Have you ever had a hard time admitting something just wasn't working?
About halfway through the last school year I just knew something had to change. It was hard for me, however, to admit what we were doing didn't work as well as it always had.
To be honest, there have been a lot of tears (mine!) over the past six months. I have felt defeated, frustrated, and that I was failing my children. It's hard to admit this, because I like to think of myself as in control and successful.
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I try to be honest here on the blog, but sometimes it was just easier to not talk about the problems. After all, if you don't talk about them - they aren't real, right?
After all, I LOVED teaching my children when they were little. Kindergarten through third grade is my sweet spot. It was that way when I taught in the public schools. I just love that age. I feel well equipped with that age and love the wonder and sweetness that comes with it.
Now that my children are getting older (7th and 3rd grade) I have had to admit to myself that I need HELP. I also need ACCOUNTABILITY and a PLAN.
I felt like I mustn't be a very good teacher if my students just weren't as excited as they used to be. I toyed with the idea of just homeschooling until middle school and then sending them to school. But in my HEART, I knew this wasn't what was best for my kids. (And I'm so thankful for a husband that just LISTENED to my concerns!)
What I have learned in the past 6 months is that God is equipping me to handle this new phase in our homeschool. He has placed the friends, resources, and finances in place to allow me to make a change, and it's one we're very excited about.
Enter Classical Conversations
We've always had a Classical bent to our homeschool.
Classical Conversations has always been very intriguing to me, but I had felt I could do everything on my own. We also didn't feel that we could safely spare the tuition. I thought maybe "one day" it would be a good option.
That day has come.
After meeting with a good friend of mine who is a CC tutor and attending the parent information night, my husband and I decided this was what we needed to do for our children.
I had a peace about the decision. In fact, I think I breathed a huge sigh of relief when we sent in our registration.
The finances worked themselves out, too.
This week the kids and I will be attending Practicum (only 10 minutes from our house!). I will be learning about math and logic, Grant will be participating in the Geo Drawing Camp, and Anna will be volunteering with the little ones in Play Camp.
Why Classical Conversations?
My youngest LOVES memorizing facts. He loves math and he loves history. Classical Conversations will enable us to play on all of these strengths.
In the Foundations program there is just enough structure for me to follow, but we will still have the freedom to pursue unit studies and other interest led learning opportunities.
My oldest will be in seventh grade. I am feeling the need to have her be accountable to someone other than me.
She thrives on personal relationships. She values a one on one relationship with adults and a few close peers. In her small group in Challenge A I think she will appreciate the interaction and relationships.
Her curriculum for the year is set by CC. I like everything I have seen, and Anna is excited about it, too.
(You can see the Scope and Sequence for the entire Challenge Program.)
We made the switch to Saxon Math last year (for some reason - I'm not sure why - but we did). Classical Conversations recommends using Saxon Math. It's quite serendipitous that she will be ready to jump right into Saxon 8/7 this coming year.
Our local CC community was so welcoming. We already have a few friends there and I am so excited to be in community with these like minded families.
Perhaps the biggest reason we chose CC was its philosophy:
The purpose of education is to know God and make Him known.
As we mulled over this and learned more about CC it just felt so right.
We have slowly been preparing to make the change. Most of this preparation has been studying and reading done by my husband and myself.
- The Great Homeschool Convention - We attending this convention in South Carolina in March. We went to almost every Classical seminar we could squeeze in. We were excited by what we heard and were impressed with quality of the speakers. Andrew Pudewa and Andrew Kern were our favorites.
- Reading The Core by Leigh Bortins - This book was INVALUABLE to me! Even if you aren't interested in CC, it just provides a great framework for a Classical education.
- Educating OURSELVES - My husband has taken the lead on reading. I am so thankful for him. We are trying to read more CS Lewis, Chesterton, etc... We were never taught this way, so it's very new for us - but SO exciting!
- Materials, Materials, Materials! - I ordered timeline cards and the curriculum manual from CC. I have been pouring over these. (I put all of the timeline cards in binders by cycles - they're just beautiful.)
- Blogs - I have been scouring blogs for information, too. My favorite currently is Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood. Wow is all I can say.
- Homeschool in the Woods - These gorgeous materials have been a huge blessing. I'm so proud HSITW is a sponsor of this blog, because I get to share their products with you. Next year Grant will be using Project Passport: The Middle Ages and I think this will be a great addition to what he is learning in CC. We are also using their timeline and figures which are BEAUTIFUL!
I don't claim that this change in our homeschool will make everything 100% perfect. No one program or curriculum will do that.
I am hoping, however, that with this change will come a productive and exciting school year, full of community, learning, and knowing GOD.
Most of all, I have learned that I can't do it all by myself. It's OK to ask for help, and it's also OK to admit when something isn't working.
That is the beauty of homeschool, and I am so thankful to be able to make these decisions about my children's education.
Are you going down a new path in your homeschool next year?