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Does anyone else think Classical Conversations is neither?


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I was sorely tempted to join a CC which was new to our area last year. The main draw for me was the quality of women running it. In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't join because for umpteen reasons, which I can see now, I don't think CC would have been a good fit for us. I've enjoyed reading the pros and cons in this thread though and appreciate the openness of the op. 

 

Literary Mom, I visited your blog and just wanted to say as a fellow INFJ, I'm surprised you lasted in CC as long as you did. :-)

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Because of her integrity and ability to articulate so well, I believe she could tactfully give feedback on the pros and cons of CC, or at least on how compatible it is with the Well Trained Mind approach to classical education, much like the articles comparing/contrasting with Charlotte Mason which are on the WTM website.

I think she could as well, but she probably won't/shouldn't. However, if you put together her writings here and there, you can get a basic idea of what her opinion would be, even though it would be fun sometimes to get direct statements from her on the forums (like when I posted a ? about Beechick vs. Bauer on grammar).

 

Like in one of her articles from her article index, she mentions both concerns you did with history: grouping history topics geographically instead of strictly chronologically, and using the 3-year vs. her preferred 4-year sequence. I can try to find the link if you want. Then in TWTM, as well as in one of her articles I think, she mentions her disregard for memorizing out of context. So she has said it, just not directly naming CC or anyone else who likes other ways of doing "classical Ed."

 

I don't use CC, but once in talking to a pastor's wife who hosts it at her church, I tentatively asked about the memorizing-out-of-context concern, and literally got a brush-off--with a hand-wave. I was kind of annoyed that my question wasn't taken more seriously since I was thinking of buying the guide and cards and trying to do it myself (since I'm in Africa). I decided it wasn't for me, but obviously some people are all about it!

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Because of her integrity and ability to articulate so well, I believe she could tactfully give feedback on the pros and cons of CC, or at least on how compatible it is with the Well Trained Mind approach to classical education, much like the articles comparing/contrasting with Charlotte Mason which are on the WTM website.

Sorry, dp.

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I wish she'd comment, too, but can understand that she might not want to. A CC director (not our local one) who I spoke with was quite open about her disdain for WTM and SOTW. Her main complaint about WTM was that it was "too long. Most moms can't get through a book that thick." (I kid you not.) Her secondary complaint was that with WTM "the child has to do history in order" but that with CC they could just jump in wherever. I wanted to tell her that if she had managed to get to the end of the very long WTM, she would have seen that it too allows a child to jump in wherever in the history cycle. :001_rolleyes:

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We are in our 8th year of CC; ds did 6 years of Foundations and is currently in Ch. B; dd is on her 5th year of Foundations.  They have 4 and 3 Memory Master awards, respectively.  I have quite a bit of experience with the program over an extended period of time and I wanted to address some of your points (in blue below):

 

This is our first year, and now as we reach the halfway point, I've decided we will not be returning in January. I'm not saying it has no value, but I have concluded that it is neither classical nor a conversation, at least at the Foundations and Essentials levels.

 

I think it as classical as most of the other modern interpretations of Classical Education are, and they are all really just that--modern interpretations of what we think was done over the centuries.  All of the neo-Classical curriculum that I'm familiar have at least one thing in common: they all interpret and implement the Trivium in some way. Some regard these "three roads", grammar, logic and rhetoric, as subjects (such as LCC), some as stages (such as WTM) and some as skills.  CC is part of the last group interpreting and implementing these three Liberal Arts as skills to be mastered with Foundations primarily focusing on the skill of memorizing the grammar of many subjects. Logic and rhetoric skills are practiced much more extensively in the Challenge program with many conversations, discussions, debates, etc.

 

I found this blog post which sums up a lot of what I've been struggling with, so I shared it on my Facebook page, and someone gave a partial rebuttal in the comments, to which I responded this (which kind of nutshells my issues with it):

 

I beg to differ about Essentials - I started out as a tutor and quit after three weeks because it was so counterintuitive to my literary/writerly self! Both programs (EEL & IEW) were created and/or implemented by technically minded (rather than language oriented) people - an engineer (Leigh Bortins) and Suzuki violin teacher (Andrew Pudewa). I was tearing my hair out trying to wrap my brain around their systems, formulas, overinflated (particularly EEL) approaches to grammar and writing.

 

We are actually Essentials drop outs, because we prefer Rod & Staff English over Essentials grammar, but some of us who are technically minded appreciate having language curriculum such as Essentials and IEW that speaks our language.  To some of us STEM people some of the language curriculum written by and for language people out there makes no sense to us or just doesn't break it down enough for us to get it. When I was in school a lot of Language Arts seemed very vague and subjective, not to mention useless.  Curricula such as these programs have really helped me understand things that didn't make sense when I was in school.  I'm glad my dc have had the opportunity to be taught differently.

 

The end all be all to classical education is not memorization! I actually am beginning to think that CC gives classical education a bad name, because of what it's reduced it to. I wish Susan Wise Bauer would weigh in on what she thinks of CC. Context and memorization go hand in hand. They do not need to be divorced from each other. And I think that those who try to marry them by doing CC and then basing their curriculum on it at home are going to have big gaps in history and disjointed approaches to the other subjects.

 

For some students context is absolutely necessary, but for others it is distinctly unnecessary and sometimes even detrimental.  This is a quote from a post I made a while back in another thread:

 

Based on my observations it seems like a lot of people can be described as either whole-to-parts learners or parts-to-whole learners, and the two styles often cannot relate to how the other style learns.

The whole-to-parts learners are the "big picture" people; they need to see the big picture of where they're going in order to have a place in their memory to put what they are learning. These are often the people who see CC as a random collection of disjointed facts that have no point. CC often doesn't work well for them unless the mom is able to provide the big picture. These are the ones who, if they are able use CC at all, are using it as their spine and providing the necessary context at home.

On the other hand the parts-to-whole learners are often overwhelmed if they are given the big picture first, but they can take the little bits of information that seem random to the whole-to-parts learners and over time assemble them into the big picture. These learners are often the ones that can just do CC as a memory work supplement while completing other curricula that may or may not tie in directly. For these learners the pegs that CC creates really help them build the framework in their minds for the rest of the information they will need to store.

 

The rest of the post might be here (if I did this right):

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/440535-do-you-believe-in-the-classical-education-idea-of-pegs/?p=4493260

 

As for Challenge, my 11 year-old is already ahead of where she would begin in A with literature, history, latin, and logic. Not to mention that we would have to dump the Well Trained Mind history and science cycles to do Challenge, since they are not at all followed, which to me means that it's not actually classical.

 

Well, history and science cycles don't really define classical education; many interpretations don't follow the 4 year cycles of the WTM (MFW and VP, for example). We adapted our history and science cycles down to the 3 year cycle used by CC and each child will complete 2 full cycles during their elementary years.

 

I won't even go into the mistakes in the curriculum

 

I completely agree with you on this point.  They are on edition 4 of the Foundations Guide.  You'd think by now they'd have hired a good editor to go over at least the memory work portion with a fine tooth comb. By the 4th ed. it ought to be pretty d____ near perfect.  I mean it's not rocket science! Although they corrected many mistakes from the 3rd ed. they also introduced new mistakes.  :huh:

 

or how there is never any "time" to discuss context in class or

 

Like I said above, context isn't necessary for everyone, but parents can and should provide it at home if it is needed by their dc.

 

creative ideas to approaching the memorization.

 

This is definitely tutor dependent, and some are certainly better than others, but I've certainly seen many creative ideas used over the years including mnemonics, music, games, illustrations, stories and more.

 

I also dislike how they drill classical Latin pronunciation - we have been using Memoria Press Latin which uses an ecclesiastical pronunciation, so that is confusing for my kids, as they are forced to say it differently in class than at home (and for my son, who hasn't started Latin yet, will have to unlearn it).

 

We switched early on from Prima Latina to Latin For Children which has both classical and ecclesiastical pronunciation for this reason.

 

(I also had blogged this after our first month).

