Monday, April 15, 2013

Classical Conversations, Part Three

Thanks for hanging in there as it is taking me time to wade through explaining what CC is and why we love it! I also love the questions coming in - thanks for those - I will be doing my best to answer your questions tomorrow. If you have already left one, I saved it! If you still have a question - go ahead and ask today and I will attempt to get through them tomorrow. And, I will enlist help when I don't know the answer!

This may seem like a mish-mash as I let my mind freely take over in explaining why we love CC, hang with me!

We have just completed our third year in CC which means my girls {and I!} have been through all three cycles once. Samuel has just finished his first year but I'm amazed at what he picked up the other years even before he was technically old enough to participate in class.

CC has been very freeing to me in my home schooling journey. Since it is a core curriculum covering so much and all my children are doing the same info, it really reduces the amount of work I put in at home. {I had a very specific question about this the other day and will address it again in more detail tomorrow.}

With a robust list of memory work, science projects, fine arts exposure, presentations, etc. each Tuesday. What we need to do daily at home boils down to math and reading. We also do Bible every day which is just what our family has decided to do.

I am not having to do History with my 2nd grader and then, oh wait - I need to do History for 1st grade too. Oh goodness, multiply that times Geography, Science, Latin, English Grammar, and more and that stresses me out just thinking about it! But, knowing we are all learning the same things, working on our memory work and having these conversations at dinner is so great to be able to do together and yes, so very much easier on mama.

We have loved reading Mystery of History this year and it is low key - I read it at lunch, just one lesson a day. We're learning a lot and not making it stressful - win!

We love the community. Tuesdays are not only a day I know we'll have a great school day, have the accountability of being in a group with other moms and children. It is a day that I know my children and I are going to be sharpened by others because we are in it together.

For my children, they are learning to speak in front of their peers. They are learning not to be afraid of that. They are learning that their mama is not the only one who does school with them at home or the only one who makes them do math every day! They are developing good friendships with their peers.

It's a community for me as well. I instantly have a network of mama-friends. Hooray! Really, it is such a blessing to be able to hit lunch time on CC day and we are frequently asking one another how to solve such and such difficulty in our home schooling or for ideas on curriculum or a struggling reader. What a resource and such a rich one.

It is a blessing to be with like-minded parents. There is beauty in knowing that we are pursuing similar goals in a similar fashion. And, that just enhances our community.

Our community is heavily military families and I like to think that it is an outreach to those who needs friends and a network quickly and one that is strong and yet that there are a few of us who are not military {very few in our group!} to stabilize those who are coming and going.

It is just so encouraging to get together for a curriculum sharing night and hear what everyone likes and why, how they bring CC home and more.

We love what our children are learning and what we are learning too! I am learning so many things that I just never knew either because I did not apply myself, did not understand or just was not exposed to it. I'd never heard of Romulus and Remus before and thanks to a little boy in my CC class now have a small bit of info in my brain about them but I'll probably never forget their names. 

I love that my children are learning to see how God's story and world are integrated. How He is a God of order in Math and that glorifies Him. Finding a place on a map, hearing their story, hearing how it fits with the Bible, etc. It is so very exciting to me.

It is great hearing them rattle off the Presidents in order or talking about so many neat things!

We love watching them connect the dots. Here's an example. One night at dinner David asked Samuel what happened in 1941. Samuel needed a little prompting but soon was singing out his favorite history song of all time about Pearl Harbor. We were chatting about the sentence and understanding what was going on when Rachel chimed in with, "But why did they bomb Pearl Harbor?" Ahhh, the big questions - that is what we are aiming for. I had to run to a meeting at church that night but David and crew spent part of the evening discovering the answer to that question and filled me in when I got home.

It's great to see how they connect the dots to their own family history as well when they know that David's Dad fought in WWII, Vietnam and Korea. So when Samuel did his presentation one week on WWII and his aforementioned favorite history sentence, he dressed up in camo clothing, took a photo of his Grandpa on an aircraft carrier, showed a picture of a tank and sang the song. 

