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Anyone besides me dislike Classical Conversations?


monalisa
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I feel like a loser here, because everyone I know who has done/is doing Classical Conversations just loves it. I'm wondering if it is just me, or if its our campus or even our little class. But I just don't like it very much.

 

I personally like many of the moms involved and the director, but it is so chaotic. It may be that our tutor is too laid back. The group of kids we are with mostly can't/won't pay attention or stay in their seats for long. Some of the moms aren't in the room some or all of the time (and of course those are the kids who are the wildest). And the little siblings are continually disruptive. Personally I don't think I see much value in the weekly meeting.

 

On top of that, I guess I'm not seeing the value in my 1st grader learning all this stuff out of context (except for the history, that is, which is sort of going along w/ what we are doing at home). Honestly, I don't think a 6 year old really needs to be spending time learning latin declensions. Don't get me wrong...I'm a proponent of classical education overall (and I'm planning to do latin in 3rd or 4th grade). I guess I'm realizing that the CC implementation of Classical isn't for me. Just wondered if I am the only one, or if anyone else wanted to (or did) quit this after the first 12 weeks? If so, did you later regret it? I originally thought I wanted an organized group thing for me and my daughter, but I'm really not enjoying this (I'd say my dd is somewhat--she loves the history part at least).

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It sounds to me, like your tutor and director need to brainstorm ways to keep order. The parents are supposed to stay with the kids and if the kids act up, then they have to be with the parent wherever they are. KWIM? In my group the tutors do a lot of activity while drilling the youngers. They also have a card system I don't understand it totally, but I know that a red one is not good and black is awful! It works, at least I believe so as I haven't been called to deal with the kids. (I am a Challenge A director) As for the appropriateness for your dd's age and the memory work. I can tell what I think, but it really goes to your educational philosophy. I love it. My kids don't always understand what they are learning but my 11 yr dd who has been doing Latin for a while will tell you that had she come to it with the declension endings already memorized life would be a lot easier. :D I know that there are many here who will tell that memory outside of comprehension is not good, but I disagree. There are many things I teach my children to do before they can understand them. Of course YMMV, and that's ok. It sounds as though there are a number of fixable problems that are making your time unpleasant. See if you can address that and then decide.

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I have no idea if I could help with some CC rules.... But, there are some on the Director's Portal, and I'm the card system Mama:-) But, you have to keep on top of the kids no matter what you use. We're trying for a Love and Logic type of classroom... but use the cards, too.

Also, Tutors usually want the Mama's help. If kids are acting up, a hand on their shoulder should quiet it down. Ask your Tutor how you can help. My tutor's love that.

I am more of a Latin Centered Curriculum person, but with a twist of CC:-)

Carrie:-)

(PM me if I can help you more:-)

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I agree with the previous poster. It does sound like your daughter's classroom needs a little dose of order. Have you talked with the tutor about your concerns? Most tutors try to implement activity into the young classrooms, such as marching while they sing songs and doing hand motions with the history cards. Tutors are usually happy to have help and feedback, perhaps you can suggest some things to help work the wiggles out of these kids.

 

If talking with the tutor doesn't help, then I suggest that you discuss your concerns with your director.

 

I am now a Challenge A director and also tutored the Masters kids for two years. When we started CC my children were 5 and 7. I must admit that there were times I thought to myself, "Why does my 5 yr. old need to spend time learning ______?" However, now that I'm involved in the Challenge program, I can see first hand the HUGE benefit and value of the Foundations program. Foundations memory work is a building block for deeper learning when students are a little older. Part of the purpose of the Foundations program is to present facts of all kinds to grammar age students. Children at this young age usually enjoy memorizing things, especially if its presented in a fun way. Most young kids enjoy memorizing the timeline cards and trying to do motions with them and singing songs that help them to remember facts about history. My boys have made a game into memorizing all of the prepositions. They like to see who can say them the fastest!

 

Some of the information that you're daughter is learning is probably useful right now: skip counting, history songs, time line cards, some of the science facts, etc. But . . . some of the things that are presented may seem like a waste of time. For example, memorizing all of the Latin endings may seem silly. But just think down the road two or three years . . . if your daughter learns all or even some of the declension endings now, then when you begin your first Latin lessons about nouns, she might say . . . oh yeah!! I remember that song from CC! 'a, ae, ae, am a . . . '" The information that may not seem useful right now can be used a little later.

 

CC is a very flexible program. If you would prefer not to spend time memorizing Latin endings or more detailed math information, don't! You're daughter will simply hear a tiny bit about it in class. She will have been exposed to the facts and that's all. That won't hurt anything! Some parents (I did this when my kids were younger) focus certain things. Learn the skip counting, but not the math formulas. Talk about the definition of a preposition and learn only few prepositions. Pick the science facts that match up with what you're studying at home, etc. It's okay if you're child doesn't memorize everything! Take what you like and go with it!

