WHAT ARE CORE CONNECTIONS?

CORE CONNECTIONS – WHAT ARE THEY?

Within our units are BONUS Core Connections (aka interdisciplinary or cross-curricular studies).  We began adding these for free as a courtesy, since 2021.  Were you looking for how to count this toward high school credits?  Go HERE instead.  Otherwise, read on and we will explain our entire approach.

CROSS-CURRICULAR: Instructional strategies where lessons incorporate more than one disciplinary area.  In short, learning crosses subject boundaries. Example: English and social studies teachers joining together (teaching in conjunction) about the Middle Ages, so that a singular topic is being used to teach multiple subjects in a way that matters. This prepares students to combine subjects naturally in their mind, which is more reflective of real life. It is also amazing for motivating the unmotivated student and sparks passions and deeper learning and memory retention.

INTERDISCIPLINARY: This often takes place outside a classroom and includes experiential learning. It requires the integration of different perspectives, and it utilizes the integrations to enhance a single subject focus. IE: A Volcanologist. While this is a scientific focus, it requires knowledge of social studies (knowing how to respect the civilization/society where the volcanoes are studied), history (historical emphasis on volcano formation), budgeting (resource delegation and grants is HUGE), language arts (action plan reports), etc.

 

This is EXACTLY what our Core Connections are and what Campfire Curriculums’ model revolves around! THIS is what will make a difference in a student’s education… and it’s what some of the most brilliant minds are now implementing across the world. The best part? We include it all for free, as a courtesy, when you purchase the unit.

 

REAL LIFE EXAMPLE:

In With the Skills of | A Professional Chef, your family is naturally learning all about molecular gastronomy and chemistry by nature of the topic (cooking science, the chemical properties of food, Maillard reactions, emulsification properties, etc etc…).  We go over it all within the unit.  The unit can be classified as a science unit all on its own (a fun one where they kids didn’t even know they’d be learning all about chemistry, haha!).  BUT here’s what is also included for those who want it:

CORE CONNECTIONS: 

  • Math: We teach throughout all 12 lessons about what the professional chef ACTUALLY needs to learn for the profession and in culinary school.  We teach about units and conversion, recipe scaling, yield percentages, purchasing the right portions… AND, we give math problems for them to figure it out with the formulas chefs use (APC, APC per unit, APQ, EPQ, Yield percent, etc).  This is the same kind of math taught in culinary school.

 

  • History/geography/social studies: From the history of butter to Chinese involvement with the invention of cast-iron cookware, our historical connections aren’t just “boring history in a textbook.”  We are able to bring in lessons from all over the world with history that connect to aspiring chefs in the most incredible ways.   We also focus on how history impacts the present.  IE: How is our modern-day professional chef or family cuisine different BECAUSE of the events that happened in history (including details of historical famines, etc)? What a better way to connect to history/geography/social studies and retain learning like this?! Our “History Connection” approach, in general, is to tie history to what matters to the student.  We connect to parts of history that most textbooks overlook, while also tying connections to US and World History in chronological order.  We may use a lesson to connect to an important war or time period and challenge the student to think critically about how it impacts present day.  Or, we may connect the lesson to something that the student may have never learned about before (such as the invention of cast iron and how that ties to our modern-day bridges).  Both are just as important.  Or, (using other unit examples) we might be going down the path of the history of medicine, or the history of meteorology and how it intertwines with American history and wars….  It all matters and connects, and it also ties to a bigger picture.
    We also started including Modular History Spotlights as of Spring 2022!  We take the major pieces of history and build them into a wonderful masterpiece, in a way that will be meaningful and retained.  In each lesson’s history Core Connections, we spotlight a module of that time in America or that part of the world–in chronological order–so that it builds together into something beautiful.  This will essentially hold your child’s hand as they walk throughout history.  Now, dates will be even more meaningful and make even more sense.  They will be learning, “Wait… this was invented in the middle of the Civil War?!” or “That was created because of the Great Depressions?!”  AND THEN, we also may give additional links for those who want to go even deeper down the trail.  So keep an eye out for these new Modular History Spotlights (beginning Spring 2022)!  Whether you are only doing one unit or many, your child will be able to pick out amazing moments in the world and in America, building them into an entire timeline in their mind.

     

  • Language Arts: we use all 12 lessons to take the student’s hand and lead them through the “language arts” skills specific to a professional chef (although the skills can be used in any and every part of life!).  Adjectives, word choices, menu items, communication to staff, making their food sound better than their competitor next door (with nothing more than WORDS).  Many children hate learning “language arts” (not many enjoy sitting down and diagramming sentences), but when you connect language arts to something they love, it just clicks.  They’ll start sharing new adjectives and better ways of writing or communicating! Our “LA Connection” approach, in general, is very Charlotte Mason-inspired.  The lessons emphasize creative writing, writer’s voice, speech, picture studies, word choice, communication skills, adjectives, literary techniques, literature, etc.  Units will often overlap with language arts skills that are taught, so the student gets repetitive concepts in very unique ways.  We also place a focus on the language arts skills needed for that career field (as mentioned above). 