They are being exposed to great things with a Biblical focus. CC does not shy away from real history, real information. My children can tell you the names of the Greek and Roman gods, that Darwin published the Origin of Species and about Hinduism and Buddha. Some may shy away from this especially with young children and of course each family must be comfortable with what their children are exposed to. 

I would rather be the one introducing my children to these things through the lens of Scripture and my presence and involvement in their education than to have them hear about these things when they are fully grown and wonder what it means and how they know what the truth really is. It prompts discussions among us already such as when I ask, "So, why don't agree that the Greek gods are the ones we want to follow now? Is it because Mama and Daddy say so? What does God say about that?" 

And, for example this year since we memorized the Ten Commandments - it was a perfect place to draw them back to God's Word and remind that, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."

As I type that last paragraph, I realize that one thing we are hoping to instill is the wisdom to think for themselves in light of God's Word and to test and know what is true and worthy of following. Of course, another goal is that our children would be able to clearly communicate the Gospel and with an educated mind following the example:

"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men."

Please do not read into what I am saying or not saying. I am not saying that if your children are in private or public school that they will not be exposed to these things or will not turn out as I have described. David and I are both products of public and private education.

I am not saying home schooling is for every family. Or that CC is for every family. I am saying that it is the best thing for our family and we are so very grateful for the opportunity and privilege. 

One more thing I just thought of. I think CC is a good value. I know some of you probably just sucked in a gasp right there. CC costs money and I acknowledge that. We have paid for my children to be in it for three years already, I get it. {I'm going to link to the fees right here instead of typing them out so that as they are updated in future years I won't have out of date info here.}

I would like to consider myself fairly frugal so let me tell you how I think this is a good value. First, I think in many cases you get what you pay for. If something is free or I am not as invested in it - it is going to show and the outcome is not going to be as quality. Because I am invested in CC and the other families in our community are as well, I think it really raises the bar of quality. We are committed and it shows.

There is wonderful support for parents. The heart of CC is to equip parents to educate their children classically at home. They are not trying to take the place of teacher, mom is still always the teacher. Tutors in class are paid for the time they spend each week in class and in preparing for their classes each week. Parent Practicums, tutor training, the CC website, and more are all great avenues of training for parents.

Looking at the cost-benefit here, when I share that we love the community, the academic rigor and the core curriculum that is freeing to Mama - I am feeling like it is very worth it!

In closing, I think it is important to note that I am not bragging about what we have learned. It has been heavy on my heart for the past few months to seek to cultivate humble learners. Yes, it is impressive that they can rattle off tons of facts. But, I don't want that to be the focus. I want them to be focused on learning with excellence to give glory to God.

Ok, I've waxed on long enough about why we love it. Your questions: ready, set, go! If you would rather email me about this instead of leaving your question here - feel free to do so at thehomespunheart {at} hotmail {dot} com.

Photos: taken from our End of Year CC program last week. One of our talented CC mama's made that amazing cake!


Anonymous said...

I wondered how much study time your kids need for CC. I watched Courtney's vlog (Women Living Well) about her kids attending CC and it sounded like her kids needed to do a lot of memory work and practice at home. It did make sense to me though that if you are doing all those subjects at CC then it would free up more time at home to study for CC.

I have severl CC groups in my area, one close to my home. It sounds like a great program.

Thanks for doing this series.

*carrie* said...

So thankful this has been a rich community of learning and fellowship for your family!

Anonymous said...

If a mom had kids in Foundations and also had a toddler or baby how would that work with attending CC? Do they have child care or would you just keep the baby with you? Do you stay with your children the whole time? I know some co-ops allow you to leave your kids if you sign out and leave contact info.

Leanne said...

I've enjoyed reading your experience of CC. Next year is our FIRST year to homeschool. I have the ABEKA curriculum because we thought it would be easiest for our boys to transition to (that's the curr. their school uses)...but I may look into CC for the future! thanks for sharing, Monica! and I LOVE the pics. You looked adorable in your cute jacket!! you should do some fashion posts! Homespun Heart Fashions for the SAHM!

Mom said...

Thanks for these CC posts -- a very good explanation of what CC is and how it is working for your family. :) Love you, Mom