Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Literary Mom

Does anyone else think Classical Conversations is neither?

Recommended Posts

Pointing out the flaws of a program is not the same as getting riled up. I would argue that those of you who have launched a defense of CC (some to the point of reporting people to area directors!!!!) are perhaps stoking the fire. IMO, you have chosen to defend many points that you should just concede to.

 

You know, even SWB has (on a board that she pays for) allowed for thoughtful criticism of her materials. I can't think of any program that hasn't survived a round of pros and cons on here.

Wow. I was just answering questions not trying to launch a defense. I felt many others were, too. Didn't realize that was perceived as trying to quiet thoughtful criticism. CC, like all things, isn't perfect. There are pros and cons and it is good for people to be aware. I will bow out now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree completely with the bolded statement above. I am willing to pay a lot of money for something that I see as valuable that others don't see the same value.

 

What I don't understand is why those who don't value CC get so riled up when others do.

 

 

I think the issue is that CC bills itself as something it really, truly isn't.  Rather than play to its strengths, the organization is so obsessed with being "Classical" that they miss the forest for the trees. It takes more than memorizing random facts to make something even neo-classical. 

 

We did it because we were desperate for community, and it worked out well.   I "tutored' Foundations/Essentials for 1 year and Challenge for 1 year. I had kids do Foundations/Essentials and 3 Challenge levels. I enjoyed it because of the people, but it just didn't work for us, because the curriculum itself was weak in certain areas. In my opinion, the model is seriously flawed.

 

Couple of examples of how I see the dichotomy in what they do and what they say they do (not speaking for anyone else, just me)...

 

1. CC has tutors...

No, they have presenters (as someone mentioned earlier).  This is even true for the most part in Challenge.

 

2. They provide training...

Yes - THREE whole days worth!  You get a lot of rhetoric about what the program purports to do and almost no how-to-tutor during that time.  I was already teaching Latin and upper level math so it didn't matter to me, but there is no way you can ask a random mom off the street to "present"  upper level Latin, science and math, train them for three days, and be sure what the outcome will be. 

 

That being said, we had the most amazing tutors for A/B and both of my children got a lot them. Both however, were well educated themselves and worked hard to extend themselves in both knowledge and teaching; it had nothing to do with CC "training".  They also brought in outside stuff (not technically encouraged/allowed). We got lucky, in other words.

 

Challenge tutors have the SAME guide you do.  This is not like TOG or something, where the teacher has access to background info and answers to the questions, lol.  This is a seriously stripped down curriculum.  They say it is like that to ensure that the tutor models learning along with the student.  Not that this is a bad thing, I've done it myself for many classes!    BUT...you better be darn sure that your tutor does some serious study because otherwise they won't necessarily even KNOW the MAIN point of the lesson, much less any be able to bring any kind of subtlety into it.  They now have some training/study programs and I HOPE those are mandatory, or will become so.

 

Georgia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking only about Foundations…Just want to clear up the problem everyone has that tutors are not “qualified†teachers.

Tutors are NOT there to teach your kids. YOU are! You are the teacher and tutors are to make sure that is evident to the child. If a child asks a question beyond the memory work for the day, the tutor tells the child that is a great question and he/she should ask Mom when they get home.

Tutors are there to model how to present new learning and to encourage the parents. All of you on this thread may be smart and confident and feel you don’t need anyone to model that for you but, believe me, there are many moms who are struggling. They need ideas, suggestions, direction, etc. These ideas can be applied to any teaching, not just CC memory work.

The tutor role is to present that week’s material in fun and creative ways that some Moms may have never thought of. Their role is not to explain what “feudalism†or the “distributive law†is so they don’t need to be “qualifiedâ€.

They are just trained how to present it and that’s why any Mom can become a tutor. Being a tutor also helps pay for your child’s CC tuition. Win, win.

The reason the parent is present is so she can get some ideas from the tutor, see how it was done in class, and maybe repeat or tweak it at home. It helps the parent to hear what the child heard in class so she can review the hand motions or the song or whatever was used. Also the parents are expected to be interested and even participate along with the child when they are learning. This is the parent modeling for their kid that learning new things is EXCITING. If your kid sees you sitting in the back texting and uninterested in class, they can take away the idea that learning is boring and why should they do it. When they see their Mom singing the song or doing the hand motions, they think, "hey, if Mom is doing it then it must be fun!".

Also CC is not babysitting. The tutors aren’t there to babysit your children while you go off and have a latte. The morning is pretty scheduled and so the tutors are busy presenting the material, leading the art/science, etc and she doesn’t have time to take your kid to the bathroom or correct the child when he/she is goofing off. The parents in my class are a God-send. I couldn’t tutor without them. They see me mess up and know that it is OK if they mess up at home b/c we are all human. If I wrote something wrong on the board and they point it out, we all get a good laugh and we know it is going to be OK. It gives the homeschooling Mom confidence that, yes, she is more than capable to homeschool her kids.

Not trying to pick on you here, and there is nothing wrong with what you are saying about the tutor and parent roles here, if that is what someone wants.

 

But to me, it is crazy to pay so much money for what you are describing. And the tutor isn't really making the money, it is mostly free tuition, if I understand. So that leads to the question of who is pocketing the money, and whether this business is really about serving the homeschool community and doing good things for students and families.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who pays for building space/rent? I know that when directed the university early childhood music program that by the time I paid the room fee every college class was charged on the books, for the supplies and take home materials, for insurance, and a reasonable rate for a teacher (usually about $25-$30 per class taught, which, when I taught such classes, might barely be minimum wage once you accounted for prep time at home and setting up the room, then cleaning instruments and putting everything away)-Suzuki teachers teaching 1-1 often only made about $10-15 lesson because the fixed costs were so high when there was only one student. Few places are willing to offer free space anymore, and usually those that do will do so only when a program is free, not when tuition is charged.

