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How is Classical Conversations impacting your local hs community?


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Just wondering if Classical Conversations is affecting your local home school community? I have 4 different "communities" within 30 minutes of my home. They offer testing services, so our local testing offered by our general home school support group has really been affected. Our local group has to pay proctors and rent the facility. There is talk that they may not continue to offer this service if there is no longer a need for it. Additionally, I just found out that CC is hosting a book sale that will be held 2 weeks before our annual homeschool Bookbuster. Our Bookbuster already just breaks even. I am concerned that their numbers will go down dramatically, because our local group has to take a % of the sales to cover building rental, etc. The CC book sale is not going to charge a % of the sales, and the fee to enter will be $1 less.

 

I have done CC before. We lasted one year and then decided to take a year off. It was during my break away from CC that I decided that my understanding of the grammar stage was more SWB than Leigh Bortins. There is now a lot of pressure to join a CC group on our online home school facebook page. Because you have at least three Directors for all these communities, they are all advertising all the time. The co-ops in our area don't seem to have the same level of aggressive advertising/solicitations to join. Is this happening anywhere else? Am I the only one who has concerns about this?

 

Please keep it respectful. While CC is not a fit for us, the last thing I want is to get a call from one of the four directors in our community asking me to remove this post. I don't think they are on here regularly though. My aim is not to gossip or slander, simply to get an idea if there is a dynamic at play shifting home school groups in other areas too. I once called CC a for profit entity and was practically told that that was a lie from Satan. Sigh.

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There's a very large CC life here. As in 5-6 campuses, within a 40 mile radius, more just outside that radius, and 2 that I know are starting inside that radius this fall.

 

That being said, they seem to have a very low profile. Meaning when I moved here two years ago, and asked in a few local HS groups, on the online forums, about groups and co-ops, not once did any of the replies suggest CC. Of the two years I've been here now, I don't think I've heard one advertising for CC, in terms of CCers talking about it. I looked into it on my own volition and only THEN did I realize how many campuses were around me. Now that I've joined , I know it's active but seems to be off radar.

 

As far as the book sale , we have two huge ones here. Honesty if your coop is the only one offering a book sale, I don't see the harm in a bit of competition, if that is what you'd consider it. I'd just see it as another option for homeschoolers to get a good deal.

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We have grown to 3 communties in our area. However, there's a reason that it is taking over communities. I think that it is because it offers very consistent methods and you know what you are going to get for your costs. Teachers aren't inventing the classes as in many co-ops which can honestly be hit or miss. Directors have incentive to recruit in CC because that is how they make money.

 

And, yes, it is for profit. How could anyone not think that? Personally, I don't see why that is a bad thing because we are paying for a product delivered in a certain way. I don't think anyone in our community is getting rich off it, but I certainly don't believe that CC's coorporate is lacking in profit.

 

I'm not sure why you are concerned, though. I have found that there is always a group that CC isn't for and that's where other groups come into play. I think if there is a successful co-op in your area, it will continue to thrive even with CC's presence. At least that's the experience in our community. Our local co-op always has a waiting list and because of that, they rarely advertise. I couldn't get into CC the first year I tried and the other co-op really wasn't for me. I'm greatful that we have options in our community.

 

 

The advertising will die down by the end of July.

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It isn't a co-op that hosts the book sale, it is our local city-wide home school support group, the umbrella of all groups. Our umbrella group is probably one of the few local home school groups that hosts a convention and has a library for members. It is struggling to survive, and another book sale hosted two weeks before so close in location will likely kill the book sale. While I am not on the Board, I have been active for the past few years in volunteering at events and utilizing services.

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The advertising is very intense on a 350-family facebook page in our area. I know it will die down once the start for the year, but two of the smaller support groups in our area are closing down. One of the women who ran one of the support groups is starting her own CC. The other one said that she felt comfortable shutting her group down because of the other options now available in our community to support home schoolers.

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I have no idea what CC is doing in our area. But, I also have no idea what co-ops are in our area either. Neither one appeal to me in any way, shape, or form. ;)

 

FWIW, I am a "homeschooling snob." :) I homeschool so that I can control what is taught, how it is taught, and the quality of output that is accepted. I am unwilling to relinquish control over my children's education to anyone unless I have deliberately sought out a qualified individual (as in actually qualified ;) ) in the field and that I am willing to pay to tutor my child.

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CC has been picked up by some local HS families and they are very vocal about offering it as a HS option. Several family friends take advantage of it and it works well for them. It isn't a good fit for us personally. I have heard good things about it from many though. My only little, tiny hiccup with it is that when people hear we are doing a more "classical" home school they ask why I wouldn't let CC do it for me. For our particular situation, doing this at home ourselves is what works best. Not that I am better than CC or vice versa. Interesting that it is a "for profit" endeavor. I didn't know that. It has felt a little "sale-ish" here. But hey. Whatever works for each family.

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I guess what I find irksome right now is that if anyone has a question/problem, the answer to the question gets like three hits from CC Directors telling them that they should come check out CC and that they are holding Q&A sessions almost every other week at a Panera.

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The advertising is very intense on a 350-family facebook page in our area. I know it will die down once the start for the year, but two of the smaller support groups in our area are closing down. One of the women who ran one of the support groups is starting her own CC. The other one said that she felt comfortable shutting her group down because of the other options now available in our community to support home schoolers.

 

It sounds like things will work themselves out. At some point the community will reach CC saturation and there won't be any new ones. In the next couple of years some families will discover that CC isn't a fit and you may even see some CCs close down. Meanwhile, the small support groups like the ones you mention here may close but the members who aren't interested in CC will join the remaining groups and they will grow. You may see a shift in groups, but those interested in paying for CC will balance out with those looking for a different kind of support. People like you will maintain a few free groups.

 

The book sales will likely balance as well. I'm unlikely to visit a CC book sale when my own group is hosting one that I'd like to support. In fact, I'm unlikely to visit a CC book sale at all, since I'd most likely buy from Amazon. I'd plan to buy some books from a support group to support them, but not my entire collection.

