For the past five years, we’ve homeschooled our children, and I pretty much have used the same curriculum the entire time. Therefore, I’d like to spend a few weeks sharing with you my experience with the homeschool curriculum we’ve been using.
Even if you don’t homeschool, you might know someone who either is homeschooling, or someone who is thinking about it. Either way, my hope is that this series will assist you, or someone you know, in your research on homeschool curriculum.
This week, I’ll talk to you about the spine of our curriculum, which is Classical Conversations. I never intended on homeschooling our children, and you can read about how I began the homeschooling journey; however, I was completely sold when I observed Classical Conversations in action.
What is Classical Conversations?
Classical Conversations (CC) is many things: a homeschooling program, a community, or a tool to assist parents in homeschooling. CC is all of those things, but to get down to the nitty-gritty, it’s a homeschool program that uses the Classical Model of education, and makes that model do-able for parents. Learn what the Classical Model is here: Classical Model of Education Explained Simply.
The program has classes available for children of all ages:
- Foundations: K4-6th grade (morning program)
- Essentials: 4th-6th grade (afternoon program in addition to Foundations)
- Challenge: 7th-12th grade (all day program)
My focus today is on Foundations, since that is the only program we’ve experienced.
CC is a community of like-minded parents, who meet once a week in class for 24 weeks of the year. In class a tutor leads the class, and parents are involved. We see first hand how to introduce that week’s material, and participate in other academics such as science projects.
CC is a program, in which the Foundations guide can be easily used as a homeschool curriculum. The focus in the elementary years is the grammar stage (check out the explanation linked above); therefore, we simply focus on pouring facts into the children for all subject matter.
Why I love it!
1) Efficiency. Plain and simple, our school days are efficient! Each week we can tackle history, science, math, English, geography, Latin, and a timeline of historical events all in a matter of 30 minutes. Yep, you read that right…30 minutes! All assuming the babies, and toddlers cooperate of course. 🙂 We can also review previous material in another 30 minutes. Each week we’re working on something new, but reviewing so that we don’t forget.
2) Flexibility. In my five years of homeschooling, I needed a curriculum that could handle adding two more babies, a broken foot, and a miscarriage. Life gets crazy, and if I’m bogged down with someone else’s schedule, school won’t get done. However, with CC, even if I do the bare minimum my children are still well-educated.
3) Philosophy. I love these philosophies that CC promotes, and thrives upon: parents are the teachers, God is the center of our education, and quality education can be done simply and quickly.
4) Do-able. CC makes the classical model do-able. Meeting in class for 24 weeks, we have the opportunity to see the classical model in action, and can then wrap our brains around how to accomplish this task. And since the grammar stage focuses on facts, CC provides facts in all subject matter presenting it in ways that are easy to retain. I personally do not have the time to create definitions, names, dates, places, and any other facts of subject matter. So it’s great that CC has this taken care of for me.
5) Parents are in charge of their homeschool. Since CC has the perspective that parents are the teachers, they take the approach that in class the tutors model how to use the Classical Model in the home. Therefore, parents can go as in-depth, or as little in-depth as they want. Sometimes, we have the time for extra reading, and projects; however, as life unfolds we have many days we’re unable to go beyond this. But that’s ok! What the children are receiving in this grammar stage is plenty!
What I don’t like.
Well, at this point, I really can’t think of anything that I don’t like about the program. At first I probably would have told you that it’s not structured enough with lessons for each day. Or that it’s not enough information, since we plow through everything within an hour. However, this is the conclusion I’ve come to:
I create my own lessons based off my children’s needs.
My children know a name, date, place, and can define terms…how is that not enough education? Most adults can’t place a name to a date, and find it on a map.
I realize there’s not one curriculum that fits everyone’s needs, so this may not be a good fit for you. These are simply my personal thoughts, and experiences with Classical Conversations as a homeschool curriculum. It’s very different from traditional school, and traditional curriculum, and I normally don’t like different. However, it has suited our family’s needs well.
*Classical Conversations recommends adding a phonics, and math curriculum to their program. Which is what I plan to tackle next week…Saxon math.
Have you looked into Classical Conversations before? What do you see as the pros and cons of the program?
Check out the rest of the series:
- Saxon Math: What I Don’t Like
- Tips for Getting the Most From Saxon Math
- The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading
- Determine Reading & Writing Readiness
- Teaching Language Arts Without a Curriculum