 

 

I'll also point out that there are significant costs to producing books and materials before any money is spent.

 

I don't think these budget estimates are fair to Classical Conversations, either local communities or the national organization.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great point. I wonder how many people with criticisms here have actually approached CC directly with their concerns. At least SWB has the opportunity to address them if necessary.

 

Classical conversations can only address or explain that which is brought to their attention. I believe that is the biblical approach as well.

 

SWB doesn't engage in those topics.  She's a classy lady, and I think she understands that no product will be pleasing to everyone.

 

That's the biblical model for those who have been sinned against.  I don't feel that CC has sinned against me, I just disagree with their model.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I confess I am disappointed. I've never been able to afford CC but I've been curious from afar. But I see I've been imagining it according to my own yardstick for classical education (or any kind of education): I also thought the tutors were teaching students in classroom settings and teaching parents how to present the material effectively.

 

I think I would rename the whole thing and call it, "Educational Recitations." And I would stop calling the leaders tutors since they do not teach.

 

Excellent ideas for the Foundations...

 

 

And hey, weren't you supposed to make a Poor-Man's CC? LOL

 

Georgia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. I was just answering questions not trying to launch a defense. I felt many others were, too. Didn't realize that was perceived as trying to quiet thoughtful criticism. CC, like all things, isn't perfect. There are pros and cons and it is good for people to be aware. I will bow out now.

You are truly welcomed here.  There really is nothing wrong with saying why a program works for you.  I was responding to one poster, because of her line of arguments (and I was looping in the crazy people who reported a board member).  I think there comes a point where one must stop defending in the face of evidence, and if you participate in these threads, you have to be willing to thoughtfully evaluate what others post.  Emphasis on "thoughtfully."  There's only so much blanket defense that I can handle.  

 

I haven't read the whole thread, nor have I read all of your posts, so I can't speak to how you're handling the subject.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree completely with the bolded statement above. I am willing to pay a lot of money for something that I see as valuable that others don't see the same value.

 

What I don't understand is why those who don't value CC get so riled up when others do.

 

It seems to me that the CC defenders are the ones riled up! I think those of us with issues just want other people to have all the info. I wasn't able to observe CC before because the community just began this year. And the info meeting did not give me all the information I needed to make a good decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that is a misunderstanding. I think she meant that those skills are learned though the subjects. Tutors are proficient and do teach the actual subjects as well as the skills in the upper level. They must be proficient in order to teach. Our tutors do have to be qualified and are evaluated throughout the year. They have several years teaching experience before they tutor for CC. They also have degrees, usually in one our more of the subjects. They have demonstrated ability in the others.

I would love to see a reference for this. I don't believe any proficiency is required by CC for any of it. Latin, for example. What sort of course or test do they have to pass to teach Latin, and at what level do they need to be proficient?

 

I am asking honestly, because if they ever changed their model so that the entire family did not have to sign up, I'd look at Challenge more closely again. Having a live tutor who is proficient in Latin would be spectacular. However, I really never got the idea that was the case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great point. I wonder how many people with criticisms here have actually approached CC directly with their concerns. At least SWB has the opportunity to address them if necessary.

 

Classical conversations can only address or explain that which is brought to their attention. I believe that is the biblical approach as well.

 

This makes no sense. You said yourself, that CC is a for-profit corporation which never billed itself as a non profit or as a ministry.  It is a business to sell, like Pampered Chef.

 

Now you are saying that we should approach a business with "concerns" like we would approach a brother or sister in Christ, when there is a disagreement or one sins against another.

 

That makes no sense.  It's a business, and people should discuss the pros and cons, be clear about why it makes sense or doesn't make sense to them, just like Pampered Chef.  Then, if they don't like it, they should not join.  THen they can share their ideas with others for discussion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that is a misunderstanding. I think she meant that those skills are learned though the subjects. Tutors are proficient and do teach the actual subjects as well as the skills in the upper level. They must be proficient in order to teach. Our tutors do have to be qualified and are evaluated throughout the year. They have several years teaching experience before they tutor for CC. They also have degrees, usually in one our more of the subjects. They have demonstrated ability in the others.

Since when is this a requirement??? Please link something that shows this requirement. Perhaps this is unique to your group? Requiring a degree and teaching experience would kind of negate the whole the-tutor-modeling-learning the material thing.

 

It used to be that you needed to have had students above the level you taught and that was it. Even this is often ignored here. Other than that, you fill out the paperwork, get approved, attend the training and voila...

 

Georgia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great point. I wonder how many people with criticisms here have actually approached CC directly with their concerns. At least SWB has the opportunity to address them if necessary.

 

Classical conversations can only address or explain that which is brought to their attention. I believe that is the biblical approach as well.

 

 

You have an unrealistic idea of how adults who don't know each other conduct business. CC is a business. I don't think the product is worth the price. I can say that. I'm not obliged, not by the Bible (were I Christian) or anything else, to "approach CC directly with [my] concerns." This isn't my neighbour cheating on his wife. This is someone offering a product that others may love and may pan.

