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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.”

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  1. Classical Conversations Review by Emma H.
    Pros: Academically rigorous; highly structured; self-driven; well-rounded and incorporates deep, meaningful dialogue every day.
    Cons: Students and teachers must be able to plan and organize; too fast-paced for some; places a strong emphasis on English composition; students must be honest and held accountable..

    Grades Used: Foundations through Challenge III

    I am a Challenge III student, having spent six years in Classical Conversations from Foundations till now. Because I have spent the vast majority of my academic life as a homeschooled student, I can only base my experience (in comparison to public schooled student) on second-hand reports.

    However, what I can tell you, readers, is this: CC is intellectually rigorous once you enter Challenge, and not for the faint of heart. English composition is necessary, since many of each strand include some aspects of exposition. Additionally, most of my peers find it difficult to keep up with Latin, and he/she will struggle if he/she dislikes writing. I am unable to count how many of my fellow students have dropped out, not because of extenuating circumstances, but because of the sheer mental fortitude and diligence that this program demands. If you follow the Challenge guide to a tee, then you must be prepared for some sacrifice.

    CC has worked for me, as a consequence of my natural inner-perfectionist. I am driven, focused, and thrive among mental challenges. I adhere to CC’s standards, and my mother’s standards. She is a nurse anesthetist, one of the best in her field of expertise, and as such, maintains a strict code of efficiency. I am an over-achiever, a logistician, a lover of knowledge. A competitive environment provides me a thrill of satisfaction. Science, Latin, and English are the subjects at which I excel. I prefer order over chaos, logic over emotion, theories and rhetoric over hands-on practicality. People with similar mindsets will succeed using CC, as long as their goals are to learn, and continue to learn. My mother (and teacher) share this.

    Some of my fellow peers, however, do not share that thirst for knowledge. Those that do enjoy learning are not self-motivated, and struggle to plan far ahead. This is practically a prerequisite for CC. Once your student(s) begin Challenge, they must be capable of prioritizing and planning for their assignments, and possess the determination to follow through with those plans. My twin sister, whose personality deviates wildly from my own, at first struggled once she entered Challenge, since she is free-spirited and hates rule-based environments. Since then, she has learned to adapt, and has reached success via hard work.

    Evaluate your children’s learning styles. Are they more “hands-on”? Visual? Does your student enjoy building, touching? Of course, you can supplement CC with alternative mediums, but if your student is less inclined towards a fast-paced, rigorous, and self-driven program, then CC is not for you. It is structured and academically stimulating, each strand demanding time, effort, and commitment. If this seems too difficult, then, well, yes–it is too difficult. Those who loath structure and organization will find themselves floundering, grasping for a metaphorical scapegoat to blame their fortunes (or lack thereof): poor administrators, fickle bearucracy, mean directors, mean cliques, mean parents . . . It all comes down to your learning styles, not necessarily your capacity to learn. If you don’t have high educational expectations, then you immediately set yourself up for failure because of low expectations.

  2. Classical Conversations Review by LJo
    Pros: weekly meeting time
    Cons: expensive, exclusive, poor leadership, poor training

    Grades Used: Foundations, Essentials, Challenge B, Challenge 2, Challenge 3, Challenge 4

    Where do I start…. No accountability for leadership. Each Director is an independent contractor so no one can actually be held accountable for actions or decisions. Issues were brought to CC Corporate but they did not ever respond because Corporate has legally separated themselves from the actual function and application of their curriculum. Several issues were brought through the chain of command and the responses were everything from lies to denial and manipulation. Sometimes even sensing a serious pride and control that they really want over how you homeschool, even though all their literature and training says otherwise. How do I know? I was on the inside of how it all works.

    Please also keep in mind that if you are looking for a Christian curriculum, this is NOT it! You actually have to purchase a separate Bible curriculum for your family. In Foundations (we did 3 years), notice there really isn’t anything “Christian” about what is taught. Same goes for Essentials. The IEW Program is very good but it is not produced by CC so you can purchase it elsewhere.

    Based on my experience as a Director… most students don’t come prepared and parents aren’t involved.
    Oh! I didn’t mention that most Directors don’t want parents in the Challenge Class with them? I saw way too many emails where Directors complained about parents being in class and asking for the best way to ask them to leave. OMG! Very disheartening!

    So, If you’re looking for affordable, this isn’t it…. If you’re looking for Christian, this isn’t it (just look at the curriculum and the books they have to read)… If you’re looking for an elitist mentality, look no further.

