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Does Classical Conversations take over the homeschool week?


abrightmom
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I have been excited about the opportunity to join a CC Community this fall. Naturally, I am reorienting many things in our homeschool and forging a new path for us. As I'm reading and taking notes I am seeing many comments about CC being the focal point of the homeschool and not allowing for much else other than the 3 R's. This is NOT what I want. My intention in joining a CC group was to have community, academic support, and the memory work. It seems that most people that I'm reading say that their homeschool runs more smoothly if they let CC be the focal point.... :glare: As excited about CC as I am I know that I will be frustrated if CC becomes "it" each week.... Frankly, I must not understand how it works because it seems like it should function as I expect it to (enrichment with a daily time commitment of 20-30m to address memory work and oral presentation prep.).

 

Do I need to alter my expectations? Does CC "take over" and is it difficult to enjoy content during the week? Does it take over because Moms feel pressured to let it? Will I feel pulled in two directions (CC and "my own way")?

 

I am still pondering Essentials and while we are tentatively saying "yes" to it I realize that by joining Essentials I am giving up control of the pacing and workload for grammar and writing. Honestly, I haven't signed the paperwork and I'm still torn about the commitment to Essentials.

 

Does Foundations necessitate giving up content studies other than the bare basics? What about Essentials? Is it going to take so much time each week that I can't have balance in all subjects? I do NOT want CC to overshadow; I want it to enhance and enrich. We DO want to enjoy school and the enjoyment is realized through content. We do want to work hard but within a flexible structure.

 

Thoughts? :coolgleamA:

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We did foundations only this year and it did not take over the week. We practice memorization over breakfast and work a little on the presentation each week. I wasn't willing to do Essentials and I think Challenge will take over the week, so we're done after this year. It also means you lose a day of other school work. On the plus side my kids are going for memory master and they had a great time in class. Good luck!

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CC is really whatever you want it to be. Some people only use it as memory work. Some people make it their core, and try to work their entire school year around it. Last year, we tried to make it our core. DD was only 5, so it was very, very basic. I tried to get a library book about each week's history sentence. This year, we barely did anything with CC. LOL! I was a tutor, and I felt a little burned out. We met on Tuesdays, and every Tuesday after CC I loaded my CC stuff into the back of my van and there it literally stayed until Monday night, when I started to plan for the next week. The only thing we did do was listen to the CC CD in our van. Surprisingly, my DD still got a good deal of information from this year. And we're going to focus on it over the summer. I'm going to try to do the lapbooks from Wisdom and Righteousness. I might as well since I purchased the lapbooks back in July and we haven't done anything with them.

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Like someone said, I think you make it what you want. With my two in foundations (2nd and 5th) for the first time next year, I plan on spending about 1/2 hr. a day working on memory work. My 5th grader will be in essentials, and he really does need to bone up on his writing and grammar this year, so I expect that will cover a good portion of our morning. Other than that, I'm going to make some quality literature read aloud decisions because that is something that we haven't done much of for the past few years.

 

Now, for my Challenge B high school freshman, Challenge is his school work, so he will definitely have his week consumed by CC.

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We aren't Essentials age yet, so I can't answer that part.

 

For Foundations, I think you have 3 options:

1 - dive right in and make it your focal point - for me, this would NOT be a good choice. The history especially moves very quickly. Also, I have my own things already going that I really like (like Story of the World). I wouldn't want to replace them just to keep up with CC.

 

2 - use it ONLY for memory work. This is what we do, and what most families at my campus do. We work hard on the memory work when we are in the car. That is pretty much the ONLY time we do anything CC-related outside of class day. If by chance I have time, I read a short book (5 minute picture type, like Let's Read & Find Out Science) about the memory work topic for history, science, and/or timeline. If I don't, oh well. We've still really benefited from the memory work. My kids get SO excited when we come across something in our regular school studies that they have already heard in CC!

 

3 - wallow somewhere in the middle, feeling torn. Most of these are folks who went in intending to do it all - fully flesh out the CC memory work, and fully do their own thing, and somehow coordinate it all. These folks end up resenting CC. You can't do it all.

 

I think as long as you go in having thought out what you want out of it, and you actively make that happen, you will be just fine! This year, we chose to do subjects that overlapped what we were doing at CC (ancient history, and earth science), but I didn't attempt to line them up at all. We used the outside curricula as it was designed, with no regard whatsoever to CC. It worked beautifully.

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2 - use it ONLY for memory work. This is what we do, and what most families at my campus do. We work hard on the memory work when we are in the car. That is pretty much the ONLY time we do anything CC-related outside of class day. If by chance I have time, I read a short book (5 minute picture type, like Let's Read & Find Out Science) about the memory work topic for history, science, and/or timeline. If I don't, oh well. We've still really benefited from the memory work. My kids get SO excited when we come across something in our regular school studies that they have already heard in CC!

 

 

I agree! We only did the 3 R's this year, but next year we will do history/grammar/foreign language on our own. Right now we review CC for about 15mins a day. Sometimes we will do a fun project or watch something related to CC. Pinterest has lots of ideas. I am still debating what to do for science & at this point I may just supplement CC until my oldest is in 3rd & my middle is in 1st.

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I appreciate the posts because I have been on the fence for the last two years with CC. Still haven't taken the plunge, partly because of the cost, partly because not 100% on board with the philosophy, but we could use the community and an inclusive coop. I like seeing it doesn't HAVE to take over your week, but I can still see it as an intrusion to your week's work (especially as it is mid-week here). Thanks for the comments.