 

One last thing . . . Foundations is so much more than just memory work. Don't forget about the science experiments, art & music, presentations and sense of community!

 

I know it can be rough if when a class is not going well. I hope yours improves.

 

Blessings!

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I just wanted to comfort you that I have had a love/hate relationship with CC over the last couple years as well. I don't think we've ever suffered from the chaos you describe - I think that definitely needs to be addressed. But I have also struggled with "why is my 5/6 yr old learning this?" and "why did they choose this bit of grammar over this other bit?" and I wish their grammar memory matched up more closely with FLL :) And the presentations - it can be hard to come up with so many topics, etc.... But, like you, I love the Mom and the families in our group. Our kids have good friends there. My dc are really growing in their presentation skills. Like you, I'm not for memorizing out of context. I also have a lot of stuff I like to cover at home and since I've already given up one day of school work to be at CC, I don't like to use a lot more time through the week working on it. During our school day at home the only memory work we work on is Bible and Timeline. The rest they catch here and there from the CD in the car. I have no dream of producing a Memory Master with this method, but it does keep us sane.

 

Every year I contemplate if CC is the right thing for us, and I conclude it is even though I don't totally buy into the whole approach. Another thing I take comfort in is how well run it is. I've tried co-ops several years ago that were a complete waste of time. I like the structure of CC, I like that I know what we're doing every week, I like that the kids get a science experiment, a presentation opportunity, and a very minimal exposure to arts/music that reinforces what we'll do at home. (Now, don't ask me what we'll do when we get to Challenge - I don't know if I can continue to marry two different paths at that point or not!)

 

I hope you can talk with your tutor (or possibly your director) about your concerns and see some order restored :)

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Many people like it, but by no means is it for everyone. This is my fourth year tutoring, and about now I aways have at least one parent pull me aside and say that they really don't like it and may not be back in January. My current director is hearing it too, although most of her complaints are about content versus order, and some don't like Essentials at all.

 

I strive for an orderly class, although I've had tough classes every year that have made that a challenge. Somehow I've always had at least one kid from the "hands off schooling" camp (i.e. no formal academics at home if they don't want it, so CC is their only "school" for the week) and at least one dyslexic. But I've kind of got it figured out now so that everyone gets through the majority of the material and has an opportunity to excel in something.

 

I would say that you should talk to the director, and then weigh it over the holidays. We were involved in other co-ops before CC, and CC has been much better all-around than those in terms of teacher preparation, content, and discipline.

Edited by GVA
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We hated it! I'm not even sure that would be a strong enough word.

 

However... it wasn't the material as much as the group. It was not a welcoming environment to those that didn't belong to the church. The classes were not organized. I had to go between three different classes and every.single.time I went into the hall, the director would comment about my "free time."

 

We left at the Christmas break. I paid for the rest of the year, but other people left and didn't have to pay. I was told they had "more Christian" reasons for leaving and their debt didn't need to be paid.

 

It was a most disappointing experience!!!

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we did cc for two years, one with my ds as a student in an excellent class, and one with my ds with another excellent tutor--me. ;-) both years were positive for us, but i dislike it. a strange dichotomy, but it's true.

 

i have strong feelings about cc as an organization overall, and if you want to pm me, i'll share them with you.

 

we also, as a group, had the discipline issues, the varying philosophies coming to clash in the classroom, etc. but in my class i insisted on disclipine and classroom manners. it was hard and i was completely exhausted at the end of every group day, but i would rather have had that than a class out of control. the director was very supportive.

 

here's the problem, though. if you do cc, you have to do cc. they say you can use it as a supplement, but really we couldn't. i found that it was tons of work that competed with everything else we wanted to do, and we never got around to our "own" stuff--FLL, Apologia Science, SOTW, etc. When i tried to use it as a spine, it went way too fast for our familie's sit and soak it up kind of personality and we couldn't keep up. We spent so much time doing our memory work out of context, that I constantly felt as if I was on a hamster wheel trying to catch up. what i have missed is the time together with other families and the fellowship, but even that, while hard the first couple of weeks has been okay. i have connected with my friends in other venues. i have decided to follow SWB's plan and use a lot of her materials (FLL, WWE, SOTW) and a few other things--living books and Apologia EC series, and it has been without question our best year yet. We still use the history timeline cards and the math skip counting songs. we will probably do some of cycle 2's history songs next year, but imo, that's a whole lot of money to spend to only get that much out of it.

 

what it did for me was give me a structure and accountability when i was first getting started. it showed me that "i can do this, really!" now that we're on our own, doing it our way, we are soaring! it has its place, but i'm not in that place, i guess. i also found myself a little disgusted at the "trick pony" mentality that so many of the parents seem to have--"look at all the cool stuff that my homeschooled kid can do." and they also seem very driven to make sure they're not doing anything wrong in the education of their children. i'm more of the school of thought that if i mess up once in a while, we'll work it out together, and that becomes a lesson in and of itself. i don't need it to be plug and play.