  3. Classical Conversations Review by --
    Pros: useful basic curriculum; community; accountability; intro to classical education
    Cons: expensive; abusive behavior from corporate reps; gaps in Challenge (7+) program; curriculum error-filled yet "updated" often to require repurchase; MLM structure;

    Grades Used: Foundations through Challenge

    (This review needs to be intentionally vague on personal details as I and my community have experienced firsthand the backlash that comes from saying anything negative about Classical Conversations, so please pardon this.) CC has its strengths but also some serious flaws. Our family has been a part of our beautiful CC community for over five years. I’ve held multiple leadership positions, and my children have benefited from the Foundations-level program. It is not ideal for all kids, though you might be told this; but in our case, the material provided a structure and also encouraged our family to learn how to learn. I enjoyed being introduced to the Classical model of education and wish I’d learned about it long ago. CC touts its Parent Practicums as “sought after” and helpful to parents. They are actually three-day-long (required for tutors) advertisements for the company. The practicum itself is free but the “camps” for kids are not. My kids had some good experiences and some bad ones, depending on the volunteers who agree to run these “camps”. CC exerts significant pressure, depending on your leadership and community, to perform according to certain standards (Memory Master, etc) that not every child (or adult) can meet. Our community has always struck a balance, and we have had few if any issues with the legalistic side of things until this year. We’ve recently been forced to interact with CC representatives much more than before, and they are trained, apparently, to control their communities, often through fear, spiritual manipulation, and intimidation. Do your own research on this, but our community’s experience is far from isolated. Many of our long-term families are leaving CC completely after this year, not because of the original issues that were discussed, but because of the bullying and unprofessionalism that we have experienced. From a secular company, this would have been surprising and hurtful. From a company that claims to be a ministry and to do its work in the name of Christ, but that abuses and uses its customers, who are “just” moms trying to homeschool their children, it’s beyond offensive. CC is a for-profit company, which is of course fine. But they walk at the least a very fine line in claiming to be a ministry so that churches will open their doors and allow communities to meet on their premises, while encouraging these communities to give “donations” or “love offerings” to the churches to compensate. Again, do your own research, but it seems that they are willingly putting communities, directors and families, as well as churches at risk. The curriculum is a compilation of ideas and material from other places that are certainly not classical. They would say that the content isn’t as important as the method. But the program nothing that a parent could not put together and implement at home, and there are other far less restrictive and less expensive programs out there already that are similarly “classical” in nature. In addition, CC regularly “updates” their materials, though somehow without correcting many glaring errors, changing them just enough that books, CDs, flashcards, and other materials that you may have from previous years or older siblings have to be re-purchased at significant expense, especially if you are a tutor. Which brings us to the contracting. If you choose CC as a place for your family, you will be encouraged to “step up” and tutor. I personally loved tutoring, and having to learn the same material as my kiddos kept me accountable. However, read the contract before you sign it. Better yet, have your husband or even an attorney friend read it over. It’s not friendly and is meant, along with other methods, to control you. CC would, of course, have some reason for this, but it simply is over-the-top for essentially volunteer moms (the tutor pay is negligible). Parents who do agree to tutor must have all children in the programs to be “allowed” to step up to ensure that they are “all in”. When a parent tutor or director attempts to leave, they are frequently shamed and belittled by their “support rep”, or SR, or others further up the chain. This was my personal experience this year. I will not go into details for a number of reasons, but unless a family leaves quietly and without comment, they are warned and at times threatened, sometimes with legal action. I could say much more, and this review will likely be followed by glowing endorsements of CC contradicting my experience; but if you are still considering sending money to this organization (not ministry), please do your research first and keep your eyes and ears wide open and your heart and family guarded.

  4. Classical Conversations Review by ----
    Pros: college prep, community
    Cons: inept tutors, poor training program, essentials and foundation curriculum is rigid and does not work for every child

    Grades Used: 7-12

    my family has been with classical conversations a few years, and while the classical mode of education is quite beneficial with preparing for college, some serious modifications could be made in their curriculum AND tutor training programs. the essentials and foundations rely on rote memory, which does not suit every learning style. the how and the why of what they are required to memorize is not taught until the upper grades, 7-12. we are very fortunate to have found our classical conversations campus, the people are great and want to help children learn. However, the rapidly inconsistent quality of tutors needs to be closely examined. some are very helpful, while others get put in a poor training program and are inept to teach a class of young adults preparing for college. Something a 16 year old does NOT want to hear from their teacher is that they are “learning with you.” The curriculum is already extremely student driven, seeing as they meet only once a week and the tutors rarely have time to dive deep enough into certain subjects. Therefore the tutors should be able to eloquently teach and not make an excuse of learning with their students. overall, classical conversations is a good program with room for much needed improvement in the two categories aforementioned. a hit or miss, for some, but currently working for my family.