 

I know it sounds like a lot of change and potential for losing your support, but imagine that many in the community are excited about new CC opportunities, even if many of them return to support groups later on. You're witnessing the shift in interest away from your preferences, but it doesn't mean that you'll be left standing alone out in the cold. There are still others who share your interests, even if you have to put in a little effort to reorganize.

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:grouphug: Maybe you can focus on what to do even with CC's overwhelmingly enthusiastic presence in the community? Maybe do more of your own advertising? Offer some park days to get to know one another better? I don't know what to suggest since I don't really understand the focus of your unbrella group.

 

We don't have many support groups in our area. I'm in one that is holding on ok. I think they feel the pinch of leaders leaving the group to become tutors with CC and even families focusing heavily on CC. I myself will have to make that decision this summer. We just can't do it all.

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We've had a couple of people drop out of our co-op because of CC, and while that didn't affect our student numbers too much, it did mean the loss of a teacher or two. But we've also had people take a semester or year off of co-op because of new babies, or outside work schedules, or just needing a break, so I'd say that CC hasn't had a huge effect on us. I think there are about 3 CC groups within 45 minutes of me, but I don't think it's had a huge effect on my specific support group/co-op. It just seems to be one of the many perfectly reasonable options for homeschooling, along with cyber schooling, other co-ops, etc.

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The thing is, if your support group/umbrella thing fails/stumbles, it's for one of two reasons, if not both:

1. People not actively being active to keep it active.

2. It fails to meet the needs of members.

 

CC won't pull people from a ship ,if the ship wasn't already sinking or wasn't already short on rations. Happy campers continue to camp, unhappy campers pack up and go to a hotel.

 

Haha, I'm marking myself laugh...ok, I'm done now.

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CC is making an impact here. This year I count 5 CC groups within a 40 minute driving radius! This is the Bay Area, full of high achievers here. Lots of hs'ers going to CC, actually it's hard to find a hs'ing family who is classical and NOT doing CC.

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Many local support groups in our area have died out or are dying out but not because of CC. I think it has to do with unaffiliated co-ops and paid classes not related to CC.

 

I've been homeschooling 13 years and have seen the culture of homeschooling change. I do use paid online classes for my high schoolers but we have never belonged to a co-op. I have no issues with anyone participating in a co-op. But homeschooling in general is changing just like anything else that grows in popularity.

 

So the answer to your question is no. CC is not making an impact on my local homeschooling community.

 

Elise in NC

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Thanks for sticking to the question. I am not in a position to directly influence our city's larger umbrella group. I am just wondering if a proliferation of CC communities has affected the support groups and/or co-ops in your community. I know the home schooling movement is changing, but I was wondering if there was a tie-in or if our community was unique.

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Obviously it's a free market and if homeschoolers feel CC fills their needs and not another group, then that's where they'll turn.

 

But I agree it's sad for those who don't agree with CC's aims, especially secular homeschoolers. It marginalizes them. I think many homeschoolers aren't outward looking and don't care much about the health of the overall community, but that it's better when there are options.

 

That said, there are three or four CC groups within reasonable distance of us and none of them are the biggest force around here. But this is a very secular, liberal area.

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Obviously it's a free market and if homeschoolers feel CC fills their needs and not another group, then that's where they'll turn.

 

But I agree it's sad for those who don't agree with CC's aims, especially secular homeschoolers. It marginalizes them. I think many homeschoolers aren't outward looking and don't care much about the health of the overall community, but that it's better when there are options.

 

That said, there are three or four CC groups within reasonable distance of us and none of them are the biggest force around here. But this is a very secular, liberal area.

 

 

I find the bolded an interesting perspective. I don't agree with the idea that somehow secular homeschoolers are marginalized, b/c there are lots of homeschoolers that don't agree with the goals of CC that aren't secular.

 

However, it is the "how are homeschoolers marginalized" and the "overall health of the homeschooling community" in general that intrigues me. Homeschooling used to be a family-institution. It was not community or socially-oriented. However, as the dynamics of homeschooling have shifted, the view of homeschoolers and homeschooling has altered in many ways. From my perspective, co-ops and CC are a very negative influence on homeschooling. Why? B/c it shifts homeschooling into a gray area that really isn't legally addressed by most homeschooling laws. When parents shift educational responsibilities onto co-ops and CC teachers (which is what I have witnessed in the vast majority of co-op situations and in listening to complaints amg co-op teachers. I'm not as familiar w/CC since we are Catholic and CC is most definitely not), does it technically fall under the legal descriptions of homeschooling?

 

This is really irrelevant to the OP and to most "new" homeschoolers, but my personal feelings (mine---no one needs to agree with me here!!) is that the entire co-op/group teachers without college degrees in material being taught, etc undermines the legality of homeschooling and marginalizes the truth that parents are able to educate their children at home.

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I am not aware of any CC groups locally. There may be some in our state but it is not a big thing here. There was talk of some one coming down to offer training but I highly doubt CC would go over well here. No one around here has that kind of money especially not the home schoolers I know.

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I find the bolded an interesting perspective. I don't agree with the idea that somehow secular homeschoolers are marginalized, b/c there are lots of homeschoolers that don't agree with the goals of CC that aren't secular.

 

However, it is the "how are homeschoolers marginalized" and the "overall health of the homeschooling community" in general that intrigues me. Homeschooling used to be a family-institution. It was not community or socially-oriented. However, as the dynamics of homeschooling have shifted, the view of homeschoolers and homeschooling has altered in many ways. From my perspective, co-ops and CC are a very negative influence on homeschooling. Why? B/c it shifts homeschooling into a gray area that really isn't legally addressed by most homeschooling laws. When parents shift educational responsibilities onto co-ops and CC teachers (which is what I have witnessed in the vast majority of co-op situations and in listening to complaints amg co-op teachers. I'm not as familiar w/CC since we are Catholic and CC is most definitely not), does it technically fall under the legal descriptions of homeschooling?

