I’m attending an informational meeting about Classical Conversations, and I would love any input that anyone has to offer. It sounds like a great program, though it is more Classical in nature than Charlotte Mason. I’m a little scared of the price, but I’m wondering if it would be worth it in the long run. If you have had any experience with this program, please let me know. I really value the opinions of you ladies on this forum, and you’ve helped me through many other life-changing decisions I’ve needed to make. Thanks in advance!
Okay, since no one responded, I’m assuming no one is familiar with this method. So, I’ll post this…
Is there a possible way of combining the classical and CM methods without totally confusing myself or my children? I really like a lot of aspects of the Classical Conversations program, but I want to stay true to CM as well. Does this make sense?
Faith 🙂Rachel WhiteParticipant
Yes, I like many aspects of the Classical style but without so much writing and early grammer instruction. I am grateful for the wonderful books of old that the classical and CM style has brought forth again. Here is an interesting series of articles I found for you. Be sure to follow a couple of the links at the bottom.BookwormParticipant
Faith, I began educating “classically” but I am not familiar with the exact program you mentioned. It seems very involved to me, but I have no direct experience with it.
I’m very interested in the idea of classical education and exactly how it relates to CM principles, and it’s something I’ve read and thought about often. After experience with my children, I’ve ended up in the CM camp for “methods” I personally believe that Charlotte Mason understood a lot about children and how they learn, and it always seemed to me that Charlotte “explained” better what I saw in my children, as compared to most modern manifestations of classical ideas. Now–many times what you are actually DOING is quite similar–excellent, rich books. Narration. Dictation. Copywork. Languages. However, some of the differences between the two methods philosophically explain the differences in things like early grammar, amount and things to memorize, etc.
Something I found useful was to learn all I could, then ask myself:
What does this method say about who the child is? Is he a whole person already?
What does this method say about what education is? What are the goals of education?
What does this method say about the role of the teacher?
This helped me sort through some of the fine points and decide where my family belonged.
It is useful to learn about excellent books. I would hesitate if it was an expensive seminar kind of thing, but if you could go and learn for not a lot of outlay, I’d see no harm in it. But don’t let them make you feel guilty if your child isn’t chanting complex grammatical principles and lists of Russian czars at age 7. 🙂 Go and learn, and then come back and compare what you heard and learned to what Charlotte Mason wrote, then observe and pray and decide what you think. (This might take a while!)
Rachel, thank you for the article suggestion. I have it printed out and have plans to read through it tonight!
Michelle, thanks for the excellent advice! It is an expensive program–even though I think it’s worth it. My concern is if I decide to sign up for the program, am I choosing convenience over conviction. You have given me a lot to think about…thanks for taking the time to give me some food for thought!
Hi Faith, I just completed my first year in Classical Conversations. I would say overall, it was a positive experience. I have 1 son in Foundations and plan on returning next year. Here’s a quick list of my pros and cons- Pros:1. Because we pay for it, we will show up. I have homeschooled for 10+ years and we homeschoolers sometimes allow the habit of not attending groups we sign up for at the beginning of the school year. That did not happen at Classical, it’s an investment. 2. My eyes were opened to the capacity of even very young children to memorize with relatively minor daily commitment to a memory work routine. Yes, there are some moms who”drive” their kids. But, I was a tutor this year, and I saw that even kids in my class, who seemed to only get exposure to the material with me once a week, retained an incredible amount of information by the end of 24 weeks. I, by the way, am described by the kids in my class as a “fun” tutor. I incorporate the memorization into games, crafts, puzzles etc.
3. The “classroom” setting, although not something that all homeschoolers think is important, was important to me. I did want my child to experience, even in a minor way, sitting under another’s authority, and being part of a classroom. I have found with my boys that the positive peer pressure from other kids really helped their attitudes toward their assignments. There are many other pros, those are the first that come to mind. Cons: 1. The price is difficult for some. Considering what you get, I believe the price is actually extrememly reasonable. Figure up the cost of paying the tutors, the time and money saved on science experiments, basic art projects, basic music instruction, whatever extras your child’s particular tutor may add to the mix, lunch with a group for 24 weeks, programs that you can invite grandparents etc. to, and the community aspect of supporting, encouraging, and chatting with other homeschool moms for 24 weeks. (If you tutor, the price drops.) 2. There is that “competitive” edge or spirit that some families have and try and transfer to others. Believe me, there are plenty of us who love the classical model, appreciate the benefits of teaching good memory skills to our children, but who are not concerned about whether or not our children can perform and recite all the info. We’re there for the friends, and the good material, and the well-organized and dedicated teamwork, and we and the competitive families seem to co-exist together just as well as they do in regular school. Those are just a few thoughts. Hope it helps. SBHNathansmamaMember
I saw your post about Classical Conversations and just wanted to let you know, that from everything I’ve seen in my getting ready to direct a local program, tutors are to encourage parents in THEIR desire for their children’s learning. You know what’s important for your children, and what they’re God given abilities are. Children with and without disabilities can benefit from being exposed to the information. Also, at the “grammar” stage of the program(ages4-grade 12), it’s time to set the learning of grammar for the important future studies. I believe that you can use CC and Charlotte Mason’s philosophies together and end up well a nurtured well versed child. Best Wishes!
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