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CC is just a tool that you can use however fits your family best. Our approach sounds similar to what you are planning. The memory work goes on index cards in a CM memory system. We do the appropriate cards for that day during breakfast and are done with CC for the day. I don't try to line up anything else or coordinate anything. (Much to my surprise, this has worked out beautifully for us because months later a random "memory peg" comes up, and ds immediately makes the connection.) We sometimes listen to the audio at lunch or in the car, but mostly just do the quick memory box review. Ds runs through his presentation a couple of times before class---again, maybe 20-30 minutes per week MAX including his planning time. That's what works best for us.

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This is exactly the question that I came on-line to research. I'd like to hear more opinions on those who have used the Challenge level though. I'd have two in that level, and I'm not sure that I want it to be ALL of their academics.

 

I'm also wondering if the price for the classes includes the cost of books, and if certain books need to be purchased to use for the classes. For example, I see that Saxon is used for high school math. Do I have to use Saxon, or do we have a choice? Do we need to use Streams of Civilization for all of our history or do we have a choice?

 

Thanks.

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CC is just a tool that you can use however fits your family best. Our approach sounds similar to what you are planning. The memory work goes on index cards in a CM memory system. We do the appropriate cards for that day during breakfast and are done with CC for the day. I don't try to line up anything else or coordinate anything. (Much to my surprise, this has worked out beautifully for us because months later a random "memory peg" comes up, and ds immediately makes the connection.) We sometimes listen to the audio at lunch or in the car, but mostly just do the quick memory box review. Ds runs through his presentation a couple of times before class---again, maybe 20-30 minutes per week MAX including his planning time. That's what works best for us.

 

This is what I want. I want to give some time each day to our CC work but I think I don't realize how it may affect our weekly rhythm. Still counting the cost and tying to be realistic in my plans....

 

Essentials has also preoccupied me. I love the looks of it and strongly desire to go through the program at least once.

 

I expected this to be an easy decision. :)

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I don't try to line up anything else or coordinate anything. (Much to my surprise, this has worked out beautifully for us because months later a random "memory peg" comes up, and ds immediately makes the connection.)

That has been exactly our experience. I wasn't really sure about the whole "memory work out of context" thing, but doing the memory work separately hasn't been a problem at all. They make the connection so quickly when it comes up in our other studies, and the stuff we had previously worked with in CC seems to stick much more than the stuff we haven't seen in CC yet.

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We did Foundations this year (4th, 2nd, and Kinder) and it did not "take over" our schooling except on the actual CC day - we only did math at home in the afternoon. We did most of our memory work while in the car and I did a detailed review with my older two once a week, while sitting in the car switching off for piano lessons. This worked really well for us and provided enough review that they were almost Memory Masters. I highly recommend the CDs for the car and the prepared flash cards (which I keep in my purse on a ring). You really don't need the book or anything else if you just use it as a supplement. We were able to buy "big maps" from our group leader that were much nicer (and cheaper) than the folded ones directly from CC.

 

As for the curriculum, we let it enhance what we were already doing. My 4th grader was working through SOTW4 so obviously that did not line up exactly with the CC Ancient stuff BUT CC didn't really just cover ancients. For example one History sentence was, "During the age of Imperialism, the British established rule over in India in 1858, and Queen Victoria was declared the Empress of India in 1877. Before his assassination in 1948, Mohandas Gandhi led the passive resistance movement, which helped win India's independence." So that did tie in with what we were doing at home.

 

What amazed me the most was how well my kids did make the connections, without us trying. My DS was so excited to learn about cell structures in his science textbook since he had already memorized all the parts. This was so cool because he already knew how to say mitochondria and could focus his energy on learning what it did rather than being intimated by the vocabulary. This was the "ah-ha" moment for us. All that seemingly random memory work did come to the surface when he encountered it elsewhere, without me having to force it. Those memory pegs do in fact work!

 

The only thing we really had to work on at home were the presentations. We did tie those into our home studies when we could. For example the last two weeks was a President biography. My kids all presented Teddy Roosevelt since that is where we are in our timeline.

 

As for Essentials, I keep going back and forth on this one. We sat in on one to "try it out" but I "think" I have decided against it for my DS next year (but who knows... I'm still on the maybe list). It looks like it will move too quickly for us (LA is not my DS's strong suit) and since we will be doing Ancients at home next year, I don't want my DS focusing all his writing time on the Medieval themed IEW book. I did think about skipping ahead back to medieval but my kids don't want to do that and my girls will just be starting SOTW and want to start at the beginning. In the class session I saw, the girls did seem to do better than the boys (the boys all seemed lost and bored out of their minds). Not too surprising I guess, but it lead to my reconsidering it for DS (might be fine for my DDs in a couple years). Several of the women in our CC group talked about how they hadn't done much of any grammar or writing prior to Essentials so I do think it would be a great program if you needed hand holding in the grammar and writing department. Most of them did use Essentials as their main/only LA. One was trying to stay with Abeka at home but was getting frustrated trying to do both and wished she had dropped Abeka sooner to focus on Essentials. So not my experience but the info that was shared with me by the families in our CC group.

