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Alternatives to CC Challenge for older students???


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So, I love the idea of CC's challenge program (love the forum, curriculum and what they do) for my 12 year old. But we are painfully uncomfortable with the cost... especially given that we have 7 children... just punching the numbers makes me nauseous... we are talking like close to $100k by the time we get all of our 7 kids through it. And we don't want to start for one what we can't provide for later ones. 

 

That said, does anyone know of any similar type programs or have ideas about planning/forming something similar? I don't want to steal or use CC's model, but just trying to find a way to benefit my children, without putting us in the poor house. 

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Just read and follow the Well Trained Mind. It provides an easy to follow at home plan for a classical education at home, complete with all subjects covered and memory work. 

 

For us, for the homeschool community aspect that a program like CC gives, we are part of a regular non Classical homeschool co-op. My kids take some core classes there and do field trips, class parties, and extra curriculars. I worry about the academics at home on our own. 

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I don't know much about CC but certain elements of The Good & the Beautiful curriculum remind me of CC. Grammar cards, geography cards, art prints, etc. It is free to download for grades 1-5 and the grade 7 level language arts download is only $15. I bought the level 7 just to see what it looks like and I am impressed!

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No, following WTM is not a substitute for Challenge. One of the distinguishing components of Challenge is working through the academics with a peer group, guided by the director. The students research science topics and present to their peers, they read and discuss literature and philosophy, they form debate teams and do a mock trial... that's just some of what I have seen in the CC group we were part of. I have not heard of a similar program anywhere. HOWEVER, I don't think it's necessarily the end-all-be-all. I think you can find those components elsewhere, just not all in the same place. Literature clubs, mock trial, youth in government, a co-op with a specific academic focus. OP, In your situation I would consider each of your children's needs and make a decision individually. It doesn't have to be for all of them and actually it is likely NOT the right program for all of them.

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Look at the resources used in Challenge (in the catalog) and you can use some of them at home, such as Lost Tools of Writing.  If you have a friend who will let you look through their Challenge guide, it will give you a feel for how things are scheduled, the types of projects that are done, etc.

 

Participating in a local speech and debate club could fulfill the public speaking/leadership element of Challenge.

 

I have 7 kids and only my oldest 2 are in CC.  They've finished Challenge A and 3 and will do Challenge B and 4 next year.  Neither has plans to complete additional challenge levels.  I might put my 3rd born in CC when he is old enough, and I feel by then I should be experienced enough to do Challenge with my younger ones at home, grouping them together for discussions and adding something like speech and debate for public speaking.  So it could be worth it to do a few Challenge levels with your older kids in order to get the guides and learn to use the materials with your younger ones.

 

The program really emphasizes thinking skills, study skills, research, and written/oral expression.  Think along those lines with whatever materials you use.

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Also - look for other challenge aged homeschoolers and see if they're interested in joining you for literature and history discussions. Continue doing your other subjects independently. It could be the best of both worlds.

 

I think something like this would be great if you can find committed homeschoolers who are interested.

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What is it you really like in the Challenge program? Is it the curriculum, the classical approach? Is it rigorous academics? Lots of that existed before CC and speech and debate is alive and well in the homeschooling community. There are several different homeschool specific leagues.

 

What you'll probably trade out is your time for the cost of the program.

 

If you want community, you could pull together a few families. Look for co-ops or form one yourself. That's what we did for years and had ah-mazing teachers and experiences like a yearly Shakespeare study & production. And this was a small co-op. 

 

You could hire out tutors and put together classes a la carte -- science classes with labs or literature studies. 

 

You could create your own book club for literature. 

 

You can participate in or establish geography bees, math competitions, science fairs, history fairs and the like for your children and other homeschoolers. See how much of this can be done with your local schools. In my county, we can participate in a yearly speech contest. 

 

ETA: Research what else is available in your area. Our county has an active teen court program with real-life misdemeanor cases, where teens can fill many court positions from bailiff to prosecutor. There are legislative programs like TeenPact, legislative page programs, all kinds of internships and volunteer opportunities and so much more. It's a big world out there, usually with more good stuff for our kids than they could ever do. 

Edited by FloridaLisa
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 we are talking like close to $100k by the time we get all of our 7 kids through it. 

 

No way!  I would take that money and put it into interest-bearing college funds for them.  I looked at the cost of the upper levels of CC - just out of curiosity - and it's the same price as a private parochial school here.

