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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 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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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.    

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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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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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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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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?)

If the tutor has children enrolled, they get paid in the form of tuition for their kids. If they let retired homeschoolers be tutors, they would have to be paid actual money. CC is pulling off a large scale barter system and somehow getting away with it. I'm actually impressed.

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If the tutor has children enrolled, they get paid in the form of tuition for their kids. If they let retired homeschoolers be tutors, they would have to be paid actual money. CC is pulling off a large scale barter system and somehow getting away with it. I'm actually impressed.

 

No to the bolded. Tutors pay their tuition before the school year starts, as does everyone else.  They then receive paychecks throughout the year.  

 

So yes, for many tutors the money earned is intended to offset their tuition expenses.  But it's not a tuition reduction.  

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Our Foundations & Essentials Director marches to the beat of her own drum, so maybe that's why I haven't experienced some of the negative things others have outlined.

 

Tutors don't have to enroll all of their kids. No one does. The only rule is that a CC-aged child (4 & up) has to be enrolled if he/she is on campus. It prevents younger sibling from sitting in older sibling's class for free.

 

Foundations, a language arts program of your own choosing, and a math program of your own choosing is designed to be all you need. Families who use it that way dig deeper into the memory work during the week.

 

We use it as more of a supplement. My oldest is in Essentials, so that's really been the only CC item that we've hit hard.

 

I'm not sure that we'll do CC at the high school level. I like the looks of the program up through Challenge B (8th grade), but I'm not sure after that. Honestly, the big draw about Challenge B is Mock Trial.

 

I think their protocol for Challenge IV (CC's "prom" - formal dinner & trip to a musical, opera, etc) is a good opportunity, and I like the idea of having a "graduating class." Those certainly don't seem like reasons to continue through Challenge IV. Good stuff, sure, but not a justification. I just signed my oldest up for a fine arts co-op, so that might fill the "graduating class" aspect.

 

At Challenge III & IV, I've been told that you have the option to only pay for the sections you want to take. I'm no where near that point, though, so I have no real experience.

 

We only split campuses around here because there is a demand for it. Most all of the ones in my surrounding area are closed with wait lists.

 

I can definitely see pros & cons to it. We like it, but I haven't "drank the kool-aid," so to speak. My youngest has learned *tons* from it. It's been more "eh" for my oldest.

 

It certainly isn't an accredited option, and no one at my community thinks that. Not all communities are created equally, though. There's one about 30 minutes from us that has a reputation for being absolutely terrible. I could see misinformation running rampant in that community.

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You can look it up. Go to Facebook and look in the classical conversations posts. It was part of their marketing to the Facebook crowd. This was not a sarcastic post. CC is a multi-million dollar business at the corporate level and is marketed as a low paying ministry at the community level.

 

 

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Edited by bethben
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Also, I never understood how their motto is "To know God and to make Him known". There is not an emphasis on the Bible or evangelism at all at the foundation level unless the director chooses to make it an extra priority. Also, that motto has been a Youth With A Mission motto since the 1960s.

 

 

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Wait...what book? Where can we find this??

 

In 8's signature, there's a link to two of her books. 

 

I love her Homeschooling at the Helm! Wish I'd seen it back when my kids were in 4th-8th, or so.

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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

Who is making money? We just quit CC after three years. I tutored foundations the first year and the $ was almost negligible ($50 per week max). I subbed the following year because I was asked and last year I ended up filling in for a pregnant tutor who was worn out. Even though my class now had 9 kids vs 4, the pay was still $50, or less.

 

I would have quit after the first year, but my kids begged for it. I felt like they bastardized IEW (a bit) and I always felt like an outsider. Kids never made any real friends, just acquaintances.

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We used 8's Treasured Conversations and while the title makes it sound a little saccharine, it's actually super practical, easy to use (like, could not be easier to use), thorough, and accurate.  It's grammar + writing sentences and paragraphs for the 8-10 year old kid.  Basically pre-WWS.

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How do you determine a company's net worth?

I'm just going off of an article on taxes 6 years ago with Leigh Bortin's saying how if she didn't have to pay such high tax rates for her company who's profits were $1-2 million, she could afford to hire more people. Based on how CC has grown, I'm still assuming multi-million.

 

 

http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/27/pf/taxes/warren_buffett_tax_millionaires/index.htm

 

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Edited by bethben
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Who is making money? We just quit CC after three years. I tutored foundations the first year and the $ was almost negligible ($50 per week max). I subbed the following year because I was asked and last year I ended up filling in for a pregnant tutor who was worn out. Even though my class now had 9 kids vs 4, the pay was still $50, or less.

