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Everything posted by cajun.classical

  1. From the CiRCE Website: Coming in October, you’ll be able to join other LTW teachers in a series of free monthly webinars. One part of the program at a time, these free web-based events provide in-depth teaching tips, advice, and insight from the folks who helped create and write the program and who have been teaching it for years. The first webinar, scheduled for October 14, will cover Lesson One, especially Invention (The A.N.I.), and will be taught by CiRCE Certified Master Teacher, Renee Mathis. Future webinars will cover sorting, the 5 topics, exordium, noun and verb editing, and much, much more. Teachers: don’t miss this great opportunity to have your questions asked and your confidence renewed! Here is the Webinar Schedule __________________
  2. From the CiRCE Website: Coming in October, you’ll be able to join other LTW teachers in a series of free monthly webinars. One part of the program at a time, these free web-based events provide in-depth teaching tips, advice, and insight from the folks who helped create and write the program and who have been teaching it for years. The first webinar, scheduled for October 14, will cover Lesson One, especially Invention (The A.N.I.), and will be taught by CiRCE Certified Master Teacher, Renee Mathis. Future webinars will cover sorting, the 5 topics, exordium, noun and verb editing, and much, much more. Teachers: don’t miss this great opportunity to have your questions asked and your confidence renewed! Here is the Webinar Schedule
  3. I just updated the review both to clarify what I said about the phonics program and to include the book Classical Phonics, which is a wonderful phonics handbook and I can't believe I left it out of my review.
  4. I just posted a review of Memoria Press's Kindergarten curriculum on my blog if anyone is interested. We had a great year!
  5. The focus is definitely on Western Civilization. However, other events are covered even if they are not given their own card. Genghis Khan is covered on the card for Marco Polo. In MARR, the Eastern Byzantine culture is covered and the Middle East, and Asian, and North African, in addition to Europe and England. And if you feel like you want to cover world history alongside American history. That is really not difficult. For example, when I taught VP early American, when I got to the card on the Louisiana Purchase, I backed up and covered French history from the French Revolution to Napoleon so that the LA Purchase would make sense.
  6. Great. This is exactly what I have planned for first grade next year. George's AMerican history plus Omni III for my older and Eggleston plus AO read-alouds for first grade. Great minds? :)
  7. I have both Guerber and Child's Story. The Child's Story of America would probably be better for the third grader. I think mine were in 5th and 3rd when I did American history,and my older child did well with Geurber but if my oldest had been in third I probably would have gone with Child's Story. Like Jami said, you will come back to it. Guerber would work well in 7th grade.
  8. Yes, Bruce Etter has a good talk on using Omnibus in the homeschool, and Ty Fischer is very good at explaining how Omnibus is put together and what their goals are. That's where I found out the questions in Omnibus are based on Norms and Nobility.
  9. I only have a minute to answer this. I'll try to come back later. It's really reading ability and maturity for the topics. What I did was for Omnibus I in 7th stick to the SEcondary Readings, all the Bible readings and a couple of primary readings, like The Odyssey. We could have done more, but we had a full, good year and my son got used to the format of the program. Omnibus II is an improvement of Omni I--VP says this themselves. It is paced better and there's more time for writing, etc. This year--Omni II--I've taught a 6th-10th grade class and because I was unsure where everyone was in their abilities, I again chose primarily the secondary works and then some of the primary selections. WE have had a great year. The kids had no problem with the reading and we have had great discussions. Next year, for Omni III, I am ramping up the workload quite a bit. They are ready. One thing to remember is that the student will struggle at first with open-ended discussion. Be prepared for silence! But they get better at discussing. They have to develop the skill. My son is much MUCH better this year, than last year. There are some audios. Is it audiomp3.com? Jami? You can download talks about how to teach Omnibus. Some of them are very very helpful. I think there may be a list on the yahoo group. I don't remember. hope this helps.
  10. Omnibus is unusual as a Great Books program in that it is rooted in the Word. So, not only are actually studying books of the Bible in the Great Books program, but you are also studying works of theology and church history. But the real kicker is that the questions for EVERY book take you back to the Word and ask What does the Bible say about this? And the student looks up relevant Bible verses and examines pagan ideas in the light of Scripture. We spend a lot of time talking about Scripture and the Word in my Omnibus class. It's been a really fruitful time and I can see some real spiritual growth in my students. Let me offer one warning however for anyone looking at Omnibus: Don't feel like you have to cover every book. You really don't. Ty Fischer has a great introduction to Omnibus II where he talks about not trying to do everything. It's much better to cover a few works well than to rush through a reading list at a dizzying speed. What number to cover will be different for each family. Start slow. You'll find that once you get your groove, it gets easier. But don't feel guilty for leaving books out. It's better not to burn out. And like Jami said, Great Books are a lifelong pursuit.
