Thursday, August 29, 2013

God Spotting -- A Happy Place

Ben's high school career started this week.  We had our first meeting for Classical Conversations on Tuesday.  He said he liked the seminars and enjoyed have lunch with all the kids and playing capture the flag with the other Challenge students at lunch.

Best of all was his reaction this morning.  He woke up (no nagging from me), ate, did some basic hygiene and then grabbed his backpack - no nagging from me.

He spent the day working on his assignments, after entering them in his new assignment book, and worked so diligently that I was stunned.  He and I dialogued about some of his work in a pleasant manner.  It was an encouraging start to the year.  I think he's in his happy place right now, and I couldn't be more thrilled for him to be comfortable right now.

I still need to get first day/ week pictures to make it official -- my first baby is a freshman!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

{Crew Review} ‘Because You Are Strong’ Bible Study by Doorposts


 photo doorpostlogo_zpsa7a5d5e4.jpg

Doorposts  is a company familiar to many homeschooling families because of their many useful character training tools that are recommended within homeschooling circles.  We used several of their products when the boys were younger (and I drooled over many others), but I have not really frequented their website until I had the opportunity to try a tween/ teen product – which I now adorea Bible study for boys ages 10-12 and up called Because You Are Strong (marked down to $12.00 right now from $14 – available as an eBook and soft cover).

There are several things that draw me to this study and make me love it.  First, it is not a fill-in-the-blank study (although it does have some of those).  It is not guiding you to interpret the Bible in the author’s way, but instead it is guiding you to read God’s word for yourself and discover God’s meaning.  Second, it is attempting to teach young men several methods of Bible study which can be used throughout their life.  Third, I really like that each of the eleven chapters studies a different part of the Bible – it is not a study of only one book of the Bible nor is it a study of only the Old or New Testament. 

Here’s a list from the table of contents which shows the type of Bible study method being taught and the Biblical text being used:

  1. Strength for the Race: Meditating on Hebrews 11-12
  2. Strength with no Limits A Topical Study on the Omnipotence of God
  3. Strength and Wisdom: A Topical Study in Proverbs
  4. Strength and Temptation: A Character Study of Samson
  5. Strength to be Valiant: A Word Study on "Valor"
  6. Strength in Our Weakness: A Verse Study on 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
  7. Strength in the Battle: A Chapter Study of 1 Samuel 17
  8. Strength Serving Others: A Study of Jesus' Actions in the Gospel of Mark
  9. Strength and Gray Heads: A Verse Study of Proverbs 20:29
  10. Strength in the Faith: A Book Study of 1 John

I encourage you to view sample pages here.  I think you can tell from the sample (from Chapter 1 and a devotional style) that your son is going to get the opportunity to really listen and think on Bible passages.  This makes it a more intense Bible study than a typical fill-in-the-blank one.  But the reward for this practice is great – learning to listen to God and hearing him speak in different situations in your life.

How We Used This:  I love that the book divides each chapter in daily bits of lessons.  The introductory notes say that each daily section should take 5-20 minutes. This really helps Ben (and I) to accomplish what needs to be done for the day.  There are a total of 74 lessons (five daily lessons per week) – just about 15 weeks of study.  Additionally, there are 40 more suggestions for additional study – ways to practice the methods taught in the book to sharpen skills.  If you wend ahead and used one of these additional studies for a week, that is more than a year’s worth of Bible study!


Another thing I love about this study is that it is not ignoring the internet.  There are TONS of Bible study tools online, and this study acknowledges that our society straddles the paper book – eBook generations yet does not shy away from using online tools. Although the text is written for using book references, boxes in the margin tell you how to use online resources – generally free.  For example, in the topical study, Ben was asked to look up some words in Nave’s Topical Bible.  This is a tool we do not own, and I was concerned that we would have to skip over this chapter because of that.  Nope, on p. 12 the study has step-by-step directions for using an online Nave’s Topical Bible search (via  As we progress further into the study, additional online tools are used to study the Bible.