 

You have a lot of kids?  So do I.  So, we already have a peer group!  I combine my kids, so it's like they have classmates.  We do literature discussions every day and have been for years.  We did a mock trial last year in our living room.  We did a unit on logic and debate last year, also.  Like another poster mentioned, there are organizations where you can do debate/mock trial competitions.  We have a group here I'm going to see if my kids want to do.  They meet and create a bill for the state legislature. They travel to the capitol, attend a lawmaking session and watch the process firsthand.

 

Like FloridaLisa said, there are tons of competitions out there that we can participate in.  I'm going to start requiring my kids to do one competition each year - like a science fair...next fall dd12 is going to try for the Scholastic Art & Writing contest (I think that's what it's called).  DD15 is going to try the science fair at the university here.  I made a big list of competitions this spring - there's all kinds of stuff out there.

 

The rest of the curriculum - I don't see why the WTM wouldn't be a great education.  

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We are in CC and honestly we are in it and stay due to all of our friends in the program. For my oldest she's very social and having her friends around her and seeing all the kids doing the work encourages her and she needs it. My second daughter is advanced in academics and I actually think challenge wouldn't challenge her enough. I think one could easily surpass the program offered in challenge on your own. Join a debate team, take Lukeion for latin, buy roman roads for high school history. Challenge type classes could be done for much cheaper including 1 or 2 online classes and online classes where you would have an actual teacher who knows the material they are teaching. 

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We have formed a Latin/Classics club with kids from our regular co-op for years to have a group discusses and works together on the classical content. We study for and take the NLEs together for one thing, but do other activities as well. We have done debate in our regular co-op. There are homeschool debate leagues. We do other group classes here and there for the mock government stuff. My dd just did a 16 hr class doing simulated government on creating a bill. The group where she did it does a different government topic, hands on, each year. There are co-ops here that do all kinds of the same type of thing.  There are ways to do it way more affordably than CC.  My point on the regular co-op is that a family can have that connection to the homeschool community even if not all are doing the same school at home that you are.  Just find families within those groups to do some of the activities that are most important to you. If it is the memorization, do that. If it is giving speeches, do that. If it is the geography, do that. But all of that can be done at home or in small groups and the bigger things like debate can be done in other groups without breaking the bank.  Plus it leaves you room and finances to explore the other things that are important or will be important to your individual kids. 

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What? You have private parochial schools that cost only 1200.00 per year? I am very surprised.

 

In my old low cost of living area (FL) they were 6,000. Not including fees and uniforms.

 

Here they are 17-25000. Not including fees and uniforms.

 

I never heard of a private school in the US costing 1200.00

Same here.....I'd love to have a $1200/yr school available. The least expensive one here is $10,000/year, and it's not a very good school.

 

We're trying CC for Challenge A & B this year. Mostly for the community aspect of it. I know the tutors personally and know they do a great job. And my dc are already friends with many of the other kids in their classes. The cost is a sacrifice for us, and I'm hoping it will be worth it. I was never interested in the younger levels of CC, but I do like what they offer for Challenge.

 

ETA: Ds will be doing a separate biology class at another co-op. He'll be in 9th grade, science is his favorite subject, and I want to keep him on a more traditional science sequence.

Edited by Bethany Grace
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What I like about CC:

- the opportunity to do things in groups, discussions, debate, just getting to work out social things

- the curriculum seems very straight forward and do-able

- the focus on excellence and also how they map out the scope and sequence for credit purposes

 

I know good education costs something, but we will be paying around $6000 for 5 years in a row (when our 4 who are close in age are all in) ... and I don't want to be a tutor. I have littles at home who need me to teach them too. I know poeple need to be paid for their time, but I just can't fathom on our support raising budget hacking that. 

 

I am processing what doing a co-op would take... 

Anyone done this for older kids? If so, what did it look like? Did is cost anything? Who taught/lead?

Things like:

- Debate

- Chess club

- Literature club

- Shakespearean reads

 

Other ideas, please! 

 

I should add that we live in a place where there is not many (non-school) co-op options other than CC or shared schooling.

 

Edited by mamawaabangi
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BTW... I messed up on my math (math is hard... or I pushed a wrong button)... it's $58,800... which is still too much, but not quiet as startling as the $99k I first got! :-D 

Serves me right for trying to punch numbers and potty train a toddler! :-/

 

LOL.  That is a big difference!  And I've told myself never to post while the kids are asking me questions!

 

And as far as parochial school costs...not sure where CalmingTea got $1200 a year.   :confused:   OP said this co-op was basically costing her $100,000.  Our sister congregation has a tiny classical parochial school and the last time I checked, it was $500 a month for tuition.  Also, several of our friends have kids in Catholic parochial schools.  They only pay for the first couple of kids.  They don't pay tuition after a certain point.  Also, before we moved here, the Archdiocese in our city had a thing where they said no Catholic family should be unable to send their kids to the church school because they can't afford it.  Our friends were told to basically just pay what they could.  (And they definitely weren't paying $100,000 over the years.)

