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SparklyUnicorn

Is classical conversations a cult..or product..or..

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My older kid has been doing his math classes at the CC.  Once he got past algebra 2 I was too much out of my element (but I took the math classes at the CC separately from him as well because I wanted to learn too).  That's it though.  I'll be honest though and say if I could afford more than that I probably would go for it because I am just TIRED and kinda burnt.  It's hard to do it all with my kids sometimes. 

 

In this post, CC is Classical Conversations. Btw, I've followed some of your posts and mentioned to my daughter about taking the same classes as her at the community college. She was all for it!

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ETA: Wow, this turned out long.

 

I don't think I'm considered an old schooler as I didn't start homeschooling until the early 2000's. Dancer (17) has taken all her classes at home except for two years at charter schools. We've done some outsourcing with VHG, but we quickly found that live options don't work, and she always does the classes at her own pace (there are AYOP classes as well, and there are usually no due dates). She currently takes de courses for a certificate in baking (not elective credits as she doesn't need them), but all her core courses are at home, some self-designed. She doesn't fit in any box. 

 

I do remember doing co-op things when she was younger. They consisted of someone offering a class they were planning on teaching their own children, and inviting others to join them. I remember offering an art class, and also remember people offering geography and book clubs, and such like. That was the extent of our co-ops. The Christian group had a more "formal" coop, done at a member's house, as well as PE in the park, but I don't know what's happened to that. It stopped about 3-4 years ago. I recently found out there is a CC group in our city, and seems that's where everyone migrated. I briefly considered it for my 1st grader, but figured she wouldn't fit in that box either.

 

I've been a moderator for a local email group for several years now, with over 200 families. There are park days and such, but I rarely see teens. When I've offered meetups or discussions on homeschooling high school, I've had 1-2 families show up. I recently offered a meeting with the dual credit enrollment coordinator at the community college, and I have 14 teens and their families signed up. 

 

Homeschoolers that don't outsource are out there, but I think because there aren't the support meetings and things like that as common, methods aren't being discussed as much locally. They get drawn more into the formal groups like CC, because there are the meetings and explanations on how they work. Community is built in with those types of groups, and for new families that is important. I know of two families with young children putting their kids in school this year because there just wasn't the support this year. (One of the families had her daughter in the same dance class as mine this past year, and I never knew she homeschooled!) Strangely, when I did offer support meetings, the numbers started dwindling so much, only my best friend's family was coming. I finally started working (but still homeschooled) and just stopped offering them. That was years ago.

Edited by Renai
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So, yeah, what is "old school"? A time period, or just a philosophy born from a time? Because there was a wide variety among my fellow homeschool-ees. And my "old school" mom would have been all over a co-op like CC (except for the price, lol, but she probably would have tried to be a teacher, oh good Lord...).

 

CC is new in that it is nationally-run and systematized (like an MLM). But I really think its popularity really does have to do with tapping into an already perceived need in the homeschool world, not creating new "I don't know how to homeschool by myself" homeschoolers.

 

:iagree:

 

Just as there's sometimes a cult-like feel to CC, there can also sometimes be just as much a cult-like feel to the "old-school" idea.

 

With CC, a family tries it, feels like it's better than sliced bread, the be-all, end-all solution to home schooling because it fills a need they've felt, maybe for a few years. Of course they tell all their friends about it! They think EVERYone will love it, and they'd love to be having that experience with their friends. They don't do it for money. There's clearly money at the corporate level, and maybe the state level, or they wouldn't do it, but the money at the director and below level is pretty insignificant, or was when I did it. They do it because they are "true believers" in this new thing they've discovered!   I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Most of us go through at least one thing or one experience that we just have to tell everyone we know about bec we're so sure they'll love it, too.

 

With the cult of "old-schooling," I think it's more a nostalgia on the part of those who did home school with no co-ops, no outside classes of any sort.  Doing something like that, completely on your own, is HARD!  It was before the internet and there weren't even many books with advice on how to do it.  When you make your own way, successfully, through something hard, you look back at it with great satisfaction. It really was a good experience for you and your children because everyone learned something about hard work, beyond whatever subject matter content you studied.  You wish others could have that same end result.

 

So, any model of education can become cult-like. I can understand a person's excitement over this or that or the other way of doing something like home schooling. It worked very well for her, she wants to share it with everyone out of love for others and out of excitement about something that filled a significant need for her.

 

What really bothers me is when a person says or implies that THEIR way is the single BEST and ONLY way to do something for every parent and every child out there. I hate threads that devolve into "YOU aren't REALLY home schooling (if you're doing it differently than I did it), you're ...." fill in the blank. "You're public schooling." "You're doing school at home." "You're outsourcing everything." "You're....."    Then the rest of the thread is people feeling like they have to justify why they outsource one or all classes or why they use a co-op or why they use a class at a local hybrid....  Basically, why they do anything at all other than do every last bit on their own, at home, independent of any other home schooler.

 

 

ETA:  I should add.... I think any of these different approaches to home schooling can work out successfully, but I don't think there is any ONE method that will work out successfully for EVERY parent, or EVERY family, or EVERY child. That's why it's so important that advocates of all the different variations are engaged and available to talk about their experience.

 

It's only unproductive, and damaging even, when an advocate of any particular method states or implies that if the parent does not use her particular method, the parent is failing, or not providing as good an education or her child, or not REALLY home schooling.

Edited by yvonne
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My dd who will be leaving for college in a few weeks and will be attending on full scholarship has never stepped foot inside of a classroom.  She took an online DE stats class this spring and had a 100 avg.  :001_rolleyes:  FWIW, I am not worried about her at all and she has signed up for 300 and 400 level classes.  :001_cool:

 

Isn't this the daughter who did university language classes in high school?  I know she completely self-studied to a certain point, but didn't she eventually take university classes as a high schooler, too?   Or were those online?