Let me clarify:  This study doesn’t just tell the student to go to the web and use tools – it teaches students how to use the tools and how to use them further for additional study.  It includes step-by-step directions for how to use concordances and such – and how to even dig a little further.  I love this

Oh, gosh, I gushed more.  OK, back to how we used this. 

It was meant to be a daily program for us and was most of the time -- minus summer distractions.  But, we’ll get back into it as our routine takes over from summer crazies.   We created a shortcut to online Bible study tools on the iPad, and Ben would usually disappear for 30 or so minutes to finish his lesson.  Many of the chapters are 5 day studies which can be finished in a week, but a few last longer.  Regardless, each day’s written activities have many blank lines for your son to use to write down their ponderings.  Or just as easily, you can verbally discuss the material and write down summaries.  I think you’ll want to write down some information, even if you use it primarily out loud, because you’ll want to draw out information you found in the Bible study tools.  And, there are often quite a few verses to look up and summarize, so for continuity sake, make sure either you or your son is taking notes of your discussions.

After Ben finished a lesson, we would discuss his findings.  I wasn’t entirely pleased with how I structured the use of this study, and as we use it more in the fall, I plan on meeting with him every other day or so to talk about it.  Ben isn’t the most prolific writer, so he needs a combination of writings and oral work to squeeze out all the meat from God’s Word.  And, honestly, I enjoyed seeing Ben struggle with God’s Word – not in  bad way.  I have to admit, that he is much happier with a fill-in-the-blank study, but having to dig into God’s word to find answers and think long and hard about the Bible and his life?  Priceless time that is well spent in my book. 

My recommendations & thoughts:  In all truth, I’ve been looking for this exact study for over a year, and I’m so glad to see such a quality product.  Last year, I felt called to teach the middle school Sunday School class Bible Study methods – but honestly, I don’t know very many ways to study the Bible and I found that I just didn’t have the time to figure out how to teach something I didn’t know! As much as I tried to use some adult material we own and scale it for the young teens I had in my class, I know I just didn’t do the topic justice.  I’m actually going to pass on links to this study and the girls’ study entitled Beauty in the Heart  to our children and youth ministries directors so that these books can be considered for some of the small group studies that are going on in our church.

I do look forward to using this study with all of my boys as the enter the tween years. 

If you’d like to read more about both the young men and young women’s studies,  \please click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew


All prices are accurate as of blog posting. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

{Crew Review} MacPhail Online Music Lessons


MacPhail Music logo photo McPhailmusiclogo_zps8577c152.jpg

You know you are not in the 1900s when you can Skype with a music teacher half way across the country and s/he can comment on the correct finger placement on your trumpet’s valves and can comment, “Next lesson, it would be better if you had a music stand so you are not looking down to the floor.”

MacPhail Center for Music has harnessed all this great technology we are surrounded by and is making inroads to bring quality music instruction to anyplace that can connect to the web.

For the past month, Luke has been blessed to continue his music instruction with MacPhail Center for Music, an established and large music program in the Twin Cities area. Started in 1907 by William MacPhail, an original member of the Minneapolis Symphony, his violin school has grown to serve more than 5,000 music students in all settings (you can read the history here).


Luke working on his surprise for Mr. Bergeron, his band teacher (he doesn’t quite hit the high note, but shortly after I took this video, Luke had his lesson with Josh and was able to get it).

This summer we were blessed to review MacPhail’s individual instruction for K-12 homeschool students.  This set of four 30-minute lessons were discounted 25% for new students for a total price of $111.  Pricing for continuing the program with their Daytime Flex Packs for Live Online Lessons  includes a set of 8 lessons in a 18 week semester for the standard pricing of $37 per 30-minute lesson (lessons need to occur between 9am – 3pm).

How This Worked for Us.  We were contacted by MacPhail to do an equipment check via Skype before our trumpet teacher was assigned to us.  Now, I must admit that I’m not all that familiar with Skype, so I did have a few learning curves (like forgetting to click that I was “online” so the instructor could message and call me. duh), but overall the start up process was painless.