 

i don't know if any of this is making sense...i could go on and on, but the bottom line is that NO i don't like CC and while it seems to work for some, it doesn't for us. if you feel like you need to get out, don't beat yourself up for it.

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I agree with pretty much everything that's been said. There are drawbacks, esp. for your dc's age. It does seem like a lot of time and money for something that's not age appropriate. However (and I always have a however), you see the huge advantages as your child gets older. My dd5.5 did it last year and was fairly bored w/it b/c most of it was over her head. She's picking up a lot more this year. My older 2 get a ton out of it. Since you've already paid, already have the materials, I'd stick it out and re-evaluate at the end of the year. As pp mentioned there is a lot of good to take away, music, science, art, skip counting, presentations, lunch and gym. We only went about 4x last year and this is our first full year and I"m beginning to feel the love. I would not tolerate the chaos though.

 

Laura

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here's the problem, though. if you do cc, you have to do cc. they say you can use it as a supplement, but really we couldn't. i found that it was tons of work that competed with everything else we wanted to do, and we never got around to our "own" stuff--FLL, Apologia Science, SOTW, etc.

 

We are using it as a supplement successfully. We also do FLL and SOTW. BUT, my dd's only 6 and ds(4) only gets 30 minutes of school. I'm not sure how things will work out as everyone gets older and I'm schoolin' more kids.

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You aren't a loser. I am big on memory work but CC has some serious problems that can really make it difficult. I do think the campus makes a difference. Some campuses are better than others I would assume. Ours was bad. And for your age kids... it's just not something that is set up to be beneficial for those children. That doesn't mean it can't be beneficial for young kids - but it isn't set up to be so.

 

Heather

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I agree with a lot that has been posted. This is our 2nd yr. in CC and my first year as tutor. I happen to be tutoring 6 yr. olds.

My thoughts:

1) Our class does get wild sometimes. It seems the make-up of the class has a lot to do with it. I do my best, use my "system", and some days it works out. I am prayerful and thoughtful about what I can do to create a better learning atmosphere.

2) Our director and parents are fantastic. It takes everybody's best effort to create the awesome campus we have. I thing w/o an enthusiastic and supportive director (as well as parents), a campus could easily go downhill. This isn't the first time I'm hearing this type of story.

3) Last year, I used CC as a spine for ds (mostly) and it went well. Accountability was key. However, we've had a TON of things come up in our family (non hs related) that I just couldn't do it this year. I haven't even reviewed any of the material w/the kids yet they seem to be retaining it! We've been review for the past 2 days so ds can earn "tickets" in class.

4) CC means a lot to my children. It's where they go to learn but also be with friends (same kids as last year plus new friends), do art (we also do art for young ones in the afternoon), PE, playtime, field trips, etc. It's a great community outlet for us.

5) I understand the issue of "Why memorize things that are not meaningful?" I am fine with it. Part of my reasoning is the simple exposure the wee ones are getting. I feel that when dd is of an age when this information makes sense, she'll be less intimidated. She'll laugh and say "Oh! Remember that song about X that did Y in Z A.D.?" Since she'll have that basic info, we'll be able to move on to more details of the story and they why's. I'm not trying to cram her brain full of things. I'm showing her learning can be easy and fun. Plus, when we get to Latin, she is going to thank me for learning those little diddies about noun endings:)

 

CC is not a perfect system, perfect corporation, or any other type of perfection. It works for us - sometimes works just for me, sometimes works just for the kids:tongue_smilie: It wears me out! But, on my worst day, I'm so glad to have our community. This year it hasn't been so much about "CC" for me but more about all of our families spending time together with our children for the purpose of education, yes, but also for support, prayer, Christian living and so much more.

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I, too, wish I could review CC in the 20 minutes a day it's supposed to take (I read that somewhere in CC materials). But this year has shown me that the kids are still benefit when we have spent zero time reviewing (until the last 2 days). We haven't even done MWR cd or audio cd.

 

For essentials - yeah, you pretty much have to use their grammar and IEW selections. You could do something else but then there wouldn't really be a point to being in Essentials, yk? I like their choices though. I like that the info repeats every year so a student can gain mastery over it. I can see it working w/ds. The grammar can be rough. I certainly haven't mastered it so it's hard to answer some of ds's questions. However, I do see the point esp. biblically. I have received a lot of flack in my experience as a Christian with those who dissect the Bible for contadications. It may sound odd, but, in some of those instances, good grammar can help - identifying something that a non-believer is interpreting literally as simile or metaphor, etc. Of course, there's the obvious benefit of logic, learning how to think critically and become a better writer. I don't have anything against a simpler system but I appreciate the knowledge that ds is gaining.

