Kairos Academy: How We Home School...

Kairos Academy is the name of our homeschool. In Kentucky, each home school is considered a private school and needs to have a name. I love this idea! Even if it is a requirement!  :)

John decided on this name because it's a Greek word that means the right or opportune moment (supreme moment). These fleeting years with our children are so precious and we feel their time spent in our homeschool is so important in shaping their character and giving them a strong foundation.

I'll be posting more about our homeschool adventures here on the ol' blog. For now, I'll leave you with our wall decor! We ordered this from Uppercase Living. It's custom vinyl lettering and we are so super thrilled with it! We wanted to do this for years and finally got around to doing this. Uppercase Living has some other really beautiful things in their catalog - so tempting! Without further ado, here is the new feature in our schoolroom!


I love love love it!

I keep thinking I should post more about how homeschooling works in our home.  So here is my feeble attempt:

I fell in love with the idea of the Classical Method of teaching when I first heard about it years ago (Jeremiah was only 3!).   It just made sense to me! But I didn't know any other homeschoolers at the time and I didn't really know how that looked, I didn't have a practical model to look at. When I started to find other homeschoolers in our area and find more places to learn about homeschooling, I found a HUGE assortment of ways to go about schooling your children at home.  I loved school as a child and love school supplies so I was eager to set up a classroom setting and collecting fun workbooks.  I kind of forgot about that classical method in the process!  I was just trying to find my way and make sure my child was learning all he needed to learn according to scope and sequence charts and what other kids his age were doing.

Last year as I was searching for a history curriculum that went more in depth than just "God loves you" and "Community Helpers", I found myself chatting with a friend about a program called "Classical Conversations."  I attended an open house in the past and did not understand what it was all about back then and never gave it another thought. However, this particular conversation gave me a lot more information and the light bulb clicked!  It was that classical method that I was so interested in!

The Classical Method is based on the Trivium of Learning.  "Trivium" translates to mean "three roads".  This represents the three roads we must all travel as we learn something new.

First is the Grammar stage.  I'm sure you've noticed how your little ones can memorize just about everything... and you can't remember where you put your car keys!  During the younger years, kids are like sponges and can memorize great amounts of information with ease.  They may not understand it but they can recite it back to you, right?  Kind of like the time Jeremiah spouted out cuss words while we were at a Christian Homeschool meeting.  Words we definitely don't say and to this day I haven't a clue where he heard them!

I digress... On to the Dialectic (logic) Stage, the second stage of learning.  Here is where you have matured enough to be able to process information, to make sense of it all.  When you have information stored in your mind from the Grammar stage, you can now understand what it means.  You put those pieces together!  It didn't matter that you didn't understand what you were memorizing in your Grammar stage, you just stored it all in there just waiting for you to hit the Dialectic stage!

Then we move on to the Rhetoric Stage.  Here is where you take all that info from the Grammar stage that you've processed to make sense of in the Dialectic Stage and now you are ready to use it!

Think of is this way...
Grammar stage: You memorize what each note is, what keys are on the piano and what each symbol is called.  Dialectic stage: You understand that when you see a certain note or symbol, it tells you what key to use on the piano.  You learn how to play the piano.  Rhetoric stage: You can now not only play beautiful music on the piano, you can also compose your own symphonies!

We all go through these stages each time we learn something new, don't we?  See how it just makes sense?  I love it. :)

So we joined our local Classical Conversations Community last year and even then it took me a bit to understand how this community was teaching classically.  I was so used to the typical classroom/school setting that I didn't understand why the Tutor was called a Tutor and not a teacher and why she only had them learn what the parts of a digestive tract were and didn't even touch on what each part did!  But I get it now. And it's awesome!  One of my favorite parts is that the motto is "To know God and make Him known."  LOVE that.  So much that I've pretty much adopted that as our own homeschool motto as well!  The CC goal is that the students learn how to learn.  To learn about God and His creations and to make Him known to others by using the knowledge we have learned about the world around us through His word, science, math and history.  {love}

So... back to the topic: How we homeschool.

Once a week, we meet with other homeschoolers for our CC classes.  We meet for an opening session where we get announcements, do our pledge to the US flag and the Bible, learn our Scripture for the year (This year is Exodus 20:1-17), and one or two families a week give a short presentation.  Then we split up into our classes.  This year, I'm a Tutor and I'm really loving it!  It's only 8 kids in the class and usually about 3-4 moms at the most each week so it's less intimidating than a class of 30 kids!  My kids are in the Foundations so they are just getting Grammar drilled at them each week.  The Dialectic stage kids get an additional class to work on putting it all together.  Then the Middle/High school kids are in a completely different class (Challenge Classes) where they do a lot of essays, debates, speeches and mock trials.  Cool stuff.