 

This is really irrelevant to the OP and to most "new" homeschoolers, but my personal feelings (mine---no one needs to agree with me here!!) is that the entire co-op/group teachers without college degrees in material being taught, etc undermines the legality of homeschooling and marginalizes the truth that parents are able to educate their children at home.

 

I'm so glad you posted. I've been thinking about this thread all morning, and my thoughts were similar to these.

 

How rare is it these days for homeschooling to describe a Mom and children around the kitchen table, and not an endless cycle of playdates, coops, extra-curriculars, and online classes? I remember reading John Holt about that very topic. He also recommended hiring a tutor or outsourcing here and there as makes sense, but when your entire homeschool experience is built around someone else's agenda and curriculum, that's a totally different kind of homeschooling. It's more of a joint effort, really, and the most non-hs'ing part about it is that Mom is not in control of the curriculum decisions, methods, or learning environment for such a large part of the child's educational experience.

 

On one hand, I'm always glad to see alternatives become mainstream, because surely the more options, the better. Also, if these communities and co-ops make it possible for parents to remove their children from bad ps situations, it's good that they can have some help.

 

On the other hand, I wonder if my kind of homeschooling, the old-fashioned DIY style, will fade away before too long. Either because nobody will believe they can do it since nobody does anymore, or because of changes to laws and regulations. I do agree that CC and the ubiquity of co-ops might hasten the latter.

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I find the bolded an interesting perspective. I don't agree with the idea that somehow secular homeschoolers are marginalized, b/c there are lots of homeschoolers that don't agree with the goals of CC that aren't secular.

 

However, it is the "how are homeschoolers marginalized" and the "overall health of the homeschooling community" in general that intrigues me. Homeschooling used to be a family-institution. It was not community or socially-oriented. However, as the dynamics of homeschooling have shifted, the view of homeschoolers and homeschooling has altered in many ways. From my perspective, co-ops and CC are a very negative influence on homeschooling. Why? B/c it shifts homeschooling into a gray area that really isn't legally addressed by most homeschooling laws. When parents shift educational responsibilities onto co-ops and CC teachers (which is what I have witnessed in the vast majority of co-op situations and in listening to complaints amg co-op teachers. I'm not as familiar w/CC since we are Catholic and CC is most definitely not), does it technically fall under the legal descriptions of homeschooling?

 

This is really irrelevant to the OP and to most "new" homeschoolers, but my personal feelings (mine---no one needs to agree with me here!!) is that the entire co-op/group teachers without college degrees in material being taught, etc undermines the legality of homeschooling and marginalizes the truth that parents are able to educate their children at home.

 

 

We have certainly not had this experience of feeling marginalized - as I said, we live in an urban area where most people are politically liberal. I have to admit that I only know a few families IRL who could be rightfully termed "Christian homeschoolers." However, I know from others that this is very common for secular homeschoolers in other areas to have trouble making any kind of meaningful relationships or friendships because kids are either in school and don't have time for homeschooled kids or are not allowed to play with kids outside their religious group or feel free to say things like, "You're going to ****," to the kids. Obviously, lots of people have issues with CC for lots of reasons, I'm just aware that secular homeschoolers are one group that does so I brought that up.

 

I think if you choose not to participate in mainstream schooling for whatever reason, and yet you cannot find friendships for your children because you're closed out of homeschooling groups, then you naturally feel marginalized. You don't fit in with homeschoolers or with public schoolers. That's just a simple fact. And it discourages some people from homeschooling to find themselves in that position. Some people would say, good, then they shouldn't homeschool if they can't tough it out or whatever. I personally disagree. I think if a parent has the interest and the time to homeschool and the only thing stopping them is a lack of community, then that's unfortunate. I see a lot of people on this board downplay the importance of peer relationships for kids. I believe those relationships are important - they're certainly not as important as some parents allow them to be, but when kids don't have them, I do think that's far from optimal.

 

I do think community is important. I think it's hard to practice one's faith without a faith community, it's hard to improve one's professional practice without a community of colleagues, it's hard to live in a community where neighbors are hostile, it's hard to parent without the support of other parents and family. I do believe it takes a village to do things and to live... not a government, mind you, but a community. And this, for me, comes from the idea that people need people. We're communal beings.

 

This gets at whether one is homeschooling to introduce a child to the world or keep a child insulated. Often it's a little of both, but for me, I see homeschooling as a way to engage in the world. Having a homeschooling community helps me do that - homeschoolers help each other make connections, find educational opportunities, and connect with mentors. Homeschooling to me is not something that happens within the family, but something that happens when we're out in the world as well.

 

Legally speaking, I disagree that co-ops and CC and other groups like them undermine homeschooling rights. There is something to be said for the can-do spirit and the willingness to adapt anything and learn anything of the sort of homeschooling that I've seen Hunter refer to as "oldschooling." But I personally see myself as a teacher and a guide. And part of my job is to shepherd my kids to the best experts and teachers for them, not to try to do it all. I respect that there are different thoughts about what is best though.

 

Still, to me this is a side issue here because having a homeschooling community is beyond the whole idea of "outside classes." There could be no outside classes and I still think homeschool community is important. To me, a homeschooling community is a group that parents can turn to for support, for used book swaps and sales, for setting up field trips that are only available to "school groups," for finding friends, for finding older kids who can babysit, for information about what's going on in the community that might be of interest to homeschoolers.

 

Anyway, I think no community should have one institution, especially not when it's one with such a particular viewpoint like CC. There should be more inclusive groups or there should be a diversity of groups, or, optimally, both.

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The thing is, if your support group/umbrella thing fails/stumbles, it's for one of two reasons, if not both:

1. People not actively being active to keep it active.

2. It fails to meet the needs of members.

 

CC won't pull people from a ship ,if the ship wasn't already sinking or wasn't already short on rations. Happy campers continue to camp, unhappy campers pack up and go to a hotel.

 

Haha, I'm marking myself laugh...ok, I'm done now.