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the Essentials Grammar - good grief!

 

You know what's funny about Essentials? It's a complete mess but everyone touts it as so deep and giving a great foundation even if it's complicated. I figured that could be true since it has a trained teacher.

 

Well I found the opposite to be true. The year we did CC my oldest was in 8th but took Latin with Challenge 1 (primarily high schoolers) who had been in Essentials. My dd had not. She did grammar at home with Analytical Grammar. The tutor was blown away by her grammar knowledge and the rest of the kids were stuggling with grammar to the point that it was making Latin really hard for them.

 

Heather

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I appreciate the insights, and also knowing its not just me that isn't in love with it. I do think my tutor (her first year at it by the way) is part of the issue. I honestly don't think the chaos phases her. We don't have any discipline rules across the board (except things like No running in the building, No throwing rocks at recess, etc.).

 

I wish I could say I do like the other stuff - experiments, presentations, art, music, but really they are pretty lame (at least for our group). I really do not agree that a tutor can teach music without any prior training (we just started tin whistle, and honestly I think it is ridiculous; it is such a mess and skips through music theory so quick that I don't see how any child could get anything from it). We did 6 weeks of drawing, and again it was marginal. And the presentations -- just toy "show and tell" while we eat a snack. I agree with the person who said its a whole lot of $ for what you get. Maybe if I was wanting to go more in depth at home I'd like it all a lot more.

 

On the positive side, my daughter has made connections with the history timeline and history sentences with things she's learning outside of CC.

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I appreciate the insights, and also knowing its not just me that isn't in love with it. I do think my tutor (her first year at it by the way) is part of the issue. I honestly don't think the chaos phases her. We don't have any discipline rules across the board (except things like No running in the building, No throwing rocks at recess, etc.).

 

I wish I could say I do like the other stuff - experiments, presentations, art, music, but really they are pretty lame (at least for our group). I really do not agree that a tutor can teach music without any prior training (we just started tin whistle, and honestly I think it is ridiculous; it is such a mess and skips through music theory so quick that I don't see how any child could get anything from it). We did 6 weeks of drawing, and again it was marginal. And the presentations -- just toy "show and tell" while we eat a snack. I agree with the person who said its a whole lot of $ for what you get. Maybe if I was wanting to go more in depth at home I'd like it all a lot more.

 

On the positive side, my daughter has made connections with the history timeline and history sentences with things she's learning outside of CC.

 

I just want to give you something to think about in regards to the tutor. I was a tutor for the 4 and 5 class when we did CC and I was stunned at the lack of specific training they give in making the course adaptable to that age. They make you go to this 3 day training class - which I did. The entire time I sat there thinking - ok what do we do with 4 and 5 year olds. They would show us ways of teaching the history sentence, for example, and say 'write it on the board and erase one word at a time until it's totally erased and they can say it'. Lovely - 4 and 5 year olds can't read (for the most part). If you ask for specifics on the youngest age groups they just say 'don't worry - they get it even if it doesn't seem like they will' with that tone that implies a pat on the head for us uninititated. I knew better but I couldn't get anyone to even acknowledge that the 4s and 5s might need a different approach let alone offer suggestions. When I finally left and told our director I wasn't doing it anymore (for other reasons I could go into in a PM), she told me I could have asked the other 4 and 5 teacher for ideas. Well she had a group of all girls and had them sit around the table the entire class. Nice if you have all quiet girls. I had all boys except my ADHD daughter and they couldn't sit for more than 5 minutes. The other teacher didn't want 'hyper' kids. I was ok with that but didn't care for the fact that I was completely on my own to turn CC into a workable situation for these kids. I probably failed.

 

Anyway - I have no way to know what your specific tutor is feeling or expecting in this situation. It is possible she is more at ease with chaos than you are. I know I probably was a little more 'ok' with it than other parents in my class just because I have older kids and after a while things just bug you less or you go insane. But it may be that she's just out there alone. CC isn't set up to handle this age even if they claim they are. Heck - the tin whistle was too big for most of my kids to even put there fingers where they needed to for the lesson. We enjoyed science until it was 6 weeks of just coloring body parts.

 

Just something to think about. She might be just as frustrated as you.

 

Heather

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grammar makes my eyes glass right over. Does it really have to be that complicated?

 

 

I used R&S up until last year. When we joined CC, I had already scheduled my year so I just sent Dd to Essentials w/o having done any EEL work. We did do the IEW. The only time there was a 'problem' if you could call it that was when she diagrammed compound sentences as they used a slightly different methed than R&S. This year I took the plunge and did not purchase R&S 6. Now I have to add that our Essentials teacher is wonderful and she has gone through EEL with a fine tooth comb. The set up is a bit cumbersome and hard to work with. [The student pages are one place, the blanks somewhere else, etc.] Anyway, I love it! R&S totally prepped us to really tear into the tasks and dd is excelling! We are really digging into all that EEL has to offer. It is definately time consuming for me the parent as I have to do grammar with her, but that is how it set up. Both of us are learning a lot and I am so glad that I did it.