Our instructor, Josh, was flexible with our summer schedule and worked with me to fit our lessons in.  MacPhail does not have an online system to sign up for lessons – they just use email back and forth.


OK, so let’s get to the lessons.  Josh was surprised and happy that Luke already had a good knowledge of how to play the trumpet, and he worked with us to meet our needs awhile adapting his traditional program.  Luke really wants to surprise his trumpet teacher with a version of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” when his lessons start this fall, and Josh was able to use this song to help teach Luke to play it by ear.  I love that Luke had this experience, because he usually learns his songs with sheet music.  I’m not opposed to sheet music, but I am happy that Josh guided him and helped him think in terms of listening to himself play and figuring out notes from that.


Josh was very generous with his time, and he would email extra practice songs to me for Luke to practice.  Luke really enjoyed his lessons with Josh, and worked hard during the summer to make Josh proud!

My recommendations & thoughts:  I think this is  a great service, and I’m happy with the quality that can be had with Skype.  I think the quality of instruction was great – Josh was encouraging and positive while providing some great hints and pointers to Luke as he progresses with the trumpet.

My only concern is the price.  I’ll admit to a bit of sticker shock with the per-lesson prices.  $37 seems high for lessons in our area (admittedly, I haven’t looked around, but we’ve taken other instruments for $20-$25 per 30-minute lesson), but I love that MacPhail offers lessons for a large variety of instruments.  And, your student will be taking lessons from instructors at a premier Midwestern institution.

Others members of The Crew were invited to try out music lessons on a variety of other instruments.  To get their opinion, click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.


All prices are accurate as of blog posting.

Friday, August 16, 2013

{Crew Review} Reading Kingdom


Reading Kingdom logo photo readingkingdomlogo_zps9012735a.jpg

Reading Kingdom ($19.99/ month for the first student.  See website for additional student pricing and year long subscriptions) is a supplemental reading program for ages 4-10 that we had the privilege of reviewing in the past.  It was a huge hit with Levi at the time, who was just beginning to learn to read, and was eager to unlock the mystery of the English language. It really helped Levi over some little hurdles in his reading adventure and I’m pretty sure helped give him a good foundation to become such a successful reader.

I was excited to try it again – this time with Levi and Luke – both considered “grade level” (or above) readers.

Using the best of phonics and whole language, Dr. Blank has created a patented computer program that is comprised of six components:


Dr. Blank’s program is designed to help students (both those who are emerging readers and those who are experiencing challenges learning to read) become  successful readers and writers at a 3rd grade level.

When first logged on to Reading Kingdom, your child will take a skills survey/ assessment.  Skills like visual sequencing and memory and keyboarding skills (it isn’t necessary that your student 10-finger touch type, but they need familiarity with where the letters are on the keyboard)  are looked at first. If help is needed at this level, the survey stops and Reading Kingdom begins teaching your child these skills.  If no help is needed, the survey continues at a deeper level of reading and spelling/ writing to pick the exact spot where your child can experience success in learning a new skill.

For reading and spelling, there are five levels.  Each level has 6 books, and within these levels, the child is taught each and every word that is in the books:

reading kingdom

Words are taught intentionally in game settings within the program and at the end, the child ‘earns’ a book to read.  The nice thing about Reading Kingdom is that your child has already learned every word in each book, so there are no surprises and frustrations (this is  a great asset if you have a perfectionist child or one who has experienced a lot of frustration in reading up to this point).

As the parent/ teacher, you can sign up to receive weekly reports of your child’s progress.  The reports are similar to the reports you will see online, which look like this:


Reading Kingdom provides a lot of information on reading and Dr. Blank’s research. I encourage you to search out some of the information at links such as: How Reading Kingdom is different, Why It Works (teacher page), How Reading Kingdom is Organized for Beginning and Struggling Readers (this is a 9 page PDF that is very interesting!), and a blog with tips, articles and information



How We Used This Program:  For this review I was able to use it with both Luke and Levi – at the top and middle of the age ranges for this product (ages 10 and 7, respectively).  Both boys’ most recent standardized testing scores for reading place them at or above grade level for reading comprehension, so I was curious to see how this program would work for them, and if it would benefit them at all.

