Classical Conversations | Essentials | Foundations | Home School Resources | Latin Helps | Printables

Latin with Andy Code Breakers

By on July 29, 2019

When we started making Latin videos for Latin with Andy in 2017, we had no idea what we were in for! We have learned so much on our journey, and we're excited to share a new branch of the Latin with Andy resources: Code Breakers.

Andy had the opportunity to work with some younger students and loved seeing how quickly they picked up on the concepts when they imagined they were breaking a code. In truth, they were, because that's what translating is: code breaking.

So we've come up with a way to share the basics of the Latin language in a fun and manageable way for our younger friends to get their feet wet without drowning in the abyss of Latin grammar.

Code Breakers Videos

The best part of this resource is that all of the videos are FREE to watch on YouTube, or you can find them all organized here!

LWA Code Breakers consists of five longer lesson videos, each followed by six shorter videos that break up the main ideas into small bites to practice. At the end of each video, students are rewarded with a little outtake clip that we had way too much fun making.

Along with these videos we've created Video Companion Guides (a free download) and Daily Practice Worksheets to purchase for $10, which will transform these videos into a more formal curriculum.

LWA Code Breakers Supplemental Materials

This 88 page resource includes worksheets that take students step-by-step through the concepts presented in the Lesson overview video. They break the work down into quick, easy steps to start building those Latin muscles without wearing them out.


In addition, extra helps are included which give teachers an overview of what is introduced in each lesson, as well as a lesson plan for completing the material in a year, a semester, or even a week, depending on the age of your student.


The final aspect of this resource includes a full color answer key for teachers who aren't familiar with Latin to help walk their students through the basics with success. It can be intimidating to lead someone else down a road you haven't walked before. Answer keys are a great tool to help you get where you want to go!


Who Could Benefit from Code Breakers?

4th - 6th Graders

We recommend that a student has had some formal English grammar study. So if you're in Classical Conversations, they could start Latin with Andy Code Breakers along with Essentials, or even better, after their first complete year of Essentials.

7th and Up

Anyone preparing for a more intense Latin course like Henle Latin could benefit from working through these videos. Think of it as an on-ramp where they can get up to speed without going from zero to sixty in a blink.


Parents who would like to know how the Latin memory work transfers to their student's future studies could get a grasp of the importance and value of really learning that well.

So what are you waiting for? Check out the videos and get excited about Code Breaking with Andy!

Purchase your Latin with Andy Code Breakers Supplemental Materials here:



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Classical Conversations | Essentials | Foundations | Home School Resources

5 Fears Classical Conversations Helped Me Overcome in Making the Switch From Public School to Home School

By on May 22, 2017

In May 2009 my husband and I found ourselves at a crossroads. Several events converged to propel us into changing paths from public school to home school. I remember feeling nervous about the changes that would come from making the switch as well as unsure if I could provide an adequate education for my kids.

Additionally, I was wrestling through all of my school memories that I thought they would miss out on if I kept them home: class parties, yearbooks, field trips, and eventually choir, band, and prom. Eight years past the point of decision making, I look back and realize how my fears were unfounded, and they've gained much more than they missed.

The unifying factor that has stabilized our home school experience is joining a Classical Conversations community. Not only has it provided a fantastic foundation of education for us to follow, it also has provided community, friends, and experiences I didn't expect to find outside of the school system or my church. We've been greatly blessed.

If you're considering making the change, or if you just took the first step and are wondering if you can make it with Classical Conversations, I just want to encourage you that it is a challenging journey, but it is so worthwhile. Over the next couple of days I thought I'd share some of my fears and how CC has helped me overcome them.

Fear #1: What if I forget to teach something?

Fear #2: What if I don't know enough?

Fear #3: What if I'm not cut out for it?

Fear #4: What about socialization?

Fear #5: What if I can't afford a private education?


Fear #1: What If I Forget to Teach Something?


Let's just be clear: there are gaps in every education.

However, it is easy as a home school mom to "play to your strengths." I love literature, and so our family reads aloud - a lot! Even though I'm a lover of words, I am a poor speller. I could easily avoid this aspect of my kids home education and be very content! I've found that there are two elements in being a part of a Classical Conversations community that save me from my short comings: providing a plan, and friends to help me stick to the plan.

Follow the Plan

When I first started looking into Classical Conversations, we had been homeschooling on our own for a year. I picked a box curriculum for my 3rd grade son and just modified it for my kindergarten daughter. It worked well, but I couldn't imagine how I could juggle three versions of that type of curriculum once all three of my kids were school aged.

