We’ve been thinking about joining Classical Conversations for years, and here’s why we finally took the plunge!
I’ve heard other homeschool moms talk about Classical Conversations since we started homeschooling almost ten years ago.
Often they’d talk about how much they loved it and how their kids were learning and memorizing so many things … but I never felt like Classical Conversations (CC) was right for me or my family.
After years of thinking that I’d never join CC, I had a complete change of heart and enrolled my three homeschool kiddos in the CC Foundations and Essentials programs this year (2022-2023).
Keep reading to find out what changed!
What is Classical Conversations?
According to their website homepage, Classical Conversations is
“…the homeschool program that helps you cultivate an inquisitive, thoughtful child through an intentional, community-based approach.
Learning together with families like yours, you’re equipped with the tools and support to teach a Christ-centered worldview that’s rooted in the classical model.”
Classical Conversations communities meet once a week 24 times a school year and typically meet in a local church building.
While CC is a large national organization, a director (a CC mom) leads the local program, and tutors (moms of CC students) teach the different classes that are available. Directors and tutors get paid directly from the tuition fees you pay and are not volunteers.
There are different curriculums available for different age groups. Here’s a quick breakdown, based on the approximate “grade” that kids typically participate in each program:
- Kindergarten and younger: Scribblers
- 1st-6th grade: Foundations
- 4-6th grade: Essentials
- 7th grade: Challenge A
- 8th grade: Challenge B
- 9th grade: Challenge I
- 10th grade: Challenge II
- 11th grade: Challenge III
- 12th grade: Challenge IV
For more information about the different programs, check out the CC website here and click on the “Programs” tab.
Reasons Why I Resisted Joining Classical Conversations
First, I was unsure about whether or not our family’s religious beliefs would conflict with CC. I knew they were a Christian organization, and as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we consider ourselves to be Christians.
However, I have encountered several wonderful people of Protestant Christian denominations that have not viewed my religion as “normal” Christianity.
Because these past encounters were painful, I wanted to avoid them myself and protect my kids from any negativity they might encounter regarding our beliefs.
Bottom line: I wasn’t sure if we’d be considered the “right type of Christian” to be a part of CC.
How could I know that CC would be a good fit for our homeschool?
Secondly, I resisted joining Classical Conversations because I wasn’t sure how to make it work with the homeschool system we already had in place.
Because I couldn’t see any of the curricula in advance (CC does guard access to their curriculum until after you’ve paid all tuition fees), I was hesitant.
Would it be overly structured? Would it be a good fit for my kids? And how much would it impact what we’d already established as a good homeschool system for us?
Related article: Should I Homeschool My Child? 10 Important Questions to Ask Yourself
CC isn’t cheap
Finally, the cost. After paying registration, enrollment, and tuition fees for my 3 kids, I knew we’d be looking at spending several thousand dollars!
And that didn’t include a few more hundred dollars on books and building use fees. Yikes.
So with these big reservations that I held tightly for years, why did we finally join Classical Conversations?
5 Reasons Why We Joined CC
1. Community and friendships
After the COVID pandemic, I was perfectly content to keep up my somewhat anti-social at-home homeschool routine. I’m an introvert by nature, and my favorite days are spent at home (or in a big city – but that’s too off-topic for now!).
But my three homeschool kids really wanted friends. And personally, I knew I needed some new friends too.
Sure we’d participated in homeschool co-ops before (more on that in a minute), but we really didn’t feel a sense of community there.
When one of my homeschool mom friends, who’s been doing CC for years, told me, “In CC, we do life together,” I knew that was the level of interaction and community we all were looking for.
Additionally, I figured that because CC is a significant monetary investment, all of the parents would likely be similarly committed to homeschooling. To me, that can be a great foundation for building some new friendships.
Related article: 9 Awesome Tips to Help with Homeschool “Socialization”
2. Fits well with our classical curriculum
We’ve been classical homeschoolers since day one. Yes, we do unit studies for science, but other than that, we’ve always been most aligned with the classical method of homeschooling.
This means that we structure our curriculum based on the three major classical phases of learning: grammar, logic, and rhetoric.
For example, my homeschool “Bible” is The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer.
Our classical homeschool curriculum includes The Story of the World for history, First Language Lessons for grammar, Institute for Excellence in Writing for writing, Spelling Power for spelling, and Saxon Math for early elementary school math.
To check out all of our in-depth curriculum reviews, check out this page here!
When my CC friend gave me a Classical Conversations catalog to check out, I was delighted to see IEW, Story of the World, and Saxon Math as recommended companion curriculums.