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Isn't this the daughter who did university language classes in high school?  I know she completely self-studied to a certain point, but didn't she eventually take university classes as a high schooler, too?   Or were those online?

 

No, she never took any university classes.  She took Russian for 4 yrs with Julia Denne and tested into 400 level Russian.  She self-studied French to fluency and then spent a couple of yrs just reading lit and conversing with a recent French immigrant.  She was not a tutor or teacher.  Just the wife of someone who moved here for work and missed her kids and grandkids and enjoyed time with dd.

 

Other than her classes with Mrs. Denne and the stats course she took online this spring through our local community college, she didn't take any classes outside of our home.

 

ETA: My other kids have DE in lots of classes.  My current college sr took numerous math and physics classes at our local university, etc.  I have nothing against outsourcing.  My dd just didn't want to.  She wanted a unique education that was centered around what she wanted to study, so that is what we did.  My frustration is with the constant mantra that exists today that you NEED outside validation and outsourced classes in order for colleges to accept what was done at home.  That is not our experience, either with my kids that graduated a decade ago or my dd that graduated this yr.  

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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:iagree:

 

 

With the cult of "old-schooling," I think it's more a nostalgia on the part of those who did home school with no co-ops, no outside classes of any sort.  Doing something like that, completely on your own, is HARD!  It was before the internet and there weren't even many books with advice on how to do it.  When you make your own way, successfully, through something hard, you look back at it with great satisfaction. It really was a good experience for you and your children because everyone learned something about hard work, beyond whatever subject matter content you studied.  You wish others could have that same end result.

 

 

What really bothers me is when a person says or implies that THEIR way is the single BEST and ONLY way to do something for every parent and every child out there. I hate threads that devolve into "YOU aren't REALLY home schooling (if you're doing it differently than I did it), you're ...." fill in the blank. "You're public schooling." "You're doing school at home." "You're outsourcing everything." "You're....."    Then the rest of the thread is people feeling like they have to justify why they outsource one or all classes or why they use a co-op or why they use a class at a local hybrid....  Basically, why they do anything at all other than do every last bit on their own, at home, independent of any other home schooler.

 

Thank you for saying this.  I was thinking similarly.  When you have new homeschoolers who buy into the thought that you're only homeschooling if you do it ALL yourself, then you're going to get what we see a lot of - people quitting in the junior high and high school years because it becomes quickly obvious that one person cannot do it all.  I outsourced all of ds -16 classes this year.  I had no idea how to give him a good quality high school course.  And no, he didn't have the motivation to learn a subject at that level himself.  There's not a lot of support for the high school level and homeschool conventions are useless for that age group since the seminars are filled up with things like "How to train your boys to be knights" or "How to be the best homemaker/homeschool/super mom that you can be".   :glare: I have done what was best for my children's education - not what matches up to my own ideals.  

 

My ideal would have been a child who was self motivated in high school to learn subjects on his own and do it well - or at least find mentors to learn from.  My next best was that he would have mentors through online Christian classes.  What we are winding up with is dual enrollment because he is zoning out with online classes, and I can't find a mentor/tutor who will meet with him weekly to give him the education ds wants.  He needs live classes with real in person teachers.  My ideals for what things would look like as a homeschooler have changed radically as I have figured out what each of my children needs.  I'm glad to have choices and I really don't care if someone says I'm not a "true" homeschooler.  I'm not.  I'm just doing the best education for each of my children with each of their need.  

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I was hoping maybe she'd done online French lit courses from some university! I'd have jumped at looking into that opportunity for my kids!!

 

It is seriously impressive that she had the stamina and perseverance to self-study to the level of French that she did!! Congrats to her for doing it! Congrats to you for supporting her in finding a way to achieve her goals!

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Yvonne, I understand what you're saying, but your post is another reminder that old schoolers aren't going to have anyone asking us how we did it - not when the answer is that we had no coops and emphatically did not want them (especially for elementary).

 

I really wonder whether traditional hs'ing will be popular, or even known, in the future. I don't care as much as I used to, but I do still worry about the special needs students and other outliers who will always need one one on tutoring and extreme flexibility. Will their parents recognize the hs'ing option, and be able to find resources and support in the age of CC, UMS, Schole groups, Tapestry coops, et cetera?

Yes, I have a 2e son with a reading, handwriting, and mathematics disability.  I fully accepted the homeschool option by 5th grade and pulled him from the classroom at the beginning of 7th grade.  My extrovert took some convincing.  The cover that we use accommodates with extra test-taking time and any classroom or testing supports that I request within reason.  This business is sorted prior to class, and if the teacher isn't thrilled to work with DS, well he doesn't sit the class.  DS types his test answers and uses an Echo Smartpen during lecture.

 

The first 3 years that we homeschooled, DS worked with outside tutors for reading and writing.  I manage the math.  My son's processing issues are a big deal coupled with the fact that my younger child has chronic health issues.  I am challenged to find local moms with a student like my DS.  

 

Programs like CC put me off entirely, and I have no desire to be a part of it; however, there is no denying that CC works for many.  To each his own....

Edited by Heathermomster
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When you have new homeschoolers who buy into the thought that you're only homeschooling if you do it ALL yourself, then you're going to get what we see a lot of - people quitting in the junior high and high school years because it becomes quickly obvious that one person cannot do it all.  

 

<snip>

 

My ideal would have been a child who was self motivated in high school to learn subjects on his own and do it well - or at least find mentors to learn from.  My next best was that he would have mentors through online Christian classes.  What we are winding up with is

 

 

<snip>

 

 My ideals for what things would look like as a homeschooler have changed radically as I have figured out what each of my children needs.  I'm glad to have choices and I really don't care if someone says I'm not a "true" homeschooler.  I'm not.  I'm just doing the best education for each of my children with each of their need.  

