Friday, April 8, 2016

End-of-Year CCE Party: 2016

Today marked the last week of Catholic Classical Enrichment--for the elementary students--the middle school program has a ways to go yet--and our blow-out end-of-year party!

Okay, perhaps the party wasn't that BIG, but it received that much anticipation from our homeschooled children, for whom a Class Party is a novel and wonderful experience! It was good fun for us mothers too.

The children were in classroom time for an hour and a half, and then we shut down the Nursery and all came together to see the choirs perform. The children have been learning Gregorian chant singing and music theory all year.

Margaret and Mary are in the Younger Children's Choir (grades PK-2).

John was in the Older Children's Choir (grades 3-6).

Then the children were presented Certificates of Achievement for the mastery of their memory work in any of the seven subjects. Each week, the students memorize facts concerning:
  • Latin
  • Faith Fact
  • Math
  • English Grammar
  • Geography
  • History (which are memorized to tunes), and 
  • Timeline

At the end of the year, the children are encouraged to try to have memorized all 24 facts from a subject and to pass the test of reciting them all to the teacher. This was our first year in CCE and I didn't understand until one month ago that it really is "strongly encouraged" that every child above Kindergarten try to memorize one of the subjects--as in, they're supposed to do it.

So, our family scrambled and I began reviewing the History songs at every opportunity with the children. And they did it, they all earned their certificates! Most other parents in the program were not first-timers like us, so I witnessed many impressive child-scholars who earned mastery in two subjects, and a good handful in as many as six subjects! That's 24 facts/sentences/paragraphs times six!

Shy Margaret was particularly darling: When her teacher asked last week who was going to recite History facts, Margaret was silent. After class, I asked how she did and she said quietly, "I just didn't say anything."

I asked her teacher if she could try to recite the facts then and there (during play time after class) and the teacher said, of course. Margaret was then really excited and it turns out she just needed her Mama (aka Security Blanket) sitting next to her on the bench: she recited all her facts!

The History facts vary in length, but some are really long! Below are two examples:

Thirteenth Century (to the tune of Greensleeves)
"We call the thirteenth century the Golden Age of Christendom. St. Francis and St. Dominic lived then, and formed their orders. Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas, Anthony of Padua and Elizabeth of Hungary were just some of the saints who lived in thirteenth century Europe. Great culture, learning, and holiness were hallmarks of this century."

Age of Exploration (to the tune of Modern Major General)
"Marco Polo traveled to China in the thirteenth century.
And Portugal sent Dias and de Gama down to Africa.
The Cape of Good Hope was the way to trade with parts of India.
But England's king sent John Cabot north searching for another way.
Balboa found the eastern show of the Pacific Ocean.
Ponce de Leon of Spain went looking for his youth in Florida.
Magellan sailed around the world
In Mexico, Cortez prevailed
Pizarro, in Peru, was hailed
And Europeans were regaled
With stories of the New World all throughout the sixteenth century."

The Real and True John

The forced smile for his Mama

After Certificates of Achievement were handed out, all teachers thanked by name, and all of us volunteers received bouquets of flowers--so thoughtful!--we enjoyed a potluck feast of pizza, chips, veggies, fruit, dips, snacks, various fun drinks, and many desserts. Then the children played their Friday afternoon game of football in the sun for a couple of hours. It was a festive end to a good, wholesome year.

The tree of life

We'll see you in September, CCE family!

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