Thursday, July 4, 2013

Crew Review: Classical Conversations

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Handwriting is something my big girls have never really been into. they did ask to learn cursive awhile back, and learned it, but don't use it much . . . and glare at me if I point out that a letter (cursive or printing) should be made differently. So, when Classical Conversations gave us the chance to review PreScripts Cursive Sentences and Art Lessons, I figured I didn't really even need to ask Sassy what she thought of it, I was pretty sure her answer would be "please no!"  BUT . . .MiniMe LOVES art, and do you see that last part of the title? THAT I figured might appeal to her. So, I asked her about it, and she jumped at the idea. Once we got it, Sassy decided to give it a try too.

Sentences and Art Lessons photo classicalconversationssentencesandartlessons_zps272de630.gifPreScripts Cursive Sentences and Art Lessons is a copywork, art and history workbook for ages 7-12. You can download a sample on the product page, to see exactly what this is. In a nutshell, there's a page of cursive copywork, that teaches a little snippet of medieval history, followed by a famous piece of art for the student to copy.

Both girls dove into it with gusto. They did the first page of copywork, and now it was time for the first art page. Sassy, read the instructions, and drew her picture in no time, and it looked pretty good for a 10 yr old, with no real art experience. She was happy with it, and has continued through the book happily.

And then there's MiniMe. My artist, who is also my perfectionist, sigh . . . that's not a great combination, in case you wondered. The directions suggest "using a grid" to copy pictures. THAT is what both girls opted to do. BUT, whereas Sassy easily drew a grid on the picture and copied it, MiniMe was caught up in the minutia . . . the picture she was supposed to be copying wasn't an exact number of inches wide (or tall) to divide evenly into the prescribed (in her mind) number of boxes, so she couldn't draw an exact, even, PERFECT grid, which meant she couldn't even begin to work on her picture, sigh . . . she spent several days, during her "art/handwriting" time, trying to draw that grid, and that was ALL she did. We had several "discussions" that went something like this . . .

MiniMe: I can't do it! You need to help me.
Me: I've done everything I know to do, it's YOUR art, I'm not going to draw it for you. If they wanted the grid to be EXACT they would have made the picture's dimensions EXACT, it's just a guide, it's not an exact science.

Me: You know, only one of you HAS to review this, Sassy's enjoying it, so if this isn't working for you, just STOP, it's ART, you love art and are good at it and do tons of other art, maybe this just isn't your thing.

Sassy's first drawing
But finally, my dad happened to be here and hear one of these discussions and oh happy day! HE apparently did this whole "copy a picture using a grid" thing when HE was a kid! And he loved it, and it was great and he did it for fun when he had finished his schoolwork and was bored at school! And he made some suggestions that were first met with "but that's not what the book says" but we finally convinced MiniMe that even if it wasn't the exact same way of doing the grid that the book suggested, the book was just making suggestions, this was fine too. And she agreed. So, at my Dad's suggestion, we took a page protector (well, he said he used a transparency but have you SEEN how expensive those silly things are now that overhead projectors are obsolete technology, sigh . . .) and drew a grid (I think we decided on 1x1") on it with a permanent marker. Then we took a piece of plain paper and drew the same grid on it (also with a permanent marker). NOW she had a system. She can lay the page protector over the picture in the book, and have her grid on it. And she can lay her paper over the paper grid, and see the lines through it, and have that grid. Whew! She was thrilled, and happily did her first couple squares, then something didn't look quite right, and she has spent the last week or more drawing and erasing and re-drawing the same square, STILL on the FIRST picture in the book sigh . . .

So, that's how we used it.  Sassy is loving it, her handwriting is improving, she's asking me questions about the information hidden in the copywork sentences, and she's drawing some pretty good pictures. She's proud of her work, and I'm proud of her.  It's a GREAT fit for her, and she plans to keep working through the book (this is HUGE, Sassy almost NEVER continues with a review product once we don't "have" to do it, she likes to bounce on to the next thing). MiniMe, not so much. She likes the idea, she WANTED to love it, but she gets SOO caught up in needing to do it perfectly. At this point, her response was "copying pictures isn't very fun, and takes a LONG time".

I'm glad we got the chance to try it. Of all the copywork we've done, this has appealed to them the most. Every child is different, and in this case, my prediction on who would and wouldn't do well with this was WAY off, so if you're unsure, perhaps download that free sample and see how they do on the first couple pages, but overall, if you're looking for copywork, art, history, and handwriting all rolled into one, quick and easy assignment each day, this is a great option for only $12.99.

To see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of this, and other titles in the PreScripts series, click on the banner below.


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