 

And OP, if you are feeling nauseated trying to figure out how to pay for this co-op, it's probably too much to handle.  You shouldn't feel pressured into taking on more than you can handle financially just because people are telling you it's a great education and you can't duplicate this at home.  It feels like high-pressure sales.  We have 7 people living on one income and there's no way we could afford that.  

 

And they will get a great education following TWTM, too.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

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LOL. That is a big difference! And I've told myself never to post while the kids are asking me questions!

 

And as far as parochial school costs...not sure where CalmingTea got $1200 a year. :confused: OP said this co-op was basically costing her $100,000. Our sister congregation has a tiny classical parochial school and the last time I checked, it was $500 a month for tuition. Also, several of our friends have kids in Catholic parochial schools. They only pay for the first couple of kids. They don't pay tuition after a certain point. Also, before we moved here, the Archdiocese in our city had a thing where they said no Catholic family should be unable to send their kids to the church school because they can't afford it. Our friends were told to basically just pay what they could. (And they definitely weren't paying $100,000 over the years.)

 

And OP, if you are feeling nauseated trying to figure out how to pay for this co-op, it's probably too much to handle. You shouldn't feel pressured into taking on more than you can handle financially just because people are telling you it's a great education and you can't duplicate this at home. It feels like high-pressure sales. We have 7 people living on one income and there's no way we could afford that.

 

And they will get a great education following TWTM, too.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

Because that's what CC costs per year.

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Yes, CC Challenge is 1200.00 per year.

 

Anyway, I agree with the idea that If something is THAT much of a stretch/ worry then it's probably not a great idea.

 

I have a similar quandary but my stretch/worry is the commute, in the direction of rush hour traffic, twice a week. (In addition to a LOT of driving for my son's college and my dd's riding lessons are a good 25 minutes each way) I am looking at an hour and a half in the car tues/thurs and an hour and a half mon/weds not including regular errands and smaller trips every day to Mathnasium....

 

I would be adding ANOTHER two hours to all of that. The two day school I was looking at for my dd seemed so great but like you I was nauseated at the idea of another few hour is driving AND in the direction rush hour traffic!

 

I thought and thought and finally realized that it's just not the time for this and God will provide other Opportunities closer to home :)

Edited by Calming Tea
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Our sister congregation has a tiny classical parochial school and the last time I checked, it was $500 a month for tuition.  Also, several of our friends have kids in Catholic parochial schools.  They only pay for the first couple of kids.  They don't pay tuition after a certain point.  Also, before we moved here, the Archdiocese in our city had a thing where they said no Catholic family should be unable to send their kids to the church school because they can't afford it.  Our friends were told to basically just pay what they could.  (And they definitely weren't paying $100,000 over the years.)

 

Off-topic but FWIW, there is a big difference at the high school level, if that's the age being discussed in this thread (I'm not sure?).  Unlike elementary, in the areas I'm familiar with the Catholic high schools are almost always independent rather than being associated with a parish.  (By August, the three oldest of our six kids will be attending such a high school; there is no sibling discount.  Tuition is a lot more than for a parish elementary.  ETA, however there is also financial aid for a significant percentage of families.)

Edited by wapiti
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  • 2 weeks later...

What I like about CC:

- the opportunity to do things in groups, discussions, debate, just getting to work out social things

- the curriculum seems very straight forward and do-able

- the focus on excellence and also how they map out the scope and sequence for credit purposes

 

I know good education costs something, but we will be paying around $6000 for 5 years in a row (when our 4 who are close in age are all in) ... and I don't want to be a tutor. I have littles at home who need me to teach them too. I know poeple need to be paid for their time, but I just can't fathom on our support raising budget hacking that. 

 

I am processing what doing a co-op would take... 

Anyone done this for older kids? If so, what did it look like? Did is cost anything? Who taught/lead?

Things like:

- Debate

- Chess club

- Literature club

- Shakespearean reads

 

Other ideas, please! 

 

I should add that we live in a place where there is not many (non-school) co-op options other than CC or shared schooling.

 

We were in a great co-op for many years that had a top-notch literature tutorial, AP Government, art history tied in with world philosophy, apologetics, speech and performed one Shakespeare play every year and offered a variety of other classes. We only did 2/3 classes depending on the wants and needs of the families, which I liked because we could do math and some of the core on our own. 

 

Debate was hard to do in a co-op setting because competitive speech and debate take their own day. There just wasn't time to fit it into a one-hour co-op class and do it justice. 

