Monday, January 10, 2011

Easy Classical - Classical Education, Charlotte Mason Style

The Easy Classical program offers a full 36 week set of lesson plans, or "schedules" for teaching a classical curriculum using living books, as Charlotte Mason proposed.  The system seems to be built around Susan Bauers' book,  "The Well Trained Mind:  A Guide to Classical Education At Home", which is recommended reading before starting the program.  I have not read this book and it was not included with the review materials, but I am familiar with the Charlotte Mason method of using living books, and this seems fairly similar.

Our review packet was the Early Modern History Schedule, specifically, American History, beginning with pre-Columbus America and continuing on with Explorers through 1820.  This schedule, designed to use one year during the kindergarten through 6th grade years, and repeating one year in the upper grades, includes daily reading and writing assignments, art lessons, and suggested projects.  It incorporates everything but science and math.  (Although Easy Classical offers a Complete Schedule that includes more Language Arts and also includes Science. Saxon is suggested for Math.)  The schedule is heavy on reading and writing, and the quizzes require a higher level of comprehension, so I don't think I would be using this particular curriculum until my son is older, say 5th or 6th grade. 

I really like the lesson plans laid out for you, and suggested books for the reading and study part.  I find I am not able to get alot of these books from our local inter-library loan, but it helps to have the list for searching for other books to use.  I also really like the method of using living books to bring history and other subjects to life.  I think it aids in retention and actual learning, not just "learning to pass the test" and then forgetting it all.

Using the schedule "as-is" will require a very structured school day and a very focused student. However, as homeschoolers, we do have the freedom to tailor our curriculum to the needs of our students. Hence, we can do much of the reading out loud, together, and modify the writing assignments to suit. The art lesson can be followed step by step for older students, or just colored in by younger students. Older students can do more in-depth study on each topic, younger may just get an overview. and the quizzes may be eliminated altogether for younger students.

The schedules list other Easy Classical resources for writing and copywork assignments, however, as these were not provided, I am unable to give an opinion on them. The sample pages available on the Easy Classical website, do offer a glimpse of whether they might work for your particular student. It would be easy enough to assign appropriate topics for each lesson without them.

Although we do not use Easy Classical schedules in our classroom, we do use a curriculum whose yearly lesson plans are in a very similar format, and I can tell you, it saves so much stress and work.  For only $29.95 you can download the Digital Version of the schedule, and for $35.95, Easy Classical will print it out and send it to you in a handy notebook.  It is a wonderful thing not to have to make up lesson plans from scratch, and easy enough to modify ready made lesson plans when an interesting learning opportunity presents itself.  I highly recommend you check out Easy Classical and see if this might work for you and your students. 

See what other Homeschool Crew members are saying about Easy Classical.

We received one digital copy of the Easy Classical Early Modern History Schedule for this review.  No other compensation was received.

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