Boy, was I surprised to see that even for ‘grade level readers', Reading Kingdom can provide the support needed to fill in gaps not evaluated in standardized testing.  Ultimately, the boys will have much better comprehension and success in reading. 

I was more than a little shocked when Luke had to start at the very first level of books!  This level has practice with words such as kid, girl, some, a, and more.  “Really?” I thought to myself, “Luke already knows this stuff.” 

I’ll admit that I was a little frustrated that I hadn’t sat in while Luke was taking the Reading and Writing Survey (he had to work through levels 3 and 4 of Letter Land before getting to the reading sections) so I would know what type of mistakes he was making.  You won’t be able to see a report with survey results, perhaps because  Reading Kingdom is a patented learning system.  Ultimately though, Luke did not answer with enough accuracy and speed to be considered a 3rd grade reader who is confident with this simple words.    

Even with my surprise, deep in my mama’s heart, I know that Luke needs as much ongoing help with reading fundamentals as possible.  He is not a good speller and processes auditory information a little slower than his brothers. His oral reading still evidences visual processing errors and phonogram mistakes (he confuses ‘wh’ and ‘th’ with sight words like ‘what’ and ‘that’). One of the ways that Reading Kingdom helps students is by having them spell words.  Gradually, Reading Kingdom takes away a model and has students practice letter sequencing and fill-in-the blanks. In general this is pretty hard for Luke.    Here is what the screen looks like when the student is supposed to figure out which model will spell “walk:”


After choosing the correct model, the student had to fill in the missing letters only.  I can see that this would be hard for Luke.  But I am a mean mama, so he’ll still have to do it and I’m pretty sure Reading Kingdom will help him with his reading and spelling.

Levi, on the other hand, was much more willing to continue using Reading Kingdom.  Although he, too, felt that it was “slow”, once he was engaged with the software, he was fine.  As a matter of fact, during the middle of the review, Levi seemed to be having some trouble and was reticent to work on the program.  After watching over his shoulder for a session, I increased the response time (he’s trying to touch type even though I’ve told him that hunt-and-peck is fine) and his attitude and compliance has increased a hundred times over.  Once you sign up for your account, you can change the response time at the bottom of the “My Account” page:


I think once Luke gets home from soccer camp and experiences the increase response time, he’ll be much more willing to continue with the program.

My recommendations & thoughts:  I continue to think that Reading Kingdom is hugely valuable to students who are beginning the reading process, and now that I’ve used it with readers, I can still see the value of working through the program.  Yes, Luke tests as a grade level reader for comprehension, but I am aware of multiple times when he misreads simple sight words or skips over them all together in his oral reading.  So, I think Reading Kingdom can provide an additional layer of assistance for him to really focus on the visual processing and sequencing of language. I want my kids to love reading and never tire of picking up a book to experience a far off world or read to learn something new.  I’m grateful that Reading Kingdom is giving additional support to my readers to help them become book lovers.

Be sure to sign up for a 30-day trial of Reading Kingdom!

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew


All prices are accurate as of blog posting. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013


A Sunday or two ago, the farm stand down the road from my house had pickling cukes for sale -- 25¢ a piece!  I snatched up 8 of them and decided I would teach myself the art of pickling.

Half a week later, the boys and I agree that we have some good pickles here.  These are the refrigerator kind -- no sterilization required. These recipes are not meant to be put up for long term storage, which is fine because they are so good they might not make it to Saturday!

I searched Pinterest for two recipes - a garlic dill and a bread-and-butter type. 

Here are the recipes I used:

Of Cabbages and Cakes' Bread and Butter Pickle
I didn't make mine exactly like her's, but they still taste great. I couldn't find mustard seed until yesterday, so I dropped in some ground mustard (I have no idea if it helped or not).  Also I immediately put my jars into the fridge - no large jar transfer to small jars.

I would love to give credit where it is due, but I don't know where this recipe came from.  It was a pin that only went to a jpg.    I halved this recipe and these are garlicky -- which is how they should be! 