 

All of this CC-defending comes off as a little strange. I've never seen the AAS lady sweep in to tell me that I ought to write to her about how annoying I find the !%(*$#(^*#$^*( letter tiles. I once absolutely ripped Circe Institute (stand by it) and Kern himself took it in stride.

 

It reminds me of what happens if you rip MLM products.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can tell you that CC does not like to be showed their wrongs. Seriously, they aren't really humble, and they don't take care to be kind to their people. You're good while you're serving them. There was a sentence that was actually incorrect, that I advised them about, that I was to have our campus learn incorrectly. They were going to "review it" prior to the next time they published. The problem was not subjective; it was an incorrect fact. Oops.... Nope, they're a business that enjoys the profits of employees that are classified as independent contractors. Some day they'll be busted. I'm surprised that they haven't been, yet.

So, whoever is reviewing these posts.... Yup.... That's my take....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, I think you may be onto something. I hope they've run that by an accountant or a tax attorney. I've wondered about the legality of compensation before, but I didn't think about it from that angle.  I was more thinking about all the uncompensated time the tutors spend preparing (esp. Challenge due to being required to teach 6 and integrate subjects  - which would be tough even if you had a degree or 3 and office hours).

 

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Independent-Contractor-Defined

 

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Independent-Contractor-Self-Employed-or-Employee

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I can't think of any program that hasn't survived a round of pros and cons on here.

 

Even Sonlight.  :lol:  Remember when they decided to bring back The Light & the Glory

 

My concern is for those new-to-HSing moms who are convinced at meetings that CC is the only way to homeschool and they don't have to provide any context to the memorization materials. (Not saying that happens at all the meetings, but it sounds like it has been laid out that way at least once. That's once too many times.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is no difference in a parent buying *New Best Curricula EVER* every year at the convention, in hopes that THIS will be the ticket, and CC. Although CC is much more of a multi level thing. Interesting. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even Sonlight. :lol: Remember when they decided to bring back The Light & the Glory?

 

My concern is for those new-to-HSing moms who are convinced at meetings that CC is the only way to homeschool and they don't have to provide any context to the memorization materials. (Not saying that happens at all the meetings, but it sounds like it has been laid out that way at least once. That's once too many times.)

At the informational meeting I was just at, that is exactly how it was presented. One new HSer asked what else she would have to do with her children who were of varying elementary ages. She was told by the director nothing except to practice the memory work at home and to do reading. The mom then specifically asked about math, and she was told she could do some of that also but it didn't need to be anything formal. Now I can see how there are many ways to homeschooling and I might be okay with this laid back approach if they weren't claiming to be classical. Plus when one mom said she didn't even know what a classical education was it became quickly apparent the director did not either. She quickly went through the stages of the trivium by name, mentioning only "memory work" for the grammar stage! Really?! I had a very hard time making it through the meeting quietly. I did pass that particular mom a note with The Well Trained Mind written on it and said maybe she wanted to check that out of the library as a starting place. So,this was only my experience. I'm sure there are other directors who are better educated, but my point is there is no quality control if this is their regional director. And new HSers left that meeting with an improper understanding of how to educate classically and how CC could help them accomplish that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the informational meeting I was just at, that is exactly how it was presented. One new HSer asked what else she would have to do with her children who were of varying elementary ages. She was told by the director nothing except to practice the memory work at home and to do reading. The mom then specifically asked about math, and she was told she could do some of that also but it didn't need to be anything formal. Now I can see how there are many ways to homeschooling and I might be okay with this laid back approach if they weren't claiming to be classical. Plus when one mom said she didn't even know what a classical education was it became quickly apparent the director did not either. She quickly went through the stages of the trivium by name, mentioning only "memory work" for the grammar stage! Really?! I had a very hard time making it through the meeting quietly. I did pass that particular mom a note with The Well Trained Mind written on it and said maybe she wanted to check that out of the library as a starting place. So,this was only my experience. I'm sure there are other directors who are better educated, but my point is there is no quality control if this is their regional director. And new HSers left that meeting with an improper understanding of how to educate classically and how CC could help them accomplish that.

 

 

This.  This is the problem I have with CC.  There is a disconnect between what CC says they are and do and what is happening at the local level. If they are going to run this as a money making business they must have quality control.  

 

I think those that have a good experience with CC are lucky. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

60% (even split between people) to someone to present a list of facts to children! What! Surely not.

 

I teach art history, art, Greek history, Medieval history, public speaking, literature, and writing for free at our co-op (that's only what I teach\have taught - we have 8 classes per semester in addition to a nursery and PreK room with educational enrichment), which costs families only $25 per family per semester to cover cost of insurance, supplies, and provide a pool of funds for charity\service projects and to help with enrollment costs for families that need financial help. Our community atmosphere doesn't cost anything extra. We have a reputation for having quality classes. We have a waiting list for available spots.

 

I don't understand why people choose to pay that much money for what is being described in this thread, which from what I understand isn't even close to being full curriculum. If the draw is community why would they pay that much for it? Are their no other options in their area to seek out community? I'm genuinely curious.

 

.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has been my experience with co-ops, as in life, that you get what you pay for. I prefer CC, and the tuition they charge, for the same reason I prefer playgrounds that charge a fee and aren't connected to public transportation- it keeps the riff raff out.

 

:eek:

 

Well, I guess I needn't be so shocked. I'll never accidentally meet you IRL as I am not too good for public transportation and po' folks' playgrounds.

