CC Blog Carnival: September 2015

I’m sure many of you are well into your school year already.  Our CC campus doesn’t start for a few more weeks, so we’ve been wrapping up our summer and slowly getting started on our school year.

Here are a variety of blog posts from CC contributors all over the country.  There are lots of great ideas shared here.  Please don’t feel like you need to do all (or any) of it.  This is meant to be a resource for you.

If you wondering how you are doing in your homeschool, you may benefit from reading about our family gauges success.

Like the past few CC Blog Carnivals, this one is arranged by Foundations, Essentials, and Challenge topics.  I’d love to hear in the comments about what are some of your favorites from this carnival.

CC-Blog-Carnival September 2015


I love when we can see God’s handiwork in the common things around us.  Brandy from Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood shows this wonder in Awestruck by a Pinto Bean.

My husband Seth shares a game that feels like it is made for CC families in Game Review:  Timeline.  I actually introduced this game to my masters’ class at CC Orientation.

Traci of The Essential Homestead has put together a book list (with simple activities) for Cycle 1’s history entitled Cycle 1 History Reading List.  Don’t let the name fool you; there are a few fun activities and crafts included on the list.

Kathy, writing at It’s a Great Day to Learn, has made 6 Steps History and People/Places History Sheets.  If you want to do simple history notebooking or have your children write about what they are reading/learning, you might want to check these out.  I think some of my children would enjoy doing these sheets.  I’m going to try them out soon.

From The BENT Kitchen, Bethany gives step-by-step instructions for navigating CC Connected.  CC Connected can be tough if you aren’t used to it.  This might help.

Brandy from HAHAW shares her master list of match-ups with Story of the World, Mystery of History, and Scholastic for all 3 cycles.  This is a great resource even if you like to just work from start to finish through some of these.  If you want to go back to re-read (or re-listen in our case), this will help you find the exact lesson you wanted.

If you are looking for a CC-specific planner, Beth at Pockets Full of Rocks shares a detailed review of one made by Hot Pink Lime.  (There was a giveaway too, but it ended before the Blog Carnival was published.)

Karen from The Simply Blog is a new contributor to this CC Blog Carnival since her family just newly joined CC.  She writes about putting together a daily learning notebook for her Foundations student (and also shares about Challenge which you can see down below).

If you are looking for a new memory work review game, this Twister Memory Work Review Nicole from Living Out His Love might be just the thing.  Someone could use this with a class or even at home.

Tracy from The Essential Homestead also shares her plans for learning Cycle 1, Week 1.  If you are wondering what someone else is up to in their home, you will enjoy this.

Prepping for Cycle 1 is where Aurie (Our Good Life) explains what she does to get ready for the new year.  She mentions her years of under- and over-planning prior to making this year’s plan.

A question that gets asked all the time is “How do I store timeline cards?”  Allie from 17th Street Blessings answers this question with what her family uses.

Beth’s Scheduling Our Day Using Blocks of Time might help anyone not sure of how to set up their days at home.  She allows room for extras and distractions to come up during the day and still get their work done.

Speaking of planning, Brandy shares a post that she referred to as a “brain dump” on planning, scheduling, and curriculum.  This is full of great resources!  While Brandy from Half-A-Hundred Acre Wood might be the most well-known CC blogger, I love how she readily admits not getting everything done, has to change plans, and is just a “regular” CC mom.

Kathy (It’s A Great Day to Learn) put together a list of craft ideas for weeks 1-12.  I have a crafty kid even though I am not a crafty mom.  I think I’ll look through these with the crafty child to pick out a few for them to complete.

The BENT Kitchen has some tips for surviving your first weeks teaching Abecedarians.  I taught the ABCers for 3 years, so I know how challenging they can be.

Allie (17th Street Blessings) shares how she marks up her Foundations guide to make it more useful for her (specifically as a sub).

If you are looking for some “Back to School” printables, check out the list Beth has put together.  Even if you’ve been back to school for a while, the links to an interview to do with your child, Scripture cards, and lunch box notes might all still be of interest.

If you haven’t seen Brandy’s list of resources for Classical Conversations or her timeline thumbnail idea, these are worth checking out.


Anne from 101 Days of Homeschooling gives some Essentials encouragement – specifically working on Chart C.  I appreciate her reminder to “do less well”.

