Essentials Program: How To Gear Up For Your First Year (Part 2)

22 Jul

Essentials.Part Two

Thanks for joining us for Part 2 of my Q&A with Julie Largent about how to gear up for the Essentials Program of Classical Conversations. If you missed Part 1, you’ll find it here.

Today, we look at 4 additional questions related to preparing for Essentials. This will be my family’s first year of Essentials, and I have been sooooo nervous about it! However, reading Julie’s wisdom has calmed my heart and mind! I pray you will be able to say this at the conclusion of today’s post, too!

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5) For first year Essentials parents who are planning to do Essentials a second and third time, how do you suggest discerning how much or how little of an assignment should be done?

God Almighty has put you as their parent and He will give you the wisdom and discernment on how much can be done. I would encourage you to not push them so hard that they feel overwhelmed, but at the same time realize this program is meant to step things up and move into the dialectic stage so know your child well and be ready to stop and pick up the next day or continue on to show them they can do it. Just remind yourself, it is meant to take 3 years to grasp it…..even now I’m STILL learning and this will be my 5th year in Essentials!

6) What advice do you have for first year Essentials parents whose child will have one year only in Essentials before moving up to Challenge?

Repetition repetition repetition! Truly having a strong foundation of the English language will be extremely beneficial in learning Latin in Challenge. Having said that, don’t go in thinking you’ll have to understand everything in one year. Trust the Sovereign Lord, if He’s called you to Essentials for one year and move to Challenge He will bless your efforts. As in anything, work as unto the Lord. I’m not trying to being over spiritual:), there are just some concerns/fears we need to lay at His feet.

7) Do you have any advice to offer parents of reluctant writers?

This is one, of many, reasons I love IEW because Andrew Pudewa says it allows the young boy who would rather poke himself in the eye with is pencil than write a paragraph about what he did over the summer as well as the young girl who can creatively and effortlessly write five pages without really saying much. It is almost like a math equation because you choose from a list and fill in blanks. It’s much more than that, but it helps those brains who don’t do well with coming up with things on their own. This builds a foundation to build on and I’ve seen it over and over again that they begin to use their own brains and don’t need to simply fill in blanks. It also helps organize the five pages of creativity into a well constructed paragraph or story. I had several 4th grade boys this last year and their moms were very hesitant. I can say without a doubt, those boys absolutely thrived!!! It was beautiful to watch!

8) Now that you’ve been through Essentials, both as a parent and an Essentials Tutor, what do you wish you had known or done before beginning the Essentials program?

Honestly, you can step in to your first year and do fine having only the Foundation English Grammar memory work, but I use First Language Lessons for my younger kids. I feel it feeds nicely into Essentials. I’ve heard of others that also work well, but I’m not familiar with them**. Our very first year with CC my 4th grader was in Essentials. I was doing well to keep my head above the water so I wish I would have been more familiar with the guide before the class started….this seems like the story of my life! haha

**Before starting our first year of CC, I was wisely encouraged by seasoned CC Moms to alter the definitions for whichever English Grammar curricula you use at home to align with the CC definition. In previous years, we have used First Language Lessons and Shurley Grammar. When either curricula had a definition for my sons to memorized, I substituted the CC definition instead. This practice has worked well for our family. By pairing these various curricula with the English Grammar definitions memorized in CC, a bridge between CC and the curriculum concept was provided. This aided my sons by minimizing the confusion of memorizing multiple definitions. The CC English Grammar definitions memorized in Foundations are used in Essentials, so this is another way to prepare your child for the dialectic discussions that await in Essentials!

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Thank you, Julie, for graciously sharing your wisdom with us! For those of you reading this post who have journeyed previously through Essentials, what would be your advice for Essentials “newbies?” Feel free to comment below!

Julie Largent lives with her husband and 4 kiddos in the Philadelphia area. If you’re in the Philly area, checkout their church plant!  Find Julie on Twitter: @j_largent 

 

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6 Responses to “Essentials Program: How To Gear Up For Your First Year (Part 2)”

  1. Melinda Eritzian July 22, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    I have had the pleasure of attending Essentials for five years and tutoring for three of them. I would like to also add that Essentials is a class that enables the parent to meet the needs of their student wherever they are academically. The degree of ability of the students and parents will vary, and it all works out quite nicely. Since it is designed to be a three year course which mimics the Trivium, no prior formal preparation in an English grammar program is necessary particularly if the parent chooses to spend those years simply engaging their child in good literature. Most parents will be learning right along side their students, and that is okay! If you are a first time Essentials parent, I recommend to adjust your expectations accordingly, be diligent in your efforts, and remember your second year will look nothing like your first year!

    • Suzanne Shares August 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

      Melinda!!! This is MARVELOUS! I was out of town on a mission trip when I received your comment. So sorry for my SLOW response. I wanted to tell you HOW MUCH I LOVED READING WHAT YOU WROTE HERE!!! Wow! It was so encouraging, liberating and instructive! Thank you for sharing your wisdom! Do you mind if I post this comment on my blog for other Essentials “newbies” like me to read?

      • Melinda Eritzian August 4, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

        I don’t mind. 🙂

  2. Melanie King August 3, 2014 at 12:19 am #

    Thank you so much for these! As a new to CC Foundations and Essentials director who has never even seen a class besides the example at Practicum last week, this came as a big help.

    • Suzanne Shares August 4, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

      Melanie!!! That was exactly ME our first year (except I wasn’t the director!!!) I signed up to tutor and was the only tutor for several weeks, so I was sweating how I would tutor 5 year olds to 5th graders! Thankfully, our new community grew over the summer, and I ended up with only Abecedarians! (The older kids scare me!!) 🙂 I had never seen a CC day either until my first practicum. Our first year there was a HUGE learning curve on my part…primarily because I didn’t have a good grasp of the classical model. However, our family loved CC and have never looked back! I made so many mistakes as a tutor that first year. Here’s a link to a post I wrote about that in May. Hopefully, it will be an encouragement to you and your new tutors. Praying for a WONDERFUL CC year for you and your family!! http://suzanneshares.com/2014/05/20/classical-conversations-tutor-year-1-vs-year-2-reflections/

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. On the Eve of My 1st Day as an Essentials Mom: Essentials Encouragement | Suzanne Shares - August 17, 2014

    […] last month a two-part Q&A: How To Gear Up For Essentials. (Missed the posts? Find them here and here.) A reader commented and shared her wonderful wisdom, and as I head to bed tonight and will awaken […]

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