 

Signed,

The Riff Raff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has been my experience with co-ops, as in life, that you get what you pay for. I prefer CC, and the tuition they charge, for the same reason I prefer playgrounds that charge a fee and aren't connected to public transportation- it keeps the riff raff out.

There really are no words...

 

Georgia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is our first year in CC, with a dc in Challenge A and one in Foundations and Essentials.  We plan to continue on with CC next year as we have seen big strides in our Challenge A student in particular.  I believe that CC started out with Challenge I-IV and then decided that students weren't adequately prepared for the material, so they added Challenge A & B, and then went back and added Foundations and Essentials after that, once they realized all that the incoming students really did not know as part of their basic 'grammar' knowledge of the various subjects.  Thus, the memory work in Foundations represents that which would be helpful to know in order to have the proper 'foundation' for future Challenge levels.  My ds has had to work extremely hard in geography in Challenge A because he never learned his various European countries and features like they are currently working on in Cycle 2 of Foundations this year, for example.  But I am quite impressed with his developing ability to draw a map of the world from memory onto a blank sheet of paper.  He does not do it perfectly, and he misses the names of numerous capitals (never mind trying to include geographical features), but I know he had absolutely zero interest in geography prior to this year.  What he has learned has come from being motivated by the weekly deadlines and community environment of his fellow 'classmates' doing the same work.  Now when my dd does Challenge A next year, I expect she will be quite meticulous in drawing the world from memory, but she will likely struggle more in being engaging during rhetoric discussions and giving presentations in science.  My ds, OTOH, has really thrived in those two classes and has gotten all kinds of accolades from his tutor, plus he has had a chance to develop his natural leadership skills with others besides his mother and sister at home!  Especially at the Challenge level, CC can motivate dc to get engaged and struggle with the material, with classmates spurring one another on (of course this does depend on everyone doing their assigned homework).

 

As to having only one tutor lead all 6 subjects in the Challenge levels, I have questioned how anyone can be an expert in everything, as well.  Since a big goal in CC is the integration of all subjects, if a student or tutor wants to apply a principle or fact learned in science class to rhetoric class later in the day, both tutor and student will understand the connection point that is trying to be made, because the same tutor has been in the same classroom with the same students all day.  And I guess the mindset is that the tutor models for the student that one individual (ie one tutor and/or one student) can indeed study and learn all 6 subjects in that one school year.  I think the tutor may opt out of one class, though, or maybe even two, as I have heard of a husband/wife pair teaching Challenge B where the wife does the Latin and Math class and the husband does the rest. 

 

Please keep in mind that I am brand new to CC this year, though.  I only wanted to share that it has been a hugely positive experience for our family and we plan on continuing.  I love how my ds has caught the vision that getting a good education is a goal that he now desires, and he is working tirelessly into the night on his assignments in an independent fashion to get all his work done by Wednesday night for Thursday class.  I also hadn't really realized until this year that I have moments in the school year where I tend to be a slacker myself, and the CC schedule provides an accountability factor for myself as well as for my dc.  I am finally disciplined to studying Latin this year.  I always wished that I knew Latin, but now I am actually doing it, so that I am able to grade my ds's homework and help him during the week.  But at the same time, sometimes my brain has just wanted to quit learning, but I can't because week 15 has come and gone, and then week 16 is right after that, and 17 and so on.

 

As far as being a classical education, all I know is that my dc are grappling with material in a deeper way than they have before and making it their own.  They are tracing/copying maps and charts first, and then drawing them while looking at the book, and then drawing them from memory (internalizing the material).  Then they go on to apply the material and then present the material that they have learned.

 

Is it a perfect system?  Probably not, but at our home (especially at the Challenge level), CC is motivating our ds to 'get engaged' and struggle with the material, with classmates spurring him on to do a good job on homework so he can participate in lively class discussions, both listening to and presenting increasingly proficient essays and reports as the year goes on.  Yep, it is a Win/Win for us here, so just wanted to share this newbie's perspective.

 

Blessings,

Brenda

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:eek:

 

Well, I guess I needn't be so shocked. I'll never accidentally meet you IRL as I am not too good for public transportation and po' folks' playgrounds.

 

Signed,

The Riff Raff.

I am going to assume that by riff raff she means the kind of people who used to leave drug needles in the sand at the playground near our old apartment :( I would have been happy if there were a way to keep them out...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am going to assume that by riff raff she means the kind of people who used to leave drug needles in the sand at the playground near our old apartment :( I would have been happy if there were a way to keep them out...

Somehow I don't think so.

 

Do you have many people who do that wanting in your homeschool co-op?

 

Or maybe it is people who can't afford CC the poster would like to keep out?

 

Georgia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has been my experience with co-ops, as in life, that you get what you pay for. I prefer CC, and the tuition they charge, for the same reason I prefer playgrounds that charge a fee and aren't connected to public transportation- it keeps the riff raff out.