So I think I'm hooked.  Fresh, refrigerator pickles for us from now on!


Friday, August 9, 2013

{Blog Hop} 5 Days of Memory Work–Day 5


Organizing Memory Work for Middle/ High School

5 days button

I mentioned briefly in my first blog post this week that the idea of grammar-level memory work surrounds us whenever we undertake a new project, hobby, job or vocation.  Each new undertaking requires us to learn new vocabulary and new systems which we then have to integrate into what we know.

Therefore, just because your children grow out of the classical education ‘grammar stage’ does not mean that your child will stop needing to do memory work.  It is still there and still something to be learned, practiced, and reviewed.

My rising high schooler (it just seems so absurd that my first baby is starting high school in a few weeks), Ben, is going to have a HUGE amount of memory work to incorporate into his life this fall.  Here’s some of his subjects:

Introductory and Intermediate Logic
Mock Trial
Literary Analysis
Algebra 1 and Geometry

Some of the memory work won’t necessarily be new to him (he’s been studying Algebra since February) but I will be requiring him to incorporate memory work into his daily routine – things like formulas and math properties will be items that he’ll need to commit to memory more intentionally this next year.  And, although he made flashcards for Spanish, he will definitely be more intentional with it as well.

So let me introduce you to his memory work system:


I’m repurposing this lidded plastic shoe box.  Index cards fit perfectly into it.  I like that the lid is attached. {I’m not so sure this style is made anymore, but I’m sure you can find something similar at Wal-Mart, Target or an office supply store.}


Piles of index cards and rings are necessary.  I ended up fitting about 1000 index cards in this box, with room for rings and markers left over. The rings are to make the cards portable.  I saw at Staples they had a plastic covered set of index cards already hole-punched with a ring for $2, but that had only about 100 cards in it. 

I also found some sturdy tabs on clearance at Staples and I purchased a set of colored index cards.  Ben will these to create subject dividers like the one below:

I also included a set of markers.  Ben will color code his cards either with a dot or line at the top. 
I told him he could sit one night and color code his cards while watching his favorite show on Netflix (Psyche).
I just love this box and how self contained all his supplies are.  A friend of mine whose son was in Challenge A last year spent part of his morning reinforcing his memory work.  She said it worked better for him to review his memory work in one chunk of time before starting his subject than spending the first 5-15 min of each subject’s hour reviewing memory work.

Thanks so much for stopping by to follow my 5 Days of Memory Work.  I am feeling more organized and ready to go for our new year!

Even in you are not involved in a Classical Conversations community, I hope you can tweak some of these ideas to help you get ready for a fantastic school year.

Please click on the link below to read all of our Schoolhouse Crew member’s 5 Days… blog entries!

Summer Blog Hop

Thursday, August 8, 2013

{Blog Hop} 5 Days of … Memory Work – Day 4


Organizing my Foundations Guide for Memory Work

5 days button

If you have stuck with me through this week, you have seen little tips I’ve picked up from here and there to help me organize for CC which starts for my high schooler in 4 weeks and my 5th and 2nd grader in about 6 weeks.  I am pretty sure it is going to be a crazy September (did I also mention I’m the Tutor/Director for Challenge II?) to say the least, so I’m working on getting ducks in a row now.

The Foundations Guide (which sells at the CC store for $60) is a week-by-week guide of all the memory work your student is going to learn during the 24 weeks. The price does seem steep for a regurgitation of what they kids learn, but one guide is used for all 3-years of the rotation, so it breaks down to only $20/ year in a 3-year rotation. 

Here are some suggestions for prepping your Guide to make it easy to use in the fall.

(1) Use a binder clip to section off the years you don’t need. 