Heidi from Mt. Hope Chronicles explores the meaning of language since she is tutoring Essentials this year.  The first discussion is of the word “cosmos” and the second is on “logos”.  If you ever wonder about studying language and specifically grammar, you might find this to be a valuable reading.


Karen at The Simply Blog explains how her family prepared for their first year of Challenge A.  Since I don’t have children in Challenge yet, I enjoy reading about how others get ready.  Karen’s family is new to CC, so this is from the viewpoint of a newbie.

Heidi from Mt. Hope Chronicles gives another great example of using the 5 Common Topics.  Between years of practicum, Heidi’s posts on the 5 Common Topics, and reading The Question, I am seeing the value of the 5 Common Topics and am looking forward to using them with my children.

I wanted to re-list Brandy’s post on planning, scheduling, and curriculum since her oldest is in Challenge A.  This whole post isn’t about Challenge, but there are some great Challenge tips in there.

I hope this CC Blog Carnival is a blessing to you!  You can check out past CC Blog Carnivals if you missed any of the recent ones:  August 2015, July 2015, June 2015.

Game Review: Timeline

The game Timeline is a hit!  I think every homeschool family will enjoy this one since you are learning as you play.  As a Classical Conversations family, I feel like this was made for CC.


There a many different sets of cards that you can buy (the original game, American HistoryScience and Discoveries . . .).  We have Science and Discoveries and Historical Events so far.  You can play with the sets individually or mix them together.  (Except for the Animals version, because in that one, you sort by weight, size, or lifespan, not date).

The game is very simple and fun.  Timeline comes in a nice, small tin.  There are over a hundred cards in the tin.  Each card has a historical event on one side.  The other side has the same event and shows the date that it occurred.  Each player starts with 4 cards on the table in front of them, with the date side down.  One card is flipped up on the table with the date showing.

place a card

Players take turns guessing where their card fits in the timeline.  After you set a card out, it is flipped over to see if it is in the correct place.  If you place a card correctly, your turn is over.  If you place it incorrectly, you have to draw another card, and your turn is over.

Vikings raid

The first player to run out of cards is the winner.  (If 2 people run out in the same round, they each draw a card and keep playing until the tie is broken).

At the beginning of the game, it is easy to place cards, but as the timeline of cards grows, it is harder to figure out where events fall.

What I like:

  • Over 45 of the cards from the Historical Events set are from the CC timeline or history sentences.  
  • The phrasing on the cards is not always exactly like the CC memory work, so they have to think.
  • In the Science and Discoveries set, there aren’t many facts from CC, but there are a lot of things that connect to the memory pegs  (Cards like: discovery of universal gravitation or discovery of the cell, connect to memory work that our kids have done).
  • Even after playing just a few games, I was already starting to memorize some of the dates.
  • You are motivated to remember the dates, not because you was to memorize, but because you want to win.
  • The artwork on the cards is very nice.
  • Sometimes the picture can help you guess on an even that you don’t know. (One time a had no clue, but the card had a microphone in the picture.)
  • It plays very quickly.
  • All of our kids enjoyed it.
  • Many of the cards are events from the CC timeline, or history memory work.
  • The game doesn’t make you draw more cards when you make a mistake (you just replace the one you placed incorrectly).
  • It is inexpensive.

Things I don’t like:

  • Some of the cards are written from an evolutionary world view:  Creation of the Earth, extinction of the dinosaurs…  But these are easily corrected or removed from the game.
  • The cards are small.  (I did not like this at first, but after playing it, I got used to it and am glad they are small.)

I strongly recommend Timeline to everyone because it is fun and educational.  If you are a CC family, your should get this one today!


This post contains affiliate links.  

Our Curriculum Choices: 2015-2016

I’m really not sure if anyone else is interested in our curriculum choices, but I thought I’d make a list of them for myself if not anyone else.

My children are in Kindergarten, 2nd, 4th, and 5th grades.

We are living in a temporary home and hoping to be moving again this fall so I tried to make curriculum choices that are easy to use, flexible, and will travel well.  We’ve already been doing math this summer to give ourselves a little wiggle room for packing and moving.

I’m sure this isn’t an all-inclusive list of every book we’ll touch or every bit of learning we’ll do, but it at least shows the core of what we will be doing this year.