 

Yes!  That's the thing! It goes both ways.   People who want to do, or who do, or who have to do everything completely on their own can get discouraged to the point of giving up if they feel like they're doing their kids a disservice by not using outside resources.

 

By the same token, people who use outside resources can get just as down on themselves and what they're doing when they're made to feel like they're doing something "wrong" or like they aren't "really" home schooling unless they do it totally on their own.

 

Regarding ideals....  I wonder if that's the case for many people who home school... that they start out with that ideal... the self-motivated child, learning for the sake of learning, interested/curious about a plethora of things, or so completely excited about one topic/area that they can't get enough of it, etc. 

 

Those kids exist, and I really, really wish I had one!  LOL  (This is where my own insecurity comes in.... WOULD I have had one if I'd done things differently?! I don't know. I know I've been much more relaxed with my dd, and she loves writing and spends hours and hours on it. Is that because she had time to figure that out bec I was more relaxed with her? Did I cheat my sons out of finding their passion bec I was so focused on doing the best I could for them? Is that ironic, or what?! Fortunately, in spite of my possible mistakes with my oldest, they've found a passion for speech & debate, so maybe kids can overcome their parents' mistakes.)

 

Like you, my approach to home schooling has changed over time.

 

Edited by yvonne
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I really feel like talking about high school age or level kids as if they are the same as younger kids is a little misleading.  That's an age when in earlier times, they might be in a college prearing for university, they could be working at a trade along side a parent or mentor, they might be married or going into the military.  I think that a parent to supply all of the education at that point in life would actually be uncommon.

 

At a younger age, its different.  I feel like I fall in between - I wish parents didn't feel like they need to spend money on outside "products".  People can do more than they think.  But at the same time, I'm essentially a communitarian, not someone who believes we live in isolation as families.  Including with education.

 

I think its really the commercialization of it that bothers me.

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I agree.  And I'm generally not interested in outsource-schooling for my own family (foreign language immersion would be the one exception, since I only speak English fluently  :tongue_smilie:).  That said......

 

 

....I know a few fantastic homeschooling families who do a significant amount of "outsourcing" with their middle/high school-aged kids, and it's been great for them.  Their kids love it, the parents are still very much involved, and it works. 

 

I can't picture it being great for me, but that's just me.  Part of the draw of homeschooling for me is the opportunity to learn alongside my kids. CC is the closest I've gotten to "outsourcing" and, as I've said above, CC really isn't outsourcing.  At all. The model is intended to equip parents with confidence to know that they can do it on their own, even if they've never studied classically themselves.  

 

I understand what you're saying but would point out, it's not really about you.  IMO, if one of your goals of homeschooling high school is to learn alongside your kids, I would really say that seems like the wrong goal. 

 

High School should be about you giving your kids the best start in life they could have.  It's just not about you.  For some kids, like 8Fills, that will mean staying home because they are happy, involved in society, AND have a mom that somehow figured out how to give them an academic edge (and then some)....for my kids it involves a lot of outsourcing, and starting community college early....for other kids it may involve CC,....

 

But it should be about that particular child, in the context of what your entire family can deliver and handle ...not about you. 

 

Not being mean...just saying that is a terrible reason to do anything for your teens.  They have to be delivered to the world as healthy and ready as they can be.  

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My problem, and I think THE problem with CC is:

Too many Rules

Too much corporate involvement

MLM style marketing techniques

Encouragement of community Splits (so people can MAKE MONEY) - in our area CC groups with as little as 15 kids have people split off to become "Directors" of new groups....makes no sense.  It happens constantly, every year.  

AGGRESSIVE and annoying marketing, CC "Info Meetings"

Hardly-trained "tutors" that newbies think are somehow experienced or knowledgeable (you might get someone truly knowledgeable but that will be a total accident.)

 

 

Plus these additional issues:

Lock-Step curriculum at the Challenge and partially, Essentials Levels

All the downfalls of a UM School without the benefits 

So far behind in Math and Science

 

 

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My problem, and I think THE problem with CC is:

Too many Rules

Too much corporate involvement

MLM style marketing techniques

Encouragement of community Splits (so people can MAKE MONEY) - in our area CC groups with as little as 15 kids have people split off to become "Directors" of new groups....makes no sense. It happens constantly, every year.

AGGRESSIVE and annoying marketing, CC "Info Meetings"

Hardly-trained "tutors" that newbies think are somehow experienced or knowledgeable (you might get someone truly knowledgeable but that will be a total accident.)

 

 

Plus these additional issues:

Lock-Step curriculum at the Challenge and partially, Essentials Levels

All the downfalls of a UM School without the benefits

So far behind in Math and Science

I generally agree with the negatives you listed. However, most people who do CC don't experience much of that.

 

I was part of a group of four years and used only the segments that I needed to fill in my curriculum goals. It was wonderful and worth every pemny. So even though the corporate policies may be bad, many of the local groups function well and are a good benefit to their communities.

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 So even though the corporate policies may be bad, many of the local groups function well and are a good benefit to their communities.

 

That was my experience, too.  The local groups and the directors I've known have been wonderful!   Foundations and Essentials definitely filled a need for us at the time we were involved!

 

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The model is intended to equip parents with confidence to know that they can do it on their own, even if they've never studied classically themselves.

But they aren't doing it on their own...they're using CC. Parents go to practicums, they use tutors and pre-selected curriculum to teach their kids. And CC was specifically advertised to me as not having to do it on my own because they had a model for me to use and a community to homeschool with and accountability to get specific stuff done every week under their direction. It was billed as pretty much the opposite of homeschooling on my own.

 

I'm not against outsourcing, we outsource a couple things. I don't design my own curriculum or anything like that. But if someone wanted to homeschool on their own, plan classes, design classes, choose their kids' ability level, etc...CC is probably the last place they should go. It's highly formulaic and generally inflexible. I found out CC was less flexible than my local Christian school, in fact. But maybe CC's age requirements have eased up since I last looked into it.

