Here’s what I did……..
I read through the lesson planning options and choose how many days per week we were going to do the program. I chose the 4 times per week option so that we would not skip any of the poem or fable lessons.
I glanced over the introduction to students to become familiar with the objective of the program.
Then I read the introduction to teachers where I learned how to implement the system of teaching and how to properly analyze sentences with the method prescribed in the curriculum. This section also contained a breakdown of the various sections of each lesson and the length of time each section should take. The recommendation for a lesson is 30 minutes per day with the introductory day to each chapter taking about 40 minutes.
Next I read about the topics and teaching tips included in the sidebars.
After getting through the introductory materials I spent some time looking over the first two chapters. I spent most of my time reading the teaching notes that corresponded to each worksheet page (there are intro worksheets, part A, part B, part C, and review pages). There is a page or two in the guide that corresponds to each chapter that has additional teaching tips. Then there are pages of notes for each of the worksheets. These pages contain ideas for doing exercises on a whiteboard in front of the class, game ideas, simple craft ideas, or other tips for applying the lesson or adding in extra practice.
I had to weed through these teaching notes and determine if I wanted to include any of these extra teaching ideas or implement any of the extra practice on a whiteboard. (As a side note: these teaching notes are in addition to the answer key provided in the teacher’s manual. They are not right after each corresponding worksheet, but are in their own section at the end of each chapter. This means when you are looking at a lesson worksheet you have to flip several pages to get to the teacher notes for that particular worksheet. I spent lots of time flipping back and forth to get a feel for the lessons and the extra activities available).
I glanced back through the lessons to see what books were referenced in each chapter and made sure we had them on hand to read. (Each lesson contains excerpts from literature and I know my daughter would enjoy the few books that she had not already read).
At this point I felt ready to try out our first few lessons.
After several weeks of using the program I made some modifications. This is how the program looked in our homeschool………
I adapted the program to be used 3 days per week but I didn’t exactly follow their 3-day schedule. I ended up making my own.
I only wanted to spend 15-20 minutes per day on grammar (rather than the 30-40 suggested in the program).
- I split the introductory day into two lessons because that was the longest lesson for each chapter.
- On the first day we read the introduction and learned the new songs and chants.
- On the next day we did the worksheets that corresponded to the introduction.
- For day 3 we did the fable lesson.
- Week two of the lesson began with part A worksheets.
- On the second day of week 2, we did part B worksheets.
- Day 3 of the second week was for the poem. However, we began the lesson with the review worksheets if they were needed.
Our schedule meant that we often skipped part C worksheets. I also would only do select parts of the review worksheets if they were needed.
I usually did not do the extra whiteboard practice that was described in the teaching notes. And while some (not all) of the games were adaptable to be done with only 1 student, I didn’t find them to be necessary. This meant that I didn’t spend much time reading the in-depth teaching notes at the end of each chapter or using the exercises contained in them. I found the chapters and worksheet pages to be sufficient. The only times I referenced the teaching notes was for the fable and poem lessons.
Here’s what I found……..
It takes some time to get ready to use the program. It really is important to read through the teacher notes and look over the student manual. It’s also critical to read through all the notes for at least one week of lessons to see how the program is set up. For these reasons, I can’t say that the program is open-and-go.
It also takes some time to find a good rhythm to using the program – determining which practice pages you will need and use. I also had to choose our schedule for the program. There are 3 options: 4 days per week, 3 days per week, and 5 days per week. With the first two options a chapter is covered in 2 weeks, and with the last options a chapter is covered weekly and the program is accelerated.
There are lots and lots of extra practice and review opportunities. I found that there were more than enough for us so it was best to cut some of them out and simplify. I also discovered that I didn’t use many of the extra teaching ideas – writing sentences on a whiteboard for analysis and doing the games and activities).
While we didn’t do a grammar lesson or worksheet daily, I often reviewed some of the songs and chants on the days that we didn’t do a lesson. We spent less than 10 minutes doing this review but it helped solidify the concepts while giving us extra time on those days to focus on other subjects.
*Note- I used this program with my daughter who grasps grammar concepts fairly quickly. When I use the program next year with my son (who does not enjoy grammar) I may need to do the program 4 days per week and include more of the review pages. I like that I have that option and the program includes so many opportunities to review.
So, was the program easy to adapt? Yes. Did it take some time? Yes.
I really needed to use the program for several weeks to get a better feel for the lessons, the amount of review we needed, and which things I wanted to leave out as I was teaching.
I do think this program works well in a homeschool, yet I was left wishing that there was a simplified and more streamlined version of the program for homeschool use.
And I’m happy to say that Classical Academic Press has some changes planned for future levels to make the program more adaptable to the homeschool setting. I can’t wait to see the modifications to the curriculum!