 

As for the Challenge questions about Math... what I was told is that you don't HAVE to use Saxon but that is what the tutors will be teaching towards. From my understanding they don't collect homework or anything... just go over the concepts. Large CC groups with multiple Challenge levels usually let the kids move the the appropriate math level that they are working on at home. Our group isn't that big in the Challenge level yet and so there are not all the choices that some communities have. You will have to check with your local group.

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This is exactly the question that I came on-line to research. I'd like to hear more opinions on those who have used the Challenge level though. I'd have two in that level, and I'm not sure that I want it to be ALL of their academics.

 

I'm also wondering if the price for the classes includes the cost of books, and if certain books need to be purchased to use for the classes. For example, I see that Saxon is used for high school math. Do I have to use Saxon, or do we have a choice? Do we need to use Streams of Civilization for all of our history or do we have a choice?

 

Thanks.

 

For us - Challenge level has become their sole coursework. Perhaps if I had one child, or all kids at the same level, we'd be able to manage extra coursework. But we don't. At any rate - I have been very satisfied with the level and quality of the academics my kids are experiencing. Be sure to speak with your tutors and other CC people to make sure you and the tutors understand and embrace the CC philosophy. In my opinion it is not the books and texts that make the program successful - it is the implementation of the classical approach across all the academic subjects.

 

The price does not include the books. If you want an idea on the (full retail) cost of books, check out the CC bookstore online - they sell packages of all the needed books for each level.

 

You can use your math text and level of your choice. In class the math concepts are discussed, but there are no assignments or tests to turn in to the tutor. The math discussion is a great supplement/review/introduction/reinforcement regardless of where your child may be.

 

I don't believe that Streams of Civilization is used at all in CC. History is studied via Literature and related seminars with a historical tie-in.

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I think at the Foundations level (and Essentials), it depends on how you run your life/homeschool. Some people are super organized, very focused, and seem to accomplish a lot of great learning every week. Other people are routinely overwhelmed, off-track, and frazzled, KWIM? I happen to fall into the former category (most weeks), so, even though we'll be CC-newbies this year, I can't imagine it taking over our homeschool life. I am not one to do tons of elaborate crafts or Pinterest-worthy projects, though; I keep things rather simple and straightforward. I see CC being a nice theme for our weeks, but certainly not to the exclusion of all the other stuff we enjoy (SOTW, Galore Park Junior Science, etc).

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I appreciate the posts because I have been on the fence for the last two years with CC. Still haven't taken the plunge, partly because of the cost, partly because not 100% on board with the philosophy, but we could use the community and an inclusive coop. I like seeing it doesn't HAVE to take over your week, but I can still see it as an intrusion to your week's work (especially as it is mid-week here). Thanks for the comments.

 

These were my concerns as well. We tried it this year, but won't be continuing next year. It worked well for me this year because I had a new baby, and it gave my older girls a little more structure while I was struggling through postpartum.

 

I went into it completely open-minded, but in the end, my concerns were valid. It did become an intrusion to our week's work. We just had a hard time fitting school into the other days since we also have music lessons etc. throughout the week.

 

I'm also just not on board with the memory work philosophy. I understand all of the rationale behind it. But it really started to bug me having them memorize something that made absolutely no sense to them, with the explanation that "you'll use it later." I watched my bright, inquisitive girls start to realize, you don't have to understand it, just turn your brain off and parrot it back. That's how it played out for us anyway. At home, we are big on reading and discussing and making sense of things. Then we memorize. The other way around just doesn't work for us. Plus it all just seems so random. I was told that Cycle 1 was Ancient History. But the history sentences were from all over the place.

 

I just really started to miss our CM style of depth where we read our way through a subject/book/material digesting it little by little. CC had that "standing in front of a fire hydrant with your mouth open" feel to me.

 

But we loved the people! We made wonderful friends! The presentation time was great for us, and I saw a lot of growth in my girls in that area. I also really like how they do geography there. It was a good experience! But it just doesn't fit with our style of homeschool.

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Keri,

Thanks for your comments. I was going to PM you and ask why you weren't returning to CC. Will you continue to utilize any aspects of CC at home? I am still weighing this carefully. I do love the memory work aspect and value it highly but I can do that at home...

 

:)

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These were my concerns as well. We tried it this year, but won't be continuing next year. It worked well for me this year because I had a new baby, and it gave my older girls a little more structure while I was struggling through postpartum.

 

I went into it completely open-minded, but in the end, my concerns were valid. It did become an intrusion to our week's work. We just had a hard time fitting school into the other days since we also have music lessons etc. throughout the week.

 

I'm also just not on board with the memory work philosophy. I understand all of the rationale behind it. But it really started to bug me having them memorize something that made absolutely no sense to them, with the explanation that "you'll use it later." I watched my bright, inquisitive girls start to realize, you don't have to understand it, just turn your brain off and parrot it back. That's how it played out for us anyway. At home, we are big on reading and discussing and making sense of things. Then we memorize. The other way around just doesn't work for us. Plus it all just seems so random. I was told that Cycle 1 was Ancient History. But the history sentences were from all over the place.

 

I just really started to miss our CM style of depth where we read our way through a subject/book/material digesting it little by little. CC had that "standing in front of a fire hydrant with your mouth open" feel to me.

 

But we loved the people! We made wonderful friends! The presentation time was great for us, and I saw a lot of growth in my girls in that area. I also really like how they do geography there. It was a good experience! But it just doesn't fit with our style of homeschool.