 

 

:smilielol5: If you represent the attitude and caliber of person that participates in CC it explains a lot.  So, if your fellow Christian (I only use that since CC claims to be such) can't afford the tuition they are considered, in your opinion, to be riff raff?  You really aren't helping to improve the opinion of CC here.  :smilielol5:

 

 

 

Edited to clarify that I know that lifeoftheparty doesn't really represent all of those in CC - thank goodness - I'm sure they would not want her help if they were to read her response. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just want to throw out that I don't think that the 27 Reasons list is mean at all - just quite direct, but good grief, are we all grown ups here? Considering how much money is being expected for CC, I don't think they should be surprised when the training level of the tutors or the availability of free resources in general to homeschoolers is pointed out, among other practices that might raise eyebrows. They also have very particular ways of doing things that just won't sit well with some people.   I thought most of the same things when I had my sidelines experience with CC - one of my best friends in the last state I lived is a very enthusiastic CC tutor - she loves it, its a great fit for her and her family. I saw up close what she prepared, visited several times, heard the background dramas of hers and various area groups etc, and though I would have loved to hang out more with her and her kids, I knew that it would not be a good fit for my family as far as educational style. But other families without such a close connection might have a hard time figuring that out - I know when I was researching it on my own I could barely find any critical reviews of CC on the internet, with did strike me as a little weird.  The 27 Reasons list is gold as far as I'm concerned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting how this thread seems to mirror the roller coaster of my thoughts and feelings as we make our way through this year with CC. We're now halfway through our second semester, and I'm pretty much coming back to where I was when I originally posted. First impressions often turn out to be right, even when they seem wrong for a season. Eventually they come back to bite us in the...well, anyway, I'm not regretting sticking out the year - if anything, it just makes the decision not to continue after this (which I'm 99% sure is the case) that much stronger, which I might have second guessed had we quit halfway into it. It's bittersweet, though, as I do enjoy the community. That leads into a bigger discussion, though, about homeschool groups, co-ops, etc., because five years (four years as our area homeschool group coordinator) into this, I'm realizing that like every other marriage of people, the honeymoon wears off. But I'll save that thread for when this one settles down a bit... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am going to assume that by riff raff she means the kind of people who used to leave drug needles in the sand at the playground near our old apartment :( I would have been happy if there were a way to keep them out...

 

I've lived in some pretty difficult places in my lifetime. I know all about it. But when it comes to giving thanks that we can afford to never have to see the undesirables of society whom we call "riff raff," I prefer to stand with the undesirables. EVERY time.

 

This sort of elitism and snobbery? Makes me sick. If this is what classical education, or so-called "classical communities" brings then I want no part of it. Thankfully for my children's sake, I know that real education also opens doors, opens minds, humbles the proud, and makes every man see himself as just as man capable of every good OR every ill...there but for the grace of God go I...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've lived in some pretty difficult places in my lifetime. I know all about it. But when it comes to giving thanks that we can afford to never have to see the undesirables of society whom we call "riff raff," I prefer to stand with the undesirables. EVERY time.

 

This sort of elitism and snobbery? Makes me sick. If this is what classical education, or so-called "classical communities" brings then I want no part of it. Thankfully for my children's sake, I know that real education also opens doors, opens minds, humbles the proud, and makes every man see himself as just as man capable of every good OR every ill...there but for the grace of God go I...

I was just trying to give to poster who talked about riff raff the benefit of the doubt since her playground analogy did come across as incredibly condescending. I was really thinking only about the playground part, and yes there are some people who really do not belong in a children's playground. Not because those people are of lesser value but because children should have a safe place to play.

 

But that really doesn't have any relevance to co-ops or CC...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I prefer playgrounds that charge a fee

 

This is a complete aside, but I' in the UK, and I've never heard of playgrounds that charge a fee - how does that work? Do they have a gate-keeping sitting there taking money or something?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

This is a complete aside, but I' in the UK, and I've never heard of playgrounds that charge a fee - how does that work? Do they have a gate-keeping sitting there taking money or something?

I'm clueless. I have never seen one. But, hey, I'm sure I'm culturally inferior bc I have almost always lived in flyover country and have never lived anywhere in the States that even has public transportation other than yellow buses. (Those would be school buses in the US.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has been my experience with co-ops, as in life, that you get what you pay for. I prefer CC, and the tuition they charge, for the same reason I prefer playgrounds that charge a fee and aren't connected to public transportation- it keeps the riff raff out.

 

Well, if you want just academic homeschoolers, she kind of has a point. My co-op split last year into two co-ops, because one group wanted grade level specific classes, Letter of the Week and formal academics for preschoolers, and things that could replace or be an active part of what they did at home. Not CC, but very similar. The cost was much higher, simply because they actually were buying specific curriculum. It's meeting a need.

 

The rest of us have kids who aren't in school largely because they don't fit into that sort of situation. So we have a mix of highly asynchronous gifted kids and kids with learning disabilities, unschoolers who are using the social time and weekly topics as part of their "strewing", and just generally a wide range of people. Our topics tend to be broad, multi-age, and adapt to the kids who are in the group that semester or even that week.

 

Neither parent is going to have what they want met by the other group. And that's OK. It's not that the other group is strewing needles on the playground-but last year, when the moms who wanted formal grade level academic classes took hold of DD's world cultures class, my 8 yr old finally refused to go entirely, because she was so sick and tired of spending two hours a week doing coloring pages. (I ended up leaving her with DH who works from home so I could go teach MY preschool music class). It was just plain not a good fit for us. I'm sure the moms who wanted letter of the week and worksheets for their 3 yr old felt the same way about my preschool music class.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have seen pay playgrounds in France and China, though in China all parks charge fees. Unless you count things like indoor gyms and specialized experiences like rock climbing gyms, I've never seen such a thing in the US.

 

This thread has been a fascinating read, y'all. Elitism, hatred of the poor, multi-level marketing tactics, mystery finances, misleading use of words, classical education as nothing but memorized chants out of context... I had no idea that parents had to learn the CC information, but the "tutors" did not. CC is even weirder than I thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread has been a fascinating read, y'all. Elitism, hatred of the poor, multi-level marketing tactics, mystery finances, misleading use of words, classical education as nothing but memorized chants out of context... I had no idea that parents had to learn the CC information, but the "tutors" did not. CC is even weirder than I thought.

