The Richmond Register


February 5, 2013

Home-schooling support community enters third year in Richmond



A typical school day

Foundation students begin at 9 a.m. with a group assembly of all the families. One parent leads the group in reviewing the “timeline song,” a song students use to memorize 161 events in world history.

Memorization of the song takes 23 weeks, and during week 24, students learn another song to memorize all U.S. presidents.

The timeline is memorized every year, but each cycle focuses on different parts.

In the standard education model, students learn world history one year, U.S and European history a different year, Roush said. “What this does is it lays history out chronologically. So not only do we study historical events, we also look at the time period (in which they occurred).”

At 9:30 a.m., students break off into their separate age groups. Groups are determined by each year’s enrollment.

Each group is led by a tutor that models the classical method. Tutors receive more than 40 hours of training each year and their own children are enrolled in the program.

Home-schooling parents also are required to receive training and attend Foundation programs.

“If you’re choosing to home school, you yourself have to be educated in what you’re doing,” Roush said. She does not know of any parent involved in their community who received the classical method of education as a child.

If parents already have a home-schooling program established, some parents pick and choose parts of the CC program that work in their curriculum.

For the first 30 minutes, the tutor introduces all the new information for the week. During the next 30 minutes, they complete a science experiment that correlates with the science topic. Students then spend 30 minutes on a fine arts project that correlates with the history topic.

Following the art project, children give presentations for 30 minutes, something that is required for all ages. Challenge students must conduct two presentations every week.

Each week, tutors emphasize a different public speaking skill, such as poise, volume and eye contact. Student may present on a topic of their choice.

“It’s not the topics, or the content, it’s the skill. We want the kids to be comfortable standing up in front of people,” Roush said.

At noon, all the classes come together for lunch and then a half hour of recess.

At 1 p.m., the Essentials program begins for children ages 9 to12. They spend 45 minutes writing about topics that tie into the history subjects on the curriculum; 45 minutes studying English grammar; and 20 minutes studying math facts, in which they conduct drills for “speed and accuracy.”

For Challenge students, the day begins at 8:30 a.m. The six one-hour seminars are taught by one tutor who teaches math, Latin, rhetoric, geography, science and writing/literature.

Roush has two children in the Challenge program and two children in Foundations and Essentials.

“The Challenge program ties into and builds on the Foundations program, so when we’re all home together, they can all talk about the same things,” she said.

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