5 Years of Homeschool Curriculum: Classical Conversations

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.

 

Homeschooling classically, simply & easily. What I've discovered after 5 years of using Classical Conversations! - Anchored In His Grace #homeschool

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.

Need some info about homeschool curriculum? 5 years of experience with Classical Conversations! - Anchored In His Grace #homeschool

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.

5 years of experience with Classical Conversations - Anchored In His Grace #homeschool

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.

5 years of experience with Classical Conversations - Anchored In His Grace #homeschool

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.

5 years of experience with Classical Conversations - Anchored In His Grace #homeschool

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!

5 years of Classical Conversations - Anchored In His Grace #homeschool

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.

5 years of Classical Conversations - Anchored In His Grace #homeschool

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:

This post was shared with: Christian Mommy Blogger, Titus 2 Tuesday, Family Fun Friday, Homeschool Link-Up

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19 thoughts on “5 Years of Homeschool Curriculum: Classical Conversations

  1. What a great idea! We aren’t at the school age yet. I’m a teacher by trade but now that I have a little one and many friends homeschooling I’m willing to consider it. When we lived overseas I also considered that it may be our only viable option. Right now, I don’t know what I will do.. But I will love to follow along! Many families we know do and love CC so it will be neat to learn more through you!
    Great idea!
    Georgia
    Georgia recently posted…6 Meals in 60 MinutesMy Profile

  2. I considered classical Conversations but didn’t enroll for a number of reasons, some of which I won’t share publically.

    What attracted me to them was the memorization work. I thought this was a good way to teach.

    What I didn’t like…
    1. I had an established curriculum that I liked. I thought it was a good mix of things to give my kids a “real world” perspective. I didn’t like the idea of changing to the Classical Conversations way – totally.

    2. It seemed like it would add a lot of stuff and stress onto my life. I just didn’t need it.

    3. It was difficult with a baby in tow. But I think through babywearing it would have been okay. I was full time breastfeeding at the time, so it presented challenges.

    4. There were some things that made me very uncomfortable about the group as a whole. One reason I homeschool is that I want my kids to accept people for who they are. I want my kids to treat people equally no matter what religion, sex, weight, height, etc. I want them to learn, understand and respect people of the world and I don’t support or participate in groups that are not similarly minded.

    So, while I think the educational framework is excellent, it’s just not the right place for us.
    Lisa Nelson recently posted…Thank Goodness it’s Friday – $25 Build-A-Bear GC giveawayMy Profile

    1. Thanks Lisa for sharing your thoughts, I appreciate reading what you don’t like about the program. 🙂 I was tutoring when I gave birth to my last 2 babies, and wore them while tutoring. Breastfeeding wasn’t an issue either, since I just feed baby when needed. So, those things weren’t personal issues that I struggled with. I’m sorry to hear that the community wasn’t accepting of all peoples. Different communities can have different dynamics; in our community we’ve had people of different backgrounds, belief systems, ethnic background, and it hasn’t been a problem with our community. Sometimes I think these types of things can be more community specific, as the types of people who make up the community set the tone. Thanks again for your thoughts! It helps to hear different perspectives. 🙂

  3. I looked into cc before we started homeschooling and again last year. I decided against it for a few reasons. One being we are 30 minutes away and i feel like i can barely function as it is. And i knew i was not going to have $1000 come july. Also, they are just starting the 3rd round of the cycle and thats bugs me that we would either not start from the beginning or skip a lot of history. I will consider it again for the 2015-2016 school year. I love the curriculum we have though but i think we could do with some community (though we do live a ways out).

    1. Ugh! What a drive! The cost is definitely something that has to be planned for; we budget for it every year, and tutoring a class has helped offset the costs. This year I’ll have 4 enrolled in Foundations, and 1 in Essentials, so I definitely understand the costs of the program. It’s something that’s important to us, so we figure out how to make it work with our budget.

      When we began CC for the first time, we jumped right in during cycle 3, and there was no “catching up” that we had to do. I’m not sure I can explain myself well about this aspect, but each year starts off fresh without any looking back. There are a few things that are repeated every year (timeline & math), but honestly, we don’t go back & cover old material until that cycle rolls around again. It wasn’t an issue for us, and I haven’t seen it be an issue for other families joining mid-way, or after cycle 1 is complete. That’s just been my personal experience. 🙂

      All that being said…it’s great to hear you have a curriculum that you love! The community is awesome, and I don’t know what I’d do without these families! Blessings to you on your homeschooling journey. 🙂

  4. I want to thank you for sharing this with us. We are pulling our daughter from public school. We are looking into CC. I was wondering if you could tell me how you or others manage little ones. I have a 5month(still breastfeeding) and a 2year old. That take naps during the Foundation time slot. Thank you again.

    1. Great question! I’m assuming you’re asking about managing your little ones during community day, so I’ll answer specifically to that question. If I’m wrong, let me know. 🙂

      Each campuses manage the little ones differently. Our campus, along with many others, offer childcare for the younger children not old enough to be enrolled in the program. Some campuses do not offer this, and it is up to the parents to find childcare for their younger children. Because childcare is not part of the Classical Conversations program, CC does not provide childcare, nor is it the directors responsibility to organize childcare for parents. At our campus, a parent organizes paid childcare by hiring adults to watch the children. This parent calculates the childcare fees, and communicates that to the families using childcare. Only families using childcare pay for childcare, and the childcare costs go directly to the childcare workers; the organizer does not get paid. Remember, this is specific to how our campus handles childcare; every campus is different, so I encourage you to ask the campus you’re looking into how they handle childcare.

      That being said, how I handled my infant & toddler during Foundations was that they were enrolled in childcare, and took their naps during their usual nap time (the childcare workers took care of this for me). However, 2 of the years I tutored a class, I had breastfeeding infants. My director was fine with me keeping my breastfeeding infant in class while I tutored, and when baby needed to nurse we took a quick break and I fed the baby. I actually did my best to finagle feeding times according to my morning, so that when there were natural breaks during class I could feed the baby. That didn’t always work out. I brought an infant swing in class, and many times my baby slept in the swing while I tutored. I also tutored while wearing my baby (that was fun). It was really do-able! Once my infant became a distraction for me, and the rest of the class, I enrolled her in childcare sending her with a bottle of breast milk.

      Once again, each campus is different, and I encourage you to contact the director of the campus you’re looking into for more details of how that campus deals with childcare needs.

      Does that answer your question? Let me know if you need more information, or if I’m off base on your original question! 🙂

      ~ Caroline

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