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I love the title to this thread.   We did it for one year because all our friends were doing it.  I dislike it because directors/tutors get into for the money/to pay for their own CC and their motives get muddy.  Also, if you get a bad tutor, you are out of luck.  I endured a whole year of grammar and IEW being taught blatantly incorrect to my kiddos.  I wanted to scream!!  I can see the benefit of community big time.  I actually considered it again because we are so lonely.  Then I got a hold of myself!  There are a lot of positives, but the negatives for us were so negative they could not be overlooked. 

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She did take CLEPs and is entering with sophomore standing. The 300 and 400 level courses were based on placement tests. (She placed into 400 level Russian but opted for a 300 level lit class.)

:) Do you have a lot of other homeschooling friends following a similar path or you pretty much on your own?

I have very few homeschooling friends, but they all do the same thing I do. Different curriculum of course, but all at home.

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Aw shucks. But I'd love to hear more... :001_smile: Your approach to homeschooling (from other posts/threads) is one that really resonates with me. So I'm a bit baffled by the bolded above.

 

Spinoff-thread? PM?

Read her book! It's well worth it.

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We don't do outside classes. CC isn't a thing here in aus. There are some co ops but that's not our thing.

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We don't do co-ops or online classes, either.  I think we're an endangered species.  By high school, it feels like everyone's outsourcing most of their classes.  Which is perfectly fine.  They're allowed to do what they need to do for their kids!  Homeschooling is definitely moving in that direction.  But, it does feel lonely when the kids are in high school - especially on here looking for threads about 11th grade and 12th grade.  It seems like there are lots of posters on the 9th grade/10th grade threads.  By 11th grade, there might be 2 people posting.  Oh, well, I guess I will be the 3rd weirdo posting on those 11th grade threads next year!   :tongue_smilie:

Edited by Evanthe
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But maybe CC's age requirements have eased up since I last looked into it.

Based on an information meeting I went to during parent practicum, the age requirements have definitely NOT eased up. I think they are actually more strict now. I remember there being an explanation, but I can't remember what.

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My problem, and I think THE problem with CC is:

Too many Rules

Too much corporate involvement

MLM style marketing techniques

Encouragement of community Splits (so people can MAKE MONEY) - in our area CC groups with as little as 15 kids have people split off to become "Directors" of new groups....makes no sense.  It happens constantly, every year.  

AGGRESSIVE and annoying marketing, CC "Info Meetings"

Hardly-trained "tutors" that newbies think are somehow experienced or knowledgeable (you might get someone truly knowledgeable but that will be a total accident.)

 

 

Plus these additional issues:

Lock-Step curriculum at the Challenge and partially, Essentials Levels

All the downfalls of a UM School without the benefits 

So far behind in Math and Science

 

I actually agree with all of the bolded above, though I'd add that marketing itself doesn't annoy me; just certain marketing ads and tactics.   :001_smile:   The extent to which those negatives impact my own community will definitely affect my decision to be part of CC in future years.  So far, though, my experience has been similar to Mrs. Twain and Yvonne (quoted below.)  Regarding traditional co-ops, SWB mentioned (in one of her 2015 online conference discussions...I forget which one) that, for her, co-ops just didn't work....she'd find she was giving far more to the program than her family gained back (my paraphrase.)  And I agree that that can be a perennial problem with organized groups; that's why I turned down other co-op options in my area (there are many) for years.    However, in our current CC community,  my family is definitely gaining back far more from the program than I have to put in to "maintaining" the program.  I don't say that because I'm a "dewy eyed-newbie-needing-hand-holding" or because have a stake in "selling" CC to anyone (I'm not, and I don't).  I say that because the OP asked, and this is my experience. :001_smile:  

-----

As one negative, you mention "hardly-trained "tutors" that newbies think are somehow experienced or knowledgeable (you might get someone truly knowledgeable but that will be a total accident."  You've had this experience? I'm sorry to hear that.  Honestly, looking at the tutors in my own community (Foundations/Essentials) and the several communities around us (which include Challenge groups), I see dedicated mothers and fathers with college and graduate degrees from top schools across many fields --science, music,drama, art, theology -- including ivy leagues; several are successful business owners, two three that I know of are published in their field; a majority of our tutors last year had a background in education, and two had extensive experience as teachers in a prestigious local private school before they had children of their own.  Did any of these parents need these 'trophies' to be successful homeschoolers? Absolutely not.  Are they stretched beyond their own fields of expertise to guide students in subjects that were sometimes unfamiliar to them, both at home and in CC?  Of course. Aren't we all, though?  Isn't this what we are striving for with our own children?  The curiosity to learn, to grow?  The capacity to tackle new challenges? The confidence to know that they have the tools to accomplish it successfully?  This is what I desire for my own children, and it is what I attempt to model for them in my own life.  I'm grateful to the parents in my community who are doing the same.  My children benefit when they see a novelist teach them a lesson on thermodynamics.  My children benefit when they see a high-school friend win national recognition from a prestigious society because HE was interested in the subject and equipped to pursue it, even though his parents were not experts.  My children benefit when they hear me answer, "I don't know...let's figure it out!"  

 

One absolutely does not need CC (or any other curriculum or program) to accomplish these goals.   But I'm grateful for the real people in my real community who share these goals with me. I would not even know these families otherwise, and certainly wouldn't find time to connect with them were it not for CC's simple plug-n-play organizational structure.  

