I haven't written about Classical Conversations in several weeks.
There is a GOOD REASON for my silence.
My blogging time has been greatly reduced; it has been greatly reduced because we've been spending a large volume of time on school work. This is a beautiful thing. I do not mind this one bit. In fact, I've welcomed this opportunity to grow our family in ways I never expected.
Classical Conversations Work Load
Let me explain:
My Challenge B student and I are tackling her second year of Henle Latin - this takes at least an hour each day. We are working through her first year of Logic. (Might I add you have not truly exercised your brain until you have discussed LOGIC with a 13 year old!) I'm dusting off my Algebra skills, and spending time researching many current events topics.
This is just the workload I'm keeping up with for ONE child.
My Foundations/Essentials student is having a BLAST this year learning how to diagram sentences. You did read that correctly. He LOVES Essentials!
We spend 20-30 minutes daily with our question confirmation and weekly sentences. My son copies his grammar charts each day and also writes a paper each week for IEW.
In addition to the Foundations memory work we have done a few science experiments, history notebooking pages, and have been learning John1 in Latin with a super fun game!
We have been reading aloud and alone, and somewhere in between all of this my children are practicing piano, playing sports, and having fun with church activities.
Doing Hard Things in Challenge
In our CC community we've had some discussions about WHAT IT TAKES to succeed in Classical Conversations - particularly in the Challenge program.
It is NOT easy. In fact, I would venture to say it is one of the most rigorous middle/high school program you will find.
Please know these comments come from a loving place. I feel the need to state a few facts because I love Classical Conversations and can see the immense benefits of sticking with this program. (I am also not an employee of CC, so this is not an "official" opinion!)
We may not see right away the point of learning to draw the entire world in Challenge A. We also may not understand why we are doing part of Henle Latin and then repeating the EXACT SAME MATERIAL the following year.
Students and parents may not grasp why we have to go through the SAME PROCESS each week when working on a Lost Tools of Writing paper.
All of these tasks are training our children to THINK. They are training them to ATTEND TO A MEANINGFUL TASK for long periods of time. They are training our children to WORK HARD AND NOT COMPLAIN.
"Modern educators often want their children to like learning. In contrast, classical educators want to prepare children to work hard at learning until the skills become enjoyable."
~ Leigh Bortins, The Question
If you "try" Challenge simply as an option because you are frustrated with your middle or high schooler, I do not believe it will work out very well.
Ideally, it is probably best to have experience in Essentials before you enter Challenge (but it CAN be done, because my daughter entered CC at Challenge A and did just fine - but I think we could have gained MORE if we had the experience with grammar that Essentials provides).
As a parent, if you view Challenge as a one day a week drop off program, then it will NOT be a successful experience. You MUST be committed to the Classical model of education and also committed to learning ALONGSIDE your child.
You MUST be committed to ensuring your child learns how to schedule their own time and completes their assignments in a timely and EXCELLENT manner. In 7th and 8th grade these are difficult skills, but they can be accomplished with perseverance.
Believe me, I have felt like bailing out on all of this on several occasions, but each time God has impressed upon me the importance of home educating my children in the classical tradition - specifically in Classical Conversations.
Now I "GET IT"
An Essentials student might not see the value of copying Chart A OVER and OVER again. They might wonder why we ask the SAME QUESTIONS each time we diagram a sentence.
I'm sure many Essentials students have felt a tad frustrated with just one more keyword outline.
Foundations parents might question why a child benefits from hearing the same cycle of memory work two (or even three) times.
Now that I have been in Classical Conversations for almost two years I GET IT.
Each step of CC prepares a child (and their family) for the next step. It's a large, intricate puzzle, that when put together is something your children will cherish for their ENTIRE LIVES. It is a puzzle where all pieces come together to form a beautiful picture of God.
Classical Conversations is hard work.
We are instilling self discipline and a God-honoring work ethic. We are using the gifts God has given us for His glory.
"To Know God and Make Him Known" ~ YES!
It may not always make sense or be FUN (but many times it IS fun -- just come to our community day!), but it is worth it. Truly.
I've listened to my daughter give an impromptu talk to a roomful of people about the dangers of GMOs - stating points for AND against her point of view. I've had my son stop me while I am reading aloud to tell me about all of the quality adjectives he is hearing, or the strong verbs he has noticed.
This knowledge is to further the kingdom of God, and I'm not being dramatic when I tell you I believe it will be the children of Classical Conversations who become leaders in our churches, families, and our nation.
*Please also understand: I know CC is not for everyone, and it is possible to glorify God using any homeschooling method -- CC is just the method that works for OUR FAMILY.
To that end, this month's blog carnival seemed to have a theme that matched today's blog soliloquy -- doing hard things and the beauty that is CC.
Please enjoy the following blog posts from hard working CC parents. Be sure to leave them a comment and tell them you appreciate their contribution to our world-wide CC community!
Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood
Running With Team Hogan
Mt. Hope Chronicles
Classical Conversations Blog
View all past editions of the CC Blog Carnival, and also learn how you can submit an article next month!
*Disclaimer: I am not employed by Classical Conversations, nor does Classical Conversations sponsor this blog carnival. To find out more about this homeschool program, visit Classical Conversations online.