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Classical Conversations Reviews

Classical Conversations ReviewsClassical Conversations offers both community classes and curriculum resources for individual use. Foundations is the curriculum guide for K4 to 6th grade, Essentials for 3rd and up, and Challenge for 7th to 12th. The community classes meet throughout the US and Canada. From the website:

“Our three curriculum programs support your home-centered education by providing teaching tools for you, the parent, and quality educational materials for your student. Our guides, books, timeline cards, and multimedia resources have been thoughtfully crafted and selected. The math, science, literature, Latin, history, geography and fine arts studied in our Foundations Program represent a broad and interesting body of information. Our Essentials Program students work toward mastering English language skills and improving their writing technique. As students move into our Challenge Program and work toward becoming independent learners, they read, discuss, debate, analyze and write about award-winning literature—always within the framework of history and a biblical worldview.

“Our Foundations Communities serve children in the early stages, roughly ages 4 to 11. Foundations parents and students meet once a week for 24 weeks during the school year. Once late-elementary students enter the dialectic stage of learning, they join peers in our Essentials Communities, which usually meet in the afternoons after Foundations. In the middle and high school years, students hone their dialectic and rhetoric skills in our Challenge Communities.”

(13 Reviews)


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  1. Classical Conversations Review by Melissa
    Pros: Fun way to learn the classical model of education while enjoying a community of fellow homeschoolers.
    Cons: Expensive, incomplete, disagree with some of the philosophies, tutors are not well trained, requires parent to basically write their own curriculum to use at home in order to line up

    Grades Used: Over the course of 3 years: 4K, K, 1st/3rd, 4th, 5th

    The first year we did CC, I was a tutor and we were part of a wonderful community. We all loved it and it was truly a blessing to our homeschool. However, had I not been a tutor, there is no way I could have afforded the tuition. As a tutor, I received “training” on how to teach according to the classical model. This training was not what I expected and I left the three day meeting feeling less confident than before. The first two days were spent explaining what we could and couldn’t do. For instance, we were absolutely not allowed to deviate from the 30 “crisp” minutes scheduled for each subject. This didn’t seem like a big deal, except that many weeks the assigned science project literally took 10 minutes to complete, while we were left rushing through art projects in order to fulfill the requirement. The last day of training, they finally gave instruction in what the tutors actually do. This was done by breaking us into groups and having us present parts of the memory work. It was very helpful to learn from some of the former tutors, but the majority of the tutors were in their first year, so we had no clue what we were supposed to do. Had it not been for my fellow tutors at my campus, I would not have understood my job requirements at all.

    Also in the training, we were constantly reminded that we are to teach the parents, not the students, and that our job is to show the parents how to teach according to the classical model. I found this condescending and in total opposition to my belief that the parent is the best teacher for their child-the reason why many choose to homeschool. When I asked why CC feels this way, I was told that “this is Leigh’s program and you cannot change anything about it”. The trainer drew a pyramid on the board and wrote: Jesus, Leigh, Directors, Tutors, Parents, Children. She told us that this is the order of command with CC and we were to respect it. I’m sorry, but something about seeing Leigh Bortins listed right under Jesus Christ made me nauseous. Also, I think the order should have listed the parents under Jesus and so forth.

    The second year we did CC, we had moved to a new area that did not have a campus, so I used the curriculum and did everything myself at home. We had a great year, learned SO MUCH more than the previous year, and I didn’t have to pay almost $500 per child. The drawbacks were that my kids loved getting together with friends each week, so they really missed having a campus and that I felt I had to organize our science and history to match up with CC. This was impossible because CC is more of an outline of main topics instead of a complete curriculum. One week on the Civil War did not give me enough time to cover what I felt my oldest child needed to learn that year.

    This year, we joined a classical co-op which is similar to CC, but the only cost is for supplies. The tutors are parent volunteers. I have found this to be the best of both worlds.

    I really think that CC is a great program, but I strongly disagree with some of their philosophies and I think the cost is impossible for many families to afford.

  2. Classical Conversations Review by Amy
    Pros: Classical Model
    Cons: Inconsistent tutoring

    Grades Used: 4&5

    Although the CC program is good when done well I’d caution readers to thoroughly research the tutors. My children attended a cottage school that used the CC program & tutoring was inconsistent. At the end of one year I opted not to return since I felt I could do just as well at home & avoid the costs of the school. This is a program that only works well when the tutors are committed & very organized. I wish it had worked for us.

  3. Classical Conversations Review by Catherine Segars
    Pros: Brilliant, comprehensive program for a classical education.
    Cons: none

    Grades Used: 2nd & pre-k

    This curriculum was made for my family! One year ago, I began the search for a homeschool curriculum. I was springing my daughter from the public school system and I was overwhelmed with the wide variety of homeschool methods and curriculums to choose from. I had no idea what path to take. CC was a light in the darkness. The concept was a little confusing at first, but their free summer practicum (offered in cities throughout the country every summer) presented not only the in’s and out’s of how the program works, but most importantly it explained the need for this type of education.