 

I was going to type out my CC response, but this is it. We left after one year for the same reasons. I don't regret leaving at all.

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It doesn't take over our week and we haven't made it the spine of our curriculum. It is more supplementary in our house. I love how much my kids have learned in addition to our regular curriculums. They have made great friends and the weekly presentations have been great for them. Mine are in Foundations and Essentials this year and next year I will have kids in Challenge A, Foundations and Essentials. ETA: I am expecting Challenge to be the majority of my son's curriculum but it is fairly well rounded and fun stuff he can still do with me and the younger ones.

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It doesn't take over our week and we haven't made it the spine of our curriculum. It is more supplementary in our house.

 

For us, the memory work compounded and as the year went on squeezed out the other subjects that we wanted to cover. My ds studied and made memory master, so it was a big commitment. It really cannot be done in 1/2 hour a week of review. It must be done every day. As the test drew closer we spent hours going over memory work.

 

I found that if it was just a supplement to our curriculum, I simply could not justify the expense. It is a huge price tag (IMO) for something that is not going to be the core of my homeschool work.

 

I wrote a lengthy post about our decision to leave CC on my blog. It is not critical of CC, but merely delineates why it wasn't the best fit for us..

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For us, the memory work compounded and as the year went on squeezed out the other subjects that we wanted to cover. My ds studied and made memory master, so it was a big commitment. It really cannot be done in 1/2 hour a week of review. It must be done every day. As the test drew closer we spent hours going over memory work.

 

I found that if it was just a supplement to our curriculum, I simply could not justify the expense. It is a huge price tag (IMO) for something that is not going to be the core of my homeschool work.

 

I wrote a lengthy post about our decision to leave CC on my blog. It is not critical of CC, but merely delineates why it wasn't the best fit for us..

 

 

Read your post and thought it was interesting...but...then I think that perhaps it doesn't show the other options that CC participants have. I realized that it was a post about YOUR experience, and that's not wrong. But you mention how fast CC moves through the history and you want a four year cycle....so why not just do your own history? Many people who use CC don't do the CC history at home, after all, the history is 7 sentences a week. Lots of CC families memorize those sentences, but use a compleletely different history curriculum so they can study what they want, ie a 4 year cycle in your case.

 

Then the Memory Master stuff, taking two weeks to work solely on this....again, your personal experience, so not wrong, of course, but definately not the only option with CC. Memory Master is optional. If it's something a child has to cram, then perhaps it was not the year to attempt it, or why attempt it at all.

 

Sounds like you choose to make CC your whole/core curriculum, which is one way to do it, but the other way, using it as a supplement, and using a full curriculum of your choice, allows families to get the best of both worlds. And then you mentioned cost, and not agreeing with the price tag if it is only a supplement. But on the other hand, it's $7.50 per week per child, I think it averages out to. Most people spend more than that on music lessons, sports team involvement, etc etc etc....all supplemental. I spend that much a week on nothing, ie nothing to show for it. Again, your opinion, so not wrong, but there's another view on the other side :)

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For us, the memory work compounded and as the year went on squeezed out the other subjects that we wanted to cover. My ds studied and made memory master, so it was a big commitment. It really cannot be done in 1/2 hour a week of review. It must be done every day. As the test drew closer we spent hours going over memory work.

 

I found that if it was just a supplement to our curriculum, I simply could not justify the expense. It is a huge price tag (IMO) for something that is not going to be the core of my homeschool work.

 

I wrote a lengthy post about our decision to leave CC on my blog. It is not critical of CC, but merely delineates why it wasn't the best fit for us..

 

I agree to a point. For us the money is worth it even as a supplement because the other aspects of CC are important to us. The presentations, community, science experiments, and art. Sure I can do most of that at home or in a coop but, for now, the CC model works for us. It also helps to keep me accountable some on those weeks I just don't want to do school. One of my three is testing for MM and we still only spent 30-45 minutes daily during the week reviewing memory work and then we listened to the CD in the car. That said it is not for everyone. The one thing that I am not thrilled with about it is giving up one day a week for it.

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Read your post and thought it was interesting...but...then I think that perhaps it doesn't show the other options that CC participants have. I realized that it was a post about YOUR experience, and that's not wrong. But you mention how fast CC moves through the history and you want a four year cycle....so why not just do your own history? Many people who use CC don't do the CC history at home, after all, the history is 7 sentences a week. Lots of CC families memorize those sentences, but use a compleletely different history curriculum so they can study what they want, ie a 4 year cycle in your case.

 

Then the Memory Master stuff, taking two weeks to work solely on this....again, your personal experience, so not wrong, of course, but definately not the only option with CC. Memory Master is optional. If it's something a child has to cram, then perhaps it was not the year to attempt it, or why attempt it at all.

 

Again, your opinion, so not wrong, but there's another view on the other side :)

 

absolutely. Just sharing MY experience. We did CC for three years, one of which I was a tutor. Again. I was not trying to put CC down. It was just our side. The OP asked "did it take over?" My experience was that yes, it did. Just sharing that.

 

We did not cram for MM, but learned methodically over the whole year. We decided that it would be the year to do it, and made it a priority to study for it each week. One still has to commit serious time at the end to studying and prepping--it seemed to be the m.o. with the folks that did it.

 

I think the OP has had plenty of opinions from both sides. Just sharing mine. :-)

 

I would never discourage someone from doing it if it was a great fit. We had a lot of fun there, don't get me wrong. The kids loved aspects of it, and so did I.