(Remember, I warned you that I wasn’t re-inventing the wheel with any of these tips)

(2) Throw some love at Post-It Filing Tabs. I found these curved ones on clearance at my local store a few weeks ago.  I put one on the tope for Cycle two:


But I also noticed that there was a wealth of additional information each cycle.  Divided by subject, I put labels on all the Cycle 2 information:
I placed tabs for the following sections:
  1. Memory Work Subject Summary
  2. Scripture Passage
  3. Science Experiments and Projects
  4. Fine Arts (which really has three sub-sections – music theory, great artists, and orchestra and composers)
  5. History Timeline – This is a neat section that I just discovered when I was getting this post ready.  For each history sentence learned during the week, you can use this quick chart to find the relevant Timeline Card to expand on the sentence.

I’m going to have to add two additional tabs – one for the Latin verb conjugations that Foundations students learn and one for the geography map appendix.

(3) Make notes about resources you can use for further reading.  Our past use of Tapestry of Grace has left us with a very nice library of books about practically every period in history.  I’m grateful for all these books, and plan to use them to dig deeper into interesting topics.  In just a few minutes, I was able to find some resources that correspond with the history sentences of the week, so I left a sticky note on pages so I can easily find materials when we make out our weekly schedule. 


I also plan to look through our literature books and do the same – find great literature to go along with some of the topics and throw another stick note on the page.  I’m hoping to do about 6 quality read alouds with the boys this year.  This may not seem like a lot (and it really isn’t considering what I’ve done with Ben in the past), but I’m going for much, not many this year.  What I mean is this:  I’d rather do fewer read alouds with Luke and Levi, but really have a chance to enjoy them and discuss them than race through a lot of books and not recall what they are about!

With this post – phew! – I think I’m done organizing our Foundations memory work.  This is getting me excited!

Tomorrow’s post:   Organizing Memory Work for Middle/ High School

Please click on the link below to read all of our Schoolhouse Crew member’s 5 Days… blog entries!

Summer Blog Hop

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Homeschool Mama's Friend: Dropbox!

Now that Ben is using more technology to complete writing assignments, reports, and presentations, I discovered I needed a better way to check and grade them.  We have a LOT of papers floating around this house and having several drafts of an assignment is not something I want to see -- let alone killing a tree for the printer paper!

Last April, I had a moment of brilliance. Ben and I both created Dropbox accounts and have been using this to pass assignments back and forth.  This is working MUCH better than emailing documents!  I found that when we were doing this, I would have to save a draft of his work on my computer -- needing to re-name it, etc.  Just a big of a hassle.

With Dropbox, the file 'lives' in the cloud and we can both access the document and save it without needing to rename it a gazillion times.

Here's how it works:

1. Open a Dropbox account, if you don't already have one.  And, if you don't have one yet, can you use me as a referral - Dropbox Referrals ?  I'll get a little bit more free storage and you'll start out with 2GB of free storage, too.

2. Create a Shared folder.  See the happy rainbow on the left side?  Click there, then the bar on the top that says "New Shared Folder.

 You can create a new folder or allow sharing with a folder you already have.

3. You'll get a box that pops up where you can enter an email of the person(s) you want to share with.  That person will get an invite and you are set!

Of course, you can do the same thing with Google Drive and other cloud storage places out there on the web.  This new use of cloud storage in our family as really been a blessing!

{This is an updated post from 4/12/13}

 Note:  This is not an advertisement, no one from Dropbox knows I'm writing this, and no one asked me to write this. I'm writing this because we had an a-ha moment this week and it involved a practical, helpful way to use Dropbox in our school!

{Blog Hop} 5 Days of … Memory Work–Day 3


Organizing for a Timeline


I’m very excited that the boys (and I) will be learning a timeline.  Two years ago, we worked on memorizing a timeline with some friends, and it floored me how much kids can learn.  My boys have always enjoyed learning to music – it is one of the more lasting ways I taught the boys our phone number – but it was very eye opening to see them memorize historical events in such a manner.

I’m not going to wax on about the beauty of Classical Conversations Timeline cards.  No, they are not cheap ($22 a set and you’ll need all four sets for the entire timeline).  But I’ve discovered they are pretty durable and have a lot of information on the backside so that I can expand on them during the week.