Here is a snapshot of our language arts projects within each unit:

 

Natural Medicine: Evidence-based research paper

US Military: Writing project – Motivational writing (re: Eisenhower D-Day Invasion); also picture-study emphasis to build upon creative writing skills

Meteorologist: Language arts project is on public speaking, but includes written bulleted drafts and how to reference and adjust them for public speaking

Independence Day: Literature-based writing assignment; the 5 W’s; writing a short story; grammar skills; copywork

Resurrection Day: Literary devices and techniques — identifying them, utilizing them, and applying them to the writing assignments (varies each lesson)

Volcanologist: Persuasive essay for proposed action plans

Square Foot Gardening: Project — Developing and writing your own curriculum (based on the unit)

Professional Chef: Word choice, adjective improvement, communication skills

Veterinarian: Systematic approach to better writing skills (in general); emphasis: better communication

Beekeeping: Freewriting technique with emphasis on anthropomorphism

All units include optional spelling words, as well.  Different units go over different parts of speech. Instead of sitting down and spending ten lessons on what an adjective or verb is, we have the student completing a project (etc).  Within the project, we touch on the different parts of speech and why or how those parts of speech can make their writing assignment better, in an applicable way.  

 

  • Bible: We include a Faith Talk devotional in every lesson, so Christ can be brought to the center of your family’s experience with these units (optional).

 

  • Critical Thinking: We include a Think Tank/ethics conversations to challenge critical thinking in almost every lesson.

 

  • Spelling: We incorporate a spelling list based on the exact words that are in this unit and that chefs frequently use

 

DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS: All of the different ages (elementary – high) have Core Connections that look similar to the example above, except it is all age-appropriate.  There will be more advanced or deeper learning for older students and less for younger students.  Same basic concept, maneuvered to match your student’s development.

We do not have Core Connections for pre-readers, nor do we have a phonics program.

Why did you start including Core Connections?

We discovered through job shadowing the professionals and using our curriculum with our own children that almost every part of a child’s schooling can inherently be connected.  The most incredible universities throughout the world are now implementing cross-curricular teaching and concepts because of the value that is found in it.  We believe interdisciplinary studies and also cross-curricular concepts are VITAL.  For example, when we would job shadow a Volcanologist (which is 100% science, right?), she would say something like, “You know, this science was discovered because of XYZ in history, over on ABC island….”  This led to deeper questions about History Event XYZ and the geography of ABC island.  That led to a conversation in social studies…

Then, she started sharing about how a portion of her job is to write Emergency Action Plans or persuasive reports and how that looks in her professional field (language arts!).  Then, we learned about many of the common controversies and hardships in the volcanologist arena (critical thinking!).  Math was a big one, as she shared all of the different formulas they use to determine lava types and flow….. it just went on and on. The connections were endless.  In all of our different units, we realized our child who previously disliked history was soaking it up.  Our child who wasn’t that into science didn’t even realize they were learning science and kept asking questions!   The one who loathed language arts? The same one who spit out a paper for us (pretending to be a professional) without our asking for it.  The connections being made were so priceless, and the memory retention was so strong that we couldn’t NOT provide that to our customers, as well. 

It’s priceless information that we wouldn’t want to leave out. This is what will actually help equip a person to USE what they learn in the real world, even in other areas of life and ultimately in a future profession.  For now, we include all of these Core Connections for free.

IS THIS A CORE CURRICULUM?

It can be used as such (you will need to add math).  However, it is so much MORE than a core curriculum.  Campfire Curriculums was originally designed to be used as an extracurricular, but is used as the core curriculum for a large percentage of our customers.  You can use it for either!  It offers something that is completely missing in the homeschooling world:  job shadowing, skills enhancement, and life awareness from home.  High school students had no way to access anything like this before.  Elementary children had nothing that could really and truly spark their passions as they shared with their family.  We specifically made it open-and-go so that FATHERS could get involved and bond with their children—just like in days of old as they sat around a campfire.   We seek out direction from professionals, and we combine it all into a very Charlotte-Mason inspired approach (which means lots of experiential learning and loads of fun while you’re at it).  Job/skill shadowing and life enhancement from home… there’s nothing else like it.

Use it on its own or add it to your regular core curriculum… it’s as flexible as you want it to be!

SEE HOW TO USE IT FOR HIGH SCHOOL CREDITS HERE

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