 

Has anyone else thought of the Emperor's New Clothes when it comes to CC as classical education?  Editing to say that what I mean is that is it possible that its value has been exaggerated, while its flaws have been overlooked? (see further replies from me in this thread for elaboration)

 

There are no doubt some in the CC that have "drunk the kool-aid" so to speak and think that just because it's really great for them it must be really great for everyone.  I can assure you that I'm not one of them; we are Essentials drop outs and will probably not be continuing with the Challenge program after this year. I've been around long enough to have seen the good, the bad and the ugly in this program, but like most other curriculum and programs on the market it's a solid program with clear benefits for many families, but not the right choice for everyone.  If it's not working for you, drop out, move on, find something that does work for you and don't feel guilty about it. 

 

 

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T'smom, the truth of the matter is that those people who are providing context are not doing a separate curriculum.

This. This is what I asked everyone because it did seem like a LOT, but everyone assured me that it was no big deal, that lots of people did their own curriculum while doing CC. And lots of people do a 4 day school week, so I went with it. But this is exactly what I wish someone had told me. You do not have time to flesh out CC and do your own history/science stuff. Or you can, but then you won't have time for field trips and art classes and swim lessons.

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I was sorely tempted to join a CC which was new to our area last year. The main draw for me was the quality of women running it. In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't join because for umpteen reasons, which I can see now, I don't think CC would have been a good fit for us. I've enjoyed reading the pros and cons in this thread though and appreciate the openness of the op. 

 

Literary Mom, I visited your blog and just wanted to say as a fellow INFJ, I'm surprised you lasted in CC as long as you did. :-)

  

 

This is interesting. I am an INFP, I wonder how that has effected my experience.

 

I wish she'd comment, too, but can understand that she might not want to. A CC director (not our local one) who I spoke with was quite open about her disdain for WTM and SOTW. Her main complaint about WTM was that it was "too long. Most moms can't get through a book that thick." (I kid you not.) Her secondary complaint was that with WTM "the child has to do history in order" but that with CC they could just jump in wherever. I wanted to tell her that if she had managed to get to the end of the very long WTM, she would see that it too allows a child to jump in wherever in the history cycle. :001_rolleyes:

This is also interesting. At the info meeting I went to, everyone sang praises about WTM and SOTW. They even had copies of SOTW as a recommended resource to go along with CC. 90% of the moms there said they read WTM and wanted to follow it or were inspired by it or something and the other 10% had never heard of it, but probably went out and bought it after the meeting!

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Literary Mom, I am a CC drop-out and was very interested to read your comments about CC. I find it fascinating that it is so difficult to find negative reviews about this program. Probably because I am the only one who disliked it. ;-).

 

I have read the entire thread and wanted to share my thoughts. My 6 and 8 year-old were in Foundations last year. I realize that CC is only as good as your tutors and directors, but I wanted to post my thoughts.

 

Most of the families in our huge Metropolitan group loved our CC. I was the black sheep. I expected to love CC. My kids enjoyed the classes, hated the memory work. They had no interest in becoming memory masters. CC to me was like going to the dentist.

 

1. The science experiments are rushed and and seemed a joke. I have a science degree and was really disappointed. I think they are pretty useless unless you are a 4 year-old. CC does not allot enough time for science so expect this just to be playtime for your kids.

 

2. The art and music was also rushed and incredible basic (read boring) and I felt it was just filler to keep the young ones busy. My kids were bored to death. I think it might be worse than public school arts. And that tin whistle... I am still haunted by the sound of that thing.

 

3. Creatively is not only stifled but not present at all except in the presentations (basically kindergarten show-and-tell). Like public schools, kids are grouped by ages and tutors lecture. There is no room for discussion or insightful questions. Children are there to memorize.

 

4. Memorization without content. Oh, those dreaded random history sentences! From my understanding of classical education, you should discuss and memorize. So many parents told me this was their science/history curriculum for the year. I find that shocking since I know how much my young boys love to study science and history, and memorizing a timeline and random science/history facts was boring for my kids.

 

I personally find it insulting that the Grammar stage in CC insists kids are too young to discuss and should just memorize facts. My 6-year old isn't reading yet and is a "normal" average kid but is fascinated with black holes and has discussed Newton vs Einstein theories on gravity with my older son and husband! My son is not some genius, but a normal kid who loves to learn and ask questions.

 

There was so much pressure for kids to become "memory masters". I felt my boys were being treated like trained seals.

 

5. CC is expensive for a co-op. Your child's experience is only as good as his trained parent-tutor. We had one excellent tutor and one horrible tutor.

 

6. CC Foundations does not teach your younger kids math, reading, science, history, handwriting, etc. You must use your own curriculum to teach the basics. CC is like taking an elective. It can be very beneficial for many families, but you are paying a lot of money for 3 rushed hours of memory work/week.

 

7. Sitting in the classes as an adult was really boring for me. You can't really talk to the other parents so you have to listen to the tutor or bring a book/tablet.

 

So to sum it up, after doing CC for a year, we are now doing a project-based/some unschooling/some classical curriculum homeschooling. I use that one day a week to visit a park or take a field trip letting the boys learn via real-life experiences and fresh air. This works so much better for our family.

 

It think CC is a big money-making venture (not a bad thing, I love capitalism) that appeals to many families. My sister has two kids in Foundations/Essentials and is a tutor and LOVES it. However, if you are a homeschooling parent who values creativity and free-range and project-based learning, CC might be a frustrating waste of time and money. I said "might".

 

I feel I must note once again my opinion does not appear popular or statistically common so read this with a grain of salt. My own sister is a CC-addict and her kids are thriving! We agreed to disagree about CC and are still best friends. :-)

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Well, I thought I would chime in on my experience so far.  This is my first year after having debated joining a community for the past 3 years.  I finally did it!  LOL.  I have friends in different places that LOVE CC and can't imagine schooling without it.  They all have young kids ages 5 and under.  I am fairly indifferent.  Glad I finally tried it.

 

 To me CC has been a fun enrichment/supplement.  My kids LOVE the history timeline and history sentences.  I try to keep up with that part of the memory work.  The rest of it.....meh.  We don't get to Latin or math skip counting or even do the grammar part.  They learn what they can in class.  My older 2 (8yo and 10yo) have a different experience based on tutor than my younger 6 yo.  I am glad my 4yo is not in it, though he like singing the timeline song with us at home.  I hate the science experiments and art was boring and disappointing.  The tin whistle---not sure what they are learning there.  Nothing you can't teach in 1-2 piano lessons.  The geography I like because we don't get that done at home otherwise!

 

I have enjoyed getting to know other moms which has been hard to do being relatively new to the area.  I like the presentations the kids do in class.  I don't like how rushed class is moving so fast from topic to topic that you don't even have time to take it in.  

 

Things in science and history have at times come up in what we are studying at home and the kids get excited at the connection.

 

Overall, I am not sure if we will do it again next year.  Mainly based on price.  The kids enjoy it enough where I may want them to experience it again, but it really depends on if we have the money or not (for 4 kids then!).  It really doesn't  seem like something to be overly debated.  Just like Saxon vs Singapore, some parents love one and it works for them and the other is of no interest.  CC is for some but not for others.  Those that swear by CC--well, some how they have made it work for them.  I don't see how you can fully study history without rushing through it from week to week.  I definitely see how the tutor can make the class experience a good one or not so good.  Memory work-wise, I can see buying the CDs and then being able to just do it at home.  It is expensive for just getting to know people; I realize that....but we like that aspect with the bonus of some school work getting done.

 

Anyways, I think it definitely has a classical flare.  The conversation part--I understand what you mean!  The tutor really has to stay on task and it feels so rushed.  I can see it being used well for younger years 6 and under (?) where you can just review and focus on memory work during the week, adding in things here and there.  Fun memory songs (except for the grammar which the tunes drive the whole family crazy!!)  But with older kids (still in Foundations) we have to use another history and science curriculum during the week.  I would go crazy trying to stick with CC's schedule.  I wish I could use their Latin more...  That has been a waste.

 

Just a long ramble.  I am allowing myself to not be disappointed because there are enough positives--but overall, I'd like to see the program do a huge revamp taking in parents' criticisms and working with that.  It has great potential to be an excellent program.  What I see it as now is a great enrichment to the normal education I am providing.  That may be an overstatement.  I think for all my friends with younger ones doing it--I think they love it because it gives them confidence and hand holding.  

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This is our fourth year with CC. My son is 7, so our experience is limited to the Foundations program.