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Keri,

Thanks for your comments. I was going to PM you and ask why you weren't returning to CC. Will you continue to utilize any aspects of CC at home? I am still weighing this carefully. I do love the memory work aspect and value it highly but I can do that at home...

 

:)

 

We do plan to use some of the memory work at home. We will have the CD's and will memorize anything that matches what we are studying. I will just pick and choose the stuff I Iike. I do love the songs! I have to say, I've almost got the timeline song memorized just from singing it over and over in my head while up nursing in the night! :)

 

We're also going to continue presentations. There are 7 of us in our family, so I think that makes for a pretty good audience. :) It's something the girls are excited about doing each week!

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Thank you for all your responses. I'm not the OP, but this discussion was timely for me.

 

If I was interested in implementing some of the aspects of CC at home, what would you advise me to purchase? I guess I can see how the memory songs might be fun and my three youngest would really enjoy them. So, could I just purchase the CD and use it where it fits for us? Is there anything else that CC sells that would be relatively easy to incorporate into a CM/classical homeschool?

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I found that if it was just a supplement to our curriculum, I simply could not justify the expense. It is a huge price tag (IMO) for something that is not going to be the core of my homeschool work.

 

I wrote a lengthy post about our decision to leave CC on my blog. It is not critical of CC, but merely delineates why it wasn't the best fit for us..

 

Thanks for sharing. I figured out the approximate cost for our family for Foundations only and it is more than $80 each week..... Off to read your blog post.

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Maybe this is a spin off, but I have just never understood the "accountability" factor that is often referred to when discussing CC. It just never made sense to me.

 

I think this may be in regard to Essentials. To keep up you have to get the assignments done every week regardless of what else is happening.

 

Perhaps Mom like the consistency of the fine arts and science hands on. That is a form of accountability for some Moms. If you show up those items get done. :)

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We have been happy CCer's for 6 years. I've tutored Foundations, Essentials, challenge A, and Challenge B. My oldest ds is currently in Ch. A and my youngest ds is in Foundations and Essentials. The Foundations program provides skeletal material/lesson plans and the parents get to decide what to do with it. IMO, that is part of the beauty of the program! Parents with young kids may choose to soak up what they can in class and enjoy some of the memory work songs and that is it. This is a-okay! They will then likely be able to focus on reading skills and hands-on learning. Some families frame all that they do around CC. This, too, is a good option for many because it provides a good giude for things to cover across many subjects. Other families (like us!) use CC as their source of memory work and do their own thing at home.

 

Foundations definitely does not have to take over your homeschool! The day after our CC classes, we usually take approx. 30 min. on our memory work. This day takes a little longer for us because we always read through the history highlights (extra info about the history sentence that you can get on the C3 Community). We also read something from our science encyclopedia to provide a little context for the science fact. We only spend about 15 - 20 minutes on memory work on the other days of the week. The rest of our homeschool is centered on what I feel is best for my kids!

 

It is definitely beneficial if you truly try to work on the Essentials assignments at home. It is quite different than Foundations. But, even in Essentials, the parent decides how deeply they will delve into the material. Essentials is intended to be a three year program, and each year the child should work at a more advanced level. I highly recommend that you take a look at the guide so you can gain a better understanding of how the program is structured.

 

CC has been a HUGE blessing to our family because my kids have gained a strong foundation of basic facts in many subjects. We would never have endeavored to memorize as much as we do in Classical Conversations! My kids have memorized a historical timeline of 160 events, math facts thru 15x15, English grammar info, science facts, and much more. When we encounter things in our reading or in everyday life that we've learned in CC, connections are always made and an opportunity for deeper learning is usually easier because they are already familiar (or partly familiar) with he grammar of the topic. CC has also been a wonderful source of friendships and support from like-minded homeschoolers.

 

Well, I've rambled on enough! Don't be overwhelmed by the memory work! Free yourself to use all that fits nicely into your homeschool, and enjoy the brief exposure to information that you think may be too much for the current season you're in. You really will be able to stay in control of your homeschool and be in CC at the same time. The intention of the program is to be a tool for parents that can used to provide a classical education for their children at home. :)

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Maybe this is a spin off, but I have just never understood the "accountability" factor that is often referred to when discussing CC. It just never made sense to me.

 

I mention accountability because I knew my kids would be reviewing in class and I knew they would need to be prepared for that and for presentations. It kind of gave me a track to follow and it gave them a little bit of healthy peer pressure to learn the material. I tend to chase rabbits a lot in school so this helped me to focus a little more especially when I added in the fact that it would be obvious if my kids hadn't worked on their memory work at all.

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Thanks for sharing. I figured out the approximate cost for our family for Foundations only and it is more than $80 each week..... Off to read your blog post.

 

Keep in mind that your fees cover the cost of paying the tutors (they spend a lot of time preparing), the building and all the materials for the science experiments and art projects. It can get pricey though. Especially when you get in the Challenge Levels.

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Keep in mind that your fees cover the cost of paying the tutors (they spend a lot of time preparing), the building and all the materials for the science experiments and art projects. It can get pricey though. Especially when you get in the Challenge Levels.