 

Again, EEL is what you the parent and the Essentials tutor makes of it. Plus, if everyone in the class is still very new to grammar and doesn't have definitions down [ a lot of which is learned in Foundations] then they have to move at a slower pace and the in depth necessary for Jr and High school levels won't be reached IMO. [Trust me that's a humble opinion]

 

End the end though, it needs to match your family's style and your philosophy. Not everything works for everybody. KWIM?:D

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They would show us ways of teaching the history sentence, for example, and say 'write it on the board and erase one word at a time until it's totally erased and they can say it'. Lovely - 4 and 5 year olds can't read (for the most part). If you ask for specifics on the youngest age groups they just say 'don't worry - they get it even if it doesn't seem like they will' with that tone that implies a pat on the head for us uninititated.

Heather

 

This is a problem for my class...the tutor is constantly bringing activities and asking them to read off the white board or a game she's made when probably 6 of the 8 can't read (these are 5 and 6 year olds).

 

I think I do need to talk with the tutor. She is an extremely nice person who is not only laid back in our class, she is admittedly laid back in homeschooling overall; I don't want to hurt her feelings because I know she is really trying to do a good job.

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You know what's funny about Essentials? It's a complete mess but everyone touts it as so deep and giving a great foundation even if it's complicated. I figured that could be true since it has a trained teacher.

 

 

Wow! That's harsh. Works amazingly well for us. Not hard to figure out at all, and it's probably b/c we have a wonderfully trained tutor. Whatever happened to "works for us but may not work for you--and that's ok"?

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  • 1 year later...
Guest prettyinpink

I agree with the other tutor above. This was my first time as a CC tutor and also as apart of the group. The tutor training was horrible and gave me no ideas with how to work with the 4-5 year olds. I thought the same things as the other person wrote about thinking they couldn't read, etc. There was no help. This was the first group here this year so I was going off of nothing. However, with teacher experience, I've pulled it off.

 

Unfortunately, I don't agree with the groups ideas for the nursery! I pay $320 to put my three year old and one year old in the nursery because I tutor. Since I tutor, I'm required to have them both in there. Yet, I have a three year old student (someone else's child) as apart of the class, participating for free and I'm required to make extra copies, etc for him. They also bring their baby in the back to play on the floor and so they don't pay a thing for their younger two. Why should I have to pay for mine to be in the nursery or even pay for my five year old if the three year old gets to sit in for free? Basically, I'm making nothing for all the hours I've put into tutoring to try and off-set the costs.

 

There are a few other issues I don't agree with this group.

 

I like most of the content they are learning. I feel like since I've committed as a tutor, I can't back out. And my five year old tells me each week how much he likes having me in the class. But one thing is for sure! I'll definitely do it on my own next year at home, if I want to keep it up.

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I haven't had a chance to read the other replies but the CC experience is very campus specific. We happen to love ours because it is disciplined, orderly and firm. Those traits were very important to me when I went to the open house. If it was disorderly, chaotic or loud, we never would have participated. Our tutor is wonderful, keeps a firm but kind hand in class, and it works for us. The CC rule that parents are expected to be with their children at all times is enforced. Loud children in the back of the room are discouraged. That environment makes it much easier to enjoy and participate in the material. If our campus was disorganized I would feel just as you do. Maybe you could speak to the director?

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we did cc for two years, one with my ds as a student in an excellent class, and one with my ds with another excellent tutor--me. ;-) both years were positive for us, but i dislike it. a strange dichotomy, but it's true.

 

i have strong feelings about cc as an organization overall, and if you want to pm me, i'll share them with you.

 

we also, as a group, had the discipline issues, the varying philosophies coming to clash in the classroom, etc. but in my class i insisted on disclipine and classroom manners. it was hard and i was completely exhausted at the end of every group day, but i would rather have had that than a class out of control. the director was very supportive.

 

here's the problem, though. if you do cc, you have to do cc. they say you can use it as a supplement, but really we couldn't. i found that it was tons of work that competed with everything else we wanted to do, and we never got around to our "own" stuff--FLL, Apologia Science, SOTW, etc. When i tried to use it as a spine, it went way too fast for our family's sit and soak it up kind of personality and we couldn't keep up. We spent so much time doing our memory work out of context, that I constantly felt as if I was on a hamster wheel trying to catch up. what i have missed is the time together with other families and the fellowship, but even that, while hard the first couple of weeks has been okay. i have connected with my friends in other venues. i have decided to follow SWB's plan and use a lot of her materials (FLL, WWE, SOTW) and a few other things--living books and Apologia series, and it has been without question our best year yet. We still use the history timeline cards and the math skip counting songs. we will probably do some of cycle 2's history songs next year, but imo, that's a whole lot of money to spend to only get that much out of it.