 

To answer your question, yes, CC has been both classical and a conversation for us. Other posters have given this a good going over, so I won't repeat our similar experiences or knowledge of classical education. I will share, however, that seeing the value of CC required persisting through the first semester snark phase, and coming to some pride stripping realizations about my treasured education.

 

The first semester snark phase -- I engaged in heavy generalization. Our tutor's slight mistakes set off the academic police siren in my head. My esteem for the program hinged on the correct pronunciation of Dvorak.

 

Second semester humility -- the formerly generalized denim jumpered woman with 14 children saw something beautiful in my son I was blind to. (That I didn't at once appreciate the parenting wisdom of a woman with 14 children is one of my less than intelligent moments). I confidently explained atmospheric pressure to my son, which my husband later informed me was entirely inaccurate. Thankfully, my graduate degree and the respect of my violin students doesn't hinge upon my ability to pronounce Betelgeuse.

 

And this is where the value of CC became apparent to me. It isn't about a mass of knowledge... It's about parents humbling themselves so that they might take on the awe of a new thing in tandem with their child. CC has presented me with an abyss of what I don't know, quite frankly. I can walk outside tonight and take in the Leonids meteor shower. But I have to know it exists first, and I love that CC has done that for us.

 

It may not be the program for you. But if it isn't, that doesn't mean it is without merit or "unhealthy." That seems like a hasty assessment in search of a desired outcome.

 

Peace,

Stella

 

Hi Stella! I love this!! But I always love what you have to say. Great to see you here!

 

I have been in CC more than 10 years now, and felt the same way my first year. I almost didn't come back after the break that first year. I almost quit at the end of the year.

 

It's not for everyone, but I am glad we stayed with it.

 

I have heard a lot of people be critical of CC very openly both within and outside of CC about issues with CC.

 

To answer the OP's question - there are different opinions what what makes an education classical. The classical approach that CC uses is a valid classical approach. It's not the only one, but it is classical.

The conversations aren't in the Foundations classroom. It's about engaging in "The Great Conversation" and not about what they do on a single day. And CC started with Challenge first. Challenge is very conversational.

I do find it to be both.

 

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I have dear friends who are enthusiastic CC tutors, but I here I am (see above list): 15.) You like The Well-Trained Mind better than The Core. and

 16.) You lean a little more Charlotte Mason. 

 

- these just do not co-exist well with CC, and I could see that clearly going to open houses, reading through their material, and talking to tutors.  I do wish a bit more respectful but critical discussion was out there for homeschoolers looking at CC for the first time. I know in areas like mine, it can seem like if you are not an unschooler, little other option for a community of like minded home educators exists. In my case it was better to see what I could start up on my own than to put huge amounts of money toward something that didn't really support my educational philosophy.

 

 

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This is interesting. I am an INFP, I wonder how that has effected my experience.

 

 

This is also interesting. At the info meeting I went to, everyone sang praises about WTM and SOTW. They even had copies of SOTW as a recommended resource to go along with CC. 90% of the moms there said they read WTM and wanted to follow it or were inspired by it or something and the other 10% had never heard of it, but probably went out and bought it after the meeting!

 

Thanks for telling your experience. I was wondering if my experience was a common one. I thought it might be unusual considering CC had WTM in their catalog at the time.

 

I have a teenage dd who's INFP. Perfectly delightful in every way. :-)

 

 

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This is interesting. I am an INFP, I wonder how that has effected my experience.

 

I'm an INFP too! I tease my CC friends that I don't work and play well w/ others, so we didn't do CC.

 

There is truth in that, but we could never afford the money or time needed to be in CC. I did purchase some CC materials and used them at home, but we were never part of a community.

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I've really appreciated the dialogue here and wish I had time to respond to every post, but since I don't, I just want to add a few things in reply to some of what has been said.

 

First of all, thanks to my fellow INFJs for your empathy (INFPs too!) and for reading my blog :)

 

Next, and this is actually crucial to this whole discussion, the thing that really triggered my concern over CC was in the first few weeks, when my 8 year-old daughter told me that every time she tried to share something she knew about the memory work (mind you, not as the result of me providing context, but just from her own mind and our previous study, her reading, etc.), she was told there wasn't time for that. She loves to interact with other kids and the one chance she had to express herself (and in turn, generate thought and conversation amongst her peers) was squelched…because we are here to "memorize" together, not actually to savor knowledge, but merely to digest it…which leads me to an imperfect analogy, but I love food/cooking, so I'm going to use it anyway: 

 

Come to this grand feast - well, okay, Costco samples mostly, but there is such variety. Now have a seat, look at all these glorious morsels of food, pick up your fork…and wait, let's put that in the blender, so you don't need to chew it or taste each flavor/ingredient. The most important thing is that we learn the names of each thing and that our bodies are nourished. So sing their names with me, and do these hand motions as you drink each course down, swallowing it as quickly as you can. That means no questions, no comments, just chant along with me. You may take the leftovers home and do whatever you want with them - eat them or try to figure out the recipes - there are lots of cookbooks out there, but the main thing is that you get that food inside you and remember the names, so that we can do this all over again next week with different samples…then, when you're older, and you're grocery shopping, you'll remember exactly what to buy!  What?  You won't know which foods go with which flavors…hmm...

 

My daughter was also discouraged from sharing her own mnemonic devices in class, even if it was just rearranging three initials so that they made a word to make an easier to remember acronym. It was suggested that I email her ideas a week or two in advance of class, so the tutor could add them to her lesson plan if she wanted to. As if we were going to work ahead and as if she would get that spontaneous burst of creativity outside that setting!  It was heartbreaking for me to watch her try to connect and be shut down…and then for me to have to encourage her into compliance in order to keep her from continually being put in that position. And she wasn't the only one it happened to. The other moms in the class, though, didn't seem to feel the way I did about their kids not being allowed to have the freedom to interact.

 

I know that whenever I am rationalizing something, it's a bad sign - it reminds me of when my oldest was a first grader in public school and it took her asking me to homeschool her for me to finally come out of denial (I am so thankful God used her to lead us on this path).

 

Well, I've been on a yo-yo all semester, waffling between rationalizations and the urge to quit. Granted, it was complicated by the fact (which many have pointed out in this thread) that not all CC classes are equal. I really do think my oldest has had a good experience, but that's because context, creativity, and interaction were all encouraged, and because she already had the background/knowledge to go with the memory work. Plus, she loves to memorize facts. In my youngest's class, he wasn't stifled either, but that was because most of the memory work was new for him…so instead, I struggled with him not getting the context, and with behavioral issues of the other 6 & 7 yr-old boys, who want everything to be funny and/or physical (my son is more calm than most, but he is influenced by others). My 8 yr-old, despite not being able to express herself, enjoyed the singing and hand motions and review games. All three kids love the timeline song. But all of that doesn't compensate for what I see lacking and even potentially damaging in the bigger picture. Therefore, let us eat the feast...

 

 

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I was sorely tempted to join a CC which was new to our area last year. The main draw for me was the quality of women running it. In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't join because for umpteen reasons, which I can see now, I don't think CC would have been a good fit for us. I've enjoyed reading the pros and cons in this thread though and appreciate the openness of the op. 

 

Literary Mom, I visited your blog and just wanted to say as a fellow INFJ, I'm surprised you lasted in CC as long as you did. :-)

SIdetrackng a little...THis interested me...because my dd is an ENFJ and she didn't want to re-join AWANA this year.  I could not believe it as, in our old state, it used to be her favorite thing.  She said, "My friends aren't there, the games aren't as fun and I already know that if I want to, I can win by thousands of points since I did that last year." So I would rather be home with my family...I didn't consider that there are personality issues that go into being heavily involved in a structured program, even for Feelers.....

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To the post directly above me - The last comment about why anyone does this is a little demeaning. I am an INFJ/INTJ (my T/F are so close) and I work just fine in CC. I dont play well with others and prefer to be home. That said, we dont do the memory work - we do what we want during the week and if the CC items work with us, then great. After all, I am the parent and I am the one in charge. CC isnt in charge of me or my family. Our middle child love his Challenge 1 class and am very please with his past 2 Challenge tutors. I tutor Challenge A and the insinuation that we are "just moms" and do not really know what we tutor is wrong. The men and women I tutor with know their material. We have taken Latin classes all summer and continue to study throughout the year. We have read, written, studied to be able to competently cover our subjects. We go above and beyond, quite often at our own expense, to give extra experiences to our students - sharks to dissect are not cheap. Each campus is unique. We may be a "rebel" campus - or we may just be friendly. What we do not do is look down our noses at those that choose to school differently than us.