    Based on the classical learning method (the trivium), CC capitalizes on a child’s learning strengths and abilities during each cognitive stage. During the first stage, the Grammar stage known as Foundations in CC, students learn an incredible amount of information in the following subjects/areas: math, English, Latin, science, geography, history, and time line. The school year is divided into 24 weeks. Each week the student adds new information in each of these subjects, which is learned with the aid of very catchy songs and hand motions. I’ll be honest… when someone showed me what the kids were expected to learn in a single week, I was pretty scared. But I was very happy to see that it really wasn’t hard at all. I am simply amazed at what my kids are able to retain simply by singing these little tunes. I’m amazed at what I’ve learned too! My oldest child is just completing 2nd grade and she is set to Memory Master (100% accuracy on all memorized material) in her first year.

    The second stage of learning, the Dialectic stage know as Essentials in CC, begins in 4th grade. My oldest child hasn’t reached this stage yet, so I do not have 1st hand experience with the program yet. The goal of stage 2 is to dig deeper into the 1st stages (Foundations) memory work. Here they begin to dialogue and understand what this material means. They begin an intensive writing program and really break down the English language. Then in the 3rd stage, the rhetorical stage known as Challenge in CC, students develop a comprehensive worldview and learn to defend their beliefs through the aid of extensive reading/writing and even Socratic circles.

    This is a very challenging curriculum, but the rewards are incalculable. With the other curriculums I considered, the educational goal was shrouded in mystery. I really didn’t understand where the journey was going. I felt like I was looking at this educational mountain that was covered in clouds. I couldn’t see where the child was going to be at the end of it. With CC, I saw a very, very tall mountain that the child was expected to scale. But each step of the way was clearly mapped out. I knew exactly where we were going and how to get there. This curriculum is designed to cultivate brilliant minds. And I am so glad that I get to take this journey with my kids because I’m learning a lot too!

  4. Classical Conversations Review by Jacqueline Nelson
    Pros: Accountability, support, covers everything, cost worthy, social interaction
    Cons: Can't think of any

    Grades Used: K4-7th

    I have 4 kids in CC and we love it! I tell people that for us, CC has been like buying a costume made pair of jeans. It is a perfect fit. I have tutored the 4s/5s, Essentials, and directed for 2 years. Being around other like minded parents is very refreshing. Also, the kids are challenged and encouraged to grow and expand their knowledge, but it isn’t overwhelming. Parents still remain the primary teachers.

  5. Classical Conversations Review by Julia
    Pros: Well thought out program - great community - easy to use
    Cons: none

    Grades Used: PK - 7 and continuing through high school

    I rated the fun factor a three only because the first year of Challenge is a major adjustment. All my children love Foundations and Essentials. My new Challenge student likes it, but the workload has taken some adjustment. It has also helped him strengthen his work ethic, character, and learn to enjoy difficult tasks.

    I really love this program. I have learned that anyone can learn anything with hard work and patience. I plan on being in this program until my youngest graduates.

  6. Classical Conversations Review by Laney Garrett
    Pros: Classical Model
    Cons: Requires a strong work ethic in both the parent and student

    Grades Used: Foundations

    Classical Conversations is an impressive, well-designed program.
    Parents can find creative ideas for each week/subject on CC Connected. The website is organized and efficient.

    This program is quite advanced. Parents and students must persevere for success.

    Classical Conversations is the Marines of the homeschooling world.

  7. Classical Conversations Review by M. Camden
    Pros: Highly intelligent program
    Cons: None

    Grades Used: Abecedarian

    I have a five year old and a four year old in this program. We work while the baby naps and sing the learning songs while travelling in the van. The kids enjoy learning all the facts every week. You can tailor the basic structure to fit your child’s ability. I find many ideas on Pintrest, You Tube and CC Connected to fit the week’s lesson.

  8. Classical Conversations Review by G
    Pros: Classical curriculum well thought out
    Cons: NOT friendly for those with young children

    Grades Used: 4th grade

    I WISH someone had been more frank about this program before we enrolled. First of all we were spoiled, we had a classical co-op where the children were dropped off and taught by tutors one day a week. The parent did NOT have to be in attendance. Then we moved to a rural area with no other options but CC. I have two grade school children and two younger children (toddler and baby). To have to be present from 9 a.m. – 3p.m. with younger siblings is brutal. It’s distracting. It doesn’t accomplish the purpose I believe they are shooting for. But the program assumes the help of family, friends, etc. with no regard for those who do not have help.

    Curriculum wise…it’s good, but there is alot of singing (this is a different side of the brain than speaking!…facts memorized singing won’t necessarily translate to speaking). The curriculum is expensive and with “revisions” requiring you to buy the latest and greatest, it’s not very economical. They also don’t allow re-sale of their Essentials curriculum. I believe this is also a strike against them.

