We have been homeschooling since my daughter was in preschool. When we first started we joined a local homeschool group. At this group we made friends and went on a lot of field trips. It was a great way to get connected with other homeschool families in our city.
Along the way I heard about Classical Conversations. I really didn't know a lot but I heard that they used music as a way to remember things. I was all over that. I knew that this was exactly what we needed to do. I'll admit that's all I knew.
I spoke to my husband about Classical Conversations and he immediately agreed. He had background knowledge about Classical Education that I didn't have. He knew that presidents had been educated through this model for years and that it was a method that taught children how to think as opposed to what to think.
Classical Conversations is so much more than just a model of educating your children. It is a way of giving homeschool families a frame work to teach using the classical education model.
Here is what we LOVE!
This was the first thing that truly drew me to them. Their motto is: To Know God and Make Him Known. What is not to love about this motto.
As I've gotten more involved in Classical Conversations I have learned through several conversations that every decision and everything they do revolves around God and making Him Known. It's not just a motto is a way of the company.
As a group we meet once a week for 24 weeks that are broken up into quarters. We spend the morning in class and then all eat lunch together.
Imagine a church picnic with everyone bringing their own food and families interacting with one another and the kids playing games. Lunch is a time of fellowship and connection.
The community comes together in times of happiness or in sorrow to support each other. It's like a small group that is there to pray or be a helping hand.
Speaking from experience, when I had Sara I had meals delivered and had friends stop by just to check on me. In the most recent times I needed help with transportation for an event and I felt connected enough to be able to reach out to several friends for help.
I need routine and structure in my day. It helps me to focus and to know what the next thing is that I need to do. Kids like this too. The predictability gives them peace.
The weekly meeting gives us a structure and allows us to plan for our week. We meet every Monday so there is never a question of what Monday will look like.
During the Foundations class time the students are introduced new grammar (facts) by their tutor. They learn facts the areas of Timeline, History, Math, Latin, English, Science and Geography. The tutor uses different methods to introduce these facts and has the students repeat the facts. Children are sponges so they learn it the information quickly.
They also have a specific time for Science Experiments and Fine Arts.
This type of structure helps us to have a plan for the week and for the year.
There aren't tests over the material, however there is a weekly review of the past materials. It's usually in the form of a game and the children are encouraged to participate. In order to participate they need to have the information memorized. This small amount of accountability helps me, as the teacher, to focus and build review time into our weekly homeschool lessons.
Although Classical Conversations gives us a framework for teaching using the classical model, I still have the freedom as the teacher to pick and choose what we will do at home.
I still choose our reading and math curriculum to use at home and am responsible for all learning.
We use the History topic at home as a launching pad to go deeper into the History section. Because each year a different part of history is covered (Ancient, Middle Ages and Modern) we can learn about these different parts of history in various ways.
Every summer Classical Conversations offers parents a free 3-day practicum. During this time parents are involved in a "training" about the classical model and the trivium (the stages of the classical model).
It is a time of learning and encouragement for parents. It is a time to reflect on your year as well as make plans for the upcoming year. It is a time when you are in a room with like minded parents that all have the same goal. It is a time of adult conversation (just being real).
After my first practicum I got a loose grasp of the classical model. I went to my second one and learned more. Every year that I attend I can see a bigger picture for my child. The classical model isn't about educating our children, it's about teaching them to think.
Before we started Classical Conversatoins I had a lot of other homeschool moms tell me, oh that is just wrote memorization. I'll be honest, my first year I thought that's what we were doing. I didn't have a full grasp on the classical model of education. I hadn't taught that way, nor had I been educated that way. What I did know is that it was a model that was way older than me so I decided to trust the method.
Here we are going into our 5th year and I can't imagine another way of homeschooling. I have watched my daughter grow in knowledge and wisdom by using this model as well as interacting with other like minded children.
"Classical Conversations equips parent to use the classical model - the tools for learning, any subject." (Foundations Manual, p.4)