Our Curriculum Choices 2015 1016

Classical Conversations:

Foundations program.  This really makes up a large part of our curriculum.  We learn math, science, history, geography, timeline, latin, and english grammar.  The kids do weekly presentations, science experiments, and fine arts activities.  Often the kids will read books related to what we learn in CC on their own time.  If you want to know more about CC, I shared why we love Classical Conversations a few months ago.  One morning a week, we spend with our community, but this also shapes a lot of what we do at home.

Essentials program.  My oldest 2 will both be in Essentials this year.  They learn grammar including sentence diagramming, writing papers with IEW, and play math games.  We use the Essentials spelling lists during the year as well.  I shared about gearing up for our Essentials journey and reflections on our first year.  We work on Essentials assignments the rest of the week after attending class Monday afternoons.


Elijah and Ruth are doing Saxon 6/5 and Saxon 5/4 using up stacks of spiral notebooks.  We just started Saxon last year, and I love the improvement I have seen in Elijah’s math confidence in the last year.

Isaiah is doing Grade 2 Math from Christian Light Education.  I wasn’t wild about the younger years of Saxon so I switched to this.  I like that everything is right in the workbooks.  Isaiah likes coloring in his drill practice charts and the fact that pre-tests can let you skip a lesson.  People who liked Saxon 5/4 and up but didn’t like the younger years recommended CLE, and I’m glad I checked it out.

For Kindergarten, Gideon is working through these free math worksheets as well as playing lots of math games.  He’ll probably complete the Kindergarten and Grade 1 practice books this year.

Language Arts:

Elijah and Ruthie will mainly use Essentials.  They will read lots of books too (they always do).  For extra spelling practice, we use lists from Spelling Power.  For copywork, we use the CC memory work (print and cursive) with the kids just writing in spiral notebooks.

Isaiah and Gideon will continue working on reading skills with The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading and phonics worksheets from Teacher Filebox.  They will memorize English grammar with CC and reinforce those concepts with these fun grammar books.  Handwriting practice will be CC memory work or pages from Draw Write Now.


We’ll listen to audio stories including Mystery of History Volume 1 and read countless books from the library along with our CC memory work and reading CC’s timeline cards and History Highlights.


Besides CC’s memory work and science experiments, Seth will do extra science experiments with the kids, and they’ll read these books, CC’s science snippets (from CC Connected), and books from the library.


We study the Bible as a family, but I don’t really think of it as “curriculum.”  I thought I would include it on my list in case someone needs a reminder to include Bible study in their planning.  I am reviewing a Bible curriculum and will write about it in the near future after we have used it for a while.  We also will pull out our We Choose Virtues cards again soon (maybe not until after the move).

What are you using this year?  Do you have something new that you are extra excited about?   

I am looking forward to learning together with my children and watching them grow!

CC Blog Carnival: July 2015

Welcome to July’s CC Blog Carnival!  If you missed our first one in June, you can check it out here.  I hope you are taking time to relax and refresh this summer even in the midst of planning for the upcoming school year.

Like last time, the posts are organized by topic.  This month, we have posts about CC Practicum, Foundations, Challenge, and Encouragement.  Sadly, I didn’t have any submissions about Essentials, but I hope there will be some next month.

CC Blog Carnival July 2015

CC Practicum:

The Two-Fold Encouragement of a CC Practicum: my thoughts on the encouragement found at CC Practicum.  This year I had the added blessing of having Leigh Bortins as the speaker.

Classical Conversations Comes to the Rescue:  a beautiful story about the CC community and Marc Hays’ journey to a Practicum in Alabama.

Why I Attend Practicum, A Husband’s Perspective:  Brandy Ferrell’s husband sharing his reasons for attending Practicum.  I know that I didn’t see very many dads at the Practicum I attended and appreciated his perspective (as well as his support of his wife in their family’s homeschool journey).


Plan vs. Reality:  When You Spent All Year Tapering is a great reminder that we don’t always achieve what we set out to do.  Brandy shares how far from her plans reality was.  I really liked her quote from Michelangelo.  If you are still feeling like a failure from not completing all of last year’s goals or are planning for next year, this might be of interest to you.

How to Study Science Without Really Trying from Beth at Classical Conversations at Home gives great ideas for using science reference books at home as well as sharing some of her family’s favorites.  I appreciate the game activity since I think it would get my children to study the books even more.