    Enrollment…all money is up front. I think that’s ridiculous as family dynamics can change greatly within the span of 10 months. Sememster to semster would be much more appropriate.

    Overall, great if you don’t need a day off from homeschooling, have LOTS of support at home, and only have older children. Not good for those with babies and toddlers.

    We were real disappointed.

  9. Classical Conversations Review by Jennifer S
    Pros: Community, Accountability, Equipping!
    Cons: None that I can think of.

    Grades Used: 4y/o through 11 y/o

    We are finishing our 3rd year with CC and we are SO thankful to have found such an amazing community of families! Even my youngest, who will be in the program

    My kids don’t even consider our meeting day a school day cause they have so much fun! The tutors are trained to engage the kids and introduce material in a fun and effective way. Getting to connect with other homeschooling moms from all walks of life is the highlight of my week!

    My 11 y/o loves the Essentials Program, where she learns intensive grammar, plays math games, and writes papers with the IEW Program.

    I have seen my own education be developed with my students as well – I am redeeming my inadequate public school education as I learn right along with my kids!

  10. Classical Conversations Review by Theresa Walker
    Pros: Pertinent information, very structured environment each week.
    Cons: wish they focused more specifics on English grammar

    Grades Used: 1 st & 2nd

    I love the community we are involved in at ths time. This is our second year with my son & he loves it. I am learning things I never learned in school. We love the variety of ways the Tutors teach the kids the information each week. Almost wish it was a tad longer so they could focus a little more on the individual subjects.

  11. Classical Conversations Review by Anne
    Pros: Provides structure and covers very pertinent, usable information.
    Cons: I can't really name any

    Grades Used: 1st

    Wow, this progam is amazing! It has really taken our homeschooling up MANY notches this year. Realize, being in my 2nd year, I am still fairly green, but my daughter LOVES it and says (all the time), “Mommy, I LOVE CC”. For those of you who are weak in history, it’s fabulous. I feel like I am going to school again and getting the education I was missing. Math and science have been my strong suits, so I really appreciate that someone “else” is helping me to pinpoint the essential historical facts. It really provides structure. You can do as much or as little “extra” that you want. I am using it as my main spine and adding math and a 4 prong language arts program.

    You won’t be disappointed. I am learning things I NEVER knew before. It will make our learning very measurable!!! It’s SO portable too, as you can purchase the audio memory CDs and take them in the car. We review our memory work when we walk our dog too, so we enjoy being outside “doing” school.

    I definitely am impressed with the caliber of education CC offers.

  12. Classical Conversations Review by Rebecca
    Pros: Kids learn a tremendous amount of facts, offers community
    Cons: Difficult for young children to remain attentive, can be overwhelming

    Grades Used: 4 yr olds, 5 yr olds

    Classical Conversations is really the ideal compromise between homeschooling and the classroom. Children get to experience a tutor teach them once a week Science, Math, English, History, Latin, Art, and Music facts, and then they work with their parent the rest of the week on those facts. Also included are things like oral presentations, so students learn to speak in front of others.

    CC is an incredible resource, not only for the information covered, but for the community of like-minded homeschoolers. It provides an opportunity for children to work with someone other than their parent, while continuing to maintain the homeschool foundation.

    As for the information itself, there is a tremendous amount that children learn. The idea is that young children learn the “grammar” or facts of different subjects, so that when they later gain the cognitive skills to be able to use those facts, they already know them. Many of the facts are put to song, so that they are easy to memorize. If you listen to the songs enough, you can’t NOT memorize the information! Children learn an incredible amount of facts each year; I have been particularly impressed with the Science and History facts. My 5 year old daughter can tell you about Vladimir I bringing Christianity to Russia, how Luther’s 95 Theses began the Protestant Reformation, and the parts of the sun. Children also learn their multiplication tables easily; they know them as “skip counting”. It’s truly impressive to hear young children easily recall complex historical or scientific facts without any problem at all.

    Young children can have some challenge with keeping attention to learn all of the information, but if parents play the CDs in the car or during times when kids are playing in the house, students will memorize the information almost effortlessly. Without a doubt, CC gives children an incredible base of “facts” upon which to build as they grow older. If there is a con, it’s the fact that there is a tremendous amount of information, and that the classical model of education does not focus on a lot of “creative” ways to get across the information. Parents of young children can make the memory work even more effective by coming up with creative ways to review it. All in all, CC has been a wonderful experience for my family and we plan to be a part of it for many years to come.

  13. Classical Conversations Review by Melinda Curtis
    Pros: I love the amount of information they cover
    Cons: I don't like the Latin

    Grades Used: 1st Grade

    I use this book along with going to a Classical Conversations Coop. I LOVE the large volume of information we learn at Classical Conversations. Although, the Latin seems a little pointless to me. It’s a great course in which you can delve as deep into each subject covered or just lightly skim the materials. I highly recommend this program to anyone home-schooling. It has been a huge blessing to my family. I never could have given my kids such a thorough education without this resource!

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