Challenge A (a first time CC student's experience)Okay, so! We are "up and running", as they say. We have officially completed our first two weeks with our new Classical Conversations(CC) community. Specifically, my oldest child has completed her first two weeks. Her siblings have been "doing school" lightly all summer long, and have completed math, reading, copywork/handwriting, math drills, typing, and some grammar review with me each day since their older sister began her new schooling with CC.
If you are an "on the fence" parent (wanting to try CC but hesitant to jump in with older children who have never been in Foundations and/or Essentials), here is what I want say to you. Ready? Don't miss it. Here it comes....................I want to encourage you, ENCOURAGE you, E-N-C-O-U-R-A-G-E YOU that your child can succeed and that you will not feel unsupported in your endeavor.
Seriously, I cannot say enough good things about our local community and the parents, tutors, and highly committed director who are making this transition as painless as possible for my family and me. I have sincere encouragement and support and so does my Challenge A student (who has never had Foundations, never had Essentials, and has had only minimal exposure to Latin prior to our joining CC.)
She loves the familiar layout of her days at home (which, with the exception of one adjustment I had to make to her schedule, follows the order of her full day at CC each week; the continuity at home is great for the students.) I will say she works hard. We are up at 7:30am and her schooling starts at 8am sharp. She works a full hour per strand ("subject"), and must stay on task if she wishes to avoid homework or keep it to a minimum. She finishes her schooling at 2:30pm, completes chores for 15 minutes, then must address any homework promptly, since she's a competitive swimmer and puts in 90 minutes at the pool 5 days per week. As I said, she works hard.
But the point here is to encourage you. Do you want the benefit of an intimate group of Christian peers, iron sharpening iron, for whom the academic bar has been raised while full support is given in teaching them to believe they can reach that bar? Do you want your child to learn to think critically and analytically, and to learn to express their convictions intelligently and persuasively? Do you want them to be able to regularly practice (and constantly improve) the skills of oral presentation in front of a group of adults and peers alike? Do you want them equipped to research and to formally document that research according to college standards? Back in the day, I dreaded "term papers" because they were always a "heavily weighted beast" of a foreign object that I had to somehow navigate successfully to the expectations of a teacher or Prof. (with little training or practice in the "how to" of producing such papers.) Not so with CC.
With CC, beginning in the Challenges, the students get plenty of practice in research, writing, and speaking. Oh, the absolute joy it brings me to know my daughter is gaining this advantage in her education.
In two weeks, she has already written FOUR papers. And she has already orally presented two of them. (Keep in mind, she had not previously had public speaking opportunities, other than National Spelling Bee and end-of-year presentations with another homeschool group we participate in.) Next week, she will orally present the other two papers (using only notecards and a key word outline for one them.) Sound like too much? It's not. Seriously, it's really not. The students are given much direction, plenty of encouragement, and PLENTY of grace as they learn. It's such a huge blessing on them.
If you've thought about Classical Conversations but have reservations about whether your children can succeed when jumping in later rather than earlier, please feel free to ask me any questions you might have about our experience. I will continue to post as we move forward in the months to come. But as far as our coming out of the proverbial gate, I do believe we're going to have a great run. I'm very, very pleased that we stepped out in faith and joined CC and that CC has embraced our family as well.