I have some catching up to do on Teach A Fish (should be titled Catch Up a Fish...)
Two weeks ago, I attended the 3-Day CC Practicum for parents and tutors. The morning hours are devoted to a single theme, and learning more about Classical education in general (the stages of learning, and how that applies to everything in life). The parent portion of the practicum is open to ANY parent; public, private, homeschool parents interested in learning more about Classical education. Our theme this year was Math. Most of us entered the practicum completely unenamored by Math, but by the end, we were all excited about Math and how we can even see God in the numbers and patterns of life. Very cool!
In the afternoon session, parents were able to stay for discussion and videos of amazing homeschool speakers. Those of us enlisted to tutor at a CC campus next fall underwent training. I LOVED the training! It was a fantastic 3 days of learning the tutor's role and how to keep the classroom learning and moving forward. How to encourage and support the parent. I love the design of the program. Two-and a half hours may seem like a lot to keep those 4-12 year olds in a classroom, but the program is really organized well, and those two-and a half hours are packed full of learning-awesomeness. I'll give an overview of how the time is spent:
1st half-hour: New Facts are introduced. Depending on the make-up of the tutor's classroom, songs, hand motions, chants, and movements may be included.
2nd half-hour: Another subject, depending on how your class is organized. For example's sake, I'll say Science. Kids go to the science room and perform an experiment. The topic often relates in some way to the science facts they are learning that year. Time is spent on the Scientific Method.
3rd half-hour: Next subject, we'll say Art/Music. 6 weeks are devoted to drawing lessons; 6 weeks are spent on learning music theory and the tin whistle (Major Headache Week! LOL); 6 weeks are spent on famous artists and practicing some of their techniques; and another 6 weeks are devoted to famous music composers and hearing their music.
4th half-hour: Next subject, we'll say Presentation Time. Kids are given a topic beforehand and give a 3-min (or less) presentation in the front of the classroom. For the littles, this probably looks more like show-and-tell. They all learn techniques for becoming good presenters to their audience (making eye contact, not reading from a page, etc.) I heard great stories of extremely shy kids overcoming some of their fears by the year's end, and being able to make good presentations. What I loved most about this is that tutors' #1 goal is to make each kid feel successful about their presentations - although the kids will be learning techniques and improving on them, the tutor really meets each student *where they are* and encourages them. Shy kids can overcome their fears of public speaking because they have a safe environment to do it.
5th half-hour: Review time. Old facts are reviewed, often using games to make it interesting and fun! Again, I loved how the tutor's goal is ultimately to make this a successful thing for the students; not to make them feel dumb and inferior - but to encourage them to learn outside of CC and to try their best! If one child does not handle competition well, the tutor is able to change the nature of the game to be a group effort, and to encourage success for everyone!
I don't want to sound like I've joined a cult or that I've become a salesperson, here, LOL! CC, like anything else, is not the end-all-be-all of home education. Nothing is. But as a newly trained tutor, I will say that I think CC is pretty neat;) If you are curious, I encourage you to try out a *free* parent practicum (the kids' camps cost money, but if you can find a sitter and go alone, it's completely free for you!) Or, if you want to see how an actual CC campus runs, email your nearest CC campus director and see if there is an open-house day that you can attend. You can find all these things at the website www.classicalconversations.com Practicums are found on the Events Calendar, campuses are found by clicking the map and finding your state.