 

:iagree:  I'm taking sociology this semester at college, this thread would make a fascinating study. 

 

Of course, I'm probably part of the Riff Raff (and now my mind is on Rocky Horror...)

 

 

I'm not interested in CC, but if it works for you, great. My issue would be the hard sell to new homeschoolers. I've been homeschooling over 10 years, I'm  pretty set in my ways, so my first question would be "Why can't I do that at home and save the tuition and spend it on cupcakes or travel instead or extra curricular activities that many struggle to afford."

 

As for tutoring, you know I love my kid, he's awesome, but I don't want to be teaching/tutoring/presenting to a slew of other kids just so I can afford the program that I'm facilitating. That seems odd.

 

Also, if CC runs on a business model fine, then they (as a business) should realize not everyone is going to buy their product, there will be detractors, those who aren't interested in attending a meeting just to see (that sounds really MLM, you know). They should, as a former poster used to say, be able to put on their big girl panties and deal with the criticism.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The CC in our county is not really thriving, nor is the one in the county next to us, who had 4 Challenges two years ago and none this year... But each year they hang on because of new people entering, even though this county has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation (and has a whole lotta riff-raff, :lol: ). 

 

I think the draw of for many people around here is this - a simple, almost desperate, desire for community and support.

 

It is so hard to find homeschoolers here who value academics.  We do not have any tutorials here, although there are plenty within an hour drive. They are $250-$600 per class.

 

It is so difficult to find someone who can mentor you a little or even just chat with you about things like Algebra, college apps, or even 1st grade science! much less anything deeper, since so many of the homeschoolers here do not understand the difference between learning and doing a curriculum.  VERY few people here teach anything. (And no we have no unschoolers. Well, a tiny group that sort of hides themselves, lol.)

 

The few academic homeschoolers who are here are oddly...competitive, for lack of a better word.  There is little sharing possible there since most expect their kids to be completely independent, and use curriculum that requires this independence. Or they dual enroll for every subject the last two years.

 

There literally is no support here for learning to teach or facilitate learning in your own children. 

 

CC purports to do this -  to empower parents to take on this task.  Here is a quote from their web site about the 3 day parent practicums they do in the summer "Birthed from a heart of ministry and a desire to equip parents in the teaching of their children"...

 

Is it any wonder that people are interested?

Georgia

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:iagree:  I'm taking sociology this semester at college, this thread would make a fascinating study. 

 

 

I think that about the whole forum quite often.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  

 

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.

 

which works out to $60 a month plus the books/materials so the same price.  Writing the price per week vs a price per month for another program is misleading and makes people think they are getting a great value when in reality they are paying the same price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

which works out to $60 a month plus the books/materials so the same price. Writing the price per week vs a price per month for another program is misleading and makes people think they are getting a great value when in reality they are paying the same price.

No, not the same price as pp was quoting price per month for a one hour class and CC is more than one hour.

 

Whether the price is worth what you get will entirely depend on the family. The people I know who rave about CC have older kids in the challenge program and find motivation in the community. If that was something my kid needed and I could afford it I would pay for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It used to be that you needed to have had students above the level you taught and that was it. Even this is often ignored here. Other than that, you fill out the paperwork, get approved, attend the training and voila...

 

From my perspective, we had the whole gamut of Challenge tutors. At times I was thrilled with what I observed, and at times I was consistently disappointed. In particular, we were unhappy with the Latin instruction to the point that I mostly taught my own and eventually outsourced elsewhere in addition to Challenge.  Only one of them had studied Latin at all before becoming a Challenge tutor.  Some were better and some were worse with classroom management and their ability to motivate the students.

 

Friends of mine were completely happy though, and the campus we last were involved with is thriving and hiving off. Some I knew were desperate for various reasons to outsource middle and high school, and all they wanted to know was that it was a decent program. Over 1/2 of the families in the Challenge program we were in knew very little about classical education, and most weren't really invested in the details.  And I didn't begrudge them of that, after all they are the parent of those children, not me.

 

So we quietly left to do our own thing for high school.  And yes, the Challenge Directors and Support Manager knew of our concerns.  I really didn't look at CC as being any different than any other local classes or co-op though.  Being a national program didn't mean that I could personally ignore what was being taught and the individuals involved.  Ultimately it didn't fulfill what we wanted.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I'm thankful that the area I live in has tons of support for homeschoolers...if you know how to look for it.  There are 2 extrememly large, active facebook groups that have become an amazing source of support, community, advice, sharing, and collaborating.  I regularly see people asking and offering to borrow books, resources, tools (lab equipment, manipulatives).  People post about field trips, park days, academic events at the college or museums.  Then their are the files that are maintained by the page admins.  They keep them up to date with any and all info a new homeschooler would need, in addition to info that those just starting high school would need to know. And of coarse you can ask questions.  There are always new homeschoolers popping in to ask questions - sometimes just asking if anyone is interested in a park day so that their dc can meet some other homeschooled dc.

 

We also have a few co-ops. Some are Christian based, one secular, and one all inclusive - these run the gamut of highly academic to unschoolish. There are several tutorials who hire degreed or experienced teachers to teach high school credit worthy classes that run from $150 to $300 for the year,  in addition to lots of families that do what I call mini co-ops - where several families get together and pool their resources to do weekly art, music, science experiments, history projects, etc.   Then there are those who have degrees in specific areas that offer tutoring for nominal costs or in exchange for other classes. Dd16 and dd14 are tutored in science by a woman who is a biologist.  She was teaching her own dc these sciences anyway and so we worked it out that I would do art projects (something she loathes doing)  with her younger dc while she taught my two older dc science (something that I loathe doing).

