Updated April 24th, 2009
Megan (from Half Pint House) asked me to explain how Classical Conversations worked in our homeschool. Instead of posting, I just emailed her. However, on second thought (and because I've gotten some Google search hits), perhaps it might benefit others to share our experiences with Classical Conversations. So, I'll answer some common questions about the program.
Please keep in mind I am not a CC tutor or group leader and each group can be different. Please refer to the website or your local director for OFFICIAL information! This is just one homeschool mama's experience.
1) What does a Classical Conversation day look like?
We start with a group assembly (starting at 9:00) that includes: general announcements, prayer and Pledge of Allegiance. Then the tutors gather their classes and head off to thir classrooms. Once in their classes, the tutors introduce the week's memory work and lessons. These include: Bible study, Math, English, Latin, Geography, Timeline cards, History, and Science.
At noon, the Foundations class is over and we break for lunch. Those who are not staying for an afternoon session of Essentials stay for lunch or head on home.
Of course, each group will be run a bit differently.
2) What am I expected to do during my child's Classical Conversations class?
As a parent, I am expected to attend the classes with my child. Since I have three kids in the program, I float between their three classes. While in the classes, I sit and listen, help my child or others when needed, give the tutor a hand when she needs it (passing out supplies, helping a student to and from the bathroom, etc) absorb the information presented and learn some new teaching techniques from my peers (the tutors). The parents often compare notes a little in the back of the class, too.
We are expected to be there - it really isn't optional as this is not a "drop off" environment; however, if you have to be away for some reason (other kids are sick, appointment that couldn't be scheduled for another day, etc) you can have another parent act as your child's "guardian" while you are gone. Most directors are pretty understanding if you just let them know of your plans ahead of time.
Some other areas of involvement:
Our group also requires any parent using the nursery to serve in the nursery on occassion. And some of us who do not use the nursery also help out in there sometimes.
During the afternoon session (Essentials - a Grammar and Writing program for older elementary kids), parents are in the classes again with their children. Childcare is offered for younger siblings - this is fee-based.
3) How do you use Classical Conversations during the week?
What does the rest of the week look like...well, that really depends on what your goals are for your kids. Some families drill, drill drill the memory stuff. Some don't do any of it and just let their kids absorb whatever they can on CC days. We probably fall somewhere in the middle. Here is what we do (our CC meets on Wednesdays) - this does not include the basics (reading, writing, arithmatic) nor other areas of our school such as literature:
On Monday, we review last week's memory work. We briefly go over the memory sentences and facts. This takes about 15-20 minutes at the most. Sometimes we just listen to the memory CD once or twice and that only takes about 5 minutes. This is the day we do Christian Studies, so I often go over their bible memory work a bit, too.
On Tuesday, I introduce the upcoming week's lessons. Really - very briefly (because that is what we are paying CC for!) Mostly, I just want the info to be a bit familiar the next day at CC. There are two areas I concentrate on a bit more: the timeline cards and geography. We pull out the map and spend a few minutes finding the countries or geographic features. And then we look at the timeline cards and try to come up with some buzzwords to help us remember the order they go in. We shuffle and sort a few times.
Tuesday is our History and Modern studies day (thus the emphasis on geography and timeline cards). I also do some reading to flesh out the history sentence for the week. The timeline cards and the history sentence do not necessarily correspond with one another. At first it was confusing, but we've got it worked out in our brains now. We just think of them as two different things. I use Story of the World, Usborne history books, Child's History of the World...and sometimes other fiction or picture books.
Wednesday is CC. We go and come home - that is it for our school day. If we didn't have Essentials in the afternoon, I might come home and do a little more work or review in the afternoon.
On Thursday and Friday, we go over the memory sentences/facts - often just using the CD. If we don't get to that one of those days, I keep a copy of the CD in the car and we listen some there, too.
Fridays are Science days: we read more about a subject (in our books or online using an Usborne Internet-linked encyclopedia) and/or try an experiment. CC on Wednesdays to help demonstrate the science memory sentence, but I am going.
4) What does it cost?
I hesitate to answer this, because fees may be different from place to place. But I know it can help to have some idea of what is expected.
These are the fees we paid for our Foundations classes this year are: Registration is $50, Supply fees $50, Facility fee $25, and Tuition is $312. That is per child, of course. It may seem pretty hefty, but it is for the whole year and I have found it to be WELL WORTH it!
5) What do you like most about Classical Conversations?
The fellowship for the kids and me has been HUGE! They love CC and look forward to it every week. I've really enjoyed getting to know some more moms in the HS community. And it has helped me a great deal with accountability.
Classical Conversations is very adamant that YOU are the teacher (the CC teachers are called "Tutors"). I make the decisions about what we do and when we do it...and there is no pressure to meet some standard. The drill parents and the absorb parents are equally supported in their goals for their kids. But, knowing that the class is moving along in the material has definitely helped me stay on track this year!
If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer!
Also, if you are interested, I have begun adding some books that I have found helpful at my Amazon Store. I do get a (very) small percentage of any purchases made through these links, so if you appreciate my blog, that is a really helpful way to say "thanks". And I thank you, too!
Did you enjoy this post? Be sure to subscribe via email or RSS to receive my blog updates.
This blog has permanently moved to a new blogging address. Come on over to The Potter's Shed!