  11. Well, for me, I use Omnibus in 7th and 8th and still teach a separate history class. Let's just say I'm not a total believer in the strict Great Books approach. The basic structure for history didn't change. I just changed the difficulty of the books. So, I still have a spine (in 7th and 8th I use STreams of Civilization) and then biographies and some historical fiction and then we cover select Omnibus titles as well. The biggest difference is not so much in the approach as in the ideas that we explore. They are able to think better and make better abstract connections. We even did a debate on the Crusades, which was difficult but quite fun.
  12. Yay! It really does fit well and I love Geurber's writing. My kids really enjoyed that year as well. Now if I can just make the time to write the modern American history volume that I have already researched... :D it will be the perfect sequel to Geurber--at least in my mind.
  13. Let me give this a shot. Here are my off the cuff thoughts. So don't hang me if I don't have a fully developed thesis here :) I hear what you are saying. And for the Christian, entering the Great Conversation does not and should not imply some sort of level playing field, where all ideas are equal and we'll see which ones are good. Not at all. RAther, it's more like we are in the Great Conversation whether we realize it or not. We are either self-conscious and deliberate participants or we're being affected and influenced and we don't know it. See, we can't understand the world we live in right now if we don't understand the ideas that brought us here. There is truly nothing new under the sun, there is no great debate raging right now, that hasn't been raged before. So, if I understand that the "newest" debate going on is just the latest installment of an ancient discussion, it's much easier to recognize what the real issues are and then address them--from my CHristian perspective of course. do you see where I am going here? Like I said, I'm not fully developing these thoughts, just throwing them out there.
  14. That's so true, Jami. And that's what I've done this year. One card/topic a week: one read aloud to the group and one discussion, then separate reading assignments based on age and ability.
  15. Hi Katrina, Jami asked me to pop over to this thread. I haven't read the other replies, but I am happy to talk about my experience with VP history. I have used the program as written in the TM; I've done my own thing with it; and I've used the Scholar's Lesson Plans. When people talk about VP being dry, they are talking about just reading the card, doing the worksheet, drilling the card, and taking the test. I've done this: BORING! But the good thing is that VP can be really flexible. You have to keep in mind what VP's goals are. You may have different goals--I do--which will allow you to use the program differently. The primary focus of VP is to memorize dates and facts. That's why they have all the "dry" drill. Like Jami, I want some good biographies and historical fiction. I want reading and enjoyment of people and ideas, more than dates and names. If you want the cards to flow, you need a spine. The Child's History of the World great with OT/AE, NTGR, and MARR. The FAmous Men Series also flows really well with the cards. For the AMerican History cards, Geurber works well. Hakim fits as well, but I don't care for her slant. How do you know what to pick and what/how many to read? Let me be real honest with you here. My oldest is now in High School. We are finishing our second year of Omnibus. I could kick myself for how needlessly I stressed out over elementary history. I overdid completely. WE read everything. I coordinated 150 different spines to make sure I covered EVERYTHING important. We read tons of books. Too much. Too much. Pick a spine you like. Any spine. It doesn't have to be the most thorough and complete history book in the world, this is a first exposure to history. Pick some biographies--like Famous Men or Landmark books. Pick some historical fiction--some, not everything ever written. Just enough to let the period come alive. In elementary I see way too many people making the mistake of only reading books "in" the time period they are studying. It's overkill and if you follow this plan, you miss out on all the classic children's literature--the Golden AGe of children's literature is the 19th century. Don't try to cover all of those great books in one year. Spread them throughout elementary. It's more important to read those classic children's book than to read every piece of historical fiction. Do you see what I'm saying? Yes, cover a children's version of the Iliad and the Odyssey. REad King Arthur's legends, but also read The Wind in the Willows and Tom Sawyer. Read Fairy Tales when your child is young enough to still love them. So, pick your spine and your few books and then use the VP cards to know where to focus. You can hold up a card and ask the child to narrate everything he knows about the topic. I use my cards as a visual timeline. I write the date on the front of the card--VP blasphemy, I know! :) and then as we cover each card, I tape them to the wall. And periodically--not weekly-- we review a few events. As far as reading level, I chose difficult books for read alouds, and books at or below grade level for free reading. And we talk about the books I read out loud. We make connections, we talk about ideas as they are presented. Following this type of path has thoroughly prepared my two oldest for the Great Books. They have transitioned beautifully. Does this answer any of your questions? I was interrupted three separate times trying to write this. Sometimes I couldn't remember what I was trying to say :)
  16. I used VP scholars for MARR this year. I am very impressed with it. It's much more than a schedule. There are scripted background notes for each card. I'm a history buff and I still found the information helpful and informative. The background notes give the context for the card and connect it to other things that you've studied. That sort of thing. The notes are so detailed as to even include notes like "when you read this section, hold up the map on page xx." The lesson plans also schedule out historical fiction (with introductory notes and often comprehensive questions)--one set for 1-3 and another 4-6. The projects are scheduled as well as some writing assignments using IEW. There are map drills and geography integrated in as well. One word of caution: I used this with my 6th and 8th graders (who are also doing Omnibus II) and I found it a very full program. I ended up scaling back some of the historical fiction reading. The program may be too much for a 4th and 3rd grader. If you end up going with VP, you might want to use the 1-3 fiction selections or scale back considerably the 4-6 suggestions. Also, I didn't do the worksheets or the tests. The program gets two thumbs up from me. But it is on the challenging side.