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27 Reasons NOT to join Classical Conversations:

1.) You are required to stay and observe the class if you are not tutoring. You think you’ll be bringing newspapers or a novel to read by the end of the year. Maybe you’ll even brazenly start clipping coupons, because it only takes one other mom to pass out crayons.

 

2.) You like your history in four or six year cycles and can’t imagine reducing it to three.

 

3.) You like teaching your children their memory work in context.

 

4.) You don’t need to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars (depending on family size) for the benefit of a home school community.

 

5.) You don’t want to choose between “fleshing out the material at home†and teaching memory work out of context.

 

6.) You like other classical latin programs that use song for teaching your little ones latin memory work much better than what CC offers - and you can wait until they are ready for it.

 

7.) You think it is silly to compare the cost of trained music teachers to tutors when there is very little training of one compared to the other.

 

8.) You don’t appreciate the strong sales pitches made to join CC at every turn. (*This may be most relevant to you - as you will feel a need to grow your community/business*)

 

9.) You understand that while all that is required is the tin whistle and the Foundations guide, to really succeed you need to buy a memory work CD, a CC Connected subscription, pictorial timeline cards, and some cute memory cards on a keychain.

 

10.) Opportunity cost: you value your time and money. You can buy a lot of books and can afford an online latin class for the cost of CC. You can join a co-op that better meets your specific areas of weakness.

 

11.) You realize that if you purchase curriculum from classical publishers, they have memory work built into their programs. CC grammar memory and math songs would be redundant.  

 

12.) You think CC corporate is extremely quirky about their position on copyright. So how many times do you have to purchase their material anyway?

 

13.) You don’t think CC is the only way to provide a Classical Christian education.

 

14.) You realize CC corporate exists to serve classical homeschoolers who are members of their communities.

 

15.) You like The Well-Trained Mind better than The Core.

 

16.) You lean a little more Charlotte Mason.

 

17.) You feel like CC Connected is unfairly benefitting from the hard work of its valuable paid members, because the members supply tons of content and to your knowledge receive no monetary reimbursement for their time and effort (CC owns the material and the forum).

 

18.) You think it is crazy to mandate 4 year-old siblings to register for the program instead of playing in the preschool room. But then again you are paying an extra cost for babysitting your little ones - not a preschool program.

 

19.) You would have trouble abiding by the following: Thou shalt not say anything critical of or negative about your personal CC experience and why it wasn’t a good fit for your family.

 

20.) Not all tutors are equal.

 

21.) You may not like the emphasis on earning Memory Master status, especially if your child has learning challenges.

 

22.) There is no 100% satisfaction guarantee. All money is paid up front.

 

23.) You don’t need someone to model memory work. It just isn’t that tough.

 

24.) Youtube is free.

 

25.) Twenty-four weeks of six subjects of memory work is a very long time and a whole lot of unrelated information. In fact, it is too fast and too much for your personal taste. Can we memorize a poem or a hymn now (see #16)?

 

26.) You don’t see how it is possible to really teach quality art, science, and music in the time allotted if the parents aren’t asked to supplement with context at home and the paid tutors may or may not know what they are talking about. (See #7 and #20)

 

27.) You don’t think the community at CC is somehow academically superior to other groups serving the elementary ages and recognize that people use many different philosophies and methodologies for their child’s education - and God uses them too.

I so appreciate this thread. I literally have NO homeschooling friends here who are NOT in CC.  I woudl KILL for the community that all of my friends enjoy in CC.  But I really, really, REALLY dislike the model of CC.  It stinks, since I feel quite marginalized in our local homeschool community because not only do I not do CC, I don't actually like it.  I tried to like it!  We visited, I spent an entire day in a class, and walked away with many of the above thoughts (but especially the ones I bolded and most especially #16).  Anyway, just know that you're not alone. 

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I've read this with interest to see people's viewpoints. I think I've shared some of those views at one point or another. In fact, I was not even tempted to join CC after our open house; it just didn't wow me. But my kids (they were 4yo at the time) on the other hand? It was all they could talk about; they loved it. The history sentence that day was about the boston tea party; they then saw a boston tea party movie in the library (our intro to Liberty Kids), and acted out the tea party at the playground.... So I signed them up. We are now in our 5th year of CC; each year I am tempted to stop so we have more time to do school at home. The day away is hard. Howver, each year, I am reminded of how much the kids get out of it and that what I would do at home for that day would not have that same 'boom'/benefit. The books we read, the places we visit, museums, field trips etc are all enhanced by their memory work. Those pegs are little light bulbs. They see or read something and they remember hearing it before. It gets them excited to learn more, read more, listen more, explore more. The Latin, grammar and math come in handy regularly with our own schoolwork and makes what we do at home much easier. And we do not ever even try to match up what we learn at home with the CC schedule. It is purely a supplement for us. Their ability to memorize huge amounts of information floors me; memory masters for the past three years, and tackling new poems, or as they did recently, studying for a marine ecology competition, is just so much easier. They are around other kids who enjoy learning and the review games enhance the fun of learning and competition. I like the focus our group has on expecting the kids to learn the material. My active boys have learned to sit quietly and still for their tutors out of respect; I do not feel they are being squelched or deprived. (And they are the type to 'share' their knowledge on things in any other settings). The tutors are all on a tight schedule and if every child shared something they knew about the info or how they did it, we'd never get through our material. We came from a more more loose/fun/noisier CC where there were lots of discussions and disruptions/sharing. And there was no true expectation of memorizing for the young ones. I always imagined my kids would miss it because the new one (we had moved) was very much sit still and listen (with very gentle and sweet tutors). Well, they raved about how much better they liked the new one because they could learn so much better with less distractions. I think 'I' preferred the old one more because it seemed more fun and kid friendly, but that was me projecting my feelings on it. I've come to love the gentleness and respect at this cc. Their friendships grow each year; the first year is just meeting everyone and yes, some friendships start. I wouldn't call it overwhelming. But they really continue to grow with each year as they become more familiar with each other. We now stay for a couple hours afterwards while the kids play. And good friendships have formed. So while I know I'll debate dropping CC next year to get another day at home, I probably won't because I could never duplicate the lasting value of that time. I've seen how much they get out of those pegs. And the fact that giving presentations in front of the class is their favorite part? Another bonus! (I really have never enjoyed speaking in front of a crowd, no matter what the size).

 

Anyway, that's been our experience in a nutshell.

 

 

I've really appreciated the dialogue here and wish I had time to respond to every post, but since I don't, I just want to add a few things in reply to some of what has been said.

 

First of all, thanks to my fellow INFJs for your empathy (INFPs too!) and for reading my blog :)

 

Next, and this is actually crucial to this whole discussion, the thing that really triggered my concern over CC was in the first few weeks, when my 8 year-old daughter told me that every time she tried to share something she knew about the memory work (mind you, not as the result of me providing context, but just from her own mind and our previous study, her reading, etc.), she was told there wasn't time for that. She loves to interact with other kids and the one chance she had to express herself (and in turn, generate thought and conversation amongst her peers) was squelched…because we are here to "memorize" together, not actually to savor knowledge, but merely to digest it…which leads me to an imperfect analogy, but I love food/cooking, so I'm going to use it anyway:

 

Come to this grand feast - well, okay, Costco samples mostly, but there is such variety. Now have a seat, look at all these glorious morsels of food, pick up your fork…and wait, let's put that in the blender, so you don't need to chew it or taste each flavor/ingredient. The most important thing is that we learn the names of each thing and that our bodies are nourished. So sing their names with me, and do these hand motions as you drink each course down, swallowing it as quickly as you can. That means no questions, no comments, just chant along with me. You may take the leftovers home and do whatever you want with them - eat them or try to figure out the recipes - there are lots of cookbooks out there, but the main thing is that you get that food inside you and remember the names, so that we can do this all over again next week with different samples…then, when you're older, and you're grocery shopping, you'll remember exactly what to buy! What? You won't know which foods go with which flavors…hmm...

