My daughter (and I) are beginning our second year in Essentials. Since this is our second year, we are going to be scaling up our work in a few ways that I will share with you below.
First, my daughter will be doing more handwriting.
As you can see from the picture above, I made my daughter hand write her first assignment this year, a short paragraph about Columbus. Handwriting the first assignment was one way we have already scaled up from last year. I never even attempted to make my daughter hand write any of her writing assignments last year.
Our first year through Essentials was difficult enough without adding that kind of stress. She’d hand write the keywords into her keyword outlines last year, but when it came to the writing assignment, I just had her use the keyword outlines to speak what she wanted to write and I would type everything into the proper format.
But her tutor asked us to do have our kids hand write the first paragraph this year, if possible, so that we will have at least one sample of our child’s handwriting to cherish. My daughter’s handwriting skills have improved so much since last year that I felt comfortable doing what the teacher asked. Having to write it by hand herself, my daughter got practice with arranging, spelling, grammar, and capitalization. She took even more ownership of her work than usual, so I will probably continue having her write at least the first draft of her assignments for the rest of the year.
I am pretty sure her teacher wants the rest of her assignments after this one to be typed, so I will still have to type the final drafts because my daughter can’t use the keyboard yet. But I think I will have my daughter start keyboarding this year so she can be ready to type her own papers by the beginning of her third year in Essentials. It will be glorious when she can write her own papers from start to finish and all I have to do is proofread and facilitate. Oh to dream.
As a second year student this year, my daughter will be doing even more writing.
The tutor gave us a copy of the suggested writing schedule that comes with our US History Based Writing book. If you read the photo, second year students are assigned two paragraphs the first week. We are going to attempt to follow the schedule for second year students, so doing more writing will be another way we scale up this year.
I knew that doing two paragraphs this week meant we needed start right away. One year in Essentials taught me that much. We have Classical Conversations on Thursday, so on Friday, I had my daughter read the first source paragraph on Christopher Columbus and fill in her own keyword outline. Again, that’s something she got used to doing herself last year, so that was easy enough for her to do on her own. Then I made her use her keyword outline to tell me out loud what she wanted to say about Columbus in her paragraph.
After that, she thought we were done for the day, but then I asked her to write her paragraph onto loose leaf paper, skipping lines, etc. She gave me a little push back since that was more than she ever had to do in one day and she never had to hand write an assignment before, but told her, “You’re a second year Essentials student now.” And since she has heard her tutor talking about the expectations for second year students and since her tutor honors the work they do, she got right to work.
The next day, yesterday, I proofread her paper, circling the words that were misspelled, etc. After I was finished proofreading, I had her make the corrections. She is not a natural speller and we are only on the third level of All About Spelling, so most of the mistakes were spelling errors. She had a lot of practice using the dictionary Saturday night. I gave her the correct spelling for some of the words, but most of them, I made her find herself.
This morning, Sunday morning, I asked her to add vocabulary words to her rough draft and add one -ly word. We are following the checklist in the USHBW book for the first assignment. Then I had her write her final draft in her neatest handwriting and put it in her folder.
Tomorrow is Monday, so we will begin the second assignment on Europe Meets America in the morning and that will give us three days to complete that assignment, too, before we have to go to Classical Conversations again.
As a second year student, my daughter will also be copying all the charts.
Last year, my daughter and I always reviewed the assigned charts together out loud, but I only made my daughter copy some of the charts. And, when she did copy a chart, I always gave her a blank copy of the chart to fill in. She never had to copy a chart onto a blank sheet of paper.
But she is ready to do more this year with charts, so my plan is to have her copy every chart she is assigned this year onto blank paper or onto a blank copy of the chart, depending on how complicated the chart is.
This week, our Essentials guide says we are supposed to focus on Charts A and B. I already made her copy Chart A on a blank sheet of paper this week because that’s one of the easier charts, so she didn’t need a blank chart to fill in. We are also supposed to review Chart B, but that chart is a lot more complicated, so I don’t think I will make her copy that one onto blank paper. I will probably give her a blank copy of Chart B to fill. But this is her second year, so she will have to copy all 112 model sentences before this week is over. That is much more work than she ever had to do on any chart last year. Being diligent to copy charts so we can memorize them for use in future years is another way we are scaling up this year.
Are you an Essentials mom with an Essentials student? How many years have you been in the program? How are you scaling back/ scaling up?