Thursday, June 20, 2013

Classical Conversations revisted


One of my most hit blog posts ever is this one that I wrote a few years ago about Classical Conversations. I thought I would revisit that and update on our personal journey with CC.

We just finished our 6th year of home educating and 4th year of CC.That just seems crazy to me. Where is the time going? CC has been the best thing we have done for our homeschool journey. I truly believe it has changed us from year-by-year homeschoolers, to go-the-distance homeschooler. And I love it.

As I'm rereading my old post, the first thing that jumps out at me is the stats. In my last post, I posted that in 2010-2011 there were 30,000 students doing CC worldwide, 1000ish in OK, and 13 communities in OK. Impressive, right? Well then check this out. Last year there were 48,900 students worldwide with 2000 in OK and 29 communities in OK.  Love it! We have launched two more campuses off of ours for next year and I know we aren't the only new ones in the state. I can't wait to see the numbers next year. It is so exciting to me to think of 50,000 kids earnestly studying to know Him and make Him known. Those are "change the world" numbers right there, y'all!

You can reread the info I posted last time about the classical model and how it all works. That hasn't changed...it's classic, after all. So, what has changed? Well, we have moved into a new phase at CC with Captain C - Challenge.

Unlike the Foundations/Essentials programs we have been doing (and continue to do with T and P), Challenge IS a full curriculum. And it is a challenge, to say the least. It is divided into 6 seminars: Grammar, Exposition and Composition, Debate, Research, Rhetoric, and Logic. C just finished Challenge A (7th grade) and did a fabulous job, despite some long days of working. Challenge A is a transition year between the grammar stage and dialectic stage. They still do quite a bit of memory work, but are introduced to more and more dialectic material and even an intro into basic rhetoric skills. It's an exciting year and he grew up a lot this year.

When we started the year, he was coming to me D-A-I-L-Y asking what to do. I would {again} show him his schedule and help him plan his time. This was happening daily, people, until he suddenly began taking ownership of it near the end of the first semester. YAY! We would make his weekly schedule together after class day, dividing up what is due next week day by day. In the fall, it was taking him about 8-10 hours a day to get done. I was complaining to his tutor one day and she didn't see a reason for that. He's a sharp kid, but it was the organization that was adding HOURS into his work day. Each "subject" should take about an hour a day, so 6 hours a day spent on CC work.  All the extra time was in between. Once we got a grasp on that, it went much better. Once he took ownership and moved from subject to subject without coming down to whine that he didn't know what to do next, it got so much better still.

Challenge does take a lot of time, but any good education does. I can't wait to see how he does next year in Challenge B, having this pivotal year behind him.  This year set the "foundation" for the next years of his education, just as the previous years set the "foundation" for this year. That brings me to another exciting thing...the Foundation years. Those years of memorizing and studying are already paying off. He had a good grasp on the world from Foundations, so learning to draw the entire world from memory was easier. He knew lists and lists of science terms, so his biology was easier for him. I'm not going to lie, none of it was EASY, but it was easIER. Make sense? Already knowing Latin noun endings and verb conjugation made Latin familiar when he started it this year. Having three years of IEW behind him in Essentials made his writing in Challenge a breeze, so now he was able to concentrate on the content since he had the skills to write a good paragraph/paper already.

All this to say....the system works. Don't slight yourself or your kids and cut things out. Yes, it's hard. But there is much to be said about doing hard things. If you are just beginning in CC with a 4 year old, or beginning with a 10th grader, dive in. Learn WITH your kids. Don't be afraid to not know an answer. Heck, I direct the campus and still have to look things up daily. The information is out there - don't be scared of it. And also, dive in to your community! Really. You are not only hurting yourself and your family if you sit on the outskirts and just show up on community day, you are hurting your community. Volunteer, take initiative, be thankful. It takes a LOT of outside time from the directors and tutors to make CC the amazing experience it is and a little help is always appreciated. We are so blessed on our campus with an abundance of helpers. I have heard from several other campuses that that isn't the norm. Honestly, I think I take these families for granted because they are SO good. If there is a need, there are normally several people jumping in to fill it before I can even finish identifying the need. We are blessed!

I love our CC family so much. We are losing many families this year as they venture out to start new campuses, which is bittersweet. Bitter because of the loss for us but sweet for all the new families we will be able to reach at our campus and theirs. CC is growing by leaps and bounds.

I ended up rambling here. I tend to do that when I talk about CC because I just start going and can't stop. Do you have any questions? Are you in a CC community or interested in one? I'd love to hear from you!

10 comments:

  1. My only exposure to Classical Conversations is their new PreScripts that the TOS Crew is reviewing but I've heard rumors a community group might be starting in a nearby town. After reading your experiences with CC, I'll have to check it out.

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    1. We (obviously) love it...and are enjoying the PreScripts this summer too! Let me know if you have any questions. :)

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  2. We are over an hour away from the closest group, but I've enjoyed some of their materials at home.

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    1. Bummer! We have families that drive an hour to our campus too. Hopefully something will open up closer to you if you are interested.

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  3. I am so thrilled that the group is working for you. Yes, at the teen levels, they must put in hard work in order to get a good education. Good job for mentoring your son through it.

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    1. Thank you! Hard work pays off...in every area of our lives. I need some of that to roll over to exercise for me. ;)

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  4. I do not think I have ever heard anyone say anything but positive things about CC. That says a lot for the program! So glad it has worked for you all...sounds like you are blessing many in the homeschooling community!

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    1. That is so nice to hear. Thanks, Michele!

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  5. We have a couple of CC groups in our city. I have friends who love it. It's not quite our style, but I love it when a homeschool family finds what works for them!

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    1. EXACTLY! I love that there are so many options out there. I was homeschooled from 85-90 myself and things have sure changed! Love the choices. Thanks, Marcy.

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I would love to hear your thoughts!!