 

My daughter was also discouraged from sharing her own mnemonic devices in class, even if it was just rearranging three initials so that they made a word to make an easier to remember acronym. It was suggested that I email her ideas a week or two in advance of class, so the tutor could add them to her lesson plan if she wanted to. As if we were going to work ahead and as if she would get that spontaneous burst of creativity outside that setting! It was heartbreaking for me to watch her try to connect and be shut down…and then for me to have to encourage her into compliance in order to keep her from continually being put in that position. And she wasn't the only one it happened to. The other moms in the class, though, didn't seem to feel the way I did about their kids not being allowed to have the freedom to interact.

 

I know that whenever I am rationalizing something, it's a bad sign - it reminds me of when my oldest was a first grader in public school and it took her asking me to homeschool her for me to finally come out of denial (I am so thankful God used her to lead us on this path).

 

Well, I've been on a yo-yo all semester, waffling between rationalizations and the urge to quit. Granted, it was complicated by the fact (which many have pointed out in this thread) that not all CC classes are equal. I really do think my oldest has had a good experience, but that's because context, creativity, and interaction were all encouraged, and because she already had the background/knowledge to go with the memory work. Plus, she loves to memorize facts. In my youngest's class, he wasn't stifled either, but that was because most of the memory work was new for him…so instead, I struggled with him not getting the context, and with behavioral issues of the other 6 & 7 yr-old boys, who want everything to be funny and/or physical (my son is more calm than most, but he is influenced by others). My 8 yr-old, despite not being able to express herself, enjoyed the singing and hand motions and review games. All three kids love the timeline song. But all of that doesn't compensate for what I see lacking and even potentially damaging in the bigger picture. Therefore, let us eat the feast...

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And just because something "works" for one's family (it's "working" for all three of my kids) doesn't mean it's objectively valuable, though again, I'm not saying it imparts no value. I would really like to hear from the families who did CC - a full cycle (or three) of Foundations - and how at the dialectic and rhetoric stages, they reaped the fruits of that labor of memorization. I am skeptical that all that time spent on memory work in every subject - divorced from context - is that much of a boon.

  this is our 3rd year. My kids are 5 & 11. The first year I hated foundations. The reasons I continued were my older boy wanted to continue and I loved our Essentials teacher. I have seen it be very beneficial for my 5 yo. He ties things from his memory work or timeline all. The. Time. Reading a book about Columbus and it says he left from Portugal. He lights up because he's heard of it and walks over to the map and I show him where it is. He now knows on his own.

. Another thing they assured me of was that I could pick and choose what to work on from CC, that it didn't need to dominate my schedule and I would have plenty of time to do all the other stuff I had planned. But we have to spend tons of time on it because they play these review games that put the kids on the spot to know everything (6yos). And everything needs context and explanation. So, in addition to taking up a day, it eats significantly into our time on the other days. (I don't want to make my 6yo spend hours every day on school and really, our time needs to be focused on reading and math.

Nt everything is bad. I've met some cool moms, the history timeline is great, sometimes there is a project that is done better than I could at home. But overall, it's not worth for us, and I went to the open house and attempted to do due diligence beforehand.

 

The only time I spend with my 5 yo is listening to the CD. I have the first 12 weeks in a playlist and we listen to it once a day or so. My 5 yo knows a lot of the information. I only work with him (if at all) on timeline and math. For science I have been matching up magic schoolbus with science and reading lots of books. He loves reading books, seeing information about his memory work and reciting the information back to me. My older boy we spend 30 minutes a day on the memory work. His history is the same general time period, but I don't try to match up everything week by week. For science we do 1-2 apologia books a year, one ties into the subjects taught in CC the second is his choice. (Cycle 3 we did human biology, Cycle 1 Botany & Astronomy, which should have been saved for Cycle 3 and, cycle 2 Chemistry and physics).

 

 

 

it's baffling to me that tutors aren't supposed to share their lesson plans in teaching as well. fortunately a friend of mine gave me hers to look over when i was starting to make lessons plans. otherwise, i'd still be trying to come up with my own system. there is a lot to do as a tutor, but i enjoy the preparation for the class each week. except for the IEW part. :-)

 

 

I've never heard of not sharing lesson plans? In our community it is encouraged. We even have a google group to help facilitate that. Our Essentials director last year had aged out (now that's a pet peeve of mine) and offered her lesson plans to anyone who would consider the position. 

. .

When I think about grammar stage memory work, I think about some of the things SWB has said about having pegs to hang information on. When my child learns a history sentence, she learns SOMETHING about the topic. She doesn't need to know everything. It is just a starting place. When you go home and place it into context, you are hanging information on the peg, whether that is next week or next year isn't important. The whole point is that you are adding information into your brain that you can use later.

This is the way I use CC. I am not at all concerned about understanding the topic at all at the moment. That comes later. Once those sentences are in your brain, they are there permanently to use when you need them. We use them as we get to them in our studies.

CC isn't perfect by any means, and I can understand the frustration of not getting what you expected. The director of our community goes to great lengths to explain exactly what will be going on. I also did a lot of research about foundations and am currently poring over the challenge information. For me, it looks like challenge is a no go, but foundations has been very beneficial.

this is how I think about it too and I'm seeing the pegs in action, not only for my kids, but for me as well. I hated the geography last year. It was hard to learn and hard as a tutor to teach/show. This year I was reading a book about the history of chocolate and I was able to picture where we were because of cycle 2. Who would have thought knowing where Texcoco was would have helped this 40yo woman?

 

Do I think CC is perfect? No

Do I think it's for everyone? No

Does it work for thus household full of science and math geeks? Yes.

 

The other complaint I hear is the price. When I look at coops in my area CC is a steal. Coops here are $40-60 a month + supplies, per hour class. Foundations & Essentials are less than $15 each a week.

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We were involved with CC for seven years, and I was both a Foundations and Essentials tutor.  No regrets there at all.  I miss it a lot though.  I loved getting together with like-minded moms and the teaching. Foundations and Essentials were great for us, Challenge less so.  I needed a higher-level, custom program, and so we moved on for high school.

 

At times I had issues with CC, but I'm also a long-term college adjunct, and believe me, things are never perfect there either.  This college is part of a large state system with 100,000+ students.  And the IT systems are sometimes a mess, the textbooks have errors/missing information/poor wording, I don't like aspects of the course content summary (5 pages of competencies I have to teach to), and sometimes the administration irritates me.  Mmmm...many of the same issues that CC has.  

 

And I did provide context for my children.  The day after class we discussed the content, and I used Sonlight to approximate the cycles, so it was pretty common to have connections come up even weeks afterwards.  With the structure that CC has and the amount of material they cover, there is no way they can do that in a morning program.  So I considered it to be my responsibility to do that.

 

Locally CC initially decimated the local co-op scene, but now it is coming back.  There are several groups that are providing ala carte high school classes that struggled for awhile, but are now doing fine. 

 

So I think it is a great opportunity for some, but by no means all.  

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Just thought I'd add that although CC uses IEW, Andrew Puduwa himself is not associated with CC.  I heard him speak over the summer and on one of the breaks I asked him what his connection was with CC (since I really like him and don't like CC and was trying to feel out the connection!).  He said that they are "simply the largest purchaser of my IEW materials, besides christianbook.com".  He also told me that although they do not have a CC campus close enough to his home for his family to truly consider getting involved with one, he doesn't' think he would if they could, at least not before Essentials level.  He said that he sees value in memory work, yes, but not to that extreme.  He also said that he did have a huge personal respect for Leigh Bortins, but he didn't think her program was the only way to go for a good classical education.   

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To the post directly above me - The last comment about why anyone does this is a little demeaning. I am an INFJ/INTJ (my T/F are so close) and I work just fine in CC. I dont play well with others and prefer to be home. That said, we dont do the memory work - we do what we want during the week and if the CC items work with us, then great. After all, I am the parent and I am the one in charge. CC isnt in charge of me or my family. Our middle child love his Challenge 1 class and am very please with his past 2 Challenge tutors. I tutor Challenge A and the insinuation that we are "just moms" and do not really know what we tutor is wrong. The men and women I tutor with know their material. We have taken Latin classes all summer and continue to study throughout the year. We have read, written, studied to be able to competently cover our subjects. We go above and beyond, quite often at our own expense, to give extra experiences to our students - sharks to dissect are not cheap. Each campus is unique. We may be a "rebel" campus - or we may just be friendly. What we do not do is look down our noses at those that choose to school differently than us.