When I realized that what we’d been doing at home for years would align really well with CC, I felt reassured that the CC curriculum would be a good fit for our homeschool after all.
3. Wanted a better “co-op” experience
As I mentioned, we’d participated in homeschool co-ops before. Don’t get me wrong, they were all good experiences … for a season.
I found over many different free or at-cost co-op experiences that there was a very wide range of commitment levels to the co-op.
Some parent-teachers would be really knowledgeable, organized, and excited about their co-op class. However, there were other classes where that wasn’t the case at all.
Additionally, most of our co-ops offered many elective-type classes, like LEGO club, choir, and even waffle-making.
While these were fun, I sometimes felt as if my kids weren’t getting a ton of educational value from their co-op classes.
If we were going to spend an entire day away from our own homeschool, I want my kids to have a meatier educational experience.
And that’s exactly what we’ve encountered at our weekly Classical Conversations community days!
In addition to a rich learning experience, we’ve also found a sense of community and belonging that we haven’t found in any other co-op.
4. Songs for memorization
The Foundations and Essentials programs from Classical Conversations devote a significant portion of time to memorizing many different facts about science, history, math, Latin, and geography.
Much of this memorization is learned through songs and hand motions.
Before beginning CC, I knew my kids weren’t as strong in geography or in math facts because we hadn’t devoted much time to geography as a subject or done many speed drills for math.
I saw the opportunity to learn songs (my kids really enjoy music and singing) as a great way to memorize facts about subjects I hadn’t yet focused on in our homeschool.
5. Examples of CC moms and kids
Finally, as I looked back on my friendships and interactions with homeschooling families who were a part of Classical Conversations, I realized that they represented a group of kind, caring, and dedicated homeschoolers that I respected and admired.
When I spoke with our local CC Director about our religious concerns, she was incredibly gracious and kind and assured me that I didn’t need to worry. (Last year, our community had a mom who is an atheist, so that put me at ease a lot.)
I spoke with many current and past CC moms to get their opinion on the program. Each of them spoke of their CC experience very positively.
Additionally, I searched the Internet for dissenting opinions about CC and found a few articles, but none that presented a strong enough argument to keep us from giving it a try.
And so here we are! Giving Classical Conversations a try in our 10th year of homeschooling!
What we’ve experienced in Classical Conversations so far
In case you’re wondering how our first year of CC is going, I’ll share a few sentences about our weekly experiences after each
CC Practicum is held in the spring, and it’s just for CC parents. This was my first official introduction to CC and I was impressed with the warm welcome I received, as well as the organization and effort put into the whole event.
When my two CC friends had to make quick trips home during the lunch break, three CC moms I’d never met before invited me to go to lunch with them. That was unexpected and meant a lot to me!
Related article: The Best Advice for How to Start Homeschool
Orientation is held one week before Community Days begin. Kids have an opportunity to check out the campus and meet their tutors and classmates.
My girls had a fabulous time at Orientation, made a friend, and were excited about their tutors.
My son had a harder time, as he realized he’d been placed in a class with all girls. Because he was THE child that I was really hoping would make some good friends, I spoke to the director about this at the end of Orientation, and she graciously agreed to move my son to a class with more boys his age!
Community Day #1
Our first Community Day was awesome! I stayed in the Foundations class with my youngest, who is 6, and then attended Essentials with my 4th and 6th graders in the afternoon.
All of their classes were so well-planned and effective. We covered Latin, math facts, science, art, history, and grammar in Foundations. In Essentials, my kids were introduced to Essentials of English Language, several fun math speed drills, and had their first in-person Institute for Excellence in Writing class.
And I was right: my kids loved learning the songs so much that they’ve been listening to them non-stop since we’ve come home.
I also volunteered to be the field trip coordinator for our campus, and I’m really excited about that!
Community Day #2
Our second Community Day was even better than our first.
All week, my kids were really excited to go back – they packed their backpacks on Monday afternoon (our community meets on Tuesdays) and completed all of their assignments ahead of time.
Throughout the course of the day, it was great to see my kids settling into the routine, and they’re also beginning to find their little friend groups. Hooray!!
Final thoughts about why we chose to join Classical Conversations
Overall, I am excited and looking forward to our first year as members of our Classical Conversations community.
It feels like the right decision for our family at this time. I’ll be sure to keep updating this article as the year progresses.
If you have any questions, please feel free to drop them in the comments below!
Related articles about homeschooling:
- The 5 Best Paper Planners to Help You Organize Your Homeschool
- How to Create an Amazing Personalized Daily Schedule as a Homeschool Mom
- How to Successfully Work from Home and Homeschool (without Losing Your Mind!)
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