The next year, I decided to pull together my own plan for unifying all of the kids. It took a lot of work, and I didn't know if I wanted to do that every year!

Two elements of the Classical Conversations program provided exactly what I needed: the one room school house approach, and a strategy for homeschooling through high school.

I loved how the Foundations and Essentials programs allowed me to teach all of my kids together. Even though they were all studying at different levels, they were all working on the same memory work.

Additionally, we have been incredibly impressed with the education our son has received working through the Challenge program. All of the elements of the Foundations memory work resurface in the Challenge years, and it is beautiful to watch how the kids put pieces together to express understanding. It has given me a lot of peace about focusing on reading, writing, and arithmetic in the early years. When they're ready for meat, they'll get it!

Keeping It Going

A genuine challenge of home schooling is consistency. Over the past eight years, we've experienced some completely derailing circumstances that could have shut our schooling down. With a community like Classical Conversations, you have due dates, deadlines, and accountability. Since parents have to attend with their children, you develop friendships that are not only enjoyable on community day, but they also grow to be your support system for outside of class.

At first I really thought I'd miss having the control of everything. Control is a perk of home schooling, right?! However, I quickly realized that the Classical Conversations program is long enough to fill a substantial portion of our year, but still leaves time for us to pursue our own interests during the breaks.

We generally take family trips during the fall break.

Over the Christmas break, we take time to make gifts for the family, cook, and practice hospitality.

Spring break is a rest week of fun in the sun.

In the month of May, each of my kids picks a personal project to pursue.

Over the summer, we continue progressing in math and reading, and finish up anything we missed in the school year.

The flexibility I desired is still possible within the boundaries of our community time. Just like you might run farther with a running partner, you will accomplish so much more with a group of like-minded friends.

Truth: A CC Community Offers Peace of Mind

In the end, following a guide of set curriculum offers me peace of mind that I'm not missing anything important. I'm really raising lifelong learners, and CC is a perfect fit for equipping parents to do just that. If my kids love to learn, they'll be able to dive deeper into any subject that they find themselves passionate about later in their life.

As far as high school credits to graduate go, Classical Conversations offers a sample chart showing how the program stacks up with current graduation standards. Even if they don't complete 100% of the Challenge program, they'll be set for a solid high school education. That definitely offers peace of mind for me.

Check back for the next installment of how Classical Conversations helped me overcome my fears of transitioning from public school to home school.

Fear #1: What if I forget to teach something?

Fear #2: What if I don't know enough?

Fear #3: What if I'm not cut out for it?

Fear #4: What about socialization?

Fear #5: What if I can't afford a private education?

What fears did you have in the transition?

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Bookish Life | Classical Conversations | Foundations

Resources for Classical Conversation Cycle 3 Foundations

By on March 13, 2017
classical conversations

Cycle 3 of Classical Conversations is up next, and I'm excited to revisit the memory work.  I really enjoy American history, and there are so many fun resources out there to fill my bookshelves. None of these books are required to complete a successful year studying with Classical Conversations, and many of them you can find at your local library.

classical conversations


Cycle 3 can be dangerous because there are so many excellent resources! I'm trying to share only the best, but even that is hard to limit. Oh well...forgive me. This is going to be long!


In Cycle 3, the focus is on American history.

  • The Landmark History of the American People - Daniel Boorstein, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Americans: The Democratic Experience, wrote this fantastic two volume American history for students. He also writes the history text that students use in Challenge IV, so I like thinking I'm introducing my kids to an author they'll meet again one day.
  • A History of US - I love Joy Hakim's resource for American history. I purchased the whole series used, but my local library also has the whole set. Warning - she begins with an evolutionary world view.

American History Multi-Media Resources

American History Inspired Read Alouds

This is more exciting to me than the non-fiction options. I love getting lost in a good book with my kids. We learn so much from historical fiction.

