The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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Easy Classical Review by Kendra FletcherSandra Williams
213 Bent Creek Dr.
Greenville, NC 27834
Classical education, the method by which one teaches according to the learning stages laid out in the Trivium, has caught on like wildfire in the homeschool movement. There are several works that have influenced classical homeschoolers, but The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise tends to lead the pack. With The Well-Trained Mind as her springboard, Easy Classical author Sandra Williams has drafted a fantastic schedule notebook for moms wishing to implement a classical education in their own homeschools.
Beginning with a kindergarten schedule, Sandra lays out an entire year's worth of lesson plans, week by week, utilizing such well-loved curricula as Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Saxon Math I, Getty-Dubay Handwriting, and Spelling Workout. Each subject is planned for each day of the week--no guesswork involved for mom, no need to figure out how many lessons per week one must finish in order to complete the curriculum by a pre-determined date. Mrs. Williams has done it all for you.
Suggested read-alouds for the kindergarten year are based on books recommended by Susan Wise Bauer, Veritas Press, and other classical homeschool sites. Art (How to Teach Art to Children), P.E. (Homeschool Family Fitness: A Complete Curriculum Guide), and Bible (Big Truths for Little Kids, My ABC Bible Verses) are all included as well. If you've ever thought you couldn't fit those subjects into your schedule, you now can have a plan that allows you to incorporate them.
In the first grade plan, the student uses Saxon Math II, Phonics Pathways, Basic Phonics Skills C, and Shurley Grammar, as well as continuing with Getty-Dubay. Science is added this year, following The Well-Trained Mind by covering the animal kingdom, the human body, and the plant kingdom. And, as in the kindergarten year, art (Drawing with Children), P.E., read-alouds, memory work, history, and geography (Uncle Josh's Outline Map Book, World Almanac Library of States) are all planned out for you.
The weekly lesson plans are just the beginning. What makes Easy Classical one of those rare tools for the home educator are the extra goodies--things that you may have intended to create someday but have never found the time:
- Icons to remind you to review math facts, do a reading narration, etc.
- Chore charts with picture cues for your nonreaders
- A master materials shopping list
- Reproducibles for reading narrations, memory notebooks, and P.E. records
- And much more!
It is worth noting that one could spend a sizeable amount of time creating lesson plans for an individual curriculum. When I have done so in the past, it took me several days to map out the year, breaking down the lessons into daily chunks and creating lists of things to remember throughout the year. Mrs. Williams has done the work for you, done it for a complete year's worth of schooling, and done it exceptionally well. I believe that Easy Classical is well worth the $59.95 price for the kindergarten schedule and $89.95 for first grade.
If you are thinking that you might like to utilize Easy Classical but you have to use a history or science curriculum that teaches multiple ages at once, you can purchase individual main schedules for each of your children at a reduced price.
At this point, I might sound like an infomercial for cheap knives when I declare, "But wait! There's more!" But I simply can't conclude without mentioning that in addition to the tremendous help Easy Classical is on its own, the Easy Classical website (www.easyclassical.com) offers further help. There are direct links to Amazon.com and CBD.com to allow you to purchase the curricula needed for the schedules. There is a section on determining the learning style of your child as well as helpful tips for those homeschooling more than one child. Clearly, the author's intent is to come alongside and offer you her years of experience.
If you're just beginning this home education journey or needing some extra help to guide you along, Easy Classical could mean the difference between passable homeschooling and exceptional homeschooling.
Product review by Kendra Fletcher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2007