We’ve just completed our first semester of the Classical Conversations Foundations Program with our four and five-year-old.
Wow. It is everything we were looking for in a homeschooling community and more!
In my review below, I’ve listed the strengths and weaknesses of the program. (Be warned: we are avid CC fans, and the weaknesses I’ve listed are not weaknesses at all in my mind; they are what I’m looking for.)
- History, Science, Music, Art… I would NEVER have covered these subjects at home in the same depth as the CC community. At home, my time goes towards the basics: making sure my children get fed and don’t kill one another, learn to read and do math. These types of things. CC steps in and makes sure my children get a solid, broad educational foundation.
- Caters to children’s developmental strengths. At the Foundations age (4-11), kids can memorize anything! For this reason, Foundations focuses heavily on memory. In later ages, as the kids’ brains develop, the program introduces critical thinking, writing skills and other components.
- Community! CC gives all the advantages of homeschooling, yet without the isolation. We choose to stay an hour after class every community day. The kids play on the playground, and I connect with other moms. Their friendship and emotional support is dear to my heart, and the wisdom I glean from other homeschooling families is invaluable for my family.
- CC is affordable. Yes, it costs, but we found it very reasonable given the great benefits it offers.
Again, the items below were not weaknesses for our family; CC was the perfect fit for us. However, CC is a unique program, and these could be weaknesses, depending on what you’re looking for.
- CC does not cover reading or math. While the community is very helpful, and twill coach you through the process of teaching reading and math, CC will not “do it for you.”
- CC is only one day of the week. You must be ready and willing to review the material at home in order for the children to truly learn it. It’s not that your child needs to have the information perfectly memorized at age four… they see the same information every three years, and will revisit it before the end of the Foundations program. We only give CC about 15-20 minutes of our homeschool day on 3 of our at-home days. However, if you are unwilling or unable to continue the “conversation” at home, you may want to consider a different program.
- Parents must be on-site during community days. Here’s the secret: shh! Community days are really for the parents. Parents come to learn how to teach their children at home. If you are unable to stay for the community day or you’re looking for a “break,” this is not it.
All in all, I am very satisfied with the CC program. We’re planning to continue with it through high school.