 

And if a parent's goal is to find an expert to teach their child in one subject or another (another great way to do things, by the way), then do NOT do CC.  That's definitely not what CC is, and in my experience it's not what CC claims to be.  If I continue to utilize CC into the Challenge years (and as I've said in earlier posts, the jury is still out on this)  it will be because CC can provide a thriving community within which my children can exercise their skills in logic and rhetoric. That matters to me, and while I am able to provide it effectively at home (5 kids=community :D), I certainly don't mind tackling it with other like-minded parents and children at my side. There are some truly awesome homeschooling mamas and papas out there.   One thing I won't do is have my child enroll in Challenge so that they can, say, take a class in pre-Calculus.  If I want them to take a class in pre-Calculus and they are ready to take a class in pre-Calculus, I will teach them pre-Calculus at home. Probably with a lot of help from dh and Kahn Academy.  ;)  

 

 

 

I generally agree with the negatives you listed. However, most people who do CC don't experience much of that.

 

I was part of a group of four years and used only the segments that I needed to fill in my curriculum goals. It was wonderful and worth every pemny. So even though the corporate policies may be bad, many of the local groups function well and are a good benefit to their communities.

 

:iagree:

 

That was my experience, too.  The local groups and the directors I've known have been wonderful!   Foundations and Essentials definitely filled a need for us at the time we were involved!

 

 

:iagree:

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We don't do co-ops or online classes, either.  I think we're an endangered species.  By high school, it feels like everyone's outsourcing most of their classes.  Which is perfectly fine.  They're allowed to do what they need to do for their kids!  Homeschooling is definitely moving in that direction.  But, it does feel lonely when the kids are in high school - especially on here looking for threads about 11th grade and 12th grade.  It seems like there are lots of posters on the 9th grade/10th grade threads.  By 11th grade, there might be 2 people posting.  Oh, well, I guess I will be the 3rd weirdo posting on those 11th grade threads next year!   :tongue_smilie:

I'll be there with you. ::)

 

We do co-op, but I have never stopped thinking of it as enrichment for us. My kids do take science for the most part there, but I am still in charge of what they do, what kind of grade or credit I want to give, and how much we use the teacher's syllabus, etc.  I can base my classes around co-op or just enjoy what we get there. That is the kind of co-op I have stayed with. I'll be planning 11th grade after this sophomore years.  I don't outsource for paid classes or online stuff so far. We may try a DE at some point. But so far, I love how we have always homeschooled and have no plans to change it. Most of the high schoolers we've known graduate have used DE, tech schools, co-op, and a combination of them all with home classes too. But we still have community with them. We do field trips, family stuff, church and other things to keep the kids together. It works out. Each kid is into something and eventually stays most involved there. We are the only ones we know that have stuck with scouting long term. Our troop is now all public schoolers. But we have a great bond with them. My kids make friends at scout camps.  They are in dance classes and spend a lot of time with those kids at classes and performances. 

 

The hsers we have known are all into their own things too. It is kind of natural at this age I think.  But I'll still be here to be your number 4 planning next year! 

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But they aren't doing it on their own...they're using CC. Parents go to practicums, they use tutors and pre-selected curriculum to teach their kids. And CC was specifically advertised to me as not having to do it on my own because they had a model for me to use and a community to homeschool with and accountability to get specific stuff done every week under their direction. It was billed as pretty much the opposite of homeschooling on my own.

 

I'm not against outsourcing, we outsource a couple things. I don't design my own curriculum or anything like that. But if someone wanted to homeschool on their own, plan classes, design classes, choose their kids' ability level, etc...CC is probably the last place they should go. It's highly formulaic and generally inflexible. I found out CC was less flexible than my local Christian school, in fact. But maybe CC's age requirements have eased up since I last looked into it.

 

By "on your own" do you mean in isolation? without curriculum? 

 

My last post (maybe?) is a reply to this one too.  Just to add:

 

Certainly CC has community, so it's not on-your-own in that sense.  CC provides a partial curriculum (of sorts) so it's not on-your-own in that sense either; working in a group of any kind is self-limiting. (You can't discuss a book if you all read different ones. You can't easily encourage one another in memory-work if you are all memorizing different sets of information.) CC is on-your-own in the sense that they believe parents have the capacity to teach their children classically and effectively without "experts."  Hence, parent-tutors who introduce information and skills to the kids, but parent-teachers who take those kids back home and teach them the rest of the week.  

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looking at the tutors in my own community (Foundations/Essentials) and the several communities around us (which include Challenge groups), I see dedicated mothers and fathers with college and graduate degrees from top schools across many fields --science, music,drama, art, theology -- including ivy leagues; several are successful business owners, two three that I know of are published in their field;

 

 

 

 

:iagree:  I've seen some very dedicated "tutors" with a strong background in their field who are also excellent teachers, passionate & excited about teaching young people about their area of interest!  It can be a hard combination to find anywhere--CC, community colleges, co-ops, online, etc.  I'm all for making use of such resources, wherever I happen to find them, if I can find them at all and if we can afford them!

 

There are also mediocre "tutors," just as there are mediocre teachers out there.

 

That's why it's important to know whom you're "hiring," whether they are a CC tutor, a college professor, a community college instructor, a co-op instructor, etc.  Just bec a person home schools and just bec s/he is willing to be a "tutor" at CC does not automatically mean that they are a great/good tutor.

 

 

 

ETA: And regarding the idea in other posts that people become directors or tutors just for the money or just so they can get "free" CC classes for their kids..... Someone who tutored figured out just how much she made by tutoring. It was something like $2/hour, including the time she spent actually working with her group on the one day/week CC met and all the time she spent on preparing to tutor.  Sure, some tutors might not do much prep at all, but they are still not raking in the bucks!

 

 

I really think most local campuses are a serious labor of love for most of the tutors & directors involved. It has to be.  They could make a whole lot more working at the local grocery store if they were "in it for the money."

 

Edited by yvonne
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That's why it's important to know whom you're "hiring," whether they are a CC tutor, a college professor, a community college instructor, a co-op instructor, etc.  Just bec a person home schools and just bec s/he is willing to be a "tutor" at CC does not automatically mean that they are a great/good tutor.

