I recently received a request to share more about our experience with CC, why we like it, what it is, etc... And, I'll admit that I am new enough to the program to be a bit nervous to do this! I want to give an accurate picture of what it looks like for us and what the program is about.
First of all, my friend and fellow CC participant - Megan, shared this great link with me that answers some basic common CC questions. You can also find a great deal of info on the CC website here.
Also, if you're new to the idea of Classical Education - it might be helpful for you to begin here.
Now, I'll just share with you a few of my thoughts and questions I've been asked about the program. Rachel and Emily are both enrolled in Foundations and Samuel attends the nursery. We meet each Tuesday from 9am-noon and then all eat lunch together and have recess outside afterward.
Here is some basic info on how this works - the Foundations program is divided into four age groups: age 4-5, age 6-7, age 8-9 and age 10-11. These are somewhat flexible according to how each Director sets up her group, but for the most part this is how ours is. Eight children are assigned to each class (my class has nine) and there is a tutor for each class.
Parents attend classes with their children. So, in my 4-5 year old class, I have nine students and four or five parents present each week. Some of my parents have multiple children so they rotate through the classes different weeks.
We begin the morning at 9am with the whole group together. This is the time for prayer, pledges to the American flag and the Bible and family presentation. Family Presentation is assigned to one or two families each week to share for a few minutes about themselves. Any announcements may be made during this time as well.
From there, each class is dismissed to their rooms. In my class - our morning goes something like this: (here is a great flier on Foundations that explains this as well)
* New memory work
* Science Project
* Bathroom Break/Snack/Presentations
* Fine Arts
* Review of past memory work
Each of those things above is allotted 30 minutes. New memory work includes Bible, History, Math, Latin, English Grammar, Geography, learning a 160 point timeline (8 cards per week) and Science. We play fun games, use hand motions, music and puppets, etc... to make these things fun for the children and also to begin building these memory pegs into them!
Our science project varies week by week. We've built a solar system outside, made small rockets, learned about the Scientific Method and more.
During Presentations, each child is given three minutes to get up in front of their class and tell their name and share a presentation on a given topic. For the little ones where I am, this is most like show and tell. I provide a topic each week and the children bring something to share on this. We've recited poems, had them bring things from a nature walk, talked about favorite Bible characters, etc... It has been fun for me to see the children already learning in this area. Some who were initially too shy to even say their name have already begun to show progress at getting up in front without mom and able to quietly do their own presentation!
Fine Arts topics are divided into six week sections. The first six weeks this year, we did drawing and now we are learning about the Tin Whistle and how to play it. We'll also study artists and composers next semester.
Review of previous memory work helps us in nailing down the information we are learning each week. We've played fun games like Jeopardy and Candy Land with questions for them to answer. Some weeks, I will have them review all of their time line cards and lay them out in a big long line in the class so they can see how the weeks connect and add onto a historical time line. And, one time - we just took about twenty minutes with our maps and reviewed all of the places we'd already learned.
One more thing we do each week is begin teaching the children how to draw a map of the world. They can begin by folding their paper in quadrants and drawing circles for each of the seven continents. We've moved past this already - but it was a great place to start out!
I bet I can hear what some of you are thinking. Why on earth are you teaching four and five year olds to draw the world? And Latin? And, the parts of the sun or where the Strait of Magellan is?
To be perfectly honest, I've wondered this at times myself - especially when we first started. As I mentioned earlier - I think this is where our view of what we are doing needs to have long term vision. We are simply using music, hand motions and our children's ability to easily memorize at this age to get a lot of information into their minds while they are able to easily able to retain it. In future years, they will learn to pull from all of this programmed data and learn about it and how to apply it.
We've already had fun seeing opportunity to pull from the things we've learned. For example, when reading a book about water where a channel is mentioned - I can ask if they remember the name of a channel they've found on a map at CC (English Channel) or when a boat crosses the ocean, I can say - do you remember any of the names of the oceans?
How does this fit in with other curriculum you are doing at home?
This is one that I get asked a lot by parents in my class. I think this can vary from family to family! CC can either be your main curriculum that you supplement with math and reading or it can be a sideline that accompanies what you are doing at home.
Here is how we use it: during the week, we are working through My Father's World 1st grade for Emily and Before Five in a Row for Rachel. We practice our memory work using the CD in the car or repeating the memory work in just a few minutes each day at home - but that is the extent of how we use it at home right now. On Tuesdays when we go to CC, we don't do anything else for school that day when we get home.
How do your girls like it?
Emily loves it - she is eating up the social aspect and has been learning a lot in the process! For one who really wanted to go to school rather than be homeschooled - this has been a great program for her. It feels like going to school one day a week!
Rachel has struggled a bit more. I think this is mostly her age. She is a young four and it shows. The length and focus required are a lot for her. CC has a requirement that if a four year old is with you at the program, they must be enrolled. And, I know that it varies child by child. But, I think I'm seeing that she is just a bit too young. It helps that I am in her class every week since I am the tutor in her class, and she is learning the material and doing great with that aspect. I'm not sorry she is in it - just trying to be aware of the challenge it is for her.
How do you like it?
I am really enjoying it! I have enjoyed tutoring and the children and parents who are in my class have been a blessing to me. At this moment, I'm hoping our family will be involved in CC all through High School. It is a great program and I am loving all the things I'm learning! I've never been great at history or geography and I've learned so much it is amazing!
It does make for a tiring day for us as we leave our house at 7:30 for the 30 minute drive, prep for my class and then participate, eat lunch and clean everything up and drive back home. We usually get home between 1:30 and 2 in the afternoon.
What is the cost?
This is another thing I get asked a lot - and I get that! It is one of those things that we all need to know about something. Personally, I find this program to be very reasonable. Of course, it may vary somewhat in supply or facility fees by group - but here is what I pay:
$312 tuition per year per child
$50 registration fee per child
$50 supply fee per child
$25 facility fee per family
A blessing for our family is that I was asked to be a tutor. This allows me to get paid for what I'm doing and then I can use that money to pay for my children to be in the program.
What have I forgotten? I know this is very meaty - I just wanted to be as open about sharing our experience with this as I could to help another mom who may be considering it. Please feel free to leave your experiences with CC in the comments or ask questions - if I don't know the answer - I'll try and find it out!