 

 

I don't know that I necessarily agree with that last statement (though I do agree about the part about it failing to meet the needs of members). A ship can be doing just fine, thriving even, but some members may find that it's not the right ship for them. Maybe they like the ship just fine but like an airplane better and can't do both. I don't fault people for dropping co-op for various reasons; it happens. It doesn't mean the co-op is necessarily failing; it just means that it's not the right thing for everyone. When too many people decide that it's not the right thing, then it fails, but it takes a while to get to that point, and it can be thriving even if a few people jump ship.

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Please keep in mind that many people do not use CC to drive their homeschool (in Foundations). We use it to present memory work. We may flesh it out somewhat, but it certainly isn't all we do for science and history. That said, someone else driving the curriculum and agenda are exactly why we won't be moving to Challenge after next year. But for Foundations, I find it helpful to have someone take something off my plate.

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Homeschooling used to be a family-institution. It was not community or socially-oriented. However, as the dynamics of homeschooling have shifted, the view of homeschoolers and homeschooling has altered in many ways. From my perspective, co-ops and CC are a very negative influence on homeschooling. Why? B/c it shifts homeschooling into a gray area that really isn't legally addressed by most homeschooling laws. When parents shift educational responsibilities onto co-ops and CC teachers (which is what I have witnessed in the vast majority of co-op situations and in listening to complaints amg co-op teachers. I'm not as familiar w/CC since we are Catholic and CC is most definitely not), does it technically fall under the legal descriptions of homeschooling?

 

This is really irrelevant to the OP and to most "new" homeschoolers, but my personal feelings (mine---no one needs to agree with me here!!) is that the entire co-op/group teachers without college degrees in material being taught, etc undermines the legality of homeschooling and marginalizes the truth that parents are able to educate their children at home.

 

 

I completely agree with this. Well stated.

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What I think it comes down to is that many of us who are currently homeschooling aren't homeschooling to homeschool-we're homeschooling because there's no other alternative that's acceptable. We don't want to necessarily be outside an institutional school, we simply want one that fits our needs. Classical Conversations, for many, is that school. So are the tutorials that offer a couple of days of classes a week and send assignments home for the other three. For my family, such boxes aren't a good fit, but for some they are.

 

I really think my homeschool group is evolving that way, too, although it seems to be evolving more into people WITH degrees in the subject and professional experience teaching the same things they teach for pay elsewhere-but doing an extra session for the kids who's parents want it at some other time. So we have the same class the Shakespeare company does in schools, but done at a church during the afternoon, the same art class done as an after school program offered during the day, and so on. They're not a good fit for my DD, and in many ways, I think, are pushing her OUT of the social stuff because so much of it is "Let's go to the class and then to the park", instead of "Let's go play at the park"-but I can see why it would be very nice for a parent of a highschooler who needs a history credit to have a degreed Lawyer willing to teach Civics and Government.

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CC is making an impact here. This year I count 5 CC groups within a 40 minute driving radius! This is the Bay Area, full of high achievers here. Lots of hs'ers going to CC, actually it's hard to find a hs'ing family who is classical and NOT doing CC.

 

 

I think this really depends on your local support group. While there are a bunch of CC groups around, most of the HSers I know IRL don't do them because of the religious aspect. Maybe if I belonged to one of the Protestant support groups rather than inclusive ones I would see a bigger impact.

 

I know far more folks with their kids in a Waldorf co-ops than in CC.

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I find it so interesting that there is such an irresistible pull to divide into endless camps, and feel threatened by those who implement homeschooling in any way that's different than ones own way. This is an entire movement based on the supposition that parents can responsibly choose how their kids are educated. That teaching ones own is as valid of a choice as private school, hiring tutors, ect. And yet, those who don't hire out, or feel co-ops are healthy ways to educate, are threatened by those who do. Why? Is that parent not just as invested in their choices as you are in yours? I know many people wouldn't homeschool at all, as in would have never tried it to begin with, if there weren't classes, ect. Interestingly, I find the local (large) secular homeschool community is much more likely to outsource a large portion of their teaching than the Christian HSers. So, I guess you could connect much of the growth of homeschooling to the fact that there are more classes and opportunities.

 

People have hired tutors for centuries. Why would a homeschooler hiring a tutor threaten the right to homeschool? How is it different than what PS students do? It just doesn't scare me. I think options are good. I think for a long time a homeschooler's mode of self protection was to hide and fly under the radar. Then as our numbers grew, Christian organizations started to form and grow in volume as well as numbers. Now, we're in a new era where staying under the radar is no longer going to be possible. I think that is where the fear creeps in. We're no longer united by religion, approach, or ideology, so how will we protect ourselves? From my observation, unity comes with the threats. We're all in our smaller tribes, but when a more universal threat to homeschooling comes along (the Ca Long case comes to mind), I've seen our community link arms and fight. Not a great long term solution, but I think it's where we're at.

 

To the original question. CC is definitely shaking things up here. However, I at this point it's not fundamentally changing anything. We still have a thriving park day. I run a co-op that is losing a few people to CC, but there's others to step in. Also, I've always held the co-op with an open hand. If at some point it folds, I'm not going to cry over it. As of this year, we had to turn people away, and I don't have the bandwidth to grow it much bigger than it already is. So in that way CC is providing another venue for people to connect. Frankly, the cost is always going to shut some people out and our co-op is a low cost alternative that doesn't take over life in the same way that CC does. However, in talking with those who have gone before me, nothing ever stays the same in the homeschool community. It's a living breathing organism that is always growing in one direction and pulling back from another. CC may be the catalyst for this change in your particular area right now, but if it wasn't CC, it would be something else. Homeschoolers never stay still for long!

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I find it so interesting that there is such an irresistible pull to divide into endless camps, and feel threatened by those who implement homeschooling in any way that's different than ones own way. This is an entire movement based on the supposition that parents can responsibly choose how their kids are educated.

 

 

:iagree: I find it hard not to see it that way. Also, this board is so anti-co-op in every form that it always surprises me. I know that some people have a great time homeschooling - around the kitchen table, as Tibbie put it. We do some of that, but we do other things too. I don't think either way is necessarily superior.