  17. Famous Men of the Middle Ages Famous Men of Greece Famous Men of Modern Times Famous Men of Rome
  18. Elizabeth, she is definitely using the 8th grade American Republic text and told me that they discussed using this text for Omni III at a recent faculty meeting for VP online. But, maybe she misunderstood what BJU text they were talking about in the meeting. Nevertheless, this is what she told and she is definitely using the 8th grade book with her Omni III class. Oh my, how to answer the question, what would George Grant do for you? Where do I start? I rave it about to everyone I know and then they finally listen and then they can't stop talking about how he blew their minds! George's greatest strength is his ability to connect all the seemingly disconnected dots in history, literature, philosophy, art, architecture, music, theology into one overarching theme. He gives you the big picture--all the isms you were mentioning earlier--and he breaks down incredibly complex ideas into very easy to understand parts and then shows how those ideas influenced and shaped everything around us. It's what I think TOG tries to do, but to really nail this you have to have read a great deal. And honestly, George is not only brilliant, but he is probably the most widely read person in the world (no exaggeration! I am so dumbfounded at times by how much he knows.). He is an expert! In other words, I have a master's. I've taught high school history and AP English and college literature, but I can't do what George can do. I'll give you an example. There's a history topic that I had some strong opinions on and considered myself well informed on the topic. Then when I listened to George, I realized I hadn't gone back far enough in my reading and so I had drawn the entirely wrong conclusion. I needed a good 500 years more of context to understand it properly. This is what he does for every single topic. And if I can say this without offending anyone, this is one of my genuine concerns with trying to teach the Great Books. You have got to have the proper context (which sometimes can be more than a thousand years of context) to really understand what you are reading. My favorite quote is from Alexander Pope, "A little learning is a dangerous thing..." I firmly believe a person has to have the proper framework to understand the Great Books--and that framework is larger than just the immediate historical context. Otherwise, you end up with a "little learning". So, what you get with George is the Big Picture and an understanding of the ideas that have shaped the world. And of course, you get a Christian/biblical perspective as well. I don't really know how to describe it. He doesn't try to force events into some "Christian" interpretation. It's much more nuanced and sophisticated than that. But, for American history, for example, you'd certainly learn about the Christian foundation of our country. That said, there is no rush to get into this in junior high. This is challenging material that can be left for high school.
  19. Happy, Everything is being completely redone with the curriculum (I am one of the editors on the project). It's way more user friendly now as well. The first two that have been redone are only audio; however, dvds are part of the plan as well. I'm not certain when they will be available.
  20. Elizabeth, You might find this interesting. I know someone who uses the BJU American Republic text with student activity pages as the spine for Omnibus III. She teaches this at a Study Center. She used it for kids 9th-11th, reasoning that the Great Books are so difficult, it made since to use a slightly easier spine. She also teaches in the VP online academy and told me that VP is using the BJU text for the spine for Omni III in the online classes as well. What she did was pick which Omni books she wanted to cover, line them up chronologically, and then space out the BJU readings in between. So, sometimes it was read a little BJU and do mapping, etc and then read Omni books in depth like Plymouth Plantation, and other times it was several BJU chapters in a row, like Westward Expansion, before heading back into Omni. She said it worked really well and I am considering doing something very similar next year with my Discussion Group as well. I had already decided to break Omni III into 2 years, focusing on American one year and modern world history the next--to coordinate with the George Grant lectures. And speaking of, if you've got a history lover and you don't want to do all the work, you should really consider the Kings Meadow curriculum. Those lectures pull in all the threads and give that strong Christian worldview. I can't recommend it highly enough. Just more for you to chew on.
  21. Famous Men of the Middle Ages does not cover any of the Reformation. You can read it here to preview.
  22. Unfortunately, I never found an age-appropriate source. You can read about what I ended up doing here.
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