Ten Commandments Copywork from Mary at Homegrown Learners includes cursive and print copywork versions in KJV.  This is the Bible passage for CC this Cycle.  I think I am going to print these out for my children along with their regular memory work copywork.

Christian Books for Cycle 1 Science, written by me, includes some favorite Christian resources we will use this year in conjunction with Cycle 1 Science.

Saxon Math – K-3:  Our Approach gives an overview of the K-3 Saxon Math program as well as how Allie has tweaked it to work for her.

Back to Ancient History (and Classical Conversations, Cycle 1) explains how Heidi’s family studies history in CC.  She made me laugh with her “Way Back Machine” reference.  She includes an extensive book list in this post grouped by each civilization.

Memory Work Folder is a simple way to organize the CC memory work.  You may have run across this idea before, but it’s been updated for Cycle 1.

Planning and Organization for Classical Conversations Cycle 1 shows another way to plan your weeks.  Mary from Homegrown Learners likes to use notebooking along side the CC memory work.  If your family enjoys notebooking (or you think you might), this could be the organization for you.

Three Keys to Tutoring Success were shared by Colleen of Sola Gratia Mom.  If you are a Foundations tutor, you might want to check out her ideas.


Homeschooling Your Teen:  Are You Missing The Most Important Thing? might be just what a Challenge mom or dad wants to read this summer as they are “gearing up” for the new school year.  At Practicum in early June, I got to hear Leigh Bortins talk about her aim being to have her children “in Christ, not in college.”  Mary’s article about not losing her daughter’s heart reminded me of Leigh’s aim.  It’s a lesson I’m sure I’ll need to be reminded of again.

Just A Little Advice for Challenge Directors gives lots of tips from a Challenge B director as well as gave me yet another little glimpse into Challenge.  Even if I like to think of Challenge as far away, my children are growing up faster than I want them to.


If You Aren’t Sure You Measure Up:  Brandy re-shared an encouraging reminder that each of us is the parent God gave to our children.  I remember reading this when she originally shared it on her blog and found it encouraging then and now.

It Takes A Village talks about the importance of being a part of a community while being a homeschooler.  There are a ton of opportunities out there for homeschoolers, and we don’t have to do everything on our own.

Every Day. Every Hour. Every Minute. is from our blog.  I know that I can’t do all I have to do on my own strength.  (If you have been following our family, God has provided a temporary rental home for us while we continue to search for a house to buy so we aren’t going to be homeless.)

Thanks for joining us for this month’s CC blog carnival.  If you are interested in submitting to next month’s carnival, please email any submissions to runningwithteamhogan<AT>gmail<DOT>com.  (see here for details).

The Two-Fold Encouragement of a CC Practicum

From May to August, Classical Conversations runs Parent Practicums across the United States.  These are free for parents and have paid camps for children if you bring your children as well.  A few weeks ago, I spent three days at a Practicum in Langhorne, PA and want to share the two-fold encouragement found at a CC Practicum.

The two-fold encouragement is found in the content and the circumstance of a practicum.

The Two-fold encouragement of a CC Practicum


The content of practicum always teaches about the trivium, classical education, and also re-emphasizes what we are doing in homeschooling in general.  Taking 3 days to study the grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric stages of the trivium each year has helped me to embrace the classical model better as well as encouraged me in what is coming in my own learning as well as my children’s.  This year, in particular, was a year of encouraging content.  Besides the theme of “Drawing Out The Art of Inquiry”, I also got to hear the founder of CC share her heart and knowledge with us for the three days.  This was my first time hearing Leigh Bortins speak in person.  We love using Classical Conversations in this family, but hearing her share her vision and heart for her own children as well as mine was an inspirational time.


To attend a 3-day all day event, it means we all have to get up early and get out of the house.  Whether I bring the kids with me or (like this year) find someone else to watch them, our days are long, tiring, and not together as a family.  I’m a stay-at-home homeschooling mom because I love to be around my children and help them to learn and grow in Christ.  Spending 3 days basically apart and being so tired in the evening I could barely get a simple supper to the table really helped me remember why we choose the life we have.  While much of our country and our world involves families going their separate ways each day, that isn’t what we want for our family or what we choose to do on a day-to-day basis.  I am a blessed mom to have the privilege of teaching my children.

Did you attend a CC Practicum this year?  What did you find encouraging?