  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch - This is my favorite book we read in Challenge A. I cry every time I read it. It's such a wonderful and inspiring story based on the life of Nathaniel Bowditch, a mathematical and nautical genius.
  • Little Britches Series - Students read Little Britches in Challenge B, but this entire series is worth reading! It is based on the life of Ralph Moody, and his life was fascinating.
  • The Little House SeriesLife on the frontier makes for good stories which have captured audiences for decades. There are tons of extra resources to frame your history studies around this series.
  • The Cabin Faced West - George Washington makes a surprise appearance in this story by Jean Fritz.
  • Justin Morgan Had a Horse - For your horse lovers, this book is the beginning of a fantastic series by Marguerite Henry which chronicles the arrival of the Arabian breed in America.
  • Johnny TremainThis Challenge I reader is a great read aloud for Cycle 3 because it brings the revolutionary war period to life. There's also an old movie made based on the book that is fun to watch after you read.
  • Sign of the Beaver - Anyone who enjoys a good adventure book will love this story about a young boy who is left alone to guard the new family home while his father goes back to retrieve the rest of his family. It's hard to imagine surviving on your own at such a young age!
  • Bud, Not Buddy - Bud is a 10 year old orphan boy during the great depression who sets out to find his father. It's always great to read stories from the perspective of a child.
  • Amos Fortune, Free Man - Another Challenge A reader, this story of a young African prince who is captured and sold into slavery will inspire you as he works to honor the Lord in all that he does.

Geography - USA

I feel like we have a little home field advantage with the geography in Cycle 3, but my first time around I was amazed at how richly diverse our country is. There are really some fantastic resources learning to recognize and draw the USA:

Drawing Resources:

  • Draw the USA - I love these drawing resources. This one really breaks down the overwhelming task of drawing the United States.
  • The Little Man In The Map - My first round of Cycle 3, I used this book to learn and draw the USA. I still love the visual images that it uses to help you remember which states go where. I will never look at the US map the same again!
  • National Geographic Kids United States Atlas - I don't have this one, but I want it. I've really enjoyed National Geographic Kids World Atlas, and this one looks just as great. It's on my wish list for next year. 

Fun Geography Reads

  • Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across AmericaThis beautifully illustrated children's book follows the journey of a family on my dream road trip. As they encounter each of the 50 states, you learn a little bit about each one. It's a fun read.
  • Paddle-to-the-Sea - These next three books are the absolute best living books about geography. They effortlessly weave geography into a fascinating story. I love reading these with my kids. Paddle-to-the-Sea travels with a little carved Indian in a canoe through the great lakes and out to the Atlantic ocean. 
  • Minn of the Mississippi - This story follows a snapping turtle down the great Mississippi River.
  • Tree in the Trail - takes readers on a journey down the Santa Fe Trail from the perspective of a cottonwood tree over the course of 200 years.

Geography Games

  • Ticket to Ride - is our family's favorite board game. The US map is beautiful and it's a fun way to get familiar with American geography.
  • Geopuzzle USA - We love these puzzles because they're quick and easy to put together, and all of the pieces are shaped as the individual states.
  • Spin USA - This fast paced game is a great way to practice state location and capital identification. It's a quick game to pull out in a pinch to review states and capitals.

Science - Anatomy/Chemistry/Origins

The Cycle 3 science memory work is so helpful for Challenge A and Challenge B students. In the spring semester of CHA, students learn to draw 10 body systems and label them from memory. In Challenge B, students do a small intro to Chemistry in which they learn the first 18 elements of the periodic table and research one of the elements to create a fictional commercial to inform their classmates about the benefits of the element. When students have the Cycle 3 memory work stored away, these assignments become effortless. Here are some of my favorite other resources:

Anatomy Resources:

Chemistry Resources:

Origins Resources

Latin - John 1:1-7

I really love the vocabulary we learn in Cycle 3. Many of these words come up in the Henle 1 text, and students will enjoy seeing familiar friends. If you have an older foundations student, you'll want to make sure they keep reviewing their declensions and conjugations if they've memorized them in previous cycles.

  • Here are some noun declension worksheets for review.
  • Check out my Present Stem worksheets, and Perfect Stem worksheets for your foundations student. I’ll print a bunch of sheets and spiral them so that we can have weeks of conjugating fun!
  • If you want more, check out my Verb Charts…but these are targeted more for the Challenge age students, but would be awesome if moms wanted to dig deeper.
  • We still love the First Thousand Words in Latin:

ENGLISH - Irregular Verbs

There aren't too many exciting resources for this. I do like the Everything You Need to Know About series. They are excellent reference materials.

MATH - Same Every Year!

Whew! That's a lot of books. Every year I am more and more convinced that filling my family's lives with a copious amount of books will develop lifelong learners. If they fall in love with reading, doors will open for them in ways I can't even imagine.

So what did I miss? What are some of your favorite resources for Cycle 3?

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Classical Conversations | Foundations | Home School Resources

A Super Simple Way to Learn About Instruments

By on February 1, 2017
Learn about instruments

Every year around this time I look forward to giving my kids new and fun ways to learn about instruments. We've been a part of Classical Conversations for nearly seven years, and the last six weeks of foundations orchestra study is still one of my favorite parts.