 

I would have quit after the first year, but my kids begged for it. I felt like they bastardized IEW (a bit) and I always felt like an outsider. Kids never made any real friends, just acquaintances.

The desire to become directors is largely due to a desire to make more money than one would make just tutoring or just paying . It's notthat the moms are in it for the money, but what I see around here is that they're willing to split off and become a director so that they can recoup something of the time they've spent "learning alongside" their kids.

 

Also in this model which is similar to and MLM, the higher ups profit from the splits.

 

I definitely don't think any of my friends and aquaintences are in it to make money, but the splits and the "director" model causes moms who were just paying to be in the program to become directors tonmake enough money to offset their own kids in the program.

 

Making money from working is not the problem. I pay a lot of money for high quality teachers. The problem is moms desiring to make money to

Stay in the program hurting the program itself by the fact that A. they don't have the skills, education or temperament to be a classroom teacher, and B. The splitting off

Edited by Calming Tea
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Making money from working is not the problem. I pay a lot of money for high quality teachers. The problem is moms desiring to make money to

Stay in the program hurting the program itself by the fact that A. they don't have the skills, education or temperament to be a classroom teacher, and B. The splitting off

 

When we were involved there was a LOT of pressure to become a Challenge Director. At one point it seemed like they asked nearly everyone. I could certainly see someone feeling the pressure, wanting some income to offset the expense, and thinking "I can do this" when they really maybe shouldn't.

 

As I've said before, I was asked nearly every year and for some years after we left. I was pressured to put my kid that Challenge wasn't working for back in so that I could direct, which made no sense to me.

 

Certainly I COULD have done it, but each year I evaluated and felt like it wasn't the time.

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The reviews on CC are indeed mixed. The FACTS about CC, like the reviews, are ALSO mixed.

If you are new or need a turn-key, Lock, Stock, and Barrel, all-in-one package, then this is a good choice to examine. If you NEED a homeschool community and don't otherwise have one, then it's a good choice to examine. The package curricula is pretty good- You can sure do a lot worse than CC curricula. If you have more than one child, your capital investment can be reused for each kid. CC honestly is a really good simile of Classical education, insofar as the curricula is concerned.

Finally, and this is VERY important, they bring a genuine concentrated competitive force to counter-weight the Public School system. Competition is the very thing need to improve ALL school systems from homeschool to private school to public school.

On the flip side....

If you are on a tight, tight budget, and your money is more valuable than your time, you can invent the wheel yourself and save a fortune using FREE or less expensive resources.

The Tutors are NOT teachers, although they would like you to believe the contrary. YOU, the parent, have to stay on top of this and not lean into the tutors too much. You may win the lottery and get a super brilliant, highly educated, motivated tutor that loves kids- or perhaps not. The ones I've met so far are above reproach.

Got a special needs kid or one who thrives on Montessori or Charlotte Mason? CC might be a mismatch for you. Maybe.

This IS Multi Level Marketing- make NO mistake about it.

This is a BUSINESS, not a "ministry" ("ministry" that's just giggle silly).

If you ENTER the business, and your ONLY reason for doing so is to make money, you are likely to conflate cash flow with profit. But have no fear, the IRS (and state tax agencies) won't make this mistake and will likely disallow your business losses as HOBBY losses, and therefore you lose the tax deduction if you lose money more than 3 years out of 5. This is that same way they treat Avon, Amway, etc. MLM reps during tax return examination. It's an audit flag, unless you actually make a profit. Does CC pass all 17 Independent Contractor tests? Nope. You ARE a defacto employee, so just be sure you don't get hurt on the job, because then there will be a fight over whether you're a de jure employee or not (varies by jurisdiction). Your accountant can help you with the byzantine tax rules on this "IC vs. Employee" situation. Speaking of accountants, unless you are experienced with small business bookkeeping, hire out your bookkeeping.  

The Bottom Line: It's mostly great stuff and good people. But... EYES WIDE OPEN.

I suggest googling NEGATIVE reviews. They are more telling than when everything goes well.

Read these for example:

http://www.thecorkums.com/2015/06/10/why-cc-is-on-probation-for-our-family/

http://oneduffy.blogspot.com/2013/12/cc-verify-then-trust.html

Edited by Gregkar
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