 

what it did for me was give me a structure and accountability when i was first getting started. it showed me that "i can do this, really!" now that we're on our own, doing it our way, we are soaring! it has its place, but i'm not in that place, i guess. i also found myself a little disgusted at the "trick pony" mentality that so many of the parents seem to have--"look at all the cool stuff that my homeschooled kid can do." and they also seem very driven to make sure they're not doing anything wrong in the education of their children. i'm more of the school of thought that if i mess up once in a while, we'll work it out together, and that becomes a lesson in and of itself. i don't need it to be plug and play.

 

i don't know if any of this is making sense...i could go on and on, but the bottom line is that NO i don't like CC and while it seems to work for some, it doesn't for us. if you feel like you need to get out, don't beat yourself up for it.

 

I am not sure why this thread came up again, but I have to edit my thoughts on this, because this was written last year--which WAS up to that point our best year yet. I have "come full circle" and now I am a CC regular. Do i LOVE it? No. I'm not one of these people who thinks CC is the greatest thing EVER and I'll always do it. I do, however, LOVE my community, the friends we have made there, the accountability it gives me as a parent to stay on track. I missed that terribly, and by the end of the school year I really wanted to go back.

 

I do believe CC is a very effective tool, especially for people who are extrinsically motivated, like my son and myself. He works more effectively having the outside goals such as weekly meeting with his class and memory master. I also believe that your tutor and director and the facility have a lot to do with the experience. Classroom management is really important, as is the management of expectations from the director's level between parents, tutors, and facility people. We have AMAZING tutors and a fantastic director. Our experience has been much improved this year by moving to a more spacious, open facility with more windows (I know that may sound weird but it really affects me.)

 

For the first graders, I don't know that I would put my child in at K-1 again and unless they had an older sibling in the program. I will say this in retrospect--My ds went through cycle 2 in the 1st grade and now again in the 4th grade. I don't know how much info he actually retained (aside from many of the history songs) but there seems to have already been a groove cut for learning what he needs to learn this year, and it's been pretty easy to do. We have also developed the information at home, and I can say without reservation that using CC as our spine and building from there it has been our best year ever. We have implemented lapbooks to develop the material, and our need to "sit and soak up" material has been well-served by that, plus my son and daughter are simply more mature and able to sit for longer.

 

So, to whomever resurrected this post, CC is not for everybody, but it can be a very effective tool in the right hands and, used correctly, yield wonderful results. Visit my blog and read "Coming full Circle with Classical Conversations." There are two parts. I have linked to part 1.

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We love our new CC. No complaints. Only praise. It's a fun supplement that my dds adore -- and are learning more and more new info each week. Our director is wonderful. The tutors are all classical moms who think like I do.

 

We are doing Essentials next year. The materials look awesome. I hope dd is ready. :001_smile:

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The group of kids we are with mostly can't/won't pay attention or stay in their seats for long. Some of the moms aren't in the room some or all of the time (and of course those are the kids who are the wildest). And the little siblings are continually disruptive.

 

What can YOU do to fix the situation without offending? If the disruptive kids' moms aren't in there, you need to be stepping in. "Uh oh, Johnny, Mrs. Smith said to sit down, you need to do it."

 

If the youngers are an issue, "He seems restless. Want me to take him out and walk him around for a few minutes?" As long as you don't sound accusing, they will either take you up on it or get the hint and take them out themselves.

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This is absolutely against CC rules. I would speak to your Dierector about this immediately.

 

How is this absolutely against the rules? My three year old went in the fall as a "lap child". He learned timeline cards and skip counting and sometimes participated in art/science. I didn't expect anyone to make extra copies for him, but three year olds are allowed as lap children. I don't think CC requires you to put your younger ones in child care. What else are they supposed to do?

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I didn't have time to read all the posts, so forgive if this was already mentioned. CC is a lot about training your brain rather than the material. In the foundations years, you are training your brain to memorize so memorization becomes easier. Even Leigh Bortins admits that it's not so much what was memorized, but the brain training that is the important thing. There are lots of books about how memory work builds connections in the brain and can even create brain cells. Also, the more you memorize, the more you can memorize.

 

Beth

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How is this absolutely against the rules? My three year old went in the fall as a "lap child". He learned timeline cards and skip counting and sometimes participated in art/science. I didn't expect anyone to make extra copies for him, but three year olds are allowed as lap children. I don't think CC requires you to put your younger ones in child care. What else are they supposed to do?

 

They can be with their parent in the room, but they cannot be "part of the class" or using worksheets for the class (though Foundations is better taught without worksheets anyway, imho.) At that point, they should pay tuition.

