Our boys are rising 7th and 8th, and we're exploring Classical Conversations. Can ya'll share your experiences?
Are you happy with the curricula?
Is it thorough enough?
Do the students receive sufficient feedback and instruction from their teachers?
How much instruction/oversight is required from mom outside of CC days?
Would you use CC all the way through high school? Why or why not?
We've looked at CC for younger grades in the past, and always ended up choosing something else. I didn't feel like the subjects were covered enough as the curriculum stood, but it was cumbersome to supplement everything - it worked better to do our own thing at home.
Now, though, the boys would really benefit from receiving instruction from someone other than me. And they need more peer involvement, too. So we're trying to decide between finding a local class or two, and CC.
I have one ds who has really liked Challenge and thrived in it (he has completed CH. A - Ch. 2 so far). I have one who did one year of it at the highschool level and it was a poor fit. (I suspected it would be a poor fit which is why I never put him in A or B). I have another for whom I thought it would be a poor fit who did Foundations, but never Challenge. 4th dc is registered for Ch. A in the fall. I think it can be a good fit for him, but I'm willing to take it one year at a time.
So, to answer your questions.
Do I like the curricula? Yes and no. I feel like Ch. A still has a lot of memory work and is not all that dialectic. I like that they switched to Lost Tools of Writing (several years ago). I don't love the books they read. I don't love the geography. I much prefer a WTM approach (or Ambleside Online) where history is the more central subject. Challenge doesn't really do history (imnsho) until challenge 3.
Thorough enough? Through enough for what? What are your goals? Also, depends on the student.
Do the students receive sufficient feedback and instruction? No. Challenge is not designed to be instruction or feedback. That is ALL still supposed to come from you at home or from the student self-teaching, for better or for worse. Community day is a dialectic, discussion day with tutor as lead learner. He/she is not supposed to instruct nor is he/she supposed to grade. If you're looking for instruction or feedback, Challenge is the wrong program for you.
How much instruction/oversight is require from Mom? This really depends on your student, your goals, and your philosophy. If you have a highly motivated and highly disciplined student, he /she will require little oversight. Instruction will depend on what you choose to use for math at home as well as how well your student can self-teach Latin or whether you decide to supplement with videos or online instruction, etc. A Challenge A student is not immediately expected to be independent - there is a learning curve. It really depends on your student and on your own philosophy about their education.
Would you use Challenge all the way through highschool or not? For my ds who will enter Challenge 3 next year, it has been a good fit. There are definitely some things I would have done differently, but everyone has gaps, right? He has been a very motivated and self-disciplined student and that was something I did not want to disrupt by taking him out. For my ds who starts A this fall, I am open to him doing it for highschool if he really wants to, but I suspect we won't.
The other thing I haven't mentioned is the importance of the tutor and the group of kids. These can make or break a program. If a Challenge group has a lot of kids who are opting out of the work (because ultimately parents decide what to require of their kids), then it undermines the group and even hard workers will begin to wonder why they're doing all the work. Unfortunately, it's probably too late in the spring to observe a program near you.