 

 

As someone who has been a professor all along while homeschooling, I never quite got why folks thought/think that every CC campus and tutor is outstanding and compatible with the parents' goals. At every college, there are good and bad professors, some are full-time and some are adjuncts. When DS graduated recently, I asked him to name his two favorite professors -- one full-time department head and one long-term adjunct. His two least favorite professors were full-time professors. And every college has it's own culture. I started at a large suburban college in face-to-face teaching having large classes of 50-80 students in a lecture hall for awhile. Then I went to a rural college close to home with smaller classes and a different feel. Now I teach for an urban online college with a very international population and students mostly in that area, but some in different parts of the U.S. and overseas. Each was a VERY different feel and experience, and I know that the students would say the same.

 

We had a mixed experience with CC. One of the saddest things to me is that the very best of the tutors over those years were all pushed out because of the rule that you had to have all of your school-aged kids in the program. That happened to me too, and quite a few parents complained to corporate, but it was a done deal. Challenge wasn't working at all for my oldest in high school, so I was out. They gave me a transition year because they were short-staffed, and then we said goodbye to CC. I couldn't see commuting as far as we did for one kid for the whole day, but we found other things locally that she liked.

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CC has too many rules for me. I homeschool b/c I like to have power over what we do- CC would take so much of my control and self-determination away. For what? I may as well put the kids in school and not worry about it if I want to let someone else tell me what I have to do. Then at least I could get a job myself that actually pays money. With my outsourced classes, I can pick and choose from a variety of providers with different rules and most of them are much more flexible. 

 

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I understand what you're saying but would point out, it's not really about you. IMO, if one of your goals of homeschooling high school is to learn alongside your kids, I would really say that seems like the wrong goal.

 

High School should be about you giving your kids the best start in life they could have. It's just not about you. For some kids, like 8Fills, that will mean staying home because they are happy, involved in society, AND have a mom that somehow figured out how to give them an academic edge (and then some)....for my kids it involves a lot of outsourcing, and starting community college early....for other kids it may involve CC,....

 

But it should be about that particular child, in the context of what your entire family can deliver and handle ...not about you.

 

Not being mean...just saying that is a terrible reason to do anything for your teens. They have to be delivered to the world as healthy and ready as they can be.

I'm really not hearing her say that it's all about her, but that being involved works for her in homeschooling her child, which is important. Now, if a child is unhappy or isn't able to learn with a certain method, the mom may need to rethink, but if learning alongside her kids makes her feel more invested in homeschooling and makes it enjoyable for her, I can't see a thing wrong with that. Honestly, homeschooling is quite a bit about the mom and if she's miserable, it may not continue.

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I'm really not hearing her say that it's all about her, but that being involved works for her in homeschooling her child, which is important. Now, if a child is unhappy or isn't able to learn with a certain method, the mom may need to rethink, but if learning alongside her kids makes her feel more invested in homeschooling and makes it enjoyable for her, I can't see a thing wrong with that. Honestly, homeschooling is quite a bit about the mom and if she's miserable, it may not continue.

 

 

Plus, this "best possible" stuff Calming Tea mentioned is not super healthy if taken to the extreme either. 

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As someone who has been a professor all along while homeschooling, I never quite got why folks thought/think that every CC campus and tutor is outstanding and compatible with the parents' goals. At every college, there are good and bad professors, some are full-time and some are adjuncts. When DS graduated recently, I asked him to name his two favorite professors -- one full-time department head and one long-term adjunct. His two least favorite professors were full-time professors. And every college has it's own culture. I started at a large suburban college in face-to-face teaching having large classes of 50-80 students in a lecture hall for awhile. Then I went to a rural college close to home with smaller classes and a different feel. Now I teach for an urban online college with a very international population and students mostly in that area, but some in different parts of the U.S. and overseas. Each was a VERY different feel and experience, and I know that the students would say the same.

 

We had a mixed experience with CC. One of the saddest things to me is that the very best of the tutors over those years were all pushed out because of the rule that you had to have all of your school-aged kids in the program. That happened to me too, and quite a few parents complained to corporate, but it was a done deal. Challenge wasn't working at all for my oldest in high school, so I was out. They gave me a transition year because they were short-staffed, and then we said goodbye to CC. I couldn't see commuting as far as we did for one kid for the whole day, but we found other things locally that she liked.

Wow they require you to put all of your kids in or none? I didn't know that. That's a bit controlling. Knowing that is enough to make me never consider them. What business is it of theirs?!

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Wow they require you to put all of your kids in or none? I didn't know that. That's a bit controlling. Knowing that is enough to make me never consider them. What business is it of theirs?!

 

Not at all the case.  Goodness, in my own community, at least four, no, five of our families, maybe more, have only a few of their school-aged children enrolled.  Pretty sure this is true of one of the big time CC blogger families, as well.  

 

If this IS a corporate policy, it's a terrible one, and no one around me is following it.   :hat:

Edited by Lotsoflittleducklings

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I would consider us completely "at-home" homeschoolers but I wonder where that line is drawn?

 

My son does one Python class through Udemy. Completely self-paced, no accountability to anyone but me, no testing or grades or anything.  About the same as if he grabbed a book and did it on his own, except he can submit a question if he has one.

 

What about things like Tai Kwan Do, swimming, and yoga?  Those are all outsourced and we consider them part of our PE, but does that mean we aren't "at-home" homschoolers?  

 

What about summer camps?  Do they count if they are just enrichment?

 

There's a very large arts co-op near me that it seems a large percentage of the local homeschoolers are involved in.  We aren't because it's not an interest of my kids, and they have fairly strict expectations for parents and kids (my Aspie wouldn't do well with the expectations in something he's not interested in).  There are a few other enrichment co-ops but most have a SOF that I refuse to sign or are too far away.  