 

But IF you can find like-minded families and IF you can get commitment from all of them, and find a facility and agree on the classes that are needed and you can hire out or use the parents' skills & training, then you can create a great co-op. Lots of things have to coalesce IME to make it work really well.  Short of that and easier is to just pull families together for a one-year class: biology or chemistry, speech, etc. 

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We had mixed experiences in Challenge. Mind you, both of mine are graduates now, so it's been awhile.

 

Challenge A was a dream. My older one absolutely loved it and developed a love for Latin there that went through AP Latin. My younger one went on to do that director's local history/lit class (not a part of Challenge) for high school, and that combination was perfect for her. That teacher charged $600/year for a local three-hour class with a lot of discussion. My younger one only did Challenge A, then four years face-to-face with the Challenge A director. She graduated a year early.

 

My older one did Challenge A - I. Challenge B wasn't good, but it was primarily the director. Then Challenge I had significant peer issues. We dropped CC for the rest of his high school.

 

Mine did some online classes in high school. Thankfully I have skills that allowed me to barter, so we never paid more than $2000/year total for online classes for two kids. That was doable for us, although we only went on a vacation twice during those years. Both did a little dual enrollment which I paid for out of their college fund.

 

Locally there are two other groups that offer paid classes, but one was known for not being very academic, and the other didn't mesh with my work schedule at the time. The local history/lit class had a carpool for two years that worked with my schedule and then was offered locally 10 minutes from home. So that was perfect.

 

Private schools in my area run $7,000-30,000 a year, so it was relatively cost-effective. 

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So, I love the idea of CC's challenge program (love the forum, curriculum and what they do) for my 12 year old. But we are painfully uncomfortable with the cost... especially given that we have 7 children... just punching the numbers makes me nauseous... we are talking like close to $100k by the time we get all of our 7 kids through it. And we don't want to start for one what we can't provide for later ones. 

 

That said, does anyone know of any similar type programs or have ideas about planning/forming something similar? I don't want to steal or use CC's model, but just trying to find a way to benefit my children, without putting us in the poor house. 

 

What is it that attracts you to CC?  There are far better academic options than CC, even just doing it all at home.  ;)  What I do with my kids at home is far more challenging, thorough, and college-prep oriented than CC's program.  And there is NO WAY we have come anywhere close to even $20,000 for the 5 kids we have graduated from our homeschool, including summer camps, DE, SAT/ACT/AP/CLEP tests, and online classes!!  (and my kids have attended some expensive summer camps like the Summer Science Program!!)

 

Maybe if you can articulate what you feel is lacking from your homeschool and what you would think you would be achieving through CC, then we could offer suggestions.

 

FWIW, I have had 2 kids be awarded full scholarships to college and they were awarded them precisely b/c of what they accomplished in high school.  They are not cookie cutter--look like all other high school students--students.  They pursued their passions and had very personalized educations that came from the freedom of homeschooling and creating courses that they loved.  I am NOT an expert on the subjects.  I find excellent resources and work with my kids to put together courses that they take ownership over.  We thoroughly enjoy our studies together.

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Trying to find a group of homeschoolers committed to some level of continuity and academic rigor year after year/ showing up with homework done, ready to discuss and do the work is probably not going to happen regardless of what you try to create or where you live.  Getting into a forensics club would take care of that strand, but you won't find a group of people, year after year, wanting to really dig into apologetics, who are committed to writing papers every week, who finish the work, who show up on time for field trips, with homework prepped before they get there..... We've homeschooled for 25 years and we are sticking with CC to the end at this point because homeschoolers are notorious for not showing up, paying up or having their work done on time. Even in the academic co-ops we've participated in have been schlocky- half the time the teachers don't follow through- my kids have never gotten final grades back, they have only gone through 1/2 the writing or Latin program, instead of what was promised, other kids don't bring their homework, week after week, there is no feedback loop or sense of accomplishment. 

CC's cost actually ensures, on some level, that the work is done- parents want their money's worth. There is truth to the adage, "You get what you pay for." 

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CC's cost actually ensures, on some level, that the work is done- parents want their money's worth. There is truth to the adage, "You get what you pay for." 

 

I agree. CC works, for what it is, because of this. Parents who pay are parents who are committed and want their money's worth.

 

But, it is possible to find or create alternatives!  The home school organizations locally that work (ie, ones that provide solid academics, with good teachers, and a cohesive group environment from one year to the next) also charge substantial enough fees to pay their teachers and to pay for their facility.  The financial cost to families has the effect of weeding out families that would just "go along for the ride" as long as it's convenient for them. This is good for the other families involved because it ensures that everyone is similarly committed to the class. It is good for the teachers because it ensures that they won't be going to a lot of work for lackadaisical students and families and that they won't have an additional burden of slowing down for or trying to pull these students along.  Unfortunately, it also makes it difficult for families who may be in financial difficulty.

