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Opting out of CC Challenge B next year

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We just finished Blue Book Exams for Classical Conversations Challenge A today.  Yikes.  I’m disappointed at the results of a whole year of school.   I have waffled back and forth about continuing Challenge for my son all year.  The pace of the program is mostly what has killed us.  The learning also just seems surface level with not much understanding.  My son has really struggled with the LTW program and the Henle Latin because of how fast they move through it.🤯  I joined CC primarily so he could have social interaction with kids his age.   My son is very social but has not made any deep friendships to make us want to return.  I’ve tried and tried to get the families together but with little success.  Unless you are a tutor/director, you just can’t get the attention needed to develop deep relationships.  He actually likes going to class but just because it gets him out of the house.  He loved the Fallacy Detective though!  I just don’t know where to go from here.  Are there other families out there that have moved away from CC after Challenge A?  What did you move to and did your child do better?  Are there some things that you have found that CC does better than other programs such as debate (coming up in Ch B)?  I feel as if I’m leaving a cult and don’t know what to do!  Funny thing is, I’ve homeschooled outside of CC with my older son AND graduated him but it’s been so long that I’m feeling overwhelmed about leaving even though I feel that it’s what we need to do.  I could really use input here.  Thanks!

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I'm sorry your feeling overwhelmed.  It sounds like you already know why it isn't working for your ds.  Maybe remind yourself why you are homeschooling in the first place?  Homeschooling offers the opportunity to meet your student exactly where they are, move at their pace, and nurture their desire to learn. If classes are moving too fast, not teaching in a way that your student thrives, I guess, for me anyway, the fundamental question would be why bother homeschooling bc failing to meet the needs of the student can happen for free at the ps.

In terms of where to go from here, how about at home with you?  Design courses based on what he wants to study.  Deprogram and focus on nurturing joy in learning.

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I don’t have any CC specific advice or knowledge, but I do know that stepping out of something you know and envisioned doing long term feels a lot like you are describing—like stepping into a void.  

Just keep reminding yourself about what you know—he wasn’t learning in a way you felt valuable and he didn’t make the social connections that you hoped.  Besides debate, I don’t hear any positives that you will miss 

While co-ops have provided a lot of positives for our family, I know CC would not. I love the freedom we have to chose curriculum and tailor our pace.  I don’t like proscribed pace and CCs math and science are behind our usual pace.

The only reason I would lock myself into something like CC would be if I had a child who was suffering loneliness and it was the only option—ie, mental health reasons. 

For debate—I think Classical Academic Press has a class and I saw an online club somewhere—maybe Outschool? 

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If you really like the idea of a group of kids doing a local class together, you might want to check and see if there is a Schole Group near you, or a university model school, etc.  There are several options here.  But the advice to take some time at home and recalibrate is very good.  It would be awful to jump from one thing that isn't working right into another.  


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My dc are 10 years apart like yours, and I feel you on the difference between first and 2nd time around! Yes, CC can be cultish. Yes, sounds like you're ready to leave. Seems to me when you leave you'll open all kinds of other doors of opportunity that are closed to you now. He's about old enough to be taking a job, apprenticing, volunteering, anything. Yes, you can get debate other ways. You might google site search the boards for debate, because I know we've had threads in the past. Do you know how to google site search? You go to your google search bar for your browser and enter the terms plus site:welltrainedmind.com

Enjoy your new freedom. :smile:

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For Debate:
- look for a local homeschool public speaking co-op class
- look for a local homeschool speech & debate club or team
- try online search for:  "__(your city)___ speech & debate", and, " __(your state)___ speech & debate"
- see if your local middle school or high school has a team that your student could join
- Toastmaster's Youth Leadership program may have a club near you -- for ages under 18, uses learning to do public speaking to develop leadership skills

High school level Speech & Debate (also known as "forensic") options:
- National Speech & Debate Association -- secular; national speech & debate high school competition group
- ForCom -- secular; national speech & debate high school competition group
- National Catholic Forensic League
- Stoa, Christian speech & debate competition - ages 12-18 
- NCFCA, National Christian Forensics and Communication Association, Christian speech & debate team competition; gr. 9-12
- ICC, Institute for Cultural Communication, Christian teen organization with the goal of developing skills in communication, critical thinking, cultural intelligence, collaboration, and creativity -- founded by Teresa Moon who originally founded Communicators for Christ