I knew I wanted to have our weekly set of 7 cards visible to help us with our memory work.  It’s  been years now since I had seen a blogger share her dining room/ school room CC display – gosh, I don’t think Pinterest was up and running yet – so I have no idea where I saw these ideas, but here’s my interpretation of a Timeline wall clip board:


The supplies I needed for this project were:  a piece of wood. This is a 1x4, I think,and was 47” long (which worked out perfectly).  I also had on hand some cup hooks.  All I needed to purchase was some clips which I found at Staples on their clearance table – only 50c each instead of $1.

The wood  was recycled from a hastily installed coat hook rack in the basement.  I just sanded it down and ran a coat of stain over it.  Fortunately, my dear husband had already drilled holes in it at 16” on center, so I was good to go for installing upstairs.


Next I laid out the cards for spacing, and twisted in the cup hooks.
Almost done!  I’m just leveling it now.
These clips ended up being perfect, as they are not grabbing on to the timeline cards so hard as to mar them. 

Now, the boys and I can randomly remove a card from the display and sing our weekly timeline song, gradually learning the sequence of events.  I’m thinking we might also have scavenger hunts around the house as we search for timeline cards under a couch or behind the TV.  We can also mix them up and the re-order them correctly.  I’m sure I’ll glean lots of ways we can learn our timeline in a fun way!

Tomorrow’s post:   Organizing my Foundations Guide for Memory Work

Please click on the link below to read all of our Schoolhouse Crew member’s 5 Days… blog entries!

Summer Blog Hop

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

{Blog Hop} 5 Days of Memory Work–Day 2


Organizing Memory Work Cards


First of all, I just want to be open and honest about this series of blog posts – there is no huge, amazing revelation that I’m sharing with you.  Rather, much if not all that I’m sharing with you can be gleaned  from several Pinterest boards or from reading a couple forum posts here-and-there.  What I’m attempting to do here is put together a little-of-this and a little-of-that and help connect the dots as a resource for those new to Classical Conversations and/or memory work.

At my  summer practicum in June, I purchased our first set of Classical Conversations Memory Work Cards.  I really like that they are nicely laminated, sturdy, and color coded.


It seemed impossible that a 2” loose-leaf ring (purchased a set of 9 rings at Staples for about $4.00) would hold all the cards.  Indeed, it did work, but I read on several sites that dividing them into 6 week sets make the cards manageable to use on a daily basis.  I don’t want my cards to get too beat up, so I decided to break them up into four groups.

(And just so you know, my set of 9 rings quickly was reduced to 8 rings as one broke when I was trying to open it.  Now I know why they are sold in such a funny lot size.)


When opened the cards are organized by subject – all the timeline cards are together, history sentences, Latin, etc.  I just reorganized them into sets for weeks 1-6, 7-12 (first semester), 13-18, and 19-24 (second semester).
One thing you’ll want to watch is that the Latin cards are used two weeks in a row.  So, for the first six weeks, there are only 3 cards (week 1/2, 3/4 and 5/6).
Another site suggested grouping the cards by week instead of subject.  In the picture above, I sorted the first six weeks’ cards by week.  The cards at the top of the picture are the 3 Latin cards.  I decided to keep those separated out from the rest of the week cards.
You can see in the picture above that each card is used for four weeks. OK, so this is the reason I decided to leave these pink cards out of the weekly rainbow sequence.  The are together at the end of the ring (see below).
This is my set of memory cards for the first 6 weeks of Foundations.  If this system works well, I’ll re-arrange the rest of the cards as we use them.
The four rings are hanging from a super heavy magnetic hook on the file cabinet, ready for the fall!

We will also use the memory work CD, which contains two CDs – one that organizes the memory work by subject and one that organizes the memory work by week.  I will burn these CDs to the iPad and my phone. I’ll also keep the CDs in the car for practice there.  I plan to assign them some time each day to listen and practice memory work on their own in addition to our morning meeting when we will get the bulk of our memory work practice done.

Tomorrow’s post:   Organizing for Timeline Memory Work

Please click on the link below to read all of our Schoolhouse Crew member’s 5 Days… blog entries!

Summer Blog Hop