Yes, of course. I don't consider the cost unfair. :coolgleamA: As I am really evaluating my goals in joining CC and after having some lovely WTM forum discussions I am realizing two things. I have my OWN set of goals and I think that CC will hinder my progress with those; the goals I have for the kids are non-negotiable and I believe that in order for CC to work and be worth the cost we have to devote more time/energy than I initially realized. Second, memory work is one of the draws for me but when I break down the actual cost I'm not excited about spending that much. I also realized that my little ones will be "alone" in their classes as I can only be in each child's group once every four weeks.

 

I don't know. I guess that I am finally understanding what they'll be doing in CC and I realize I don't need it and I'm not willing to give up my previously determined goals.

 

I also have to give up my "free day" each week in order to do CC. As I truly count the cost for my family this is turning out to be a deal breaker. We need that free day and my physical health requires it :coolgleamA: . Must have time to grocery shop and take care of music lessons without spilling into the late nights or weekends.

 

Sigh and shrug. Oh well. I'm so grateful for this forum and the opportunity to toss around ideas and perspectives and experiences.

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Yes, of course. I don't consider the cost unfair. :coolgleamA: As I am really evaluating my goals in joining CC and after having some lovely WTM forum discussions I am realizing two things. I have my OWN set of goals and I think that CC will hinder my progress with those; the goals I have for the kids are non-negotiable and I believe that in order for CC to work and be worth the cost we have to devote more time/energy than I initially realized. Second, memory work is one of the draws for me but when I break down the actual cost I'm not excited about spending that much. I also realized that my little ones will be "alone" in their classes as I can only be in each child's group once every four weeks.

 

I don't know. I guess that I am finally understanding what they'll be doing in CC and I realize I don't need it and I'm not willing to give up my previously determined goals.

 

I also have to give up my "free day" each week in order to do CC. As I truly count the cost for my family this is turning out to be a deal breaker. We need that free day and my physical health requires it :coolgleamA: . Must have time to grocery shop and take care of music lessons without spilling into the late nights or weekends.

 

Sigh and shrug. Oh well. I'm so grateful for this forum and the opportunity to toss around ideas and perspectives and experiences.

 

What I bolded above are two of our reasons not to continue with CC after two years of being part of a community. We will continue to do memory work at home, but make it more relevant to what we are learning. I don't agree 100% with memorizing out of context, though I understand the theory behind it. We are very sad to leave our group, but are excited to have a day to do just art and science and get deeply engrossed in a project, instead of waking early to get out the door in time to be at CC.

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We have been happy CCer's for 6 years. I've tutored Foundations, Essentials, challenge A, and Challenge B. My oldest ds is currently in Ch. A and my youngest ds is in Foundations and Essentials. The Foundations program provides skeletal material/lesson plans and the parents get to decide what to do with it. IMO, that is part of the beauty of the program! Parents with young kids may choose to soak up what they can in class and enjoy some of the memory work songs and that is it. This is a-okay! They will then likely be able to focus on reading skills and hands-on learning. Some families frame all that they do around CC. This, too, is a good option for many because it provides a good giude for things to cover across many subjects. Other families (like us!) use CC as their source of memory work and do their own thing at home.

 

Foundations definitely does not have to take over your homeschool! The day after our CC classes, we usually take approx. 30 min. on our memory work. This day takes a little longer for us because we always read through the history highlights (extra info about the history sentence that you can get on the C3 Community). We also read something from our science encyclopedia to provide a little context for the science fact. We only spend about 15 - 20 minutes on memory work on the other days of the week. The rest of our homeschool is centered on what I feel is best for my kids!

 

It is definitely beneficial if you truly try to work on the Essentials assignments at home. It is quite different than Foundations. But, even in Essentials, the parent decides how deeply they will delve into the material. Essentials is intended to be a three year program, and each year the child should work at a more advanced level. I highly recommend that you take a look at the guide so you can gain a better understanding of how the program is structured.

 

CC has been a HUGE blessing to our family because my kids have gained a strong foundation of basic facts in many subjects. We would never have endeavored to memorize as much as we do in Classical Conversations! My kids have memorized a historical timeline of 160 events, math facts thru 15x15, English grammar info, science facts, and much more. When we encounter things in our reading or in everyday life that we've learned in CC, connections are always made and an opportunity for deeper learning is usually easier because they are already familiar (or partly familiar) with he grammar of the topic. CC has also been a wonderful source of friendships and support from like-minded homeschoolers.

 

Well, I've rambled on enough! Don't be overwhelmed by the memory work! Free yourself to use all that fits nicely into your homeschool, and enjoy the brief exposure to information that you think may be too much for the current season you're in. You really will be able to stay in control of your homeschool and be in CC at the same time. The intention of the program is to be a tool for parents that can used to provide a classical education for their children at home. :)

 

 

Totally off topic but I have a question. My oldest moves to Challenge A next year but I am not a fan of Saxon math. That approach just doesn't work well for us. Does it create a big conflict to be doing a different math curriculum than Saxon? I am looking at TT or MUS or any other suggestions. We prefer more of a mastery approach.

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Yes, of course. I don't consider the cost unfair. :coolgleamA: As I am really evaluating my goals in joining CC and after having some lovely WTM forum discussions I am realizing two things. I have my OWN set of goals and I think that CC will hinder my progress with those; the goals I have for the kids are non-negotiable and I believe that in order for CC to work and be worth the cost we have to devote more time/energy than I initially realized. Second, memory work is one of the draws for me but when I break down the actual cost I'm not excited about spending that much. I also realized that my little ones will be "alone" in their classes as I can only be in each child's group once every four weeks.