 

These local home school organizations that work are a better option than CC for many bec there is local control over what subjects are offered, there is freedom from the lockstep situation of placing students into a group based solely on grade, and there is the ability to hire the best teachers to teach the different subjects, using the best texts/resources that either they or the organization can find. 

 

But, it is hard to get a homeschool "organization" going on one's own. CC does make it incredibly easy for anyone to start a CC campus. CC provides all the infrastructure.

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What is it that attracts you to CC?  There are far better academic options than CC, even just doing it all at home.   ;)  What I do with my kids at home is far more challenging, thorough, and college-prep oriented than CC's program. 

 

I agree that there are definitely far better academic options than CC!

 

However, there are some wonderful things that a student can get from being in a truly good, academically solid group class that s/he simply does not get from independent, self-study at home, or even from mostly independent study with an involved parent with time to discuss daily what the student is studying.  Especially, in the high school years, my students, and I think students of this age in general, crave the back and forth discussion with like-minded peers of some of these great, universal ideas and issues.

 

No matter how challenging the level of study on one's own, no matter how involved the parent is, being able to share and talk about deep issues with peers, under the guidance of a truly good teacher, adds a valuable dimension that cannot be replicated at home. A group situation isn't necessary, or even ideal, for every.single.subject that a student is studying. But some opportunity for a group situation is valuable. It's more valuable for some subjects (English! maybe history...) than for others.

 

Is that added dimension critical to a student's academic success?  No.  But is it valuable enough to seek out?  Yes!

Edited by yvonne
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Trying to find a group of homeschoolers committed to some level of continuity and academic rigor year after year/ showing up with homework done, ready to discuss and do the work is probably not going to happen regardless of what you try to create or where you live.  Getting into a forensics club would take care of that strand, but you won't find a group of people, year after year, wanting to really dig into apologetics, who are committed to writing papers every week, who finish the work, who show up on time for field trips, with homework prepped before they get there..... We've homeschooled for 25 years and we are sticking with CC to the end at this point because homeschoolers are notorious for not showing up, paying up or having their work done on time. Even in the academic co-ops we've participated in have been schlocky- half the time the teachers don't follow through- my kids have never gotten final grades back, they have only gone through 1/2 the writing or Latin program, instead of what was promised, other kids don't bring their homework, week after week, there is no feedback loop or sense of accomplishment. 

CC's cost actually ensures, on some level, that the work is done- parents want their money's worth. There is truth to the adage, "You get what you pay for." 

 

This is true.  Even at paid homeschool academies (one day, or two-day or ala carte) there is a surprising percentage of kids who show up with nothing done!  Especially middle schoolers.  My dd was in a paid English class that charged 600 for an 7 month school year, and NONE of the kids except ONE other kid did their work.  The teacher started out with allt hese "I will not tolerate non participation" emails but apparently she gave up.  She gave up giving any Progress Reports, as well.  This disappointed my daughter since she got a perfect score on every section in her progress report.  The teacher's daughter herself did zero of the work, or very shoddy, quick, one paragraph clearly written in the car stuff.  By the end of the year it was a struggle for my dd to do the work, knowing only two people would do theirs.  This causes the teacher not to follow through on her plans to let students share...

 

parents who care that little tend to put their kids in PS by high school, and that weeds out some of the non-performers.  The homeschool academy we are going with this year is a lot better.  They interview every family, have more strict rules, charge more, and still...about 30% of the kids don't do their work.

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  The homeschool academy we are going with this year is a lot better.  They interview every family, have more strict rules, charge more, and still...about 30% of the kids don't do their work.

 

That's depressing. 

 

If the students aren't doing the work, the class is just a babysitting service. I hope the organization has a process and the desire to let those students go. Otherwise, the quality of the whole endeavor is going to crumble. 

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I agree that there are definitely far better academic options than CC!

 

However, there are some wonderful things that a student can get from being in a truly good, academically solid group class that s/he simply does not get from independent, self-study at home, or even from mostly independent study with an involved parent with time to discuss daily what the student is studying.  Especially, in the high school years, my students, and I think students of this age in general, crave the back and forth discussion with like-minded peers of some of these great, universal ideas and issues.

 

No matter how challenging the level of study on one's own, no matter how involved the parent is, being able to share and talk about deep issues with peers, under the guidance of a truly good teacher, adds a valuable dimension that cannot be replicated at home. A group situation isn't necessary, or even ideal, for every.single.subject that a student is studying. But some opportunity for a group situation is valuable. It's more valuable for some subjects (English! maybe history...) than for others.

