Tuesday, December 16, 2014

7 Reasons Why We Choose to Homeschool with Classical Conversations

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This is our fourth year as a homeschooling family and a lot has changed since those early days. During my first year, I was really figuring things out as I went. I had no idea what I was doing, but I read all the books, loved my kids, and we survived in one piece. The second year was a little easier and a lot more organized. We joined up with a homeschool group in Southport and that offered friendships for both myself and the children. Things were coming together, but still something was missing.

During our third year, we had just moved to our current city and I was really missing the homeschool connections we had made at the coast. But I took a leap of faith and joined the Classical Conversations community in our area and everything changed. Suddenly, it all clicked. Now in our fourth year, homeschooling is something we all enjoy and the process is so much easier thanks to CC. That's why I wanted to share with you why we have chosen Classical Conversations for our family.

1. A Clear Track 

Classical Conversations lays out a clear, concise way to educate my children from the elementary years all the way through graduation. It takes the guesswork out of homeschooling because I always know what we are working towards and the goals are always clear. In our current elementary school season, my kids are the Foundations program, where they are learning hundreds of important facts and memorizing the "foundational" materials they will need to carry them through deeper learning in later grades.

2. Developmentally Appropriate

CC works because it is based on a child's development. In the younger years, kids are sponges! They soak up information right and left and can memorize anything! We use this to their advantage by taking this ability and filling their minds full of knowledge that they will need to continue their education later. This is the called the Grammar Stage. They are learning all of those terms associated with math, science, English, Latin, history, and more.

Next comes the Dialectic Stage. This is the time when kids start asking a lot of questions. They don't necessarily take everything at face value anymore and as a mom, I will have to adjust the way I teach to enter a more conversational learning environment. CC gives me the materials to do that. The Essential Program for 4th through 6th graders lays the groundwork and then they continue in Challenge A and B during the middle school years. They start taking all of the terms they have learned and begin putting the pieces together to form a picture of the world.

Finally, we hit the Rhetoric Stage, also known as the high school years. CC offers a four-year Challenge program that will help them take all those things they learned and apply them to life. Kids go from memorization to understanding to using that knowledge to solve problems and debate key issues in our world.

3. No More Curriculum Shuffle

One of the most challenging things for me as a homeschool mom is finding curriculum that will work for my kids. They both have very different learning styles, but CC works for both of them. In the foundations program, they get everything they need through our CC program and we only add an age appropriate language arts and math curriculum. Now that Ally has started Essentials, she only needs Math because she is getting the rest through CC. It just makes life so much easier!

4. Learning With Peers

I love, love, love that CC gives my kids the opportunity to spend one day of the week learning next to their peers. They are learning to sit in a classroom, to follow directions, to walk on the right side of the hall for crying out loud! These are skills that a lot of homeschoolers miss out on. With CC, we are getting the best of both worlds. They are getting the best education based at home, but they still get to interact with their peers on a regular basis and learn how to share, get along, and function as part of a larger group.

5. Community, Community, Community

I have friends. I have real, true friends that I can call if I ever need an emergency babysitter in the middle of the night. I enjoy mom's night out events where I can sip coffee, talk about motherhood, and even show up in yoga pants without feeling judged. We are doing life together and that encouragement means the world to me. When I have questions about how to handle situations with my kids, I know I have a group of older, wiser moms to guide me and give me sound advice. I have friends that will pray for me and I will pray for them. It's community at its finest.

6. My Kids Are Geniuses

Okay, maybe not literally, but I like to think so. I'm amazed at how much they are learning. The grandparents love to have the kids show off their CC success by reciting a historical timeline of events, sharing Latin vocabulary, or pointing out dozens of locations on the map. It's more than a cool party trick - my kids are really truly learning. And if that isn't enough, they are both placing WELL above grade level on end of year tests. CC works.

7. It's All About Jesus.

Classical Conversations is not just a classical approach to education - it's also a Christian approach. I love that my kids are learning church history as a built in part of their history studies. I love that when we learned about the constellations last year, we learned how each of the astrological signs can actually paint a picture of the gospel. I love that they are memorizing huge chunks of scripture. I love that it's all about Jesus. There are families in our CC group that are not Christians and that's okay too. They still love CC because it works. And I love that they are there because it gives us a chance to share our faith. The motto of Classical Conversations is simple: "To know God and to make Him known". If that doesn't give me a clear track and goal for my homeschooling journey, then what else is there?

In case you can't tell, I'm a big fan of CC. If you are homeschooling and you want to find out more about how this incredible model of education works, I'd love to tell you more! If you are a mom that is tired of the curriculum shuffle and you are frustrated with trying to keep your kids on track, consider CC. I can tell you from experience that it works. It really, really works.

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