Classical Conversations Award Night Rochester : Challenge A, Memory Masters, Foundations & Essentials

As we near the end of our 9th year of educating at home, I’m once again in awe of how the Lord guides each year’s activities, curriculum and schedules.

For the first time ever, Salisbury Academy joined Classical Conversations. We have participated in various co-op’s throughout the years, but this was unique.

Initially, I was not excited, and followed Irv’s lead that this was a necessary step for Ving for his seventh grade year. We desired him to continue to be held to a high academic standard, learn to manage his time, have deadlines, practice oral presentations, benefit from a controlled, small classroom environment and have Jesus be center-focus.

CC seemed to be a good fit, but knowing it was vigorous and challenging, I didn’t like the unknown or want it to take over our lives. We signed up Ving for Challenge A, and then decided to try Isaac, Isaiah and Hunter in the morning Foundations program, and Hunter also for Essentials in the afternoon. This meant we all spent 8:30-3:30 at CC for 24-30 Mondays this academic year. (Thanks Amanda for loving and watching the little two!)

CCs purpose statement is “to know God and make Him known”. I love it.

We had a wonderful year. And as you know, our year was actually VERY difficult with my pregnancy and Irv’s tumor and illness. Yet, God had it all worked out, planned ahead, and CC was a huge asset to having a successful academic year, along with amazing love and support from our CC family through it all.


Challenge A: After the first few weeks, Ving asked if he could attend everyday of the week. I explained, that would not be homeschooling! LOL, but I was glad he was liking it! There were 7 children in his class, and a wonderful tutor led the group, Mr. Krebs. It is intended for 12-15 year olds, beginning with 7th graders, however Ving’s class was on the older age, and he was the youngest student.


Ving grew in many areas: time management, perseverance, humility, oral presentations,writing and much character. By the end of the year I appreciated statements such as: “Mom, I couldn’t have learned all of this if you hadn’t help me with organizing, accountability and studying.” “My one take-away from Challenge A is that I learned perseverance, that if I work towards a big goal, like drawing the entire world free-hand from memory (countries, capitals, land features), I can do it if I persevere and learn a little each day.”


He wrote SO MANY papers and improved greatly. I witnessed Ving blossom with a love for science, research, and great natural understanding of the human body, which was captivating to observe him. In the beginning, I had feared Latin, yet Ving took the initiative to learn and I really taught him nothing about it! I am proud of his efforts. I love the new Ving-world-map hanging in the playroom. For more information visit CC here. Next year, we pray he can continue in Challenge B.


I thank God for the gift of CC this year. Yes, it brought challenges and growth for Mom and Ving, but I am so grateful. One of the best gifts, was a friendship deepening with our special friend Sean! God did much in these young men’s hearts, and I pray it lasts for years to come.



 Essentials. Hunter and I attended the afternoon sessions with our dear friend, and tutor leader, Mrs. Krebs. We focused on grammer, math games, and IEW writing. While I have done these subjects at home, the weekly accountability kept us on an amazing pace to accomplishing much. Hunter can sing about 28 grammer songs, and so can many of the rest of the family! LOL. I told him between the grammer songs and the LONG world timeline he memorized this year, he has a cool talent to share if ever in need of an impromptu time filler!

Mrs. Krebs presented this spiral bound book of his final draft assignements from the year. A true treasure.



The morning hours of CC, Hunter was in Mrs. Vonbergs class.



Hunter grew in friendship with Josh, another blessing from CC. They also play on the same soccer team!



Josh and Hunter, below, acting out a story being read by a classmate.



Mrs. Puth, director of all directors extraordinaire, below, is distributing the Memory Master Awards to the five students that earned them this year. I am so proud of Hunter. If I had known how much information would truly need to be memorized ahead of time, I don’t think I would have planned this as one of his year’s goals. Not at the same time as doing all 576 cards for Junior Bible Quizzing. His Memory Master proof was just 4 days before his Regional Junior Bible Quiz Competition! But, he did it.


The following excerpt explains Memory Masters, and is taken from another blog…

Every year in CC, the kids memorize information in seven subjects: English, Geography, History, Latin, Math, Science, and a history Timeline. Over the 24 weeks of classes this year they learned:

-161 events and people in a chronological timeline
-44 U.S. presidents
-24 history sentences
-120 geographic locations and features
-24 science facts
-5 Latin noun endings and their singular and plural declensions
-24 English grammar facts
-Math multiplication tables up to 15×15, common squares and cubes, basic geometry formulas and unit conversions
That doesn’t sound all that hard, right? OK, then let’s have some fun! Here is your very own memory master quiz. Try answering or filling in the blanks for the following questions…
-Tell me some parts of an animal cell (and be sure not to confuse them with the parts of the plant cell!)
-What is the name of each continents highest mountain?
-Can you count by 14s?
-Tell me the definition of a preposition -and then list 53 of them.
-(fill in the blanks for this history sentence) “During the Age of _______, the _______ established rule over India in (year)____, and Queen _______ was declared the Empress of India in (year)____. Before his assassination, _______ ______, led the passive resistance movement which helped win ______’s independence.
-Did Jerome complete the Vulgate before or after the Council of Chalcedon?
-What are the 5th Declension Latin noun endings?
-On a map, can you point out the locations of Ancient Songhai and Timbuktu?
So, how did you do? (For the record, before CC, I couldn’t have answered any of these questions. Before CC, I didn’t know Timbuktu was a real place!) That little quiz basically consists of 10 of the more than 400 facts that a Classical Conversation student learned in 24 weeks of Cycle 1 this year. Memory Masters cannot simply cram the information and regurgitate it one time and call it a day. My son had to recite these facts from memory, with no help or hints or fill-in-the-blanks whatsoever, first for me, then for his Dad, then his tutor, and finally the director. He mastered this information.
What’s the point of this, you ask?
Diligence, confidence, goal setting, commitment, hard work…
Yes lovely, but what’s the point???
Leigh Bortins, founder of CC, answers this better than I:
“Modern education scoffs at the first tool of learning -memorization. Why learn to memorize if you can just look it up? Isn’t critical thinking more important than rote facts? My response is, ‘What can I think critically about if I know no facts?’ I can offer only my opinion, my point of view. Yet shouldn’t truth play a factor? For the Christian, absolute truth exists. His story is unfolding. I want to know who did what, where, when, and why for Him. I want to see His creation revealed through science. I want His word to be a lamp unto my feet. That means I must acquire, nurture, and expand my ability to store information, words, and abstract ideas. I want to be able to repeat truth and think about how truth affects my life. This requires hard academic work -brain training- habits of character.”


And here are our LOVELY family-friends, Kim and Kiya at the dessert fellowship afterwards.



So proud of Isaac and Isaiah for their efforts in Foundations too!


Hope this helps share some of our school doings this year. CC was done the end of April, and we have begun our ‘summer schedule’ for education … math, reading and Bible. We are working diligently on these through the end of June, and then will relax a little with 3 days a week of summer education schedule, and enjoy outings, camps, sunshine, family, swimming, and sand!

We plan to resume Challenge A for Hunter and Challenge B for Ving in the fall… Lord willing…

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>