 

Is that added dimension critical to a student's academic success?  No.  But is it valuable enough to seek out?  Yes!

 

I don't play well in other people's sandboxes.  ;)  I have never met other homeschoolers whose kids are really functioning on the same level as my kids.  My kids are reading advanced lit and doing pretty high level analysis and most other homeschoolers we know just aren't there.  I do not see value in diminishing my kids' level to fit into a group.  We are capable of having excellent discourse at home.  I am definitely not someone who believes that group discourse is always more valuable than 1 on 1. 

 

Philosophy and theology, otoh, are areas where my kids have thoroughly enjoyed engaging in group discussions and exchange of views.  There is nothing saying that that sort of exchange has to be limited to typical high school academic subjects.  Since we are Catholic and almost always in the minority population, theology is an area where they have lot of deep discussions with peers.

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I don't play well in other people's sandboxes.   ;)

 

LOL  I know the feeling!  I think people who home school often have very clear, focused ideas of why they're doing it and it's hard to find ANYone else who's on exactly the same wave length.

 

II have never met other homeschoolers whose kids are really functioning on the same level as my kids. 

 Not one?  In a small home school community, I know that's possible. But NOwhere--no local home schooled kids, no home schooled kids in online communities? Not even in the gifted groups? There are NO other home schooled kids functioning on the same level as yours?

 

I'm being facetious here. Of course there are other home schooled kids functioning on the same level as your kids in this or that subject. They just might not be available/accessible during the particular year your student is doing a particular subject.

 

 I do not see value in diminishing my kids' level to fit into a group.  We are capable of having excellent discourse at home.  I am definitely not someone who believes that group discourse is always more valuable than 1 on 1. 

 

But I didn't say that!  I'm not advocating dumbing down one's own kids' levels merely to fit into a group. I'm not saying, nor do I remotely believe, that "group discourse is always more valuable than 1 on 1."

 

I think maybe that you have had such bad experiences with co-ops, or that you have heard such bad things about co-ops, that it makes it hard to even imagine a positive, and that may be why you assume that you'd have to dumb things down to do a group study of any subject at all or why you infer an extreme where there wasn't one. (I don't think I, or others who see a benefit in a group situation, are saying that group discussion is "always" more valuable than 1-1 discourse.)

 

Do you really think there could not possibly be any valuable advantage in a group situation (group meaning 2 or more students LOL) of students at an equal level to your student, discussing big ideas or great literature, beyond what just you and your own child could discuss?  Nothing at all? 

 

Or is it that you think it's impossible to find? That I can believe.

 

 

 

Philosophy and theology, otoh, are areas where my kids have thoroughly enjoyed engaging in group discussions and exchange of views.  There is nothing saying that that sort of exchange has to be limited to typical high school academic subjects.  Since we are Catholic and almost always in the minority population, theology is an area where they have lot of deep discussions with peers.

I think English also benefits from the opportunity to discuss with peers, assuming everyone is on the same level.

 

I can completely see how it would be well nigh impossible to find a suitable "group" situation for most, maybe even all, subjects for your kids, between being in the minority (Catholic) in an already very limited population (home schoolers) and having very advanced students. All those factors do narrow the field.

 

But, I don't think that means that there isn't value, and significant value!, in finding group opportunities for a student for a subject from time to time.

 

I know one of my children loves that group interaction and discussion! He thrives on it. I hear them talking about this or that book, this or that debate argument, and am amazed!  I cannot provide that at home. I don't think even someone like you could provide the same level/depth/variety of conversation, and I think you are Super Woman!  I'm just one person, with one viewpoint, with time limited by having to make dinner, do laundry, run errands, etc.  You already have a sort of built-in "group" with eight children.  You are so blessed! That probably makes a difference.

 

 

 

 

PS--- I LOVE your Homeschooling at the Helm booklet!!!  I wish I'd had the confidence and vision to do that w/ my kids when they were younger! In fact, I'm going to start another post so others hear about it NOW, when their kids are young! Having missed my own window of opportunity, I am now hoping to try it with a couple of children I'm helping a friend to home school!

 

 

 

 

Edited by yvonne
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LOL  I know the feeling!  I think people who home school often have very clear, focused ideas of why they're doing it and it's hard to find ANYone else who's on exactly the same wave length.

 

 Not one?  In a small home school community, I know that's possible. But NOwhere--no local home schooled kids, no home schooled kids in online communities? Not even in the gifted groups? There are NO other home schooled kids functioning on the same level as yours?