 

Re bolded: I wish this were universally true, but it's just not the case at our site and doesn't seem to be being encouraged by those in charge. Actually this used to be more true at our site, but over the last few years has changed dramatically. Now the attitude is much more that "we are just moms studying along side your students modeling how to study" with very little feedback on assignments from the Challenge directors beyond "Great Job", because, after all "this is still homeschool and parents are responsible for holding their students accountable and grading their assignments."  This is a major consideration in deciding that we will probably not be continuing the Challenge program after Challenge B this year.

 

 

edited to add punctuation for clarity

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My daughter was also discouraged from sharing her own mnemonic devices in class, even if it was just rearranging three initials so that they made a word to make an easier to remember acronym. It was suggested that I email her ideas a week or two in advance of class, so the tutor could add them to her lesson plan if she wanted to. As if we were going to work ahead and as if she would get that spontaneous burst of creativity outside that setting!  It was heartbreaking for me to watch her try to connect and be shut down…and then for me to have to encourage her into compliance in order to keep her from continually being put in that position. And she wasn't the only one it happened to. The other moms in the class, though, didn't seem to feel the way I did about their kids not being allowed to have the freedom to interact.

 

 

I'm sorry your daughter was discouraged from sharing her ideas.  I've never seen a tutor shut down a child with something relevant to share unless lots of sharing had already taken place, and they really needed to move on to the next thing, and even then it was done very gently.  Actually my dcs' tutors have asked the class for ideas and tricks for the memory work and your dd's acronym would have been welcomed at that point. Is your dd's tutor by any chance new this year?

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 I tutor Challenge A and the insinuation that we are "just moms" and do not really know what we tutor is wrong. The men and women I tutor with know their material. We have taken Latin classes all summer and continue to study throughout the year. We have read, written, studied to be able to competently cover our subjects. We go above and beyond, quite often at our own expense, to give extra experiences to our students - sharks to dissect are not cheap. Each campus is unique. We may be a "rebel" campus - or we may just be friendly. What we do not do is look down our noses at those that choose to school differently than us.

 

I have no doubt that tutors put a tremendous amount of effort into preparation and implementation at CC. I have a friend who does this, and I see how hard she works. She's smart and energetic, and I know she does a great job.  I absolutely agree that tutors should be remunerated.

 

However, when I consider where I want to put my time and $500, I am going to choose our gifted online Latin teacher who has a masters in Latin over someone who studied Latin "all summer and throughout the year." I'm basing this decision on the realization that even though I've studied Latin alongside my children (including six graduated) for the past dozen or so years, and even though I've worked hard to develop some proficiency, I would never consider myself qualified to teach other people's children Latin at the high school level. And, I don't think CC has the magic formula that would make me proficient enough to do this.

 

I'm not looking down my nose. I'm just explaining how I've come to my decisions for my own homeschool.

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I have no doubt that tutors put a tremendous amount of effort into preparation and implementation at CC. I have a friend who does this, and I see how hard she works. She's smart and energetic, and I know she does a great job.  I absolutely agree that tutors should be remunerated.

 

However, when I consider where I want to put my time and $500, I am going to choose our gifted online Latin teacher who has a masters in Latin over someone who studied Latin "all summer and throughout the year." I'm basing this decision on the realization that even though I've studied Latin alongside my children (including six graduated) for the past dozen or so years, and even though I've worked hard to develop some proficiency, I would never consider myself qualified to teach other people's children Latin at the high school level. And, I don't think CC has the magic formula that would make me proficient enough to do this.

 

I'm not looking down my nose. I'm just explaining how I've come to my decisions for my own homeschool.

 

Yes, this was one of the reasons our family didn't continue CC for high school.  I outsourced Latin in addition to CC for two years because the level and scope of instruction wasn't going to take us where I wanted in terms of the National Latin Exam, Latin AP, and Latin SAT.  Challenge A was fine, but beyond that we needed a Latin teacher, not a Latin tutor with minimal background.  As Luann said, I fully support anyone whose goals are met by the Latin instruction in CC.  My goals were different.

 

I'll note that CC is based on the model of teaching that St. John's College uses where the professors rotate the classes they teach (they say "tutor" because of the interactive nature of their classes). So someone with STEM degrees might be teaching French.  That's works for them because they are a very selective employer, looking for a very unique abilities.  They also have done this for many years and have a highly structured training and mentoring program for the professors teaching fields they aren't familiar with.  And their students are screened to choose those who should thrive in that sort of environment.  CC is not St. John's College though.

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Yes, this was one of the reasons our family didn't continue CC for high school.  I outsourced Latin in addition to CC for two years because the level and scope of instruction wasn't going to take us where I wanted in terms of the National Latin Exam, Latin AP, and Latin SAT.  Challenge A was fine, but beyond that we needed a Latin teacher, not a Latin tutor with minimal background.  As Luann said, I fully support anyone whose goals are met by the Latin instruction in CC.  My goals were different.

 

I'll note that CC is based on the model of teaching that St. John's College uses where the professors rotate the classes they teach (they say "tutor" because of the interactive nature of their classes). So someone with STEM degrees might be teaching French.  That's works for them because they are a very selective employer, looking for a very unique abilities.  They also have done this for many years and have a highly structured training and mentoring program for the professors teaching fields they aren't familiar with.  And their students are screened to choose those who should thrive in that sort of environment.  CC is not St. John's College though.

 

CC's use of St. John's College as a model has bothered me ever since I first heard it.  Thanks for expressing my objections better than I could have done. CC's standards for hiring Challenge directors simply aren't high enough to emulate the St. John's model, and neither is the compensation.

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To the post directly above me - The last comment about why anyone does this is a little demeaning. I am an INFJ/INTJ (my T/F are so close) and I work just fine in CC. I dont play well with others and prefer to be home. That said, we dont do the memory work - we do what we want during the week and if the CC items work with us, then great. After all, I am the parent and I am the one in charge. CC isnt in charge of me or my family. Our middle child love his Challenge 1 class and am very please with his past 2 Challenge tutors. I tutor Challenge A and the insinuation that we are "just moms" and do not really know what we tutor is wrong. The men and women I tutor with know their material. We have taken Latin classes all summer and continue to study throughout the year. We have read, written, studied to be able to competently cover our subjects. We go above and beyond, quite often at our own expense, to give extra experiences to our students - sharks to dissect are not cheap. Each campus is unique. We may be a "rebel" campus - or we may just be friendly. What we do not do is look down our noses at those that choose to school differently than us.

I'm sorry you felt it was demeaning. First I used caps because I couldn't get italics going on my iPhone.

 

Secondly, in regards to moms "not knowing the material" I was speaking of high school CC. What I am saying is, that if I want someone who is reading through manuals and digesting the material just enough to teach it- that's what I do for free. But when I pay for outside classes, for my high school students, I will want teachers who are highly educated and experienced in their field.

 

IMO I think most people that do CC are there for the community- the comraderie, the competition, the encouragement, and the accountability.

 

Why is this so offensive to CC people when the CC website itself totes community, community, community?

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CC's use of St. John's College as a model has bothered me ever since I first heard it.  Thanks for expressing my objections better than I could have done. CC's standards for hiring Challenge directors simply aren't high enough to emulate the St. John's model, and neither is the compensation.

 

I have a relative whose M.A. is from St. John's, and she is a very active alumni.  When I shared with her what CC was trying to do, she was extremely skeptical. Discussions with her are what made me very uneasy about being a Challenge Director. 

 

I was a "secondary tutor" for two years, teaching Latin, but I am a very shallow Latin scholar. My training was going over the Challenge Director's notes (she had never studied formal Latin at all, just roots).  There was no support for me that I knew about during that time.  I developed my own teaching methods and materials.  And of course it was really mostly a volunteer job with a small stipend for materials and gas.

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I'm sorry you felt it was demeaning. First I used caps because I couldn't get italics going on my iPhone.

