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25 April 2013

Homeschool Blog Hop: Guest Post for Classical Conversations.

Hi, my name is Stephanie Adams, and I am a curriculum junkie. I am a seasoned homeschooler with 3 children. Over the years I have spent countless hours devoted to curriculum research.
I spend many nights scouring the Internet looking for great material to enrich our home school journey. I have read numerous books on the many different types of educational philosophies. My latest research has been focused around the Classical Education philosophy. What is it? What makes it different? Is it better than everything else?   

During my research I came across an author by the name of Dorothy Sayers and her book titled “The Lost Tools of Learning.” Mrs. Sayers explains that in her opinion the problem with today’s Education system is that students lack the basic tools and foundation on which learning itself is built. They are graduating from high school and have not taken the time to master the basics before pressing ahead. This is causing them to enter adulthood without the ability to teach themselves new concepts. The reasons they are failing to learn, Classicalist believe, is because they have not mastered the grammar of learning itself. Most curriculums take more of a crash course approach to multiple subjects, rather than taking the time to develop a true understanding of the essential cornerstones of the core subjects.  

This concept makes sense to me, but how does one go about implementing a Classical Education? According to my reading; first, we must recognize we live in a Universe not an Omni-verse. All subjects are intertwined and subordinate to one another, and they should be taught as such.  In order to do this we need to go back to the approach of the one room schoolhouses and proceed with a more unified purpose in our lessons. This means starting with Grammar. Not Grammar in the sense of a subject, but Grammar in the sense of basic foundational tools. Children need to be taught the basic facts of the major subjects in a fun and approachable way that complements all learning styles.  

This is where Classical Conversations comes in. CC is a community made up of Christ centered parents. These parents come together with a like minded approach to provide a high quality, educational foundation, based on the Classical style of learning. The foundational facts presented in this program are taught continuously throughout the entire grammar school period (k-6.) This purpose is to ingrain the basic facts of the major subjects into your child’s mind until they become second nature, much like the ABC’s. This provides the foundational blocks upon which all concepts will be built. First the child completes the early Grammar program, next they proceed with the Essentials, followed by the Challenge program. These programs are specifically designed to guide the student into a further understanding of all concepts, continuing on through to graduation. 

To further my research I traveled to Pittsburgh to visit our nearest CC community. I wanted to see if they were able to truly put this philosophy in motion. Immediately I was blown away. I witnessed young children discussing Greeks and Trojans, even Constantine. I listened to their oral presentations of their poetry and their work was so eloquent it would rival most high school students. They were doing Science experiments, and then later on discussing the differences between the Baroque and the Romantic period of Classical music. These children were so intelligent. Every parent I spoke with claimed that hands down it was CC’s influence that was responsible for their educational success. They claimed it was also because of the approach of the specially trained tutors. The tutors teach the children while parents, who sit in on the lessons, are taught how to reinforce the material at home. Another great thing about the CC way is the classes are molded to fit all learning styles. The children learn through music, singing and games. They are so busy having a good time, that they don’t realize how much information is being presented to them, or how much they are actually retaining.    

This program is exactly what our area needs. It offers structure, accountability, community, and a companion in our home school journey.  It is not a replacement of the parent but rather a tool from which every parent can build on. CC can be used either as a spring board upon which you base your homeschooling foundation, or it can be used as a supplement to your current curriculum and style. CC also offers workbooks and curriculum that you can purchase to enhance your educational development. However, if you have a current curriculum you love, the only book you need to purchase is the Foundations Guide. This guide will lay out the 24 total weeks of material that your student will be taught throughout the year. This gives you ample time to plan ahead and work it into your school lessons at home.  

We are currently in the process of opening a local Classical Conversations community. I am working with CC to hire staff and get everyone trained in the CC way. Our goal is to provide the highest quality education we can for our group, and I hope that your family will be a part of his wonderful experience.

On our page you will find helpful videos that further explain what CC is all about. You may also leave me a message with any questions or comments you may have. If you are interested in joining our CC group for our fall classes, please leave me an IM with all of your important contact information.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I'm going to be part of a CC group for the first time this year. I'll be teaching Essentials and am excited about it as I used to teach English. The group I'll be with just got started last year as there aren't many in Canada.