  5. Classical Conversations Review by Margaret
    Pros: none regarding the curriculum they produce
    Cons: curriculum they produce is riddled with errors

    Grades Used: middle/high school

    I will never EVER buy a first edition of ANY book or curriculum produced by Classical Conversations. The new 5th Edition Foundations Guide has errors. The Essentials Guide has errors. The first edition Math in Motion curriculum was a joke as both the student book and the answer key had many errors. Students became very frustrated as well as tutors and parents when they couldn’t get support from the Academic Advisors. The Challenge A “required” expensive map book has errors. The Logic Trivium Table had to be reprinted and sent to anyone who purchased it at practicum. Be very wary of the new Art book coming out. CC can afford to hire a professional proofreader or two. There is no way some of these errors would have ever made it through to the printing press had they focused on quality vs. quantity and sales. CC curriculum is way too high priced for a company that doesn’t even have the ability to offer an errata sheet on the exact page where you buy the product. Most every other curriculum company provides these details to their customers. CC also sells old editions of curriculum that doesn’t match their new editions without disclosure. For example, the old Prescripts don’t match the new 5th edition Guide, but they still sold those at practicum to unsuspecting families and make NO note of it on their website. They should clearly mark what edition of materials you are purchasing or put it on sale/clearance. It seems like they want to hold you hostage so you have to beg for a corrections sheet through your Director. Customer Service is of little help in dealing with these issues.

  6. Classical Conversations Review by Fay
    Pros: Great community, thorough fact coverage
    Cons: Very rigid; bad for early conceptual learners; expensive

    Grades Used: 1

    Classical Conversations assumes rote memorization needs to come before conceptual knowledge. After thorough research and a come-and-see, we decided this would not be a good fit for us. Don’t get me wrong — I myself was homeschooled and memorized the table of squares, pi to the 50th decimal, etc. I can still recite them. But our curious daughter wants to know the how and why, and although we believe in strong memorization, we believe it should fit within a basic conceptual framework. The load of memorization required in CC means that it will dominate, not supplement, your homeschool, and there is no way to be able to meet the weekly memorization demands while covering conceptual studies according to other scope and sequence lines. Additionally, from my own experience it is much better to take a few weeks memorizing something thoroughly, than to cram it all into one week and move onto something else, and then have to cycle back through it 3 years later. Fortunately, we don’t have to choose; we plan to purchase the CC memorization cards and CDs and incorporate the memorization into our homeschool at a more grade-appropriate subject level.

  7. Classical Conversations Review by Michele D Chenault
    Pros: Fantastic college prep
    Cons: Pricey but worth every bit considering it's your child's education

    Grades Used: 3rd - 12th

    I will start off with a bit of bragging on CC and of course my two oldest kids.;)

    I have graduated two students out of CC and still have two in the upper Challenge levels. My oldest son has gone on to finish college and graduate
    with honors with a degree in computer science, a STEM degree. He and my other son were more than adequately prepared for college and we did not accelerate them in any subject at all. We did the CC program verbatim because that’s the kind of person I am. Although some could consider my oldest was a little behind because he started challenge 1 in his 10th grade year. So he did Physical Science 10th grade, Biology 11th grade, and Chemistry 12th grade. He didn’t have any physics until college or higher level math than Precalculus. It’s really not necessary to have all that the school system asks for because colleges are going to retrain their students the way they want.

    Many have said that CC is pricey and some teachers are not qualified or even worse ignorant. Yes, it is expensive and yes some teachers are not qualified. I will say that most are not qualified, but this curriculum has the greatest flexibility in that YOU the parent are the one who is in charge. If the lead learner doesn’t have all the facts, then you can shine and give your child more facts or better yet help your student learn how to find that information about a subject. The point of the curriculum is to train the brain how to learn new subjects and how to think logically and clearly.