 

I don't know. I guess that I am finally understanding what they'll be doing in CC and I realize I don't need it and I'm not willing to give up my previously determined goals.

 

I also have to give up my "free day" each week in order to do CC. As I truly count the cost for my family this is turning out to be a deal breaker. We need that free day and my physical health requires it :coolgleamA: . Must have time to grocery shop and take care of music lessons without spilling into the late nights or weekends.

 

Sigh and shrug. Oh well. I'm so grateful for this forum and the opportunity to toss around ideas and perspectives and experiences.

 

 

That has been my one complaint, giving up a day a week. I rotate among all three of my kids classes every week and the tutors all stagger when they do presentations so I get to see each of them do those. I do understand what you mean though. It's definitely not a fit for everyone and I don't know that my kids will do it through high school. We are fairly new homeschoolers so it made our first year a little more structured and made me feel less stressed LOL. My only ultimate goal is to make sure we survive homeschooling and know how to read and write at this point :tongue_smilie:

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Totally off topic but I have a question. My oldest moves to Challenge A next year but I am not a fan of Saxon math. That approach just doesn't work well for us. Does it create a big conflict to be doing a different math curriculum than Saxon? I am looking at TT or MUS or any other suggestions. We prefer more of a mastery approach.

 

It will not be a problem. Your child will still be able to participate in the math discussion. It may be a reinforcement of topics previously covered by your child or a preview for material yet to be learned. This pertains whether it is a different curriculum or a different level. My son is finishing Algebra 1; his challenge is finishing Algebra 1/2. The math seminar has benefited him in that it has given him weekly review in skills basic to success in Algebra.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

After researching for the past week, I've come to the same conclusion that many other posters have, we are going to implement CC Foundations at home. I am fortunate to have someone passing the 3rd ed. guide to me so I'll choose what suits our homeschool and leave the rest. We are primarily CM homeschoolers. I thought I'd share some of the resources that I'm using to get prepared.

 

Free collection of lists and material for memorization put together by another homeschool mom: http://www.lulu.com/shop/hannah-wilson/grammar-stage-memorization/ebook/product-631808.html;jsessionid=6C7F7939B38993DD319CEEC8F308EBDC

 

Former CCer shares memorization methods: http://goldengrasses.blogspot.com/2008/10/memoria-opus-memory-work.html http://goldengrasses.blogspot.com/2011/01/how-to-memorize-timeline.html

 

Doing CC at home combined with Montessori method http://www.myhomeschoolstyle.com/?p=175

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If you'd like to implement the CC Foundations memory work at home and you use an iPad in your homeschool, there are iPad apps for Cycle 1 and Cycle 3. The app for Cycle 2 isn't out, but I expect maybe it is in the works.

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For us, the memory work compounded and as the year went on squeezed out the other subjects that we wanted to cover. My ds studied and made memory master, so it was a big commitment. It really cannot be done in 1/2 hour a week of review. It must be done every day. As the test drew closer we spent hours going over memory work.

 

I found that if it was just a supplement to our curriculum, I simply could not justify the expense. It is a huge price tag (IMO) for something that is not going to be the core of my homeschool work.

 

I wrote a lengthy post about our decision to leave CC on my blog. It is not critical of CC, but merely delineates why it wasn't the best fit for us..

 

We also did memory master and still it didn't take over our school day. That said, I am not one of those with CC that feels that it is the be all and end all of classical education. It works for us now but if at any time it didn't I wouldn't hesitate to leave it behind.  

 

ETA: Ignore this post.  I just realized how old this thread was and that I had already commented a while ago :)

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I'm glad you bumped this up! I am considering CC and having it take over is my concern. It would be for next year and I will have a 5th grader and a 4th grader. That mean we have to consider Essentials also. I also plan on doing omnibus in 7th-10th grade (7th grade would be censored since I'm not comfortable with some of the stuff). I am really set on omnibus so I think I would skip CC if it meant I couldn't do both challenge and omnibus. I wouldn't say my kids are motivated with school work but they do it and they are really good when they apply themselves so maybe with CC they would be more motivate? They have friends in it also so they are asking to switch. We already pay for a co-op and we already lose one day a week to it so that part isn't a big deal. The co-op we are in is cheaper but I don't feel we are learning anything from it so basically I'm paying for a social club :/ . I did it since I pulled my kids from a public school and they had a hard time adjusting so I had hoped it would help them adjust. 

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I agree with many of the responses here: while CC is what you make of it, if you add lessons to make the experience valuable, it will take up your week.  The parroting-style memory wasn't valuable for us, and I felt like a drill sergeant.  If we dug deeper into a topic that grasped her attention, I had to curb her enthusiasm so we could move on to the next memory piece the following week.  To expect to satisfy a curious child with "we'll talk about it later" is unreasonable, as is the expectation that, three years later, they'll still remember a sentence they parroted and apply it to an in-depth lesson.

In similar fashion, the science experiments and art and music experiences were so rushed into our CC day, that the clock squashed our enthusiasm.  Perhaps we are Charlotte Masons living in a classical world...

 

I'm also going to say something that may be very controversial in this group, so I'll preface: every person we met in our community was a gem with lots of passion and lots of love for education and their families.  Our director was the most hardworking, detailed, dedicated of them all.  The tutors loved their classes, the parents were all super involved.  We met excellent quality people.  But then we heard from our upline...