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OP I think we may be in the same community, or at least yours has a lot of similarities to mine :-)

 

I love the umbrella organization in my area and support it in a lot of ways. I know that things have changed for them in recent years, and one of the reasons is that there are so many other ways to find support in homeschooling now. The umbrella organization used to be the only game in town--if you wanted testing, if you wanted a curriculum sale, if you wanted a prom or graduation, that's who did that stuff.

 

But now there are multiple organizations who are, in a sense, reinventing the wheel. For example, I volunteer for our umbrella organization by coordinating graduation and senior activities, including a prom. This year the tutoring program that my daughter attends had their own prom, which was great, but it did cut down on attendance at the other prom. I mean, if you just paid $100 for your kid to go to a prom at the zoo, you're probably not going to shell out $60 a few weeks later for them to "do" prom again. Both events were nice, but I do lament that fact the efforts could not be combined to make one even better event instead of splitting loyalties and multiplying the work to do a similar event more than once.

 

In my ideal world, all of these new upstarts, so to speak, like CC, would stand with and support the umbrella organizations that are already in place. But because some of them exist on a national level and already have an umbrella of sorts, that means that the original umbrella loses leaders and members and volunteers. And in a community like mine, which represents a very large geographical area, the ones who lose out are the ones who don't have other communities of homeschool support to turn to.

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I think many homeschoolers aren't outward looking and don't care much about the health of the overall community, but that it's better when there are options.

 

 

This. Totally. It's why I wish more people would get behind the umbrella organization in our community. Homeschoolers are so independent-minded sometimes that they just focus on what works for them instead of making the community at large stronger. A stronger homeschool community is better for everyone, IMO.

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Just wondering if Classical Conversations is affecting your local home school community? I have 4 different "communities" within 30 minutes of my home. They offer testing services, so our local testing offered by our general home school support group has really been affected. Our local group has to pay proctors and rent the facility. There is talk that they may not continue to offer this service if there is no longer a need for it. Additionally, I just found out that CC is hosting a book sale that will be held 2 weeks before our annual homeschool Bookbuster. Our Bookbuster already just breaks even. I am concerned that their numbers will go down dramatically, because our local group has to take a % of the sales to cover building rental, etc. The CC book sale is not going to charge a % of the sales, and the fee to enter will be $1 less.

 

I have done CC before. We lasted one year and then decided to take a year off. It was during my break away from CC that I decided that my understanding of the grammar stage was more SWB than Leigh Bortins. There is now a lot of pressure to join a CC group on our online home school facebook page. Because you have at least three Directors for all these communities, they are all advertising all the time. The co-ops in our area don't seem to have the same level of aggressive advertising/solicitations to join. Is this happening anywhere else? Am I the only one who has concerns about this?

 

Please keep it respectful. While CC is not a fit for us, the last thing I want is to get a call from one of the four directors in our community asking me to remove this post. I don't think they are on here regularly though. My aim is not to gossip or slander, simply to get an idea if there is a dynamic at play shifting home school groups in other areas too. I once called CC a for profit entity and was practically told that that was a lie from Satan. Sigh.

 

We also tried it for 1 year and decided not to continue for the same reason that you did. (I'm also a little more CM in style)

 

I resisted joining for the longest time because of the same aggressive advertising/solicitation to join that you noticed. I thought maybe it was just our area that was that way.

 

I don't have any experience with our local group, but I have many of the same concerns in general that you mentioned. I think it is a great program and fits for many families. But I get concerned when it is seen as "the" program. I had a friend once say that "CC is the best thing that ever happened to the homeschooling community." That really bothers me. It is one way of many.

 

I am totally confident about our family's very different style of homeschooling (different from CC), but yet I feel like I have to have a very stellar argument for why we have chosen not to continue with CC.

 

I really don't understand the passionate recruiting that I have experienced in regards to CC. My dh and I jokingly referred to it as a cult for awhile, and even announced last year to our family (some of whom are also in another CC) that we finally joined the CC cult. :)

 

I really loved the people we met at our CC group this past year and will really miss them. But for us, CC had become detrimental to our homeschool since it didn't allow us to work on our own goals.

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The availability of CC was part of my decision to HS and I do love it. It's not quite the same as a co-op (in my understanding), but strives to support the hs family with a tutor/model from within the parent group. Full disclosure, though: I just finished training as a support manager with them. I don't think anybody does it for money, right up to and including the "corporate" heads.

 

As to the book sale thing, that's too bad. Did you consider having CC join your sale date? Are they doing this in conjunction with a free parent practicum? Usually there is a book sale at the practicums. You might order a free catalog if you're curious. It has a lot more about their philosophy and lists of the books they'd likely be selling. And hey- free!

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I have no idea what CC is doing in our area. But, I also have no idea what co-ops are in our area either. Neither one appeal to me in any way, shape, or form. ;)

 

FWIW, I am a "homeschooling snob." :) I homeschool so that I can control what is taught, how it is taught, and the quality of output that is accepted. I am unwilling to relinquish control over my children's education to anyone unless I have deliberately sought out a qualified individual (as in actually qualified ;) ) in the field and that I am willing to pay to tutor my child.

 

 

I agree with this and the other posts about the focus on groups, co-ops, playdates, etc. It's not even on my radar. I know a CC group JUST opened up here in our little town this last year and just about every homeschooler I know is involved. These moms must be way more socially motivated than I am, it's just not something I'm interested in at all. I could see the benefit when my kids are in high school I guess, but I just don't get it before then.

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:iagree: I find it hard not to see it that way. Also, this board is so anti-co-op in every form that it always surprises me. I know that some people have a great time homeschooling - around the kitchen table, as Tibbie put it. We do some of that, but we do other things too. I don't think either way is necessarily superior.

 

 

I wonder how much of this has to do with how introverted/extroverted the mom is?

 

One of my children is very extroverted and I get about making sacrifices to an extent so she can pursue her extroverted tendencies. But there is a whole lot my family just won't do because I am so introverted and unable to handle all of the groups and social interaction. Maybe that has something to do with it? We have to take into account our own abilities and mental health as well.