I'm a "Tutor" and not a "Teacher" for CC because the parent is always the teacher.  Actually, CC is for the parents.  It's our job to model to the parents some clever and practical ways to help their children learn the memory work each week.  It's not my job to make sure the child learns the information, it's the teacher - the parent! :)

During our class time we cover a TON of information. I'm still amazed at all the info and still part of me thinks "surely this is just too much for them!"  But it's not.  Amazingly, it's not.  Each year they learn a History Timeline.  We use 161 cards total (spread out over the year) that start with Creation and ends with Modern America.  It's world history and includes points such as "Rome founded by Romulus and Remus", "The Crusades", "The French Revolution" and "The United Nations Formed".  It's pretty in depth and quite lengthy indeed!  It also includes the Presidents.  But, again, amazingly the kids learn this.  Did you read that? They learn a 161 point Timeline in chronological order from the beginning of time until now!  Are you saying Wow? I still say wow...

We also have a history sentence each week that has the who/what/where/why/when fact about it.  There are fun songs for these and the kids eat it up like candy!  This year we are studying World History, namely Ancient History.  Fun stuff!  They also have Geography memory work and it's fun to see it all tie together. :)

Then there is an English Grammar fact, a Latin fact, a Science Fact, and math facts each week.  We also do some fine art each week as well as a science experiment.

One of my favorite parts is the presentations.  Each student gives a 2-3 minute presentation each week in front of their class.  It's so fun to hear their presentations but even more fun to see them blossom over the course of the year as they get more confident and comfortable speaking in front of others.  Did you know that public speaking is the #1 fear?  No longer that case for these kiddoes! :)

We end the day with a time of review. This is the fun part!  We play review games and do fun activities that reinforce the memory work.  The kids love it!  My class is so on top of things that review is a snap! They have usually mastered much of the info from that day - they really don't need me!  During review time, we cover about 6 weeks worth of material at a time.  You'll be amazed at what they remember.

Joshua is 4 so he's in the youngest class.  He LOVES it.  He loves to "go to school" and gets excited when we practice the memory work at home.  Does he get it all? Definitely not!  He doesn't even get it all right when he does memorize stuff! Like how he keeps calling the Tigris River the Tiger River.  I'm okay with that.  I mean, really, he's FOUR. At least it sounds similar. So, if he remembers that the little squiggly line on the map is the "Tiger" River, I think he's doing better than most of us adults, don't you? :)


So there is a recap of our CC time.  After class we all have lunch together and it's a great time of fellowship!

Then we head home pooped.  On CC days, we come home and everyone goes to do something by themselves and quietly.  I love Quiet Time!  It gives us a moment to rest our brains from all stimulation from the day.  During this time Jeremiah does his reading work and I might give him a math worksheet for review. Something simple.

The other days of the week are completely different. We start off with our Devotional time then Jeremiah goes to his reading work and copywork.  He does all his language arts work while I work with Joshua on his stuff.  With Joshua, we work on preschool stuff like his alphabet, cutting, drawing/writing, numbers and counting.  Then Joshua gets a break and Jeremiah and I work on math.  Then he gets a little break for chores.  "Break" for "chores" haha, don't you love it?  Then Joshua joins us again as we have CC memory work review time and I try to supplement the memory work and expand on the topics covered that week.  We might read about the history sentence topic or talk about the timeline points we learned that week or we might do some craft or activity that corresponds with the science fact... it's different all the time.

We are usually able to finish school work by lunch time.  I usually try to add some extra reading or memory work review in the afternoon.  But really, we've covered each area pretty thoroughly, CC makes that much simpler!  If my kid can walk away from a week knowing (for life) the parts of a plant cell, I think he's learned a lot! I wasn't able to rattle off all those parts from memory before we got to week 4 and I am a college graduate!  I could some, just not all of them.  But I did remember what they each did, does that count for something?

On Thursday afternoons we meet some other homeschoolers for an art/PE time.  It's really just so the kids can get together and do fun stuff!  And the moms like to get to chat, too! All the moms teach during this time but we do make time for fellowship before or after.  :)

This is typically what goes on around here.  Then there are the random field trips throughout the year led by other homeschoolers or by us.  Or we just go on our own.  There are also playdates throw in there pretty often.  We say it's a playdate for the kids but it's really for us moms.  Shhh!

My goodness!  Are you still reading?  Thank you if you are!  I'm pretty laid back with how our homeschool runs.  But they are learning so much and I could not be more proud of them!  Maybe this helped someone understand a little more about homeschooling or about the Classical Method of learning/teaching.  We love Classical Conversations, if you think it's a good fit for you there might be one in your area!  If not, it's simple to start up and get going.  It's such a blessing to our family. It's really simplified things for me and I feel like they are learning much more each year than they were before.  I cannot say enough good things about it!

Okay, Okay... I'll sign off for now.  Have a blessed weekend!