 

I'm being facetious here. Of course there are other home schooled kids functioning on the same level as your kids in this or that subject. They just might not be available/accessible during the particular year your student is doing a particular subject.

 

 

But I didn't say that!  I'm not advocating dumbing down one's own kids' levels merely to fit into a group. I'm not saying, nor do I remotely believe, that "group discourse is always more valuable than 1 on 1."

 

I think maybe that you have had such bad experiences with co-ops, or that you have heard such bad things about co-ops, that it makes it hard to even imagine a positive.

 

Do you really not think there could possibly be a valuable advantage in a group situation (group meaning 2 or more students LOL) of students at an equal level as your student, discussing big ideas or great literature, beyond what just you and your own child could discuss?  Nothing at all?

 

 

I think English also benefits from the opportunity to discuss with peers, assuming everyone is on the same level.

 

I can completely see how it would be well nigh impossible to find a suitable "group" situation for any given subject for your kids, between being in the minority (Catholic) in an already very limited population (home schoolers) and having very advanced students.

 

But, I don't think that means that there isn't value, and significant value!, in finding group opportunities for a student for a subject from time to time.

 

I know one of my children loves that group interaction and discussion! He thrives on it. I hear them talking about this or that book, this or that debate argument, and am amazed!  I cannot provide that at home. I don't think even someone like you could provide the same level/depth/variety of conversation, and I think you are Super Woman!  I'm just one person, with one viewpoint, with time limited by having to make dinner, do laundry, run errands, etc.  You already have a sort of built-in "group" with eight children.  You are so blessed! That probably makes a difference.

 

 

 

 

PS--- I LOVE your Homeschooling at the Helm booklet!!!  I wish I'd had the confidence and vision to do that w/ my kids when they were younger! In fact, I'm going to start another post so others hear about it NOW, when their kids are young! Having missed my own window of opportunity, I am now hoping to try it with a couple of children I'm helping a friend to home school!

 

My dd who just graduated from our homeschool loves epic poetry.  She read Paradise Lost in 8th grade. Epic poetry is her pleasure reading. Her sr English credit was researching the current positions on Shakespeare's Catholicity and analyzing one of his plays for Catholic allusions. Beyond the fact that we don't know kids IRL functioning on that level, the freedom to pursue topics they want at the depth they want far exceeds what limited value I see in joining in a group discussion with kids functioning on a completely different level.

 

When we have brought up the idea of book clubs, etc, unfortunately pop culture books are the only titles everyone agrees on.  For fun, sure, if my kids want to join a group like that just for the social aspect, I am all for it.  But, no, that is absolutely NOT something that I am willing to build a high school credit around.  They are capable of more.  But more than that, they want more. 

 

I am not sure where you are finding highly academic homeschool peers, but they are not the norm in our world.  Online?  Maybe, but online discussions have limited appeal.  

 

FWIW,  I don't believe I ever stated that we couldn't find peers in any subject.  Literature is the main area where the response is no, we haven't been able to.  Math, otoh, was a great success through AoPS online. Specific online providers for very specific subjects, yes. (PAH AP chemistry is another example of a great fit for our family.) But a homeschool led co-op, nope, never.  I will never get involved in an academic co-op.  I have seriously never witnessed a large group of homeschoolers functioning together that appeals to me academically. We are on completely different wavelengths.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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My dd who just graduated from our homeschool loves epic poetry.  She read Paradise Lost in 8th grade. Epic poetry is her pleasure reading. Her sr English credit was researching the current positions on Shakespeare's Catholicity and analyzing one of his plays for Catholic allusions. Beyond the fact that we don't know kids IRL functioning on that level, the freedom to pursue topics they want at the depth they want far exceeds what limited value I see in joining in a group discussion with kids functioning on a completely different level.

 

When we have brought up the idea of book clubs, etc, unfortunately pop culture books are the only titles everyone agrees on.  For fun, sure, if my kids want to join a group like that just for the social aspect, I am all for it.  But, no, that is absolutely NOT something that I am willing to build a high school credit around.  They are capable of more.  But more than that, they want more. 

 

I am not sure where you are finding highly academic homeschool peers, but they are not the norm in our world.  Online?  Maybe, but online discussions have limited appeal.  

 

FWIW,  I don't believe I ever stated that we couldn't find peers in any subject.  Literature is the main area where the response is no, we haven't been able to.  Math, otoh, was a great success through AoPS online. Specific online providers for very specific subjects, yes. (PAH AP chemistry is another example of a great fit for our family.) But a homeschool led co-op, nope, never.  I will never get involved in an academic co-op.  I have seriously never witnessed a large group of homeschoolers functioning together that appeals to me academically. We are on completely different wavelengths.

