We label them and if there’s progress later (hopefully there will be), the parents will be able to see it. In six weeks, we do a unit on the tin whistle. Just can’t wait for that one!
11:00 Went back and filled out the science forms that we were supposed to have done right after coming in from the experiment. Whoops.
11:25 Reviewed all the memory work. Later on, when we have more to review, we’ll play games with it.
12:00 Gratefully dismissed children to lunch. Teacher hat off for a week. Oh, except for school at home, which suddenly seems like a breeze.

We ate lunch with the other parents and students and then at 1 John, Margaret and I went to a classroom for a two hour grammar, writing, and math game session. I am so thankful to have help teaching these subjects as they’re a huge weak spot for us. Elizabeth played with the other siblings of kids in the afternoon class. She was supervised by another parent. There is a lady who will be doing organized games and crafts with them, but apparently she spent the night in the ER and, understandably, did not make it this afternoon.

I think my kids enjoyed it. And I did too! I’m fairly certain Tim and Katherine enjoyed their quiet day at home. In the tub tonight I overheard Elizabeth singing, “Amo, amas, amat, amamus,” but then the words switched to Frere Jaques. Oh well. Rome wasn’t built in a day.



  1. That ruined my work ethic for the day…I love the picture and it is great to picture them as they do things……how exciting…love the blog………praying for you all.

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