Thursday, March 17, 2016

The {L-O-N-G} One About Classical Conversations

Hey, y'all! I've been meaning to write this post for over 8 months... it's a bit delayed to say the least, but finally here! It's basically the one about homeschooling and why I chose Classical Conversations and what is Classical Conversations and what does a day in the life of a Classical Conversations homeschooling family look like and why I choose to never ever ever write run-on sentences--haha! 

Come along, and enjoy a vicarious peek into our world, won't you?
Whew! This is my second year of homeschooling and our first year in Classical Conversations. I must say... I am thrilled with this program and everything my kids are learning! We have completed 21 of our 24 weeks of CC, and I am simply astonished at what God has taught all of us this year!

I wasn't too sure about Classical Conversations in the beginning, because I do NOT think of us as a "classical" family. But I didn't have a true understanding of the word! After some research, meeting with our (amazing) CC community director before the school year began, and plenty of prayer over the decision, we ultimately felt like this would be the best fit for our family. And it's not a one-year thing: once you're into CC, you're kind of committed! But that's a good thing are we're excited about it! {Warning: I'm about to throw down a seriously detailed description of classical education... you have been warned!} This program is awesome because it utilizes the three stages of learning: Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric. Here's a quick summary for you and what it means for our current homeschool situ!
Grammar isn't only what I'm sure you're already thinking -- it's actually learning the words and terms associated with a subject -- any subject. English, of course, but also Math, Latin, Science, Geography... you name it! Grammar is essentially learning the vocabulary, or "building blocks," of a subject. This stage is fun for kids because they get to put their grammar to music, learning repeating songs, chanting rhymes, etc. There are some seriously catchy tunes in CC and I've found myself singing them at random throughout any given day. ;)
Both LO (3rd) and Chase (Kindergarten) are currently in CC's Foundations course, which is the Grammar stage experience in their classical education. Both of them are learning the SAME MATERIAL (insert Hallelujah Chorus here), making it incredibly easy for me to work with them each week. Can I get an Amen?
The next stage is the Dialectic stage where students ask questions, sort, compare, and practice the knowledge they learned in the Grammar stage. Much of the work done in this process is accomplished through dialogue. This stage is broken down into CC's Essentials course, covering 4th grade through 6th grade. It continues through Challenge A and Challenge B for 7th and 8th grade, respectively.
The final stage of learning is the Rhetoric stage. This is essentially communicating the truth of subjects learned in the Dialectic stage through writing, speech, and conversation. In CC, this would be Challenge I, II, III, and IV, the equivalents of high school. This stage gives teenagers a chance to express themselves and be creative problem solvers... exactly what they want to do at that age. Win! 
{If you're interested in learning more about the classical foundation of education, check out this link from the official CC website.}
Understanding the classical model of education was a big catalyst in our decision to go with CC. Breaking it down further only served to encourage the decision. The Mission of CC, for example? This. Is. My. Heart!
MISSION: The purpose of education is to know God and to make Him known.  
MODEL: We combine classical learning with a biblical worldview.  
METHOD: In Classical Conversations communities, parents equip parents and encourage students. 
So the decision was made to join CC last summer, and we couldn't be more happy with this! Teaching our children is a calling God placed on my heart, and I believe He even calls us to do so through the Scriptures. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 states, "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." {Side note: Those words Moses spoke of when he shared what the Lord commanded His people? "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." Incredibly important stuff we're responsible for diligently teaching our children IMO.}

So basically, we should be teaching our children All. The. Time. How could I accomplish this if I didn't have the kids with me All. The. Time? Additionally, I can't imagine missing out on 8 hours of their lives 5 days per week while their learning is taking place outside of our home, outside of our "jurisdiction," and outside of God's calling for us. {Disclaimer: I fully believe not every family may feel led to school their children at home and that is perfectly alright! I would never want to come across as "shaming" parents for making the choice that is right for their family. Please don't ever mistake my passion for our homeschooling lifestyle as an insinuation that ALL families should be doing it. They shouldn't.}

As a CC family, we meet with our amazing, outstanding, incredible CC community every Tuesday morning for Community Day. Tuesdays are the best, aren't they? Well, they aren't Mondays, so that makes them pretty awesome!

Each Tuesday morning we follow the same schedule*:

* Our family does not currently participate in the afternoon Essentials Program, but we will begin next year since LO will be in 4th grade.

One other handy gem of info about CC is that it goes in cycles. Three cycles, to be exact. This year, they happened to be on Cycle 1, which, if you know me, was a clear sign from God that we should be a CC family. My OCD could not have possibly handled "starting" a brand new year in a new program on Cycle 2 or Cycle 3... ;)

Here's a little breakdown of what each cycle covers:


As for this year in Cycle 1, we've been busy memorizing a TON of information! There are over 400 facts, figures, and information that both LO and Chase (and me!) have memorized this year. I think I may have learned more in one year with CC than I learned during my entire tenure in public education! I'll just leave that there. ;) haha!
  • 161 events and people in a chronological timeline beginning from Creation through the Present
  • 44 U.S. Presidents
  • 24 history sentences
  • 120 locations and geographic features in Africa, Europe, and the Old World
  • 24 science facts, including classifications of living things and each continent's highest mountain
  • 5 Latin noun endings and their singular and plural declensions
  • English grammar facts, including 53 prepositions, 23 helping verbs, and 12 linking verbs
  • Multiplication tables up to 15x15, common squares and cubes, basic geometry formulas and unit conversions
  • Exposure to drawing techniques
  • Music theory and tin whistle
  • 6 great artists and related projects
  • Introduction to orchestra and 3 classical composers
  • 12 science experiments, 12 science projects
  • 24 oral presentations
  • Memorization of Exodus 20:1-20
Wow, right? This program is very impressive and our family is blessed to be a part of the CC community. It is my hope and dream that, if God is willing and continues to provide, we will continue with Classical Conversations for all three of our kids through High School. I certainly don't think this will be an easy task, but I truly believe it is what God is calling us to do and is in the very best interest of our children and their futures.

Here's an encouraging infographic from the CC 2016 Catalog regarding the success of CC students:


WHEW. If you made it this far, congratulations and I look forward to seeing you at the dinner table now that you are officially a part of our family. ;) But in all seriousness, I can't possibly tell you how much we appreciate the love, support, and prayers of our family and friends with this homeschooling venture of ours. God has called us to this journey and I couldn't be more grateful for the joy and privilege of witnessing my kids understand a new concept for the first time, for spending countless hours in our pajamas singing and memorizing, for impromptu science experiments, for including housework/chores in a typical school day, and for so much more that I can't even express. Y'all watch my Twitter, IG and FB posts, though, so I know you know how much fun we're having!

Love y'all!