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We were told, at training, that they could participate with mom/dad in the room. It's still a "director's" discretion, I think. You aren't "required" to... and it may even be discouraged... but I think it's permissable. I don't expect the ones sitting in to be included... but... it's whatever the tutor wants to do with that, in the little class. Once they are in the older class... then they are with mom/dad in the back. We really don't have "hand outs" and mine bring their own supplies... (crayons or whatever)... BUT, when timeline cards and such are being said... I want all the moms/dads to participate... so that's great if littles are saying/doing the timeline and other memory work.

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How is this absolutely against the rules? My three year old went in the fall as a "lap child". He learned timeline cards and skip counting and sometimes participated in art/science. I didn't expect anyone to make extra copies for him, but three year olds are allowed as lap children. I don't think CC requires you to put your younger ones in child care. What else are they supposed to do?

 

 

The child should be with his/her mom and NOT attending a class for free.

 

"Lap children" I would think are ok if the mom is sitting in on a class with an older sibling who is enrolled in the class.

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My daughter used to scream in the nursery, so she would sometimes sit in older brother's class (with me). I gave her crayons and a book, and she was happy. another 3yo sibling sits in ds9's class now, and her mom does the same thing and it doesn't bother anyone.

 

That's how it's supposed to be; they sit with mom or dad, usually with something quiet to do or watching the class. They aren't supposed to be included in the class with the other students, though. If they are, CC wants tuition for them. :001_smile: (And the tutor will then be paid for teaching them, making materials for them, etc.)

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I seriously considered CC and I like many of the concepts/ideas but the thing that really put me off was when my friend who is in it (and loves it) said that one of the big advantages was how they "hold each other accountable". My kids are doing extremely well with what we're doing and I don't need any assistance or motivation in that area. I really didn't want to have to answer to someone else for the decisions I make in my kids' interests; that's one of the biggest advantages of homeschooling to me!

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Guest prettyinpink

It's one thing to sit in a lap, it's another thing to be apart of the class doing presentations, participating in the science, arts, etc. And as a tutor, I'm told I have to leave mine in the nursery so they won't be a distraction as I teach. Doesn't make sense to me? Plus, it's about ethics. If a 3 year old is able to be apart of the group for free and I'm paying over $400 for my 5 year old, that just doesn't seem right. It has come up with the director but since her husband is also my husband's boss, it's hard to argue much. The 3 year old joined in a couple weeks after we started and I had already paid for my kids (non-refundable) and was the tutor so I've been reluctantly sticking with it. So a very awkward situation indeed. For that reason, I'm not participating in it next year.

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I'm not sure why this thread was resurrected. I was the original poster in November 2009, so that is almost 1.5 years ago. I found out that the chaos was quite specific to that campus; I visited another one in my area that was completely different, and did have a nursery. The campus that I was in at the time had no nursery so all the little kids were in the classrooms and it wasn't just my dd's class that was out of control; this year they apparently do and things are considerably better from what I hear.

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I dislike it, but for philosophical reasons.

 

Dyslexic children do not memorize well without context. Let me rephrase that. They might memorize it but they can't really use it and will forget it quickly if they don't have some sort of context to put it in. Myself and my kids are dyslexic, so what is the point? :D

 

I am glad it is there for those who need it. One of my closest friends enjoys it very much. Her kids work harder in an environment with other children and competition. My kids would fall apart (couldn't focus in the chaos) and learn nothing.

 

Heather

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I sorta hate it too, but we are doing it because my very extroverted daughter needs the experience in a classroom. Not for its own sake, but she was just so devastated about not going to school, and she thrives on having her class. She looks forward to it all week. Plus, it gives her a group of kids to invite to her birthday parties. She sees it as her school and her class.

 

So I feel like it is important, for non academic reasons. If there were a different co-op around, things might be different. But, that said, I hate it. It feels like a Monty Python sketch, where we're going to learn to play the flute and become a gynecologist. There is almost a point of pride in the lack of context to the material. The tutor will say, "You don't need to understand this, just memorize it." When we were learning the area of a circle, my daughter asked what a radius was. Instead of drawing a circle, she just told her that it wasn't important that she know that. I showed her in about five seconds after we get home. The arts stuff bothers me....there is no time to get into anything, so there is no value in what they produce. And the tin whistle is the most annoying instrument in the world, even when played well, and it sure as heck is NOT played well by a group of first and second graders. And six weeks is not enough time to really learn anything about it.

 

I find the teaching of out of date geography to be annoying, even with the phrase former tacked onto it. I cringe when they teach about the former Yugoslavia..... Broader ancient things I can see, like Assyrian Empire, but I really would prefer that we just teach current geography.