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mom2att, I looked you up and we are in the same large city. Thank you for your insight. :) I guess I shouldn't focus on CC alone, but we don't have the other paid-teacher program in our suburban pocket. I know I am not the only one concerned with the issues facing our umbrella program. I think people feel even less connection to the umbrella program out in my county since we are an outlying county to the big city. In fact, we used to have our own umbrella organization, but that died out due to a lack of people willing to lead it soon after I started home schooling.

 

I am choosing to assume that the decision to host another used book sale was an oversight or made out of ignorance. For those who are confused, this book sale isn't a new book sale. It is a place for home schoolers to sell used curriculum.

 

I relate to just about everything Keri J said.

 

I will refrain from sharing my many strong opinions about CC here. There are plenty of posts on this subject on here already. Somebody asked for good and bad exepriences with CC on our local facebook page and NO ONE said anything negative about it. Three directors posted about how much they loved it. I chose to say nothing. I normally just tell people to check out TWTM for differing opinions.

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I think most of the CC'ers at my campus are also members of our local organization, if not state, and it was the same in Northern VA where I was at two different campuses. I used to love to go to multiple local book sales and wouldn't NOT go to one because I had been at one a few weeks before because who know what might be there. We have 2 CC campuses here and they are both full now. If I were to have moved here when they were full I would be really hoping another one would open. If I were to start one myself I would have to advertise aggressively to get enough people to get a campus going. I don't see what is so wrong with that. I don't have any problem with people who don't want to do CC or who did it and it didn't fit for them (though I think some people didn't really know how to make it work for them b/c they weren't shown how or didn't give it enough time). There are a lot of people who leave CC and later realize its benefits and go back, including myself. But I do have a problem when people are so anti-CC. It does not take over your homeschool unless you CHOOSE it to, and people don't choose to do that unless they either feel peer pressure that probably isn't really there, or they genuinely WANT CC to take it over. The beauty of CC over other programs (online or in person) is that CC firmly maintains that the MOM is the teacher and responsible for the education. The Mom can do as little or as much with every assignment and every suggested activity or resource as she wants to. Nothing bad happens if you don't. You don't get kicked out. Leigh Bortins dedicates her life to helping further the movement of classical home educators and I don't think she, or her company for that matter, deserve to be criticized for being money hungry or overly aggressive or detrimental to the homeschooling community at large. In fact, not only is she concerned about homeschooling nationally, but internationally as well, and even went to Germany this year to further the cause of homeschooling there. CC is not some new co-op. It has been around for over 15 years now and Leigh Bortins was one of the early homeschool parents who sat around the kitchen table with her kids. Whether one finds it a good fit for their family or not I think they deserve some gratitude for offering another way to classically home educate and succeeding at it to the point that it is available internationally. If one feels excluded by her Protestant views that is understandable, I suppose, but I personally know a family that left because they didn't want a Catholic tutor in the campus and Leigh Bortins PERSONALLy came to her house and discussed the matter and left the Catholic tutor in her position, and has interviewed several Catholics on her radio show. Catholics are not excluded unless they choose to be, though they may sometimes hear things they disagree with. I don't think one is purposely excluded for not being a Christian, but I'm not 100% sure about that. So, again, I don't think anyone is excluded unless they choose to be....

 

I'm sorry if I sound frustrated in this post. It just pains me to see someone who cares so much about homeschooling moms be attacked......(or her company for that matter). For me, personally, her company has changed my homeschool for the better after 5 years of doing it another way and given me a vision for teaching my large family classically, which very few people seem to be willing or able to attempt.....

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To the original question. CC is definitely shaking things up here. However, I at this point it's not fundamentally changing anything. We still have a thriving park day. I run a co-op that is losing a few people to CC, but there's others to step in. Also, I've always held the co-op with an open hand. If at some point it folds, I'm not going to cry over it. As of this year, we had to turn people away, and I don't have the bandwidth to grow it much bigger than it already is. So in that way CC is providing another venue for people to connect. Frankly, the cost is always going to shut some people out and our co-op is a low cost alternative that doesn't take over life in the same way that CC does. However, in talking with those who have gone before me, nothing ever stays the same in the homeschool community. It's a living breathing organism that is always growing in one direction and pulling back from another. CC may be the catalyst for this change in your particular area right now, but if it wasn't CC, it would be something else. Homeschoolers never stay still for long!

 

This is exactly my experience. Exactly.

 

Even in my area where folks have the money for CC (well, a lot of them do), I don't see it ever being so popular that I couldn't find a few people together to do some group classes. The model just doesn't appeal to everyone here. So many in my area send their kids to high school (the schools are good) that I actually see it as a benefit that may enable some of them homeschooling through high school (the ones who put their children in bc they lack a peer group or the parents are overwhelmed with a spread of kids).

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"Leigh Bortins dedicates her life to helping further the movement of classical home educators and I don't think she, or her company for that matter, deserve to be criticized for being money hungry or overly aggressive or detrimental to the homeschooling community at large."

 

This is what I was afraid of.

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"Leigh Bortins dedicates her life to helping further the movement of classical home educators and I don't think she, or her company for that matter, deserve to be criticized for being money hungry or overly aggressive or detrimental to the homeschooling community at large."

 

This is what I was afraid of.

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Everyone may say what they like. Opinions are not slander. Discussion is good. Free speech is protected by law.

 

If you (generic) disagree with someone else, make your case! Argue. Debate. Be smarter. Present evidence. That's how you counteract statements or opinions which you believe to be false.

 

I think Leigh Bortins is a genius and I have no personal criticism. I notice that the OP did not personally criticize her, either. Re-reading her concluding paragraph in her original post would clear up that wrong perception.

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I'm sorry for sounding critical. My comments were not directed to the OP specifically but just at the general climate of negativity that sometimes comes up about CC. I'm sure SWB lovers are bothered when a climate of criticism comes up regarding her.

