Before we had kids we were in a small Christian group of about 5 couples and 10 children. This group was amazing they took care of each other they made meals for each other when there was a new baby, they watched each others kids, they prayed for each other and they were friends. This was like nothing my husband and I had ever experienced in Christendom before. It was a true community.
Eventually the group disbanded when many of the families moved to different parts of the country. Meanwhile we had just begun to start our own family and as my baby girl got older and we started to think about homeschooling. I really wanted that sense of community again. I was seeking for it and hungering for it. At the same time I was thinking a lot about education and the best ways to teach my daughter and what was important to our family.
I had heard of Classical Conversations but I wasn’t sure about it because even though we are Christians I wasn’t sure I wanted to use a specifically Christian curriculum and I was skeptical of shielding my child to much. I wanted her to know many different ways of thought so that she could make a genuine choice to serve God, not just because it was the only choice available to her.
Anyway, I started to realize that the homeschool group or church group, family community, experience that I was searching or praying for was coming together in this thing called Classical Conversations. So we went to a practicum, which is like a convention for CC. I was unsure but when they started to talk about the 3 stages of education, especially the Grammar Stage which my daughter was currently in, it just made so much sense.
If you’re like me you can still remember the words to certain TV theme songs from your childhood like the Gummy Bears or Reading Rainbow or Sesame Street. Little kids just memorize stuff like crazy. That’s because they are in the grammar stage of development. Children that age can memorize & parrot anything. Their brains are like sponges. So why not expose them to amazing things to memorize. Why not have them memorizing poems or history facts or math facts or why not the Periodic Table of Elements? Latin even?
Now instead of pushing an older child to memorize these things, imagine the incredible discussions you can have with a teenager who already has these facts stored in their memory banks?
Needless to say in 2017 we jumped in. At first there is a learning curve. There are a lot of unique words used in the Classical Conversations community but we had those figured out in no time. There is a Foundations Guide text book that is a tad expensive but can be used for years. Plenty of other learning tools are also available, but not necessary in the Foundations stage. There is a cost of approximately $500. that covers application, utilities, tuition and supplies. That amount intimated us at first but now I feel it’s worth it. I imagine it goes to renting the facilities, paying the directors & tutors (fellow community parents) and we never had to bring so much as a pencil on our community days. There are tons of free parent created resources on the website and I love that there are no grade levels or grades!
In the classroom, a tutor introduces the new memory work to the children and parents using songs and rhymes. Then it’s presentation time for the children, followed by an art project and a science project. Then a review of memory work from past weeks and finally everyone goes outside to eat lunch. The kids play together as the grown ups get to know each other and a genuine community blossoms. Of course it’s not perfect, no human construct is. It’s full of people so there is bound to be conflict. Thankfully we haven’t experienced any of that and the organization has great conflict resolution plans in place. At home you simply review the memory work introduced by the tutor. And that’s it.
When I hear my precocious daughter playing by herself and singing songs about all the rivers in North America, I feel confident that, for now, we have made the right choice.
Are you in a Classical Conversations Community or thinking of joining one? Tell me your stories or ask me some questions in the comments below 😀