 

The science experiments are ridiculous. They are often so completely developmentally inappropriate that the kids don't understand any of the principles behind them. They sometimes enjoy watching them, but they don't understand a thing. The explanation read aloud from the book is so full of vocabulary that they don't know that it only makes things more muddled. Our tutor doesn't really understand what they are about. It's not just that they are poorly explained; it is that the principles they illustrate are just not concepts that are really appropriate to the age level of the students. I wish that the curriculum were somewhat differentiated to the age of the kids. I wasn't thrilled about some of the questions I had to answer to my five year old with an anxiety disorder:

 

"What is a guillotine? Could people see without their heads? Was democracy worth killing all those people? What's apartheid? What are atomic bombs? Why did we drop them? What are the Crusades? Does Jesus want us to kill other people? What was the Black Plague? Could it kill us?"

 

I like the songs, but even a tiny bit of explanation to them would be good. Of course, sometimes the explanations aren't appropriate.

 

It's just trying to do too much. History sentences, science facts, Latin declensions, random English grammar, time line cards, etc. There's a lot of information being crammed into things, mostly without any context. I do believe in the benefits of memorization, but I do like it to have some level of understanding and appropriateness. We do memorize a lot of poetry at home, and a lot of geography. I'm not completely averse to random memorization, but the sheer quantity is mind boggling.

 

And really, does ANYONE need to know all the cubes? Really?

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It's just trying to do too much. History sentences, science facts, Latin declensions, random English grammar, time line cards, etc. There's a lot of information being crammed into things, mostly without any context. I do believe in the benefits of memorization, but I do like it to have some level of understanding and appropriateness. We do memorize a lot of poetry at home, and a lot of geography. I'm not completely averse to random memorization, but the sheer quantity is mind boggling.

 

And really, does ANYONE need to know all the cubes? Really?

 

I'll admit, it drives me CRAZY how they have the Geography teaching cold war nations instead of modern states. I also HATE the maps they use for geography but...my kids (even my 5yo) LOVE the geography portion of it. I just teach them both at home. I believe the memorizing of the cubes is helpful much, much later...you have to keep the big picture in mind. Don't bother learning them now, but later on, towards middle school and as algebra approaches, I think it will be good to have them in their heads. It certainly can't hurt, and may even help.

 

it sounds like your child is too young for it at this point. Many of the points you are making I made when my son was 6. My dd5 doesn't "get" all the stuff. She memorizes what she wants to when my ds9 does his memory work review. She corrects him when she makes mistakes--it's crazy--but she herself will seldom if ever recite. :001_smile: My recommendation is that children who do not have older siblings in the program wait until 2nd or 3rd grade to begin CC. it helps to have a "trailblazer." Reading this may help...there are two parts.

 

As for the lapbooks, you might not be horribly impressed...but we did take the information that we were learning in the history sentences, combined with the reading we were doing in SOTW and Usborne, and make mini-books and illustrations, etc. There are photos on my blog, so just click here to see the post! I'm sort of a purist--I don't like pre-made lap book things. IMO the learning is in the doing by ourselves. My son wrote a small paragraph (2-3 sentences) on 8 different kings of the middle ages, largely taken from our history sentences. He learned how to do research from a variety of sources. We learned how to creatively organize and display our material, and in the end, after everything had been collected, work to a deadline and finish the job well. I can't really measure all that we gained from this project, but we both were so satisfied with it.

 

Then we lost his backpack one day and the lap book was in it :scared: I didn't care nearly as much about the backpack as I did about that stinkin' lapbook! After two weeks the bag came back to us with the lapbook inside to my tremendous relief!

Edited by Hedgehogs4
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As for the lapbooks, you might not be horribly impressed...but we did take the information that we were learning in the history sentences, combined with the reading we were doing in SOTW and Usborne, and make mini-books and illustrations, etc. There are photos on my blog, so just click here to see the post! I'm sort of a purist--I don't like pre-made lap book things. IMO the learning is in the doing by ourselves. My son wrote a small paragraph (2-3 sentences) on 8 different kings of the middle ages, largely taken from our history sentences. He learned how to do research from a variety of sources. We learned how to creatively organize and display our material, and in the end, after everything had been collected, work to a deadline and finish the job well. I can't really measure all that we gained from this project, but we both were so satisfied with it.

 

Then we lost his backpack one day and the lap book was in it :scared: I didn't care nearly as much about the backpack as I did about that stinkin' lapbook! After two weeks the bag came back to us with the lapbook inside to my tremendous relief!

 

Shew! Glad you found the lapbook!! :-) I, too, am a lapbook purist and, even when I bought lapbook kits before (such as with TOG), we often just used our own ideas instead. With my older kids, we used Dinah Zike's Big Book of Books for booklet ideas. Are there other resources you recommend?

 

Your pictures are very helpful! When I was thinking about this the other day, I was trying to decide how best to organize it, so it helps to see that you focused yours on the first semester's history (with the Christmas break deadline). I love the spontaneous drawing, BTW!

 

Thanks again! :001_smile:

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