 

There is such an abundance of homeschool community activity in this area that it can sometimes prevent you from staying home and homeschooling if you aren't careful. 

 

I am in the very early process of trying to organize a new to homeschooling orientation for our area since, although we do have a lot of resources, it is overwhelming for someone new to the community to have to wade through everything and find their niche. I think having experienced people available for a question and answer session would help them find a direction. It is very time consuming to do that one person at a time.  Last summer I met, individually, with many new homeschoolers that had contacted me about our co-op. They were overwhelmed, nervous, and confused (one had gone to a CC meeting and was completely defeated since she wanted to do classical but couldn't afford CC's tuition...they had given her the impression that CC was the only way to properly do classical ed ) so I offered to meet with them to try to help them to get their bearings and put them in contact with other groups that I felt would be conducive to their visions of how they wanted to run their homeschool (some of them would have been unhappy with our particular co-op due to different academic goals or philosophies). I didn't give them all the answers, nor did I tell them that the way I was homeschooling was the best for them...I simply listened to them and let them know that there are others out there that would be there for support.

 

I know that not every homeschooler needs or wants this type of support and community but there are many who do.  It doesn't have to come at a huge cost though.  

 

I wonder what the difference is between areas that don't have a supportive community vs. those that do.  

 

 

I think the draw of for many people around here is this - a simple, almost desperate, desire for community and support.

 

It is so hard to find homeschoolers here who value academics.  We do not have any tutorials here, although there are plenty within an hour drive. They are $250-$600 per class.

 

It is so difficult to find someone who can mentor you a little or even just chat with you about things like Algebra, college apps, or even 1st grade science! much less anything deeper, since so many of the homeschoolers here do not understand the difference between learning and doing a curriculum.  VERY few people here teach anything. (And no we have no unschoolers. Well, a tiny group that sort of hides themselves, lol.)

 

The few academic homeschoolers who are here are oddly...competitive, for lack of a better word.  There is little sharing possible there since most expect their kids to be completely independent, and use curriculum that requires this independence. Or they dual enroll for every subject the last two years.

 

There literally is no support here for learning to teach or facilitate learning in your own children. 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

His has been an interesting thread. We have many CC folks in our community. Most parents in it that I've run across have kids younger than mine. Even though it sounds like tutors need not have knowledge or experience to tutor, the parents that I have met seem quite capable and knowledgeable. My guess would be that a parent is tapped to be a tutor in an area of knowledge- at least around here. I had no idea it was a business or expensive though! Not for my family, but happy it works for some.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The irony is that unless CC imports people from other counties, the same people who you describe right now will be the people tutoring and forming the community. I am not sure a Foundations manual, a three-day practicum, and a few webinars are going to change that scenario dramatically. I am pretty sure that almost all publishers who write curriculum for home school parents desire to "equip parents in the teaching of their children." A lot of publishers have Yahoo sites and parents who've volunteered to field questions, in addition to reps on hand during business hours.

 

Maybe CC should get more in the business of producing co-op materials if their vision is to help develop communities as a way to support homeschool families. What would CC look like without the required licensing of communities? The more I think about it, some of the issues are around the heavy-handed controlling nature of some of their policies and the exclusive usage of certain materials (to be used only a certain way) only within communities. For example, I am referring to mandating that all of your kids be enrolled to tutor challenge, mandating that one person teach 6 subjects (to me that makes quality control or achieving a certain standard almost impossible), not allowing groups to form their own fee structures/division of labor. IEW supports co-ops by the way they offer to sell the .PDF handouts and the allowance of their the videos to be shown in a group setting. They don't go around and make sure that every co-op using their materials makes all the kids use all the dress-ups in every paragraph! They have an instructor certification program, but from what I understand, it is optional. If anything, it does give people some credentialing to charge money for teaching the IEW program.

 

It sounds like CC is strengthening that regional administrative layer to make sure groups operate uniformly, follow the protocols, have more consistency and quality control between communities. I know that it is being structured this way for accountability, but when does accountability cross over to control? Does everything need to be done exactly how one person envisions it on a national scale?  While that is their right to do so, I have a feeling that is where the IRS designation for independent contractors is going to be a huge expensive issue if it is ever challenged. While I am not an accountant or tax attorney, I have had several discussions with our personal accountant over who can be designated an independent contractor. Individual autonomy, not being told how to do a certain job, using your own supplies, etc. are major factors in determining someone's tax status. I would think most teacher-paid co-ops can do this, because their teachers are not being told exactly when, what, and how they have to teach a subject. They probably agree on a curriculum and then the teacher has the freedom to use their specialized training to teach as they see fit. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there is some truth to the thought that some people are attracted to CC because someone tells them exactly what to do and when to do it. They place their trust in the system and like the people they meet who are using the exact same system. There is a feeling of safety and assurance of a job well done due to its objective nature. My child memorizes X,Y, and Z and we have a nice social outlet = feelings of a good home school year. 

