Friday, May 6, 2016

Drawing the World...Freehand

As I shared with you back in November, I elected to leave public school after 10th grade and homeschool during my last two years of high school. (Click here to read about my homeschool journey.)

My in-laws have seven kids, of which Mr. Handsome is the oldest, and all have been homeschooled for the majority of their childhoods. The first five, who are now in their 20s, were homeschooled until high school, and the youngest two--Mae and Lena, ages 13 and 14--will most likely be homeschooled all the way through.

Last weekend, my mother-in-law joked that she wishes she could go back and homeschool her five oldest again. "I've learned so much through the Classical Conversations curriculum that I'm doing with the little girls," she said. Truthfully, all of her older kids are very successful, so she was clearly a good teacher.

Are any of you familiar with Classical Conversations? It's a rigorous co-op program that divides the learning process into three stages: grammar, dialect, and rhetoric. Let's just say that the oldest five are glad they didn't have to go through it. As someone who grew up in the public school system, I can tell you that Classical Conversations kids learn more useful information than public school students.

The most amazing part of the curriculum is how much the kids memorize. In middle school, they learn how to draw the world freehand and label ever country and its capital. Mae has already mastered that, but she enjoys practicing her skill.

Here is a time-lapse video of her freehand drawing the United States. Naturally she claims it "isn't very good"...

32 comments:

  1. That's so cool! I do CC too!

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    1. That's neat, Gabriella! How long have you been doing CC?

      Ellie

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    2. Annalee5/13/2016

      I just finished my 7th year of CC. I did 2 years of foundations and Challenges A, B, 2, 3, and 4. I love the program and will miss it so much!

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    3. 7 years? You're a CC veteran! If I remember correctly, Challenge 4 is senior year of high school. Am I right?

      Ellie

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    4. Annalee5/14/2016

      Well yes it generally is, but because I skipped Challenge 1, I am just finished my Junior year of highschool. I'll be doing dual enrollment for my senior year.

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    5. That's exciting!

      Ellie

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  2. Yes, we did CC for a while. It was amazing but we donated all of our curriculum to a missionary family and have moved to something else for now.

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    1. What a sweet thing to do, Johnna. God bless you for that!

      Ellie

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  3. Anonymous5/06/2016

    Never head of the CC.

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  4. Anonymous5/06/2016

    How does memorization help you problem solve in the real world?

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  5. I just finished up my 7th year in CC. I love it!

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    1. Neat! What grade are you in, Lauren?

      Ellie

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  6. Anonymous5/07/2016

    I bet there are some leaders who would be challenged if put on the spot to do that. I am an adult and certainly couldn't. Of course this would help solve problems in the real world, it is knowing the real world. Good for Mae for showing her achievement in this merry month of May!

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    1. You're totally right. And don't worry, I certainly couldn't draw the world either. :) It's funny because sometimes a country (usually in Asia or Africa) will be mentioned that no one in our family but Mae and Lena could even locate on a map. Then they proceed to spout off the capital and all the neighboring countries! LOL

      Ellie

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  7. Anonymous5/07/2016

    Ellie congratulations on over a million views!

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  8. Anonymous5/07/2016

    I'm not trying to comment on the curriculum itself since I don't know anything about it (and being able to draw the US is pretty cool looking!), but I'd like to say that being able to memorize and "regurgitate" facts isn't as important as being able to analyze and think critically and problem solve. Often, whether it's public, private, or homeschool, we put a lot of emphasis on memorization because it looks impressive, while neglecting other skills that are harder to quantify!

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    1. Anonymous5/07/2016

      As an elementary educator I can tell you that the classical approach of education is far superior to our current fad based upon Russian, Lev Vygotsky's sociocultural theory that public schools currently have adopted. Each stage of the classical trivium is based upon sound, age-appropriate development. Find out more here:http://www.classical-homeschooling.org/trivium.html#grammar

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    2. Anonymous5/08/2016

      Completely agree!!!

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    3. Anonymous5/08/2016

      I agree. Also, while grammar and rethorics are useful, what about all of the subjects you do in school? Like literature, math, science, history of art, foreign languages, history, philosofy... Do the homeschooling curriculums have those too?

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    4. Yes, all of those subjects and many more are availible to use in homeschooling. There are *numerous* resources in many forms that anyone can utilize for educational purposes. You can spend as little or as much money as you want creating a custom curriculum to fit the needs of your child. :)

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    5. I think it's my fault for failing to fully explain CC. :)

      My sisters-in-law study all the major subjects (history, science, math, literature/language arts, and foreign languages), and they are also learning subjects that I never even had the option of learning in public school, such as Latin.

      They meet with other CC families one day a week to learn in a classroom setting with other kids in their grade level, and then they spend the other four days studying at home.

      Ellie

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    6. Here's a description from my mother-in-law:

      Classical Conversations uses the concept of a trivium, where all learning is divided into three stages: At the grammar stage, you memorize all the facts. At the dialect stage, you learn to analyze the facts. Then at the rhetorical stage, you learn to use the facts to solve problems.

      CC believes that memorizing facts gives you material to later use in problem-solving. The facts are pegs on a pegboard that you can later hang ideas and abstract concepts on it.

      By seventh grade, the kids are doing some of each stage. By high school, their education is mostly rhetorical because they have the pegs to anchor their thoughts to.

      Hope this helps answer your questions. :)

      Ellie

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    7. Anonymous5/10/2016

      Thank you for the explanation, Ellie!

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    8. Anonymous5/10/2016

      Yeah, with the further illumination you gave us I see it looks like a complete program.

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  9. Anonymous5/08/2016

    I think just as we need to know the alphabet to learn to read that other skills of the mind need a foundation of true facts. How many people take the time to put basic facts and true information into their minds to work with when doing those other mind skills? I think Mae is going to do a better at other skills because she learns this too.

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  10. Anonymous5/09/2016

    What about Alaska and Hawaii?? They're part of the United States!

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  11. Anonymous5/09/2016

    I have a young piano student who just started homeschooling last year. She uses CC and seems to really like everything but the ancient history ;) I can totally sympathize with her though, because I used a "classical" style curriculum for my first two years of high school. CC sounds very rigorous, but that map drawing was awesome!!

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  12. Anonymous5/10/2016

    Thank you Ellie for this post!
    Classical Conversations sounds really interesting. I'm just finishing up my first year of homeschooling my son and I'm still feeling a little lost so any info on homeschooling is great!!!!

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  13. Anonymous5/12/2016

    I don't understand why you would choose not to put your kids in a real school where a real teacher will work with them. Going to school and having friends is both fun and educating. Your mother in law really knows foreign languages and even Latin? That's a rare skill even here in Europe.

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  14. Anonymous5/13/2016

    Am I the only one who finds it odd that this child is holding her pencil incorrectly?

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  15. Anonymous5/16/2016

    We have been part of CC for three years and absolutely love it. Thanks for mentioning it in your blog. Keep up the good work Mae.

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