 

And yes, I am going to call it that.  Because Classical Conversations is a pyramid scheme.

 

When I was a tutor for our community, I was approached to see if I would be interested in being a coach.  Or a resource coordinator?  Regional support?  I don't remember what it was called at the time, but the basic model was: participate in a year of CC, attend this weekend course (which was pricey!) and you'll be qualified to support budding communities in your area.  There were lots of presentations about how the company was experiencing growth, showing how you could maximize your earning potential by spreading out and supporting a number of small communities and helping them grow.  And you didn't see a penny until after the first successful year of one of the communities you supported (about 18 months after the costly training weekend).

I felt very uncomfortable being a part of that, especially when so many of the directors I knew were doing so much to support one another just out of kindness and generosity. 

 

Meanwhile, the "stick in the sand" philosophy of CC requires so many supplemental resources now.  Flashcards, Trivium tables, pocket inserts. All to make it "easier" to tutor, but costly.

 

Finally, after one of the applications I filled out during hiring for the support position revealed that I was Catholic, my interview turned into an in-depth session of Catholic Apologetics, which left me breathless and shaking.  I was told that I should probably look for another program, because the CC Community wouldn't be a comfortable fit for me.  I was reminded of the Non-Disclosure Agreement I signed before agreeing to tutor, and told to have a blessed day.

 

It is such a shame to have to leave our community on a sour note, because the actual people I met were so lovely, generous, and kind.  But in the end, I felt they were lovely, generous and kind IN SPITE OF what was expected of them by the company known as Classical Conversations, and I dearly wish that wasn't the case.

 

This deviates from your original question, and I apologize.  However, it certainly falls under something I wish I knew.  If you decide to participate in a CC community next year, I hope you'll have a much better experience.

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JuliQ, is my understanding that there is a Catholic "version" of CC. They do memory work, but also some lovely poetry memorization and things like that. If I weren't a Protestant, I'd have been much more interested in the Catholic version from what I saw of it.

 

Our first Foundations tutor was Catholic and was excellent, but left CC for the other program when a Challenge student in her daughter's class was allowed to go on a rant against Catholicism. Certainly not the fault of CC corporate, but it's then I realized how tutor/parent-dependent the program is and it may or may not serve the purpose of accomplishing excellent (and appropriate) rhetoric and discussion.

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CC did take over our week, but I was also a tutor so that was part of it.

 

I agree pretty much with what JuliQ said and I think the money making aspect of it is what garners the cult-like enthusiasm much like wraps, vitamins, beauty products, etc. That actually finally helps me put my finger on what exactly that was. It definitely is not "stick in the sand" in my opinion.

 

As far as the comment about being accepting or not of Catholicism, it really depends on your community. We're EO (OCA), our director was Anglican and there were several RC families so we had a very diverse and accepting community for the most part so we were lucky in that respect.

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In similar fashion, the science experiments and art and music experiences were so rushed into our CC day, that the clock squashed our enthusiasm.  Perhaps we are Charlotte Masons living in a classical world...

 

 

Just to reassure a little, there is not much "classical" about CC. You aren't missing any classical or traditional boats by not fitting in there. As to the rest, these forums generally agree with you on all counts. Good post.

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We love our one day each week at CC. I wouldn't really call it a core, more of a guidepost. For us, it is about developing relationships centered around academic studies. Our Foundations tutors are quite committed to great experiences and we LOVE Essentials! We do have the best Essentials tutor on the planet, though, she is quite terrific. Essentials does move fast, but after 2 years of MCT and IEW at home, my dd was ready for that pace.

 

I think my situation is a bit different from many who participate in CC. I have homeschooled 3 older kids and now have a much younger one at home. After 15 years of home schooling, I was just plain tired! CC's schedule and rotation of subjects, plus the opportunity for my only child at home to gain friendships, has been just what we needed to bring energy and direction to our studies.

 

I will say, though, that having much previous experience home schooling, I do feel free to be quite the renegade and follow my own plans during the week. I totally embrace their saying, "We're the tutors, the parent is the teacher." I modify dd's assignments as I see fit, to a degree that will not compromise the lesson; our tutors are on board with this. The little smatterings of art and science are like a tapas bar - we get a great taste for certain concepts, then study them further during the week. I do not consider CC a full curriculum for a 4th grader (English grammar, yes, but everything else needs fleshing out). I don't believe I'd call it a full curriculum for any grade, as I believe even the challenge levels appear to leave some subject area gaps (but I'm not there yet, so my opinion may change).

 

I do see moms with several very young children in CC, and I wonder if that's really worth it, in terms of both time and money. I think starting in 3rd or 4th grade quite early enough. On the other hand, someone with a K or 1st grader just starting out in home schooling might appreciate a year of having some things modeled for her, and gain confidence from the experience.

 

I often see people talking about the cost of CC, and speaking of comparing it to the cost of private school. What I choose to focus on is not cost, but value. CC has added enough value to our home education activities to justify the cost. Value is truly a subjective measurement and cannot be measured from the outside, in a general way. I will never be one of the rah-rah CC recruiter types, but I freely admit that it has been a positive experience for me and my student.

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What a great thread! We have been HSing awhile now, so I feel like we have a good flow, we know what works and does not.  But we are at a point where dd could use the community. It is nice to know that I can use it as a supplement to what we have going on. Thanks to all who replied. 

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