Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Classical Conversations: Your Questions

Ok, I'm just going to jump right in here with the questions! Thanks to the rest of you who may not be as interested, today is my last day posting on this - but always feel free to email questions as I love talking about CC!

How much do they pay the tutors and how much time does it take for a tutor to prepare her lesson?

Tutoring can be a great way to invest yourself in learning the Classical Model and coming alongside other families in an encouraging way! I have tutored for three years and love it! Tutor pay is not something I can give you a dollar amount on. It is based on the number of enrolled children in each campus, how many tutors there are, etc. Each one interested in tutoring would need to speak to the Director of their local CC Community about opportunities.

As for preparation time, the first year I tutored I spent more time because I was really trying to learn the Classical Model myself also. Now that I have finished three years of tutoring, I spend almost no time preparing. The Classical Model is very simple in approach and method - I tell those now that want to tutor that if it becomes cumbersome, complicated or starts to feel like it is taking too much time then they are trying to do too much. Less is definitely more. If you are looking for a very specific quantity of time, I would say no more than one hour per week of preparation especially for the younger classes.

This was not asked, but I'll just toss it in here for anyone that it might help. After my first year of tutoring, my notes and papers were a jumbled up heap and mess. As soon as CC was over, I took all that mess and got it super organized by setting up a notebook with 24 sheet protectors. Each week got one and I just slide my notes in by week. Now, I do that in advance! And it makes it easy to slide in info that I come across as it pertains to a certain week I will just slide it in there and forget about it until we get to that week. Easy!

* * * * *

One commenter mentioned that they had looked into a school that uses classical curriculum but were afraid to start and then potentially move. To me, this is one of the great beauties of CC! It is nation-wide and even in numerous other countries around the world {mostly at military bases} and we are all on the same cycle. So if you move, you join a new CC community but the core stays the same.

* * * * *

I am curious as to your thoughts on how much work you do independently vs cost of program. I have not done a lot of research but have friends who do CC. The expense, to me, is extremely high and then my friends have to do so much extra work at home in addition to completing all the other studies that CC doesn't cover. I like the concept but if I'm going to pay that much money I'd expect it to be a lot more of a complete program. Unless I'm misunderstanding something along the way? 

This is an excellent question - thanks for asking! I talked about what our family does yesterday. But, let me share a little more on this topic as promised. CC is a core curriculum. If your children are enrolled and active in your community - it should greatly lighten your load. Before 4th grade, all you would need to be doing at home is reviewing your weekly memory work, math and reading.

With that said, CC can be "done" in a number of ways. There are those who will take it and read books on correlating history and science topics, those who won't, those who will go home and research more on memory work topics we talked about that week or continue and expand science projects and those who won't. There are those who will not do anything with CC during the week except the day they go and then do a full curriculum the other days.

I think it is important to note that the CC curriculum covers a lot! And, this is one of those moments where less is more and if it is getting cumbersome and taking a lot of time and energy, it may be time to step back and go back to the basics. I have heard from countless CC moms who are years ahead of me in experience home schooling that it really, really is enough to simplify. Each family will have to decide for themselves if they want to do a full grammar, spelling, history, science, foreign language, etc. curriculum all week at home.

The only things your children will not get through their CC experience is age appropriate math {though they will learn math facts like skip counting and multiplication tables!}, reading {phonics} and handwriting practice.

After 4th grade, you would add Essentials and that would add some homework to be done at home during the week. Research, writing key word outlines, preparing for projects. And, of course as they grow in age and into the Challenge program, work will increase.

So, I guess it is a matter of perspective and choice in each family. Personally, I do see CC as a complete curriculum that doesn't require a lot of extra work but someone else may choose differently.

* * * * *

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. 

Another great question and one I should have remembered to mention before! CC never wants to take the place of parents as the main teacher of your children, and their goal is to come alongside you in your home schooling journey. Therefore, a parent does stay through the CC day and if they are not tutoring, are in the class helping the tutor as needed.

Being present is so helpful as the Director and Tutors will be modeling the Classical Model to you and the goal is to give you ideas for school at home and practicing memory work in fun new ways. Speaking from a tutor perspective, I could not do it without my wonderful moms in there! They are always helping me taking someone to the bathroom, helping pass out maps, get water for paints, etc. the list goes on and on! I'm coming to realize the importance of moms seeing their value in being in the class so plan to be very intentional about this next year in clearly communicating ways moms can help and why they are there.

Now, the first part of the question - if you have a child who is under age four and would need nursery. At our campus, we did have a nursery. Moms with very young nursing babies bring them with them to class. I think this answer would likely vary campus by campus, but it is a common request and I'm guessing your Director will already know how to answer this if you approach her as to their policy and what they have available.

* * * * *

How much study time do your kids need for CC?

This is one of those questions that has a gray answer. There is no specific time amount that I can quote here but it is one that likely has as many variations as there are families in CC. There is not a requirement about how much time they need to spend reviewing their memory work every day.

I've heard twenty minutes, I've lived hoping to get through it once that day. Sometimes the ideal and the realistic just don't jive. My goal is to review the memory work every day either by CD or just orally in our living room but the reality is that doesn't happen every day.

However, I also think it is like a lot of things - the more I invest in it and reviewing the memory work, the more we will get out of it in the long run.

* * * * *

Ok, ladies - thanks for the great questions! It was fun to share about something we love so much -


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all the info on CC. I know that CC also offers standardized testing, so the program must be good or the kids wouldn't test well in the subjects that CC covers.

Patty said...

Last year I looked into joining our local group but it seemed so overwhelming. My understanding of the group is now better after reading what you wrote. I'm still not sure if this is a good fit for my family but for sure I will be reconsidering joining. I believe our local group has a parent meeting coming up in the near future. So glad you took time to write so much about Classical Conversations.

angie said...

Thank you for unpacking this method of learning and teaching. Yes, you're right. I hadn't thought/known about the universality of CC when moving from one school to another. One more question, if I may: how does CC work for children who do not start the program at an early age? Is it possible to jump in the second or third stage?

Amy Wilson said...

Thank you for all the information on Classical Conversations. I am interested in the curriculum, but have decided to do it at home for now. Any suggestions on what resources are needed to accomplish this?

Crystal said...

@Amy Wilson, we jumped in this year with a previously public-schooled 4th grader and first grader. The memory work is separated into three by time periods; so while some kids have had the information before, it was unfamiliar to most of the older kids. Of course our community has lots of new families thanks to Common Core. It was an easy adjustment and my kiddos Have LOVED it from the beginning. It is the BEST day of our week. They really love the presentation time, even my extremely shy one. We do listen routinely to the CDs in the car so we are familiar with each week's content before class (usually). Next year I will add in Essentials for my current fourth grader. Wish I had had an education like this!