 

CC is not a big thing around here at all.

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Not at all the case.  Goodness, in my own community, at least four, no, five of our families, maybe more, have only a few of their school-aged children enrolled.  Pretty sure this is true of one of the big time CC blogger families, as well.  

 

If this IS a corporate policy, it's a terrible one, and no one around me is following it.   :hat:

 

From what I understand, it is a corporate policy.  I know of several tutors who were excellent excellent well loved challenge tutors who loved the kids and loved what they were teaching.  They all had kids who didn't fit into the high school CC model and did other things (dual enrollment or public school mostly).  They had to stop tutoring due to that reason alone.  They were very missed because they were so good at what they did.  They actually drew people into the program because of their ability to teach this program.  So sad.

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I would consider us completely "at-home" homeschoolers but I wonder where that line is drawn?

But does it matter?

 

I would argue that way too much time is wasted and way too much resentment and division among home schoolers is created when any attempt to draw a line is made.

 

I would also argue that there is no need or productive reason to draw a line among home schoolers themselves in forums like this.

 

Sure, different states have different legal definitions of "home schooler," as some jump at the opportunity to point out.  But, when talking to other home schoolers, when bouncing ideas around about what worked best and what didn't, it doesn't matter to me. If I home school through a public charter, I can't use some of what's out there, but I still like to hear about it.  People saying they used x, but x can't be used in a public charter is one thing.  People saying they used x, but you can't use x bec "YOU'RE not REALLY home schooling" is meant to convey more than basic, factual information/advice.

Edited by yvonne
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From what I understand, it is a corporate policy.  I know of several tutors who were excellent excellent well loved challenge tutors who loved the kids and loved what they were teaching.  They all had kids who didn't fit into the high school CC model and did other things (dual enrollment or public school mostly).  They had to stop tutoring due to that reason alone.  They were very missed because they were so good at what they did.  They actually drew people into the program because of their ability to teach this program.  So sad.

 

That is sad. Did they still have younger children somewhere in the CC program?  

 

Though I'm not a fan of it, I kind of "get" why CC doesn't hire tutors who have NO children in the program.  And I kind of "get" why they don't hire tutors at levels above their own kids' enrollment level.  

But if these tutors still had kids of their own enrolled at younger levels, and had experience already at the Challenge level... well, that's ridiculous.   

 

ETA:  Just to note: this discussion is different from saying a family must enroll each and every child they ever birthed if they want to be part of CC.    I haven't seen that practiced in my community.    

Edited by Lotsoflittleducklings

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These tutors mostly had a last child who moved into other educational options or their last one graduated. I guess personally, if we ever considered this program at the upper levels, I would much rather have a tutor who wasn't actively homeschooling a bunch of children. The good tutors spend 20 hours a week preparing for a class. I wouldn't want someone equally burnt out on homeschooling as I am trying to also learn all of that material well. More power to the ones that can do it well.

 

 

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Edited by bethben
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These tutors mostly had a last child who moved into other educational options or their last one graduated. I guess personally, if we ever considered this program at the upper levels, I would much rather have a tutor who wasn't actively homeschooling a bunch of children. The good tutors spend 20 hours a week preparing for a class. I wouldn't want someone equally burnt out on homeschooling as I am trying to also learn all of that material well. More power to the ones that can do it well.

 

 

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Yup.  That's why I'm not a super big fan of those policies, especially if they are rigidly adhered to.  Though 20 hours a week seems really high for classes that are largely student-led? I personally wouldn't do that much work for the pay unless one of my own kids was directly benefitting.  Maybe not even then.  :laugh:

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Wow they require you to put all of your kids in or none? I didn't know that. That's a bit controlling. Knowing that is enough to make me never consider them. What business is it of theirs?!

 

Yes, all school-aged kids have to be in the program. I know someone who put her high school kids into Challenge so they could continue as a family even though she had them doing over half of their work elsewhere. They say it is for providing a consistent "face" to the program. I can see it somewhat, but I've never heard of a university model or private school doing that. In our county we actually have an elementary and a high school principal whose wives homeschool all of their kids, and it's not a requirement for them to have their kids in public school either.

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These tutors mostly had a last child who moved into other educational options or their last one graduated. I guess personally, if we ever considered this program at the upper levels, I would much rather have a tutor who wasn't actively homeschooling a bunch of children. The good tutors spend 20 hours a week preparing for a class. I wouldn't want someone equally burnt out on homeschooling as I am trying to also learn all of that material well. More power to the ones that can do it well.

 

When they put out the policy that the retirees could NOT be Challenge Directors, I sold all of my Challenge materials on eBay. Both of mine have graduated now, but I actively planned to be a Challenge Director at multiple campuses when I "retired" from homeschooling. In our area, there were many who did that. The existing ones were allowed to stay for awhile, but all of the ones I know who did that have moved on now.

 

Don't get me wrong, it's all good. 

Edited by G5052
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ETA:  Just to note: this discussion is different from saying a family must enroll each and every child they ever birthed if they want to be part of CC.    I haven't seen that practiced in my community.    

 

No, they've never said that families who are just enrolled have to have every child in the program.

 

Just tutors and directors have to have all of their offspring enrolled.

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Well that's just a stupid policy. I know a couple of people considering joining and am going to make sure they're aware of that policy. Why would you throw out great, loyal people who are merely exercising their choice of education for their kids, or the natural progression of that education, from a "community"?!? The very thing they're supposedly celebrating!! What a bunch of hypocrites. I think I might have to pitch Leigh what's her faces book in the trash after this.

 

I've always kept CC in the back of my head as an option if our homeschool group folds or something but this thread always makes me raise an eyebrow when it pops back up. This is the biggest flag yet.

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Just tutors and directors have to have all of their offspring enrolled.