 

Secondly, in regards to moms "not knowing the material" I was speaking of high school CC. What I am saying is, that if I want someone who is reading through manuals and digesting the material just enough to teach it- that's what I do for free. But when I pay for outside classes, for my high school students, I will want teachers who are highly educated and experienced in their field.

 

IMO I think most people that do CC are there for the community- the comraderie, the competition, the encouragement, and the accountability.

 

Why is this so offensive to CC people when the CC website itself totes community, community, community?

 

Absolutely! If I'm going to pay someone else to teach my dc, I want someone who can do it better than I can.

 

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I have a relative whose M.A. is from St. John's, and she is a very active alumni.  When I shared with her what CC was trying to do, she was extremely skeptical. Discussions with her are what made me very uneasy about being a Challenge Director. 

 

I was a "secondary tutor" for two years, teaching Latin, but I am a very shallow Latin scholar. My training was going over the Challenge Director's notes (she had never studied formal Latin at all, just roots).  There was no support for me that I knew about during that time.  I developed my own teaching methods and materials.  And of course it was really mostly a volunteer job with a small stipend for materials and gas.

 

I'm also a "secondary tutor" in the Challenge program.  Although I have a college degree and some professional experience in a field closely related to the subjects I teach, both were a long time ago and before CC I had no teaching experience other than my own two relatively young at the time dc, and I'm a little disturbed by the fact that apparently I'm the best they could find to do what I do. Also there was no interview or screening to make sure that I'm not an idiot.  I just said one day "I think I could do that" and I was hired. :huh:

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I'm also a "secondary tutor" in the Challenge program.  Although I have a college degree and some professional experience in a field closely related to the subjects I teach, both were a long time ago and before CC I had no teaching experience other than my own two relatively young at the time dc, and I'm a little disturbed by the fact that apparently I'm the best they could find to do what I do. Also there was no interview or screening to make sure that I'm not an idiot.  I just said one day "I think I could do that" and I was hired. :huh:

 

Yes, that's the norm.  Other than not having homeschooled and not being familiar with the classical model, the criteria is pretty open for Challenge Directors.  And even more so for secondary tutors. 

 

That's why families need to look at the big picture and not just CC's curriculum.

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Yes, that's the norm.  Other than not having homeschooled and not being familiar with the classical model, the criteria is pretty open for Challenge Directors.  And even more so for secondary tutors. 

yep.  because I enjoy writing and write well in general, I was recruited by CC to teach IEW in an Essentials course.  I am not saying that I could not teach it, but I have no real credentials at all, and I would not have taught it well enough that I would have felt great about being paid. And, what is MUCH more important in my mind, is that I do not have lots of experience with children- what to expect for a certain age range in terms of behavior, average academics, and even the writing.  

 

In other words, I would be doing something that those moms could very well have easily done themselves for free, without spending a day out of the house, paying all that money, and volunteering for, to boot.

 

EXCEPT that they would have been thrilled to be part of a community.  Which brings me back to my main point.  Community is the real benefit of CC.

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I'm sorry your daughter was discouraged from sharing her ideas.  I've never seen a tutor shut down a child with something relevant to share unless lots of sharing had already taken place, and they really needed to move on to the next thing, and even then it was done very gently.  Actually my dcs' tutors have asked the class for ideas and tricks for the memory work and your dd's acronym would have been welcomed at that point. Is your dd's tutor by any chance new this year?

 

She's new to tutoring, but this her second year in the program. It started last year with just one class and one tutor; this year it grew to 5 classes, plus Essentials (though the masters class and Essentials only have a few students). She's a great mom and I really like her, but she's very "by the book." And with eight eight-year old girls in her class, I can appreciate that, though if it were me, I wouldn't draw such firm boundaries. I believe discussion and drilling can work together to reinforce retention. 

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Today was our last day for the semester…or forever. When I started this thread earlier in the week, I had decided not to continue CC. Now I'm embroiled in the battle of mind and heart, with my analytical brain vying for me to quit because of the flawed methodology, while my feelings are urging me to stick it out because of how much my kids want to stay in the community, and because of the families, as well as the experience my oldest is having since her tutor takes the material to a higher level in a very playful way. Paradoxically, part of my thinking argues for us continue, while some of my feelings are screaming to end it now. You can probably trace that dichotomy throughout my posts on this thread. And this dialogue (here) is affecting me also. Being an INFJ, when it comes to exercising my judging preference, my extraverted feeling (2nd/helper function) generally trumps my introverted thinking (3rd/hobby function), but because my introverted intuition leads (1st/dominant function) and is perceiving, it could go either way. 

 

I don't want my personality type or my perfectionism or peer pressure to make this decision for me, so I'm going to put the whole thing in my prayer closet (both literally and figuratively), and hope for clarity before January. Being a judging type, I want it settled yesterday, but God has a way of keeping me in limbo, so that I will seek him more fervently, growing closer to him in the process, and allowing him to shape me. Whatever side you come down on with CC (or if you're some shade of gray), will you pray for me?  Thank you for allowing me to process here, with all my passionate conviction mingled with my humbled questioning. I am gratified that this "conversation" seems to have been thought provoking and enlightening for others. I am also thankful that this place (the forums) exists, because although I don't post here often, it's extremely valuable to get the input of such a large and varied homeschooling population - hearing all your thoughts and experiences is both validating and challenging. It doesn't make this decision any easier, but it does make me that much more informed. 

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Being an INFJ, when it comes to exercising my judging preference, my extraverted feeling (2nd/helper function) generally trumps my introverted thinking (3rd/hobby function), but because my introverted intuition leads (1st/dominant function) and is perceiving, it could go either way. 

 

I don't want my personality type or my perfectionism or peer pressure to make this decision for me, so I'm going to put the whole thing in my prayer closet (both literally and figuratively), and hope for clarity before January. Being a judging type, I want it settled yesterday, but God has a way of keeping me in limbo, so that I will seek him more fervently, growing closer to him in the process, and allowing him to shape me. Whatever side you come down on with CC (or if you're some shade of gray), will you pray for me?  Thank you for allowing me to process here, with all my passionate conviction mingled with my humbled questioning. I am gratified that this "conversation" seems to have been thought provoking and enlightening for others. I am also thankful that this place (the forums) exists, because although I don't post here often, it's extremely valuable to get the input of such a large and varied homeschooling population - hearing all your thoughts and experiences is both validating and challenging. It doesn't make this decision any easier, but it does make me that much more informed. 

 

Love the INFJ analysis.  :001_smile: The bolded is a great place to be, and praying is the best thing you can do for your homeschool. As you come to mind and when I visit your blog, I'll pray for you. Keep us posted.

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This notion that my child would be taught by someone who studied Latin over the summer is very disturbing to me. My older two are in Suzuki strings, as I mentioned, and it eats my life. But they take cello lessons from people who have spent their lives studying cello; Orff from an expert Orff teacher; Kodaly from an expert Kodaly teacher. CC seems like a lot of money and structure for co-op style teaching.