 

Please forgive me if this is perceived as being critical of the actual families who choose to do CC. I am happy it works for some, but I involve myself more in this issue because of the aggressive marketing techniques, the impact it has on the larger home school movement, and all those new home school moms...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like CC is strengthening that regional administrative layer to make sure groups operate uniformly, follow the protocols, have more consistency and quality control between communities. I know that it is being structured this way for accountability, but when does accountability cross over to control? Does everything need to be done exactly how one person envisions it on a national scale?  While that is their right to do so, I have a feeling that is where the IRS designation for independent contractors is going to be a huge expensive issue if it is ever challenged. While I am not an accountant or tax attorney, I have had several discussions with our personal accountant over who can be designated an independent contractor. Individual autonomy, not being told how to do a certain job, using your own supplies, etc. are major factors in determining someone's tax status. I would think most teacher-paid co-ops can do this, because their teachers are not being told exactly when, what, and how they have to teach a subject. They probably agree on a curriculum and then the teacher has the freedom to use their specialized training to teach as they see fit. 

 

From what I hear, the IRS is really going after this and is much stricter than they once were.  I know of several organizations that are potentially going to be in trouble at some point for this, although I really don't know the details of how they structured things. 

 

One former Foundations Director that I knew of never did issue 1099-MISC forms in the years they were involved, which I know was wrong. And I don't know if there's ever been a specific ruling by the IRS of how CC is structured or not.  The Foundations/Essentials level is of course more at risk than Challenge Directors who are paid and then teach all or nearly all of the seminars themselves.

 

I do know that one local independent group (not CC) with paid classes went to a system where parents pay a registration fee to the group, and then tuition directly to the teacher in order to keep the relationship clear.  The teachers set the curriculum in that group.  

 

Carol Topp at www.homeschoolcpa.com has an excellent e-book on paying teachers in a homeschool co-op, if anyone is curious. She tends to be on the conservative side with her advice, which is fine IMHO.  She has a lot of experience and understands the IRS rulings far better than the rest of us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another issue that hasn't been touched on is the content of the history sentences and history timeline song (which covers all the major events from ancient through modern times), which out of context especially, can be quite disturbing to young children. I've already heard from two moms that their sons (ages 6 and 7) had really bad reactions (crying, fearful, upset) to a couple of them. For one, it was the sentence about beheading Marie Antoinette. For the other, it was about dropping the atom bomb. And even mentioning Hitler as early age four (since that's the youngest age group in Foundations) seems out of whack to me.

 

In weighing whether to continue next year, I read through the content for Cycle 3 (American History), and wasn't impressed with the memory work in any of the subjects. And for the history sentences, I was even more bothered by how quickly it moves through the history of the USA without presenting context than I have been for medieval times. Probably because it hits closer to home, so to just graze over these heavy facts (Civil War, Vietnam, etc.), and without regard for the age of the children, doesn't seem right. I will be in SOTW 3 with my 9 and 7 yo children, so that will only take us to 1850, saving most of the mature content for the following year, when both will be more ready to delve into that a bit. 

 

My dilemma (hence my 99% remark in my previous comment) is whether to enroll my oldest in Challenge A, if our community even has that option (some people drive to SF but I'm not going to). The only reason I would is because I really value her current tutor (I've described him earlier in this thread, so I won't go into more detail here) and think he could work wonders with the materials combined with his own knowledge. But it is not known at this time whether he will tutor it. I had offered to teach one subject to help him decide to do it, but since it isn't math or Latin, I don't know whether CC would even allow that, which is of course irksome.

 

Challenge really is a different animal from Foundations (allowing that the memory work is called up into application), though I definitely don't see Essentials as being the bridge to it (from my brief and torturous experience tutoring it) except maybe for students who aren't language-oriented and learn better from a technical/scientific approach. Then again, I only know Challenge on paper, and haven't actually sat in on a class, but I suspect that its effectiveness would depend heavily on the tutor. It would make more sense to let there be team teaching, as others have said, rather than making one parent teach all six subjects. How can a homeschooling parent with younger children possibly find time to prep for that, spend a whole day teaching it, and still be able to teach their own kids?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just have to say, on the subject of "keeping out the riff-raff"- if the tutors are mostly moms who are doing it because they can't afford the tuition otherwise.....aren't THEY the riff-raff?

 

So that it is abundantly clear.....I do NOT think that, but going othe premise offered earlier.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just have to say, on the subject of "keeping out the riff-raff"- if the tutors are mostly moms who are doing it because they can't afford the tuition otherwise.....aren't THEY the riff-raff?

 

So that it is abundantly clear.....I do NOT think that, but going othe premise offered earlier.....

No, because as I just clarified- it is *not* not being able to afford CC that (in my opinion/mind) riff-raff- it is the character and behavior of the people that I think are riff-raff.

 

Any mom willing to put forth the effort to be a tutor does not fall under riff-raff in my book.

 

Again, I am not saying that *just because* someone can't afford CC (or uses public transportation) that they are riff-raff.

 

I am saying that the people that I want to stay away from, what I consider riff-raff, have these things in common- they would never pony up the cash, nor the effort, to participate in CC- and I enjoy that aspect of it.

 

In my 4 years of CC- I have never seen nor heard of the antics that I talked about in our CC community. Everyone participates, everyone contributes... There is no drama, no gossip, no major problems- and women that are extremely intelligent and are very committed to the (top-notch) education of their children. We have conversations about politics, religion, literature, current events, etc. and they are always respectful, even when not everyone has the same opinion.

 

When my moms sign up for a field trip- they keep their word, and show up. If they need to cancel- they do it as soon as possible.

 

Starting CC was a breath of fresh air for us. I am so glad that I found it, and, that our community is run so well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...