This week, our family attended our co-op’s end of the year closing ceremonies where the students got to show off everything they learned, and we shared a big potluck meal in the church gym with our entire families.
It was pure meyhem but a lot of fun!
Our last co-op class was a month ago, so it’s been about 4 weeks since I’ve seen the students I had in my class and I have to admit that I’ve missed them! It was great to see all those little faces again (I tutored the 4-year-old class). Each class got to share their memory work on stage. My class did a few history sentences and in true form, when I prompted them for the sentence, for instance, “Tell Me about the Declaration of Independence?” … the students kind of mumbled their answer quietly yelling out key words here and there, like “Continental Congress” and “Philadelphia” and “Colonists.” It really was adorable. The kids knew their stuff, they just didn’t like saying it very loudly. The next class to get up (ages 5) were able to speak their answers clearly and perfectly.
I think the first year of Classical Conversations for 4-year-old’s is purely a practice year. It’s absolutely true that a 4-year-old is able to memorize and do rote memory work. It’s also true that a 4-year-old is able to speak in front of others. But it takes practice and confidence to build the latter. I saw huge growth in the public speaking area in my students from last fall until this spring. Some were able to speak from the start, and some needed a bit of time, coaxing, and encouragement to come out of their shells and exercise their voice out loud as the center of attention.
We have decided to take at least a year off of Classical Conversations, and do the curriculum at home next year. I told a few of the families at the banquet that we weren’t returning, and I didn’t expect the surprised and sad reactions from the families I told. I was a bit choked up to hear them tell me to “change my mind,” to “please keep in touch.” What an honor to be seen as someone instrumental in their kids’ lives. I know I appreciated all the time my boys’ tutors put into their classes… I can’t think about it for too long as I really am sad about that aspect of our decision to take the year off. I’d love to be able to stay with my students as they progress through the 6 years of Foundations and see how they grow and mature, learn and experience all the great things there are to learn.
But as all families know, your own kids are the focus of your homeschool. So stay tuned for blog posts on “Year Five of Homeschooling the Smith Boys” in the coming year. I’m already feverishly planning our fall semester, and I’m quite excited about what is in store for the boys and for me!