 

Honestly, a lot of people join CC for the social aspect. It may offer more in the way of socializing (or with the particular people they want to spend time with) than whatever the local chapter offers. I sometimes am amazed at the number of moms at CC who aren't sold on classical education or really understand what we're doing. They are there because it seemed like the best social academic activity (maybe fills that little voice inside that makes them miss all the social type things in a school setting). But sometimes those moms eventually get sold on the method and encourage other moms. So it could be that it is the best option in terms of having some academic component that doesn't REQUIRE you to teach or help and still allows for relationships to be built as compared to other kinds of co-ops or support groups. That could be part of why it has such a draw. The other reason might be that a lot of moms are curious enough about it from what they've heard or seen that they at least want to try it for one year (especially in a smaller community with few options). Many will decide they either don't want to do it, can't afford to continue it, or want to do it at home or totally disagree with it after the first year. There is often a lot of turn over there and that's ok.

 

I will also say that it is not just CC negativity that prompted me to post, today. It often seems that every time Saxon comes up there are certain people that JUMP on the opportunity to criticize it (and there are other companies or programs that also attract this kind of negativity regularly). I just don't see the need for that or how it is helpful to anyone......

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I'm sorry for sounding critical. My comments were not directed to the OP specifically but just at the general climate of negativity that sometimes comes up about CC. I'm sure SWB lovers are bothered when a climate of criticism comes up regarding her.

 

Honestly, a lot of people join CC for the social aspect. It may offer more in the way of socializing (or with the particular people they want to spend time with) than whatever the local chapter offers. I sometimes am amazed at the number of moms at CC who aren't sold on classical education or really understand what we're doing. They are there because it seemed like the best social academic activity (maybe fills that little voice inside that makes them miss all the social type things in a school setting). But sometimes those moms eventually get sold on the method and encourage other moms. So it could be that it is the best option in terms of having some academic component that doesn't REQUIRE you to teach or help and still allows for relationships to be built as compared to other kinds of co-ops or support groups. That could be part of why it has such a draw. The other reason might be that a lot of moms are curious enough about it from what they've heard or seen that they at least want to try it for one year (especially in a smaller community with few options). Many will decide they either don't want to do it, can't afford to continue it, or want to do it at home or totally disagree with it after the first year. There is often a lot of turn over there and that's ok.

 

I will also say that it is not just CC negativity that prompted me to post, today. It often seems that every time Saxon comes up there are certain people that JUMP on the opportunity to criticize it (and there are other companies or programs that also attract this kind of negativity regularly). I just don't see the need for that or how it is helpful to anyone......

 

We do have our hobbyhorses here! I agree that sometimes our collective negativity toward this or that option can be discouraging. I avoid that, too, when possible. I guess I was seeing this particular thread as more of a philosophical discussion about how CC is changing the hs'ing landscape in our nation; I thought the OP, while obviously frustrated, was trying to be as neutral as possible.

 

I'm sorry if I seemed to be shutting you down while asking you not to shut people down. LOL Not my intent! :)

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We have certainly not had this experience of feeling marginalized - as I said, we live in an urban area where most people are politically liberal. I have to admit that I only know a few families IRL who could be rightfully termed "Christian homeschoolers." However, I know from others that this is very common for secular homeschoolers in other areas to have trouble making any kind of meaningful relationships or friendships because kids are either in school and don't have time for homeschooled kids or are not allowed to play with kids outside their religious group or feel free to say things like, "You're going to ****," to the kids. Obviously, lots of people have issues with CC for lots of reasons, I'm just aware that secular homeschoolers are one group that does so I brought that up.

 

I think if you choose not to participate in mainstream schooling for whatever reason, and yet you cannot find friendships for your children because you're closed out of homeschooling groups, then you naturally feel marginalized. You don't fit in with homeschoolers or with public schoolers. That's just a simple fact. And it discourages some people from homeschooling to find themselves in that position. Some people would say, good, then they shouldn't homeschool if they can't tough it out or whatever. I personally disagree. I think if a parent has the interest and the time to homeschool and the only thing stopping them is a lack of community, then that's unfortunate. I see a lot of people on this board downplay the importance of peer relationships for kids. I believe those relationships are important - they're certainly not as important as some parents allow them to be, but when kids don't have them, I do think that's far from optimal.

 

I do think community is important. I think it's hard to practice one's faith without a faith community, it's hard to improve one's professional practice without a community of colleagues, it's hard to live in a community where neighbors are hostile, it's hard to parent without the support of other parents and family. I do believe it takes a village to do things and to live... not a government, mind you, but a community. And this, for me, comes from the idea that people need people. We're communal beings.

 

This gets at whether one is homeschooling to introduce a child to the world or keep a child insulated. Often it's a little of both, but for me, I see homeschooling as a way to engage in the world. Having a homeschooling community helps me do that - homeschoolers help each other make connections, find educational opportunities, and connect with mentors. Homeschooling to me is not something that happens within the family, but something that happens when we're out in the world as well.

 

Legally speaking, I disagree that co-ops and CC and other groups like them undermine homeschooling rights. There is something to be said for the can-do spirit and the willingness to adapt anything and learn anything of the sort of homeschooling that I've seen Hunter refer to as "oldschooling." But I personally see myself as a teacher and a guide. And part of my job is to shepherd my kids to the best experts and teachers for them, not to try to do it all. I respect that there are different thoughts about what is best though.

 

Still, to me this is a side issue here because having a homeschooling community is beyond the whole idea of "outside classes." There could be no outside classes and I still think homeschool community is important. To me, a homeschooling community is a group that parents can turn to for support, for used book swaps and sales, for setting up field trips that are only available to "school groups," for finding friends, for finding older kids who can babysit, for information about what's going on in the community that might be of interest to homeschoolers.

 

Anyway, I think no community should have one institution, especially not when it's one with such a particular viewpoint like CC. There should be more inclusive groups or there should be a diversity of groups, or, optimally, both.

Love this. Your perspective on "community" resonates....

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What I think it comes down to is that many of us who are currently homeschooling aren't homeschooling to homeschool-we're homeschooling because there's no other alternative that's acceptable. We don't want to necessarily be outside an institutional school, we simply want one that fits our needs. Classical Conversations, for many, is that school. So are the tutorials that offer a couple of days of classes a week and send assignments home for the other three. For my family, such boxes aren't a good fit, but for some they are.

