A friend invited me to a CC meeting, and I discovered that it had a well structured curriculum for 7 subjects, and yet it was the only one I had looked into that was designed to not only work easily for teaching multiple aged kids at the same time, but also having tremendous flexibility in how we expanded upon each topic.
Many of the other homeschool curriculums I had looked into had large box sets, lots of pre-reading for the teacher, too many pages to complete each day. I asked friends who used such sets, and they frequently talked about feeling "weighed down" by "trying to get it all done." And if they were schooling more than one child, that workload doubled.
This was not my style. I was more appealed by the Charlotte Mason homeschool style--reading good books aloud together, exploring nature together through outdoor play, etc. Yet I was firmly against the idea of "unschooling" in the sense of not having a plan and hoping that my kids learned to read and do math simply by taking them to the grocery store.
Surely there was a balanced option somewhere?!
Yes, it is here with Classical Conversations!
Each week there is a learning objective in each main subject; Here's the genius--It's the same basic objective for Pre-K-6th grade, and you, the parent, have full freedom how much you want to expand on each subject each week.
For example, in Science, the weekly objective is to learn the 3 types of animal consumers: Carnivore, Herbivore, Omnivore. Your kindergartner can color a picture and simply know that a lion is a carnivore, a giraffe is a herbivore, and a bear is an omnivore. Your 3rd grader could make a collage of different animals in each category, while your 5th grader reads a chapter book and writes a 2 page report.
Here's why this system is so functional and fruitful:
- You, as parent-teacher, don't have to read a textbook about animal consumers before you begin.
- You, as parent-teacher, don't have to create 24 science objectives on your own.
- You, as parent-teacher, can tailor your weekly projects to your children's learning needs and your personal teaching style.
- CC Connected (our online community for sharing resources) has posts from other parents doing the same learning objectives--many of them have already created crafts, worksheets, journal ideas etc. for the weekly objectives and you can download for free. If you wanted to, you could even get together with friends from the community and do a science project together because everyone is working the same objective!
- Your 4 year old can study the same thing as your 10 year old and you'll have richer conversations as a family as you're all learning the same topic at the same time.
- CC provides a writing program for 4th-6th graders (it's called Essentials, and you can hear more about it in another post), and it lines up with the learning objectives in other subjects. So you, parent-teacher, don't have to go searching for upper-level challenges for your upper- elementary kid.
- You get to decide if you expand on the weekly objective at all. You can say, "You know what? The fact that my 6 year old knows what 3 types of animal consumers are is good enough. Science = done! We need to spend more time on math this week anyway!"
I can't possibly explain all the benefits to such a system in one blog post, so if you're left wondering more, please attend one of our info meetings.