Classical Conversations' Foundations Program provides a classical Christian community for homeschool families with students in grades K4-6th. These power-packed programs typically meet once a week for twelve weeks in the fall and twelve weeks in the winter/spring months.
Based on the classical model of education, families meet weekly to introduce new memory work (or grammar of a subject) and review old memory work using Classical Conversations' Foundations Guide as the heart of the curriculum. A trained tutor creatively introduces the memory work and leads the classroom time. The memory work is divided into 6 subjects: timeline/history, geography, math, science, Latin, and English grammar. In addition to the memory work, students also participate in a fine arts project/lesson, a science project, and an opportunity to practice oral presentation skills each week.
Each year students have an opportunity to participate in an optional Memory Master track, where a student strives to memorize all the information for that year and recite it to a few adults at the end of the year. Through the Memory Master (MM) track, students are "pounding in" the grammar pegs of history, Latin, English grammar, geography, math, science, and history timeline they learned throughout the year.
Each week students have an opportunity to practice oral presentation skills, ranging from simple show-and-tell for the younger students to more structured and prepared presentations for the older students. The goal of the presentation time is for the students to become comfortable standing, talking, and presenting in front of their peers.
Each of the Classical Conversations cycles is built around sets of history and science cards offering "pegs" on which kids can "hang" more information as they research and learn. Made from sturdy glossy cardstock, every card features a full-color image and title denoting the topic on one side, and in-depth explanation on the other side. These sets are reused every four years, so kids are encouraged to memorize titles first, and familiarize themselves with the explanations later.
In the righthand corner of the front of each card, a color and subject heading denote the topic covered on that card. There are multiple designations for science and history. Kids can play games with these cards, use them to facilitate further study, or use them in any way you come up with to supplement or guide science learning. These are Christian in orientation, so origins are approached from a Creationist perspective, and the history cards include several references to biblical events and figures.
These cards will inevitably be compared to the history and Bible cards from Veritas Press. One major difference between these and the Veritas Press cards is that the Classical Conversations cards do not include suggested further reading references at the bottom of each card. The Classical Conversations cards are intended more for memory work, and to provide a solid structure on which to hang more details and perspectives.
There is also a fine arts time, covering one of the following: basics of drawing, music theory, special art projects, and exposure to orchestra and classical composers. Students enjoy this mixture of hands-on activities and listening skills.
Finally, students work with the tutor to have a hands-on science activity time. The goals here are for students to become familiar with the scientific method and to begin to discover God through His creation and order in subjects like chemistry, physics, astronomy, physical science, and more.
To learn more or sign up, you can visit the Classical Conversations website. Classical Conversations holds exclusive distribution rights of the materials they produce, but we list here almost everything from other publishers that they use (updated March 2013).