Ideas for finding friends/having social interaction
- other homeschool support groups or co-ops in your area
- church youth group
- 4-H group (it's not just large animals; also things like archery, rocketry, ham radio, science, dog training...)
- scouting group
- participate with private or public school middle/high school band/orchestra, or sports team, or after school club
- join a school robotics club or Lego FIRST team
- after school bowling league
- join a swim team
- take lessons for martial arts, fencing, dance, horseback riding, or other activity
- participate in a youth theater group
- Junior Achievement business club

Participate in all-ages community group that centers on an activity of interest to DS:
- volunteering 
- astronomy, rocketry, electronics, model railroading...
- air-soft or paintball
- Community Gardens
- Orienteering

Past threads with ideas for connecting socially:
Once your child hits middle school, does all the 'fun stuff' stop? (how gr. 7-12 are fun in new ways + ideas)
Best recreational level extracurricular opportunities (suggestions for all ages)
Low income people and extracurriculars (suggestions for all ages + ways of cutting costs)
Advice for extracurriculars (lots of ideas in the posts) 
What extracurricular activities for the high school years? -- some ideas extend down into middle school
High school socialization (activity ideas) -- some ideas extend down into middle school
DS is so, so lonely (activity & social suggestions for teens) 

Edited by Lori D.
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We haven't done CC, but we evaluate our plan at the beginning and end of every semester to see what is and isn't working. You mention that he likes getting out of the house, so I would try to find a plan that let him work at the appropriate pace but also incorporated time outside the home.  But, think about how that would be a good fit based on personality and what is available in your area.  A once/week co-op for enrichment or academic classes?  A 2-3 times/week hybrid school?  Classes done at home and several outside activities (a job, volunteering,group activities or classes)?   I would struggle to continue with a program that was stressing us out and didn't seem to be working across multiple subjects.  When I outsource, it's because I am comfortable with the class and think it will benefit my kid - the teacher may have a lot more knowledge (foreign language), it needs a group (choir), the teacher does something really cool (our co-op has a teacher who does game-based economics and geography classes), or the content isn't tricky and taking it with friends would be fun (health).  Obviously the particular classes that you put in the parenthesis will vary for different families.   I wouldn't want to give up time and money for things that were simultaneously adding stress and not leading to good learning.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

We left after Challenge A. I wound up starting my own co-op, which may be more work than you are wanting to take on for the fall, lol.

I do not regret leaving. In fact, I really regret not quitting at semester. I don't have many good things to say about Challenge A. My oldest had done four years of foundations/essentials and is  amazing at reading/writing/memorizing. She's currently reading Anna Karenina for fun. So, it's not just that she was a dumb kid who wasn't prepared for the workload. 

The Latin exercises were taking her about two hours a day. Then, I learned that most parents just memorize the vocab and make no attempt at translation. She kept pace with the Latin, translating everything, until about 2/3 of the way through the program. She was sick a few days, and couldn't catch back up. And then was completely lost. I don't know why they don't slow down Henle so the majority of the kids could keep pace. I don't understand any potential benefit to moving at break neck speed through Latin. It's baffling to me.

The drawing the world stressed her out. She'd spend hours working on one tiny handful of countries or states. She didn't learn the names of the majority of them because she was being a perfectionist on the drawing.

We both hated Lost Tools. I can't figure out for the life of me how anyone likes it. 

I could go on and on. It was a disastrous year and when I saw her blue book exams, I was like, you have learned SO little this year. I have no regrets on leaving. I pulled everyone else out because basically everything they do in foundations is "because of challenge". In our county, you can serve in teen court and be part of actual juvenile court hearings. There is also a formal speech club of some sort and a student government organization that I've heard great things about. i can't imagine that you can't find something to fill whatever aspects of challenge b are important for your family.

Oh, and of the group that continued with Challenge B, almost all of them put their kids in public school after the year was over. So, it didn't seem that the people who pressed on really enjoyed it.

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