    Many have said that CC can be cliquish and I wouldn’t disagree. It can be that way and/or seem that way. Sometimes it is a real and viable problem. CC is made up of individuals and we are all fallen sinful people in different places with our walk with God. CC corporate does have measures in place to try to prevent that from happening. It’s still going to happen. My suggestion is to talk to your Area or Regional managers, but remember they aren’t perfect either and also we need to thank God for the reminder that we are always under His Grace for forgiveness. Then I would recommend looking to your heart to see if anything there needs to be changed.

    I’m getting ready to put my 3rd son into Challenge 4 and I am a little uncertain as to the tutor’s personality. She is very qualified, but tends to take rabbit trails very often. My son who is 17 tends to get frustrated by people like that. We are putting him in that class because the curriculum is SO good and with the idea that he will meet professors in college and bosses for his future job that will be like that. He will need to learn self-control with people.

    Bottom line is, Classical Conversations will prepare your child for excellence in college including STEM degrees without doing anything extra.

  8. Classical Conversations Review by Rachel
    Pros: Opportunity for good friendships, high parent involvement
    Cons: All the negatives associated with multi-media marketing

    Grades Used: K-10

    We were involved with Classical Conversations for many years and I served in various leadership roles. On the plus side, we developed some very good friendships and were close to a number of families involved in the program. As a parent, I stayed with my kids in their classes and enjoyed being a part without feeling unwanted by the tutor. CC welcomes parent observation more than any other homeschool program I have been a part of.

    However, this is a multi- marketing business. I can honestly say that after being a part for so many years. The focus is first to generate money and second to serve homeschool families. I will go through the contract to illustrate this point.

    When signing up for CC, parents agree to pay the entire tuition by July for the entire year. It does not matter if a child gets sick or even if a family moves away. CC makes no provisions. I saw this happen to a family with three children. The dad got transferred during the first semester and that family lost $2,000.

    The contract strongly encourages parents to purchase products from CC. There is no website or effort on the part of CC to help parents keep down costs by buying used curriculum. Practicums have a CC book table. This would be a wonderful opportunity for parents to sell used curriculum, but CC corporate will not allow it because they want you to buy from them brand new. CC is likewise constantly updating with new editions, making families purchase even more books from them.

    The contract claims that CC class prices are similar to other co ops. This is not true. What the contract does not say is that CC Essentials and Foundations have 24 weeks of instruction per year and Challenge has 30. Public and private schools have 36 weeks per year. We did the math, and the price of CC is more per each hour of instruction than the local schools in our area except for one. Only the schools have certified teachers and there is no requirement at CC.

    Beyond the contract, there are numerous rules CC Corporate has instilled that serve them to make money. The whole point of homeschool is to empower each family to make their own decisions. However, CC families, particularly those in the Challenge programs, cannot do this. Rules like a director must have ALL of her kids in the program, even highs schoolers, to continue her job. So many talented directors lost their jobs over this. If a high schooler whose parents directs at CC wants to take dual enrollment at a Community College, for example, they cannot do this unless their mom quits her job, even if she has kids in the other parts of the program like Essentials and Foundations. Why does CC have this rule? Becuase it forces directors to keep their kids in the program, which equals more money for corporate.

    I would encourage you to do some research on the Bortins family before signing up. Before starting, CC Leigh entered an entrepreneur contest. She had to abandon her plan, which was selling homeschool curriculum, because she was charging families $1,000 per year and her clients found that price too high. A few years ago she bought a huge multi-level sports complex in North Carolina. Like others at the top of multi-marketing companies, she is wealthy. Please be aware that a portion of your tuition goes directly to the Bortin family. Her son, who took over at age 26, currently leads CC. He had no children of his own at the time and his wife also took a high leadership position.

    I would also investigate the whole controversy of how directors are classified and receive compensation. Space does not allow me to go into the details, but there are quite a few websites on this topic.

  9. Classical Conversations Review by Tonya Roberts
    Pros: Classical Model, Awesome Community, Amazing curriculum
    Cons: Wish I would have started my oldest sooner

    Grades Used: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 plan on going to 12th