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I've read this with interest to see people's viewpoints. I think I've shared some of those views at one point or another. In fact, I was not even tempted to join CC after our open house; it just didn't wow me. But my kids (they were 4yo at the time) on the other hand? It was all they could talk about; they loved it. The history sentence that day was about the boston tea party; they then saw a boston tea party movie in the library (our intro to Liberty Kids), and acted out the tea party at the playground.... So I signed them up. We are now in our 5th year of CC; each year I am tempted to stop so we have more time to do school at home. The day away is hard. Howver, each year, I am reminded of how much the kids get out of it and that what I would do at home for that day would not have that same 'boom'/benefit. The books we read, the places we visit, museums, field trips etc are all enhanced by their memory work. Those pegs are little light bulbs. They see or read something and they remember hearing it before. It gets them excited to learn more, read more, listen more, explore more. The Latin, grammar and math come in handy regularly with our own schoolwork and makes what we do at home much easier. And we do not ever even try to match up what we learn at home with the CC schedule. It is purely a supplement for us. Their ability to memorize huge amounts of information floors me; memory masters for the past three years, and tackling new poems, or as they did recently, studying for a marine ecology competition, is just so much easier. They are around other kids who enjoy learning and the review games enhance the fun of learning and competition. I like the focus our group has on expecting the kids to learn the material. My active boys have learned to sit quietly and still for their tutors out of respect; I do not feel they are being squelched or deprived. (And they are the type to 'share' their knowledge on things in any other settings). The tutors are all on a tight schedule and if every child shared something they knew about the info or how they did it, we'd never get through our material. We came from a more more loose/fun/noisier CC where there were lots of discussions and disruptions/sharing. And there was no true expectation of memorizing for the young ones. I always imagined my kids would miss it because the new one (we had moved) was very much sit still and listen (with very gentle and sweet tutors). Well, they raved about how much better they liked the new one because they could learn so much better with less distractions. I think 'I' preferred the old one more because it seemed more fun and kid friendly, but that was me projecting my feelings on it. I've come to love the gentleness and respect at this cc. Their friendships grow each year; the first year is just meeting everyone and yes, some friendships start. I wouldn't call it overwhelming. But they really continue to grow with each year as they become more familiar with each other. We now stay for a couple hours afterwards while the kids play. And good friendships have formed. So while I know I'll debate dropping CC next year to get another day at home, I probably won't because I could never duplicate the lasting value of that time. I've seen how much they get out of those pegs. And the fact that giving presentations in front of the class is their favorite part? Another bonus! (I really have never enjoyed speaking in front of a crowd, no matter what the size).

 

Anyway, that's been our experience in a nutshell.

 

 

 

This is closer to what I would say, if I were well spoken, and not on an iPod ;)

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Please do keep us posted. I really do think that while some thing I generally don't like about CC, I could see doing it in a community with people who were very enthusiastic and who I really got along with. I know families who love it and thrive with it.  It doesn't sound like that's quite the situation you are in at the moment. Will pray. 

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I, too, was one of the people who had a very negative view of CC, mostly because of what I read on this forum.  Then one day it occurred to me that CC offered things I had been wanting to do in my homeschool curriculum but was not able to do myself. 

 

Mainly I was trying to teach my kids public speaking and increase the memory work.  I had them do some memory work, but not nearly the amount that I intended.  We never even got started with a world history timeline.  When I saw CC's memory work, it lined up extremely well with my goals.  I completely agree with what others have said about developing the pegs in history and other subjects. 

 

I had also planned to have my kids do oral presentations at home.  Once I had the grandparents over for presentations about one of their projects.  It went okay.  However, I just never got around to helping the kids prepare for oral presentations, and I almost never planned a day to have them.  If they actually did a presentation, it wasn't very serious since it was in front of their siblings and me.  On the other hand, my kids put a lot of work into preparing quality presentations for CC (mostly on their own and during their free time after we are done with school), and I have them practice them at least four or five times so that they develop their speaking skills.  CC has accomplished more regarding public speaking in 12 weeks than I accomplished in years by myself.

 

Other plusses are the extra art instruction, music instruction, and science projects.  I don't rely on these for the basis of my program, but I consider them worthwhile extras.

 

One more thought that occurred to me during this discussion was regarding the idea that it would be easy to get many friends to come to your house and practice memory work together.  On my own I have never met any homeschool friends who have the least interest in doing memory work, especially the amount that I do.  CC has provided us with academically like-minded friends, another thing I had not been able to accomplish myself.

 

I am not saying that CC is for everyone.  However, don't just dismiss it automatically (as I had) because of so many negative posts on this forum.  Perhaps you could do CC at your house on your own, but I doubt most people could.

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... the book that CC uses with IEW doesn't follow the same order as the units - .

 

I meant to comment on this when I saw it earlier but got distracted. Mr. Pudewa recently said (in his last webinar, I think) that they are rewriting the history-based books to put the units in order.

 

We've used IEW for more than a decade, and it's worked very well for us. However, from the beginning I've taken very seriously SWB's warning/suggestion to de-emphasize the style elements. I think this somewhat prevents the stilted writing people have expressed concern about in this thread. I like having complete control of the style checklists for my dc and am very selective about when and to what extent I require the dress-ups. I'm not sure how that would work in a CC.

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I am not saying that CC is for everyone.  However, don't just dismiss it automatically (as I had) because of so many negative posts on this forum.  Perhaps you could do CC at your house on your own, but I doubt most people could.

 

Yes, we loved Foundations and Essentials and the earlier levels of Challenge. No regrets there at all. For us the positives far outweighed the negatives. It just wasn't a good all-around fit for high school.

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Although comments on this thread could be construed as "negative," how else can you help people discern whether it is a good fit for them or not if you aren't allowed to share why it didn't work for you or what you perceive to be as weaknesses in the program. I also think it is extremely important someone fleshes out their perspective of classical, since there are several neo-classical interpretations, BEFORE joining a CC community. When I pull out my CC Foundations guide, I feel like it is overwhelming and disjointed. Why place the burden of Latin endings on the the mother of a Kindergartener when you can do Latin for Children later - you're still in the grammar stage in 3rd/4th grade for goodness sakes! Of course, no one can do all that is in the guide on their own! When I read Susan Wise Bauer's thoughts on memory work, I sigh with relief. It seems attainable; it makes sense. You learn how to memorize when you are young, so you can keep doing it throughout the rest of your education! Your kids don't have to memorize exhaustive exclusive lists at age 4. It may be that many people on these boards are not big CC fans because it would be very difficult to pursue both interpretations simultaneously.

 

When I signed my 4 y.o. for CC many moons ago, I assumed CC was carrying out the type of education put forth in TWTM. Now that we've leapt all the way from Pre-K to 4th grade and have continued pursuing a classical Christian education but left CC behind in the dust, I see that CC and TWTM are very different. Bottom line, for me, the opportunity cost for CC involvement is too great. I would have to give up time and of money to participate in CC. Our personal application of the classical model falls more in line with TWTM with a heavy CM bent. I started a group that meets more of our schooling needs (art, composer study, nature study, poetry, hymn study, geography, Shakespeare, etc.) - all the subjects that Susan Wise Bauer suggests using CM methods plus some more uniquely CM subjects that are tough to accomplish weekly on my own. We have committed women who are "like-minded" who share the teaching responsibility equally. People pursue classical/CM educations at home to varying degrees. Everybody chips in. I get borderline offended when I read posts where it is implied that CC has the corner on the market of "quality," like-minded women, as if they are in short supply and limited to CC communities. There are many co-ops in my community. Most of them have dedicated, committed, hard-working "quality" individuals as members. There are other groups out there that may meet your needs. And if there aren't, don't be afraid to start something. Just be aware that the recruitment for CC is intense.  

 

Now for the original poster... I have a hard time not finishing things that I start (what does that make my Myers-Briggs type? :)) I will say that our attendance dwindled down to almost non-existent by the end of our year at CC, but I'd delivered my 3rd child at the end of February and wasn't motivated to drag my newborn out when my 4 year-old had lost interest in memory work sometime back in the previous December. If I could have gotten a partial refund, I probably would've bolted midway through. Unfortunately, I am not very convinced that if you do CC for one isolated year you yield much benefit. Just ask me how much my 4 year-old remembers from CC! I always say it was our best year of speech therapy. My son couldn't even say words like Ahmenhotep the Fourth and Monotheism. :) Anyway, please be aware that while CC is NOT a good fit for my family (and others here), does not mean that you should automatically drop out. You have to trust your gut and discern where the Lord leads you. A few weeks ago I found notes that I had taken from the middle of our CC year listing my specific issues with CC. I was praying about approaching the Director with some of my concerns. I had the exact same issues then that I have now, and now I know WAY more about CC and my own personal home schooling philosophy than I did then. Maybe I would just love CC if I had stuck it out for the past several years, but we'll never know. ;) All I know is that I refuse to believe that I am somehow giving my kids a subpar education because I don't teach them geography for the entire world in three-year intervals. Your kids will probably succeed in whatever path you take, because you care enough to consider these issues. 

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That newborn above is now 4 y.o. Our local campus REQUIRES you enroll your 4 year-olds unless you find someone to watch them off-campus. Foundations would cost my family probably $1500 by the time all was said and done - and that wouldn't even cover Essentials. I can buy a lot of great books, a few online classes, several CDs to aid with memory work (to music!), and some quality classical curriculum for that amount and still have the time to join a co-op. :)

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