I played in the band when I was in junior high, but I never learned much about any instruments other than the one I played. As we continue each year to take time to focus on the various instruments and how they fit into the orchestra, I find my life is enriched with depth when I listen to music. Each instrument has its own unique voice.

Thankfully a fun new resource just came out to help me teach my kids this year: Meet the Instrument Learning Cards by Mary Prather, creator of SQUILT.

Learn about instruments

I received the Meet the Instruments learning cards for free. I was also compensated for my time in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own. See my full disclosure policy for more details. 

What Are Meet the Instrument Learning Cards?

With this downloadable resource, you can teach your children all about the orchestra. The resource includes 32 full color instrument cards that can be easily printed double sided. All you have to do is cut them out and laminate them (optional, but highly recommended).

In addition, there is a link on the back of the first card that gives you access to a password protected page full of fantastic ideas for going deeper with your cards. There are teaching ideas, games, over 30 videos, and printables for you to use along with your instrument cards. This gives you hours of additional enrichment to your studies.

I think the best feature of these cards is that they can really supplement any orchestra study. The information on the back is engaging, yet simple enough for young children to read, understand, and enjoy. If a child simply picked these cards up and read through them, they'd have a fantastic introduction to the orchestra.

Remember KISS?

I've found the saying "Keep It Simple Stupid" to be so helpful. So often I try to over-complicate life by creating impossible lesson plans that set both me and my kids up for failure.

With the Meet the Instruments learning cards, our orchestra studies can stay simple. The beauty of simple learning is that it's not generally shallow. As kids take ownership of their learning, they'll want more and more.

Instead of overbuying tons of resources for the orchestra, or ignoring it altogether, I recommend something simple like these learning cards to whet the appetite for more.

You can purchase the cards here for $12. If you'd like to dive in deeper with music studies, try one of the SQUILT Composer Spotlights or SQUILT Musical Era Collections

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Classical Conversations | Foundations | Home School Resources | Reviews

Stars of Wonder – Looking to the Night Sky for Inspiration

By on December 12, 2016

Living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex does not offer too many opportunities for star gazing. I often wonder what it was like for those wise men of the Bible that studied the stars and found such a great wealth of knowledge written among them.

Cultivating wonder is like allowing your kids to chase the rabbit down the hole as far as they'd like to go. Stars offer a great opportunity to introduce a fascinating subject that will offer a lot of great opportunities to dig deeper.


I received access to this online unit study for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

We've been learning about stars in our Classical Conversations memory work, but it's just the basics. Over the Christmas break, we're taking the opportunity to dig a little deeper into our memory work about stars. I think it's pretty fitting to step into the shoes of wise men and follow the stars.

Start with Stars Online Unit Study

Beth at Techie Homeschool Mom has put together many great online unit studies to provide great tools and resources for studies at home. We are starting our journey of wonder with her Stars Online Unit Study. 

This course offers a simple and effective way to introduce the topic of stars to your children. She includes videos to watch, websites to explore, games to play, and activities to enjoy. My girls loved making constellations out of marshmallows, photographing their creations, and making an online collage of their artwork.



online unit studies

We're going to follow up the Stars Online Unit Study with another of her unit studies on the Solar System. I love these because they are super informative and easy for the kids to navigate on their own.

Digging Deeper with Books about Stars

Once we have learned some fascinating information about stars, we'll follow the rabbit hole down with some of the topics they'd like to know more about. That's where great books come into play.

I love The Stargazer's Guide to the Night Sky first of all because it's a beautiful book. The full color photographs and illustrations are a great complement to the clear and thorough explanations of what is going on in the night sky. Dr. Lisle also walks his readers through stargazing and what tools are helpful for one who wants to learn more.

You don't have to buy any books to travel deeper into studies with your kids though. The library is a rich resource hub where you will be able to find tons of books about stars and the solar system.

Real Life Experience

There is nothing that deepens or excites a passion more than truly experiencing discovery in one's life. Take your kids to a planetarium to see the wonders of the sky laid out for them. Then plan a stargazing night with the family. Get out of town and enjoy the wonders of the sky. Use a constellation book to help you identify what you're seeing written in the stars, and then just sit in wonder together.

There is something about a big sky that humbles a person, and that is the best lesson any student can learn.

What are some of your favorite topics that cultivate wonder for your kids?

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