    I love the fact you can visit a CC community day anytime or at an open house and see how it is run. That is how I first decided to enroll. I liked the fact that the parents leading the classes are tutors and I am the teacher. I like the fact they get at CC what I can not replicate at home…peer accountability and community, It was nice to experience an educational model based on truth, beauty and goodness. Interactions with one another ought to follow the principles in Matthew 18. I really like having the curriculum laid out for me and the options to add or reduce as I feel appropriate. In the Foundations stages we were able to concentrate on the Grammar stage of memorization for community day and at home go deeper into each subject if we wanted. These memory pegs are there and daily life adds more to their understanding of each piece of memorization. Learning about the Classical Model helped me to really understand the process of learning. I early retired from the public school system so I wasn’t really familiar. Now my older children are in 7th, 9th and 10th grades…I am amazed at how well my children can articulate, debate, use logic, decifer and see God in everything that they learn. CC is much more than a basic education; it addresses the heart and mind. Had I not researched the program and became informed i would have been confused with the processes and procedures. No program is perfect…we found one that fits us. No family is perfect, church or organization. We have learned how to be a part of something wonderfully imperfect and let God teach us some beautiful lessons together. I encourage you to become informed, read Echo In Celebration (Free), The Core and for the middle school years The Question & The Conversation…it makes so much more sense when you understand the Classical Model. God Bless you on your journey to finding the best education choice for your family.

  10. Classical Conversations Review by Lori
    Pros: Timeline Song, Flashcards, Curriculum
    Cons: No Assurance of Group Quality, Some Hostile Staff

    Grades Used: K,5

    We just had an unfortunate experience with CC.

    We have been using the CC curriculum for 3 years now. The first year we were in a different state. Great group, great director, I also talked to the regional director: very friendly & helpful. We moved to a different state & joined a group that was new.

    After three sessions, the class day was changed for the convenience of the people running the group, which meant my family would have to miss a few classes for dental appointments I’d made with the understanding the class was on a certain day. Not such a big deal, but not ideal.

    Then one week on a Sunday night the director sent out an email canceling class on Thursday for fall vacation. A mother who was not the director, whose husband was a tutor, then sent out an email on Tuesday unilaterally reinstating class on Thursday.

    I saw the email from the director canceling class, but I didn’t see the email reinstating class, which just looked like a reply to the group. And nobody bothered to call or text us that class was actually still on, so we simply missed class that week.

    Another issue was that my kindergartner’s tutor was not not strictly adhering to the curriculum. She was bringing in books she liked and reading them to the class. That is nice, but I paid for the curriculum.

    Finally, the group was imposing all these other obligations on me. We have four children, and I help my elderly mother, so I’m stretched. I was getting texts telling me to bring gifts for the tutors and to bring potluck meals.

    I don’t understand why no one could bother to contact me that they had reinstated class after they canceled it, but they could contact me to tell me to bring gifts for the tutors.

    We withdrew from the class, and I sent an email to a director. She called me, was very emotionally empathetic, but no suggestion of actually speaking with the people running the group.

    I paid almost a thousand dollars to enroll my children in this group this year. I was floored that it was being run so lackadaisically, with zero mechanism for correcting a “rogue group.”

    I sent another email to the director and the regional director, noting the points I’ve just made above. Number one, because it isn’t my style to withdraw from a commitment without explaining why. Number two, I thought feedback would be valuable since it was a new group.

    The regional director called me, and basically ambushed me over the phone. I received one of the nastiest most harassing calls I’ve ever received in my life (while watching my children at the playground).

    She accused me of “rejecting community” and kept saying she was “very concerned about me” because I was “rejecting community.” I answered something like “That’s crazy,” and she turned to someone present with her and asked “Did you get that?” in reference to my statement. I was like “Am I on speaker? What is going on here?”

    I got off the phone by firmly asking her not to call me again.

    I sent a communication to corporate, basically telling them I did not want this madwoman harassing me anymore (since she was doing so as their representative).

    They sent me an email apologizing and asking for forgiveness. Sure, I forgive them, but man, would I not join another CC group!

  11. Classical Conversations Review by Emma
    Pros: Rigorous, intense, cultivates skills on how to learn
    Cons: The early memory work

    Grades Used: 1--12

    Classical Conversations, in my opinion, is an excellent homeschooling curriculum, especially if you wish to continue a good program long-term. Being a Challenge 1 student myself, I can personally see the benefits of the material that has been incorporated in my life. However, it’s not meant for everyone–I’ve seen some of the reviews that degrade the program for its “cliques and poor directors.” But that can happen anywhere–public school, privates schools, regardless of its leadership or members.

    All in all, it has worked for me. But it doesn’t work for everyone.

  12. Classical Conversations Review by NLK
    Pros: met some new people
    Cons: clickish groups, poor directors with very little oversight

    Grades Used: k, 1, 3, 4,5

    There is not a well thought out procedure to weed out bad directors or tutors or to resolve conflicts.

