Sunday, November 23, 2014

Our Essentials Corner

It's our first year of doing Essentials, and my daughter and I both have been a bit overwhelmed.
I love the class, because I'm learning more about English and writing than I ever have before, but it is challenging me more than any of my college classes ever did!  Ten weeks in, we're getting the hang of things, and Alathia's writing has improved dramatically. 
However, we were struggling to find time to do sentence analysis tasks.  Alathia also was feeling like Essentials was "hard" and "scary" because I was projecting that attitude, and she was just following my lead.
A wise friend suggested that I make "Essentials time with mom" a special time.  She suggested misting peppermint essential oils (essential oils for funny!) or lighting a candle, having a cup of cocoa or tea together, and making it a special bonding time in the afternoons.
I loved that idea!  I realized that the corner of the guest room where my girl does her independent work each day wasn't really being used for anything.  So, this weekend, I dolled it up and made it my Essentials Corner.  It is now an inviting space where we can unwind and review our EEL and IEW homework.  She was so excited about it that she started diagramming sentences on the new whiteboards on a Saturday!
A visual cue for my art-loving daughter!

New whiteboards were imperative, for they have given us a spot to list the week's work and to diagram sentences. 

I brought in a little glass table that was on my outdoor patio this summer to hold my Essentials bag, our books, our basket of scented pencils and candles, and our portable walls.


Visuals gloriously assist us in our quest to be audaciously astounding conquerors of the Key Word Outline.
A friend from church gave us these little boxes she no longer wanted.  They were just the right size for sentence pattern blocks!

An environment to placidly contemplate our Essentials work, where hopefully we will not squander our afternoon, but will be diligent to master the English language!
*Underlined words are from our vocabulary words this year.  Just for fun!


  1. Awesome!! I have been failing miserably this year in keeping up with Essentials, and I'm the tutor! I just keep reminding myself that she has one more year. :-)

  2. Don't feel bad Tina! My mom is our tutor and she is often a bit confused herself; there is so much to learn! But she keeps reminding us all that you absorb more and more each year. One student who struggled last year and hardly wrote any papers is now the champ of the class, blowing us away with how her charts are memorized and her amazingly detailed paragraphs and stories. She gives me hope that in a few years, my daughter will be an Essentials Ninja too! With my four kids, I guess I will have to go through this class 9 times, so maybe by the end of that, I'll understand everything perfectly!

  3. These are wonderful ideas! I may need to try some with my Challenge daughter who loves the artsy visual stimuli.