 

We are fortunate to be in an area with some very strong, highly self-motivated, intelligent home schoolers. Mostly my boys have found them among their debate friends. They also found a couple in a chemistry class they took this past year at a local hybrid w/ a la carte classes for home schoolers. All three of my children also found peers in the PAHS AP Eng classes they took this past year. No, they haven't found tons of them, not a "large group" of them for any given class, not even a handful of them for some subjects, but they do have peers and friends here and there, for one or two areas of study. They value their interaction with these peers, as do I.

 

But, my children are all relatively average, not highly gifted, and they've studied pretty traditional subjects. (Wish I could have taken your unique approach, but that train has left. :(  )  I get that finding a suitable, like-minded peer group is difficult in your specific situation. But I don't know that one can extrapolate from that to not recognizing any advantages to a like-minded peer group. It seems like you're saying there is no advantage to discussion between like-minded, equally matched students even if you could find them.

 

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We are fortunate to be in an area with some very strong, highly self-motivated, intelligent home schoolers. Mostly my boys have found them among their debate friends. They also found a couple in a chemistry class they took this past year at a local hybrid w/ a la carte classes for home schoolers. All three of my children also found peers in the PAHS AP Eng classes they took this past year. No, they haven't found tons of them, not a "large group" of them for any given class, not even a handful of them for some subjects, but they do have peers and friends here and there, for one or two areas of study. They value their interaction with these peers, as do I.

 

But, my children are all relatively average, not highly gifted, and they've studied pretty traditional subjects. (Wish I could have taken your unique approach, but that train has left. :(  )  I get that finding a suitable, like-minded peer group is difficult in your specific situation. But I don't know that one can extrapolate from that to not recognizing any advantages to a like-minded peer group. It seems like you're saying there is no advantage to discussion between like-minded, equally matched students even if you could find them.

 

 

I'm not sure how you are taking my posts and interpreting the bolded.  

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That's depressing. 

 

If the students aren't doing the work, the class is just a babysitting service. I hope the organization has a process and the desire to let those students go. Otherwise, the quality of the whole endeavor is going to crumble. 

 

Well that's just not how things work unfortunately...

 

It's not a school either.  Even in a school you can't kick kids out that easily. The difference here is the classes are small and not tracked so you have kids that don't care very much in with kids that care a lot.  Which wouldn't happen in school.

 

Still overall the environment is good because a lot of really unmotivated parents and kids get weeded out in the interview process....the kids that don't do their work are generally either kids from  big families whose parents over time have just gotten less worried about their kids succeeding, or kids who are very very busy with serious extra curricular activities.

 

In the first other homeschool class center, though, it is nothing more than a babysitting service.  I don't get why the parents pay that much and cart their kid all the way there.

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I'm not sure how you are taking my posts and interpreting the bolded.  

 

I just realized we may have been talking about different things.  It sounds like you _do_ think there is value in carefully-chosen, like-minded, equally matched peer group interaction for certain classes. I agree.

 

It sounds like you've never seen that happen in a large co-op. I haven't seen it happen consistently, across the board in any co-op or any other home school or other organization, either.

 

I am saying that there _is_ value in seeking out like-minded peers for discussion. Choose peer group situations carefully, whether online, at the local university/CC dual-enroll program, or local classes. If they can't be found, or if there is no interest on the part of the student in discussing the particular subject with others, there's no reason to. But not being able to find them or not desiring them does not mean that peer-peer discussion does not sometimes have value beyond just parent (or any single person)-student discussion.

 

 

ETA: It could also very well be that exactly the depth, breadth, and variety of discussion that I'm looking for for my kids in like-minded peers, is what you are already able to provide on your own.  I can't, so I look for ways to fill that need.

Edited by yvonne
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  • 3 months later...

Tapestry of grace? We really enjoy our co-op. Our group requires speeches, the kids have Socratic discussions, and we also memorize a history timeline. There are moms who do not have tons of extra money laying around. We all do it on a budget, utilizing the library and the internet. I am one of the few who purchase most of the books. I looked at cc once. I'm old school homeschool and it just did not appeal. I like to steer our ship too much. I have never been a co-op person. It always felt like a day of wasted time, me having different goals than others. I'm happy to have found something we enjoy, is challenging, but also doesn't involve a ton of fluff and frills. I don't have time for that.

 

Maybe you could find a group? They are usually free. You pay for the curriculum but once you get past the initial outlay of money, it is worth the cost in a huge way!! There is so much there!!!

Edited by PineFarmMom
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