Thursday, April 11, 2013

What is Classical Conversations? Part Two


Classical Conversations exists to "know God and make Him known." Their desire is to come alongside and equip parents while modeling an educational model which combines a Biblical worldview and classical tools of learning.

CC was started by Leigh Bortins about fifteen years ago in North Carolina. She developed the Challenge {upper grades} program first and then saw the need for some foundation and knowledge to prepare children. So, she wrote and developed the Foundations and Essentials programs. I'll tell you that in looking at the catalog for the first time - David saw the Challenge course outline and we were immediately interested in that for our children. We knew if we wanted a rigorous academic plan like that, we needed to start investing that goal now!

In that last paragraph, I mentioned the three programs - but will go into more detail on those next. Note - I use the grade levels loosely as it really depends on the age and readiness of children more than the "grade" level. But, we are so accustomed to these age divisions, it is simpler to explain this way sometimes.

Foundations {ages 4 through 6th grade}

Foundations is a 24 week program that meets once a week for three hours. There are three rotating cycles and everyone nationwide {worldwide!} is on the same cycle so no matter where you go - we are all doing the same cycle that year. This coming year we will be on Cycle 2 which is the cycle our family started on three years ago!


The basic schedule of our day is to begin with an opening assembly where we have one family lead us each week in prayer, pledges and a short family presentation. We will also learn a Bible passage together during this time.

From there, children are dismissed to classrooms. Approximately eight students are in a classroom with a tutor. When we arrive in class we spend thirty minutes learning our new memory work for the week including Timeline {7 cards a week on a 161 point line from Creation to Modern America}, Latin, Geography, History, English Grammar, Math and Science. 

Another thirty minutes are spent on Fine Arts - which is divided into six week segments:
* Basics of Drawing
* Tin Whistle and Music Theory
* Great Artists
* Composers and Orchestra

Thirty minutes are spent on science projects and learning the Scientific Method, performing 1-2 experiments per week.

Thirty minutes are for presentations. Little ones treat this like show and tell almost while older ones will begin to learn good posture, eye contact, enunciation and more on the basics of public speaking and teaching them not to be afraid to speak in front of their peers from a very young age.

The last thirty minutes is spent on review of memory work from that day and previous weeks.


Essentials {4th-6th graders}

Essentials is a 24 week program that meets for two hours per week - usually in the afternoon on the same day as Foundations. If you have a child that is in 4th, 5th or 6th grade - they would attend Foundations in the morning, have lunch and outside play time and then attend Essentials in the afternoon.

45 minutes: Essentials of the English Language - intensive English Grammar. Learning to diagram, parse, sentences, sentence structure and more.

45 minutes: Institute for Excellence in Writing {IEW} - skills for learning to write, models writing, key word outlines, etc. Corresponds with historical time we are using in Foundations by using history-based writing lessons.

30 minutes: Math Drill games - enhances speed in math, competitive and fast paced, self drills and more.

Challenge {7th -12th grades}

Challenge meets for 30 weeks, once a week - all day. It is a full curriculum where the student will have seminars the day they meet and then work to bring home for the rest of the week. Seminars include Math, Science, Latin, Literature, History and Geography, Rhetoric and Debate.

A community setting is ideal for effectively walking through the Rhetoric Stage. Theology and Apologetic discussions, accountability, an assignment guide, Christian and College Preparatory.

This is a very simplified outline of each program. If you have questions - please ask! Next, I will share why our family loves CC and how it has been a blessing to us sharing more of the personal aspect.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love the public speaking aspect of it for homeschoolers. How much do they pay the tutors and how much time does it take for a tutor to prepare her lesson?

Classical education sounds similar to the What Your ___ Grader Needs to Know series.
http://books.coreknowledge.org/home.php?cat=298

angie said...

Last summer, we visited a private school which used a classical curriculum. I see the intrinsic value in doing so, but I was concerned, at the time, of starting in this methodology and then moving to COS the following year. We are always evaluating our school choice, so this is good to keep in mind. I am anxious to read your post about how CC has impacted your family.

Beth Bruce said...

Thank you so much for doing this informational series on this! I'm planning on homeschooling the girls and so I'm looking at all my options and I am VERY intrigued at this one. I'm anxious to read your other posts on this. :)