Monday, June 6, 2016

Summer Planning, Reflection, and my random thoughts on how to be abetter Foundations Tutor for CC

So... one of the things that I did not get the opportunity to do last year was plan my school year in advance.  Talk about stressful.  This year things are going to be different.  I am reflecting on the year we just finished and planning the year ahead!  I plan to make SURE that it is MORE fun.  My kids like FUN.  They like to learn but we all do better when it has an "Element of Fun"...Mary Poppins was so very wise!  Additionally, I am nicer when I am less stressed out!  Can I get a mutual Amen on that?  I mean seriously!  

We are a Classical Conversations family and this will be our third year!  This year I will tutor the Abecedarian's again, my son will be in Foundations, and my daughter will enter Challenge A.  Does anyone else hear the Jeopardy music planning in the background too?  Just me?  Awesome!  I hopes of having a nice stress-less year...I am planning.  Now.  Ahead of time.  In advance.  I feel so grown up.

We just completed our local Practicum and it was AMAZING!  If you are on the fence about Classical really MUST attend Practicum.  Heck, if you are headed into your third year frazzled and afraid of should definitely attend Practicum.  NOT that I know Anyone at all that fits that description.  Just listening to those children who have been there was so uplifting for me!   There is a young man that attends another Community close by that could be the CC Poster Child...he is amazing and really did help to relieve my anxious heart!

I have also been blog hopping and I found some fantastic tips for Tutoring this year.   I thought I would share some of my ideas, some of my failures, and some things I plan to continue.  Have you ever heard of the Stop, Start, Continue idea for planning?  It is pretty self explanatory, which explains why they had to explain it to me at least 3 times at Wood Badge training for Cub Scouts.  That is a whole different discussion.  Anyway, this is what I mean by Stop, Start, Continue.  Now that my first year as a Foundations Tutor is over, I need to evaluate how it went and Prayerfully answer the following questions:

1.  What do I need to STOP doing? 
2.  What do I need to START doing?
3.  What do I need to CONTINUE doing?

Stressing out.  I taught Pre-School for about 8 years before this.  I shouldn't be so stinking stressed every Community day!
Using so many hand motions with the Time Line Song.  Too many confuses the little guys and stresses out the Momma's

Memorizing the History Songs before the summer is up. 
Practice the Timeline Song with OUT the CD as a crutch.
Fine Tune the hand motions I want to use.
Planning my weeks in advance, use the SAME memory techniques for each subject!

Using the Time Line broke into weeks for memory work.
Using the carpet squares during New Grammar.
Sending out weekly Email with Reminders and tips.

I have read some fantastic ideas out in the Blogger-sphere.  I especially like an idea I found...where she suggests that we do the SAME type of activity with the ABC's for each type of New Grammar...for several weeks.  It will help teach them the routine and they will know what to expect.  I love this idea.  I am ashamed that I forgot that little gem of an idea from my Pre-K days!  What does that mean?  Well, something like this...

New Grammar:

Time Line:  Teach Hand motions and sing along, also I will show the TL Cards
Math:  use fun voices, jump and hop
English:  use a microphone (love this idea...totally high jacked it!!!)
Latin:  _____________ (I got nothing) eek
Science:  hand motions
History:  Sing and March in place. 
Geography:  Become Copy Cats!  I will show them what to mark and they will copy me


First of all, I have a great idea stolen from my daughter's public school kindergarten teacher.  I am going to have a Class Teddy Bear.  I do believe his name is going to be: Sir Lancelot.  Each week a child will take Lancelot home with him for a CC Adventure.  The first children will have Sir Lancelot and we will Journal our adventure.  We will talk about CC, our favorite thing, and something fun about our families.  I will do our first presentation and Model for the kids what that will look like with Sir Lancelot.  (note, if you decide to do this...have a stunt double in case tragedy will have a back up bear and book).  So, one child each week will have Sir Lancelot and everyone else will have a Show and Tell to do their Presentation on.  I may assign things mid year but for now I'm keeping it simple.  Each week we will draw popsicle sticks to decide our order.   I'm going to have some labeled 1-8 or however many kids we have in my class.  Last year I had them choose and that was a hassle, to be honest!

Oh, this is our Snack time too.  Hand washing before presentations and Potty Break with hand washing again after snacks!  A set potty break seems to work better. Obviously, if they have to "go"...they have to go!


Y'all, just do it.  Some of the projects are flat out over the little guys heads.  Just do them and make it fun!  Fake it till you make my motto for science!  They LOVE it.  I mean, LOVE it!  They like seeing how things work.  So just roll with it and make sure to use a Super fun voice when talking about all the little aspects of your experiments.  Oh, I sing the Scientific Method Song each time (to Pop Goes the Weasel) and make sure I point out each element.  I ask them questions!  This year I am going to tell them they are ALL Scientist and they need to help me understand it better.  (Another thing I am high jacking from someone else!)

Fine Arts:

If I can be honest...this is my FAVORITE part of Tutoring!  Yes, I mean it!   I love the arts!  Little children love it too!  Embrace the lessons.  Last year I had quite the group of little boys and surprisingly they ALL love to draw, play the tin whistle, and complete each art project that I presented.  I recommend reading a short book to them each week.  A few of my favorites are:  Ish, Dot, Zin Zin a Violin, and there are several more I can't think of this late at night.  I will need to update my list!


If I can again be honest...this part really stresses me out.  By 11:30 my little guys are typically DONE with CC.  Last year, I don't feel like I had my arsenal of review games up to par and I have really been out in the Bloggers Sphere looking for ideas!  I am excited to say that I have found some great ones! 

I have the following ideas:

Musical Chairs
Mother May I
I'm going to make a giant felt World map and let them label it with Geography memory work
I'm going to make a felt Bean bag toss game.  I'll post pictures when I get it done
Wiggly Worms
Candy Land: using the CC Connected file
I think we will have some Mapping/Blobbing/Tracing for review also
Build the Mr. Potato Head game (answer questions and each correct answer gets a piece of Mr. Potato Head)
Shape making using Tangrams (same concept as Mr. Potato Head)

So, there you have it.  My random thoughts on how to make next year more fun for my little ABC's and make me less stressed out.  I would LOVE your idea's and input.  It definitely takes a village to make the world go round!  That, some coffee, and a Whole Lot of Jesus! 

And because a little reality never hurts...all of my Pre Planning piles!  I will eventually sort these by week and subject but NOT tonight! I hope I'm not the only one with a messy office like this!

Blessings from my Nest to yours!