 

 

Thanks! Yes. 

 

 

This makes more sense.  Not that I agree with the policy (I don't at all), but I appreciate you clarifying it as the actual policy CC has.  Lively debate about the merits/weaknesses of a program or curriculum are great, but I've found the threads here at WTM about CC to be so polarizing that misconceptions and misunderstandings abound.  A restriction on tutors/directors becomes incorrectly reported as a restriction on everybody, and suddenly....cult! cult!.   ;)  

 

Is this a newer policy in the history of CC, do you know? Because I suspect it may be one of several reasons why it is so difficult for newer communities to move beyond the Foundations/Essentials levels.  It makes it that much more difficult to attract potential tutors from the existing group.  

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The above is why I'm very hesitant to join at the upper levels. My ds needs people interaction. It's just such a gamble every year. The Challenge tutor could be a dud and even if they're great, there is no guarantee that they will be able to provide the next level because #1- the job is hard! It's very hard to be knowledgeable in all those subjects enough to teach them well WHILE trying to homeschool the rest of your kids. #2- the tutor restrictions are limiting so the pool of available applicants is even smaller. As I go into the junior high/high school years, if I'm going to join a community, I want to know it's still going to be there for the high school years. I know I don't "need" a co-op, but ds needs to get out of the house and have some consistent friends.

 

 

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Edited by bethben
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Is this a newer policy in the history of CC, do you know? Because I suspect it may be one of several reasons why it is so difficult for newer communities to move beyond the Foundations/Essentials levels.  It makes it that much more difficult to attract potential tutors from the existing group.  

 

Not really new. I'm thinking it started 4-6 years ago or so? Initially it was just that you had to have all of your children in the program, and then they said no retired homeschool parents a year or two later. They grandfathered in any existing Challenge Directors, but all new ones had to meet those criteria.

 

We helped start a campus over a decade ago when CC was just moving past North Carolina, and there was a lot more flexibility then. You could even enroll in Challenge part-time, picking your subjects, and you could go up or down a level. There was also more age flexibility then. Over the years it got more restrictive.

 

I questioned various things and even talked directly with members of the management team at times, but ultimately the decisions are made by the Bortins family. Given that it's a privately owned corporation, frankly they can do whatever they like. I never resented the policies. It's their show and how they support themselves. It isn't like a local homeschool group with a board and some group decision-making.

Edited by G5052
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We helped start a campus over a decade ago when CC was just moving past North Carolina, and there was a lot more flexibility then. You could even enroll in Challenge part-time, picking your subjects, and you could go up or down a level. There was also more age flexibility then. Over the years it got more restrictive.

 

 

 

 

Yes, I've increasingly thought this might be case.  My impression as I researched CC (back when deciding to join 2 years ago) was that older, established groups were thriving.  Newer groups (like ours and those in our area) have a hard time getting off the ground, moving beyond Foundations to Challenge.  We may not even have the option of Challenge for our family, and if we do, it may not be stable enough or of a high-enough quality that we would commit to it.  

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My impression as I researched CC (back when deciding to join 2 years ago) was that older, established groups were thriving.  Newer groups (like ours and those in our area) have a hard time getting off the ground, moving beyond Foundations to Challenge.  We may not even have the option of Challenge for our family, and if we do, it may not be stable enough or of a high-enough quality that we would commit to it.  

 

The group we helped start had many levels of Challenge at first, even 3 and/or 4. It was actually one of the largest Foundations/Essentials programs in the U.S. at one point. They currently have no Challenge classes.

 

The group we later went to (the first one didn't have Challenge A one year) had A, B, I, II, and III for awhile.Currently they only have B.

 

So if I had kids that age (mine are in college now), I'd certainly feel uneasy about the availability of Challenge. Certainly you can do some mix-and-match in high school, but I don't think that doing it all the way through is possible like it once was.

 

Locally, many of the groups that offered a catalogue of paid classes are struggling too though. I used to teach grade school science class through a local group that offered Pre-Algebra through Pre-Calculus, four levels of science, five levels of Spanish, and a variety of other courses. They actually shut down at the beginning of June because of lack of demand and financial issues with keeping it going. In the last year they only offered English, Spanish, and a few other classes, and friends who taught there said that the classes were really too small. Same thing with another group further away. They're continuing, but demand is down, and they've had to tighten up financially.

 

So the world of local high school classes has changed significantly in our area. I think many are going to online classes, dual enrollment, or putting them into the classroom. That affects CC too.

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This is true about many groups struggling. The one day academy co op my dd will attend next year has record low numbers. It's still enough to make it fun and keep the teachers well paid but the entire high school last year had only about 25 kids. In the past they consistently had double or more that number.

 

The Availability of online classes, many more paid co ops in general, and the starting up of two UM schools affected this change.

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I suspect that the rule about teachers/directors having to have their children enrolled also relates to tax issues. If a person didn't have their children enrolled, the IRS would more likely interpret the activity as a "job" instead of as a "hobby," and then you are looking at the types of issues that Landry had (are teachers/directors self-employed contractors or are they empoyees?)

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It's not just a hobby, it's a ministry. I just saw an ad for CC that said, "God slowly revealed to me that directing was my mission field."

 

 

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Now I'm almost feeling bad nobody's ever tried to talk me into CC! (just kidding).

 

Apparently the closest group to me is 42 miles away. Though they're listing 3 future groups that will be closer. I do hope it's not going to affect other groups in the area, but I think most of the people who would be into CC are already in some church co-ops, so I don't think it'd matter much.

They've been trying for years (since my older son was in 1st grade or so and he's a high school sophomore now) to get one started in our area.  All of the attempts have quickly fizzled out though.  It seems for CC to be successful you need folks who are both structured and able to commit and it has been my experience that the homeschoolers in our little corner of the world are (for the most part) neither, lol.

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