 

I really think my homeschool group is evolving that way, too, although it seems to be evolving more into people WITH degrees in the subject and professional experience teaching the same things they teach for pay elsewhere-but doing an extra session for the kids who's parents want it at some other time. So we have the same class the Shakespeare company does in schools, but done at a church during the afternoon, the same art class done as an after school program offered during the day, and so on. They're not a good fit for my DD, and in many ways, I think, are pushing her OUT of the social stuff because so much of it is "Let's go to the class and then to the park", instead of "Let's go play at the park"-but I can see why it would be very nice for a parent of a highschooler who needs a history credit to have a degreed Lawyer willing to teach Civics and Government.

 

 

Exactly. I am not into CC, but I am tailoring my kids' education by supplementing with exceptional teachers and tutors in certain areas. I don't feel qualified to teach languages at home, or AP High school classes and those things almost seem like they are required these days to get into a good school.

 

Back to OP's question, I haven't seen CC impact the HS community in my area in any noticeable way.

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We have certainly not had this experience of feeling marginalized - as I said, we live in an urban area where most people are politically liberal. I have to admit that I only know a few families IRL who could be rightfully termed "Christian homeschoolers." However, I know from others that this is very common for secular homeschoolers in other areas to have trouble making any kind of meaningful relationships or friendships because kids are either in school and don't have time for homeschooled kids or are not allowed to play with kids outside their religious group or feel free to say things like, "You're going to ****," to the kids. Obviously, lots of people have issues with CC for lots of reasons, I'm just aware that secular homeschoolers are one group that does so I brought that up.

 

I think if you choose not to participate in mainstream schooling for whatever reason, and yet you cannot find friendships for your children because you're closed out of homeschooling groups, then you naturally feel marginalized. You don't fit in with homeschoolers or with public schoolers. That's just a simple fact. And it discourages some people from homeschooling to find themselves in that position. Some people would say, good, then they shouldn't homeschool if they can't tough it out or whatever. I personally disagree. I think if a parent has the interest and the time to homeschool and the only thing stopping them is a lack of community, then that's unfortunate. I see a lot of people on this board downplay the importance of peer relationships for kids. I believe those relationships are important - they're certainly not as important as some parents allow them to be, but when kids don't have them, I do think that's far from optimal.

 

I do think community is important. I think it's hard to practice one's faith without a faith community, it's hard to improve one's professional practice without a community of colleagues, it's hard to live in a community where neighbors are hostile, it's hard to parent without the support of other parents and family. I do believe it takes a village to do things and to live... not a government, mind you, but a community. And this, for me, comes from the idea that people need people. We're communal beings.

 

This gets at whether one is homeschooling to introduce a child to the world or keep a child insulated. Often it's a little of both, but for me, I see homeschooling as a way to engage in the world. Having a homeschooling community helps me do that - homeschoolers help each other make connections, find educational opportunities, and connect with mentors. Homeschooling to me is not something that happens within the family, but something that happens when we're out in the world as well.

 

Legally speaking, I disagree that co-ops and CC and other groups like them undermine homeschooling rights. There is something to be said for the can-do spirit and the willingness to adapt anything and learn anything of the sort of homeschooling that I've seen Hunter refer to as "oldschooling." But I personally see myself as a teacher and a guide. And part of my job is to shepherd my kids to the best experts and teachers for them, not to try to do it all. I respect that there are different thoughts about what is best though.

 

Still, to me this is a side issue here because having a homeschooling community is beyond the whole idea of "outside classes." There could be no outside classes and I still think homeschool community is important. To me, a homeschooling community is a group that parents can turn to for support, for used book swaps and sales, for setting up field trips that are only available to "school groups," for finding friends, for finding older kids who can babysit, for information about what's going on in the community that might be of interest to homeschoolers.

 

Anyway, I think no community should have one institution, especially not when it's one with such a particular viewpoint like CC. There should be more inclusive groups or there should be a diversity of groups, or, optimally, both.

 

I think I should clarify a few pts. First, I do not believe that co-ops/CC type programs undermine homeschooling "rights." Homeschooling is not a "right." I stated that they pushed into a gray area of law. The 2 are not interchangeable. Some states state explicitly that the education is being provided by the parent or guardian. I am concerned about homeschooling legalities specifically b/c with the exception of OK (I believe it is the only state, though I might be wrong about that) homeschooling is not a right but legal as defined by the law.

 

And, again, secular homeschoolers are not the only ones to fall into the category of "not being included" (and I think stating it as marginalized is over-stating.) Goodness, try being a Catholic in the middle of the the bible belt in a community full of 7th Day Adventists with a war between all of them and the secularists. ;)

 

FWIW, my post was not meant to pit on group against the other. However, 99% of new homeschoolers that I meet do NOT believe that they are capable of teaching their own children. They believe they need a co-op, even for primary and elementary subjects. That is concerning to me. When homeschoolers in general accept the arguments as "the norm" that are used to want to limit homeschooling freedoms, yep, that does marginalize the truth that parents do not need to be experts in order to successfully educate their children. FWIW, I am in no way, shape, or form suggesting that outsourcing is wrong. Seeking professional help is good parenting and good teaching.

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We lived in our area 5 years ago, moved away, came back. Many groups and low key enrichment groups are gone now, and replaced by cc and expensive co ops with academic offerings. Rare is the home schooler (except unschoolers, which we aren't) who is not a part of one or more of these groups.

 

Personally, I am annoyed the classical moniker has been co-opted by the religious (and a narrow brand at that) group such as cc. I still can't figure out why the program must be religious at all, never mind so narrowly defined. So I have a personal beef with cc, be warned.

 

I am looking for a group that is a support group, not a co op offering academics, and it seems unless you unschool, they no longer exist. It's very disheartening. We outsource- Ds takes classes at the high school, online courses, has a foreign language tutor. I'm not against that. But I am annoyed that home school groups- without classes, methods and curricula- seem to be a thing of the past around here. I know, things change, market forces, yada yada, but this how I feel.

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