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Classical Conversations...tutor??


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#1 mommynluv

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 07:14 PM

Can anyone help me understand how solid (or not!) Classical Conversations is? It seems incredible, but I'd like to know from those that have experienced it first hand! There is a group starting in our area and I've been asked to consider tutoring. :glare: I have a 2,4,6 and 9 year old.:tongue_smilie:

Here are my questions:

1) About how much time per week do tutors spend preparing?

2) About how long does it take your child to complete his or her work at home?

3) Is it too demanding with this number and ages of children?

4) Standardized test scores?

5) How have you seen this program compare to other curriculums?

6) How much supplementing will I need to consider? (if any):confused:


I need some direction!:bigear:

Thanks everyone!

#2 Another Lynn

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 07:59 PM

I tutored this past year, also our first year in the program. At the beginning of last school year I had dc ages 8, 5, 4, 2. I think I would have been okay except I had a very sick pregnancy as well :tongue_smilie:. I'll try to answer your questions and then give you a disclaimer at the end.

1) About how much time per week do tutors spend preparing? Depending on the week and your familiarity with the material - maybe 2-4 hours?

2) About how long does it take your child to complete his or her work at home? Actually I'm not sure on this one. I was so sick that I eventually stopped all CC work at home with my kids. The biggest two thorns in the side are: 1)timeline cards (because they're not on the cd) and 2)preparing a presentation.

3) Is it too demanding with this number and ages of children? Do you mean too demanding on you to tutor? You will need all your ducks in a row! The biggest pain for me was just getting out the door in the morning with 5 lunches made! And helping my 2yo eat, behave, and socialize after I tutored (and was preggo) was pretty tiring. Finding the time to prep during the week wasn't too bad. I'm assuming you'll have 2 participating in the program. Depending on what kind of narration/writing skills they have to this point, presentation preparation could take some time (also depending on how you approach it).

4) Standardized test scores? I don't really think CC would have much impact on test scores at all. I think test scores are going to depend on your children's success with the LA and Math (core skills) you teach them at home.

5) How have you seen this program compare to other curriculums? This is a very "fact" driven "memory" driven program. I think it can be very dry in terms of mental stimulation. CC's strength is that your children have the potential to come away knowing a lot of stuff. More on this below.

6) How much supplementing will I need to consider? (if any) IMHO, you definitely need to teach core skills at home. I would think your 9yo would need even more than that particularly for history and literature and maybe other subjects as well.

And here's my disclaimer: CC has a lot going for it, but it only took one year in it for me to realize that I needed to swerve a bit back towards Charlotte Mason to satisfy my desires for our homeschool. I love our director, other tutors, parents, kids - a really great group. But academically it was not the direction *I* wanted to go. I realized that I would rather my kids remember things because they had made connections/relationships with events, people, ideas, etc - not because we had drilled and drilled, made up a hand signal, learned a song, etc. to bring it to memory. My oldest made some great friends and enjoyed it so much he wanted to do it again. I think because he's older and already knew so much history, the facts didn't seem quite so dry and isolated. (The whole thing was more like torture for my 5yo ds, LOL!) So, I'm allowing my oldest to participate again, but the rest of us are not. It is hard to plan the year I want for him since we will lose 1day/week to CC, but I'm streamlining a few things and making sure we have time for things that are my priorities for him.

That's probably more than you wanted to know. My other disclaimer is to remember that I had a very difficult pregnancy most of the year - and that certainly effected what we were able to accomplish at home and how tired I was from CC.

I do not in any way want to talk you (or anyone else) out of doing CC, but I want to tell you it can be great (as you already know) - but here are some *possible* frustrations you may want to consider before you decide for sure: 1)are you sure you want to lose one day of school at home each week? 2) are you sure you want a program so heavily "memory" focused? 3) if you plan to implement an entire other curriculum at home you might find yourself short on time and frustrated. 4) you might be better off to plan everything you do at home around each week's memory work (i.e. read books related to that week's history sentence, look at other works of art by the artist mentioned during art time, or listen to other compositions by same composer, read books related to science demonstration, etc.etc).

So think of my post as a "making sure" this is what you want - not so much a criticism of CC. Feel free to pm me if you want to ask me other questions. There are some folks here who use CC very successfully and who have been tutoring for awhile. I hope they will give you their perspective to balance mine!

#3 ABC Mom

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 11:27 PM

I am going into my fourth year of tutoring and I always ask myself if I should tutor or not! Sometimes just being in your kids classes can be better, but if you like to inspire kids and want to tutor your own child, then I say go for it.

1) The hours... can be many to begin with, but as you get the process and the needs of the age group that you are tutoring down, it takes less. Keeping it simple, but active, helps a lot. Kids like repetition, so to do the same memory work activity (that was successful) again, is fine for them. For science and art, the director brings in all the materials, so you just need to be prepared. For presentations, keep it simple and help the kids focus on the key elements of speaking in front of others. (It is only for 2-3 minutes per child, so content is less important than the skills of a good presentation - eye contact, posture, voice etc.) Really fun for the little guys because it is show and tell.

Did I wear you out with the preparations? Having fun with those kids makes every hour worth it. BTW, the hours can probably be up to six at the beginning and down to as little as one hour as you become more experienced and know what works and doesn't :)

2) Foundations is not a full curriculum. If you spend 1/2 hour to an hour at home doing the memory work a couple times a week, you should be golden. I have two children (11 and 9) who have mastered the memory work several years in a row, but my ds who is 8, just keeps soaking it up because he will be doing all the cycles again. (I just had him do his memory work like anything else -mostly on the powerpoint CD - and he announced at the end of this year that next year he wants to be a memory master like his older sisters! All on his own.) I do less with my youngest now because I know what he will be moving into. Soon he will be in the CC Essentials program for language arts. He doesn't have to do the Abeka LA program like his older sisters did at the earlier ages. Soon though he will be doing the IEW papers too. For now I just have him memorize and know the English Grammar memory work which will prepare him for what he gets later in that Essentials program.

3) I would think with your age kids this would be a godsend. All the kids learning the same grammar and then augmenting a biography or more indepth read for the older one, putting a presentation to it, or whatever you want. Then for the younger ones making sure they know some of it and are enjoying childhood. The tools of the CD, the powerpoint, and the memory cards all help a lot. Lots of games you can play with them all at home to celebrate what they are learning.

What you can't do is expect to do a lot of other things at home with them, meaning an intensive other curriculum. This is supposed to make things easier, not harder. My son, who started at age 5, did math, phonics, reading and HW, and we skipped the LA (as I said above) and did not do as much schooling in History (just living books) and yet he KNOWS so much more than his sisters did. It is so exciting to see them make all the connections because they have a peg (that Dorothy Sayers peg) to hang all that new coming information on. If he didn't KNOW some of that memory work, he'd just have no peg for things to stick to. ~ I could go on for hours though on how classical education (not just CC) has simplified our lives but as also made us much better learners and retainers of information.

4) Standardized test scores: From other classical educators, I have heard that classical students scores are higher at the latter end of education vs. the early end. I can't really comment because in general my kids' scores are good. As Lynn said below, the scores really depend more on their math and LA skills. These, again, you would need to augment at home. I have chosen to go slower with the LA with my 2nd grade son, but he did just fine this last season. Once in Essentials, the kids get the English grammar down pat.

5)Can't really compare. Started with Sonlight, moved to WTM, but didn't have any grammar to go with it because we just could not get those Pharoah's memorized. Then found CC as a way to do the grammar pegs that SWB and Dorothy Sayers and the Bludorns talk about. CC isn't about switching everything you do at home, but it can simplify if you do less. As Lynn mentions below, it can be really frustrating if you try to do another whole program. **I believe in peg setting because I have seen it work. My children make associations all the time becuase of what they have learned solidly. We learned the seven wonders of the ancient world a couple of years ago now, and they have gleaned information from other sources and discuss those wonders. I "wonder" if they would have been able to do it without having a solid peg to begin with. Recently, with someone from a different country who had mentioned Mussolini, my 11 year old mentioned Tojo of Japan. The adults were impressed with that connection. In my own life, I had the prepositions drilled when I was in fourth grade, and it has helped me all the way through. What I don't have is that history that I had memorized. Wish I had drilled more facts and then repeated them as I got older, then all those A's would have meant more to my eduation now. I want my kids to know what they know after they are done, so they can keep making connections, analyzations (dialectic) and statements/defenses etc (rhetoric) in later years.

6) Def. Math, spelling, handwriting, phonics, reading need to be done at home. For some the LA can be the oral memory work of the English Grammar (what I did for my ds through 2nd grade) along with some dictation and narration. 3rd up I am doing Essentials.

Hopes this helps. Probably more information than you needed. :leaving::leaving: I haven't posted in nearly two years and they didn't even have my registration any longer!

#4 mommynluv

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 08:16 AM

I can't tell you how much your responses have helped. For many, too much information is overwhelming. FOR ME...I don't know the concept of TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!:D The more information I have (pros and cons) the more direction I feel!!

If you have anymore thoughts...PLEASE share!

Thanks sooooo much!!!

#5 Riverfront Headmistress

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 09:21 AM

Try this link.


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