    The program is based on the multilevel marketing model, Once the campus grows they split into other campuses so people can make more money. Seminars of less than a week are considered adequate to train tutors. If you decide you can teach your children to memorize the facts in the Foundations book at home, instead paying another mother to present the same material, a director might tell you it is illegal to use your purchased books at home, and that if you use the books on your own you might not do it correctly.

  13. Classical Conversations Review by Carylee
    Pros: Challenge classes teach reasoning and logical thinking. Program provides accountability
    Cons: Cost

    Grades Used: Foundations, Essentials, Challenge A, and B

    We have seven children and have home schooled for 20 years. We traveled across the country for 10 of those years selling home school art curriculum at conferences. Throughout those years we have seen and tried almost every home school curriculum option out there. We helped start a CC group in our area 8 years ago, attended/tutored for 2 years, took 4 years off, and then started back in CC 2 years ago. For those who have had a bad experience, I am sorry, but please do not equate a bad community experience with a bad curriculum over all. Our community is amazing. No, it is not the answer for everyone. For us it has been the accountability and structure our family needs.
    If you think the curriculum is too simple or not enough…then you have not looked at the big picture, however. Everything in the foundation and essential programs builds to the Challenge programs. Now that I have two teens in Challenge I can see it, where before there were times I wasn’t sure. Last year I saw my 13 year old son, who previous hated school, learn to look at both sides of an issue and write multiple persuasive essays on them. I saw huge growth in his academics and social skills. CC is not perfect, because we are not perfect. For us, it is worth every dollar.

  14. Classical Conversations Review by Amy
    Pros: Fellowship and group activities
    Cons: too much game playing by the moms

    Grades Used: 4th and 5th

    The first year was great. We had a great teacher and had a lot of fun. There was one kid who was always trying to rattle my kids cage because he wanted to be best friends with the directors boy who got along great with my boy. His mother was a psychopath. The second year rolled around and the same thing happened. A few of the mothers wanted a tailored group and ganged up on us and got us kicked out. After that they ended up leaving CC. The clicks and back stabbing, the lies told about the director, me and my son were disgusting. These were so called Christian mothers. All I can do is shake my head.

  15. Classical Conversations Review by Britt
    Pros: Excels in the high school years
    Cons: Accountability

    Grades Used: k-7

    Addressing the points –
    Directors are untrained and incompetent- the idea behind CC is to equip parents to present the same material at home in the same way. It would FAIL if it intimidated parents and they walked away thinking they were not as capable as the tutor. The PARENT is the teacher. The tutor is just a parent that presents the same material that is in the guidebook. The tutor is NOT THE TEACHER.

    This is not a co-op. You must be familiar with the classical model of education or you won’t understand how it’s set up. The elementary grades are the Grammar Stage and this is the time when kids want to absorb information like little sponges. Memorizing facts is just one small part of it. Those facts are like pegs that they can hang information on as they get older and start to see the whole picture. My 4 yo can fill in the rest of the sentance when someone mentions Constantine in a public setting. She has a peg now and can build on that later. High school is not the time to fill heads with knowledge. This is very different from public school. Please don’t approach CC with our public school format as your benchmark.

    The flower of CC is the Challenge years. That’s for the 12-18 year olds. The Grammar stage is the stem that supports that. If you haven’t checked out a campus yet, please stop in and observe the older teens. They impress. They have poise and confidence.

    If you have little one’s that are under 4 and too young, it’s is up to the parents to set up a nursery or babysitter during that time. We do it in the church. The moms take a rotation so each one only watches kids twice a year. A teen is hired for a nominal fee to help in the room. It’s not the directors job to do this.

    Cost- We looked into an online highschool class. The cost of one year of biology was $900. The same curriculum was covered in CC, but several other subjects were presented as well for just a little more. It’s really quite the deal when you look at it from a financial aspect.

  16. Classical Conversations Review by Z
    Pros: Small class size, opportunity to know other families well
    Cons: Must take all 6 classes with no room to choose electives, unqualified directors,

    Grades Used: 3-9

    This is a review specifically of the Challenge programs. I speak as a parent who was involved for three years with several children.
    I have seen Challenge, under the right circumstances, be a fantastic fit for some. However, I have also see it be disastrous for others. In my experience it depends on the qualifications of the director and how well the kids in the class work together.

    The small class size can be an advantage if the kids get along well. There is less room for cliques in this very small setting. But they are with each other 6 hours with the same teacher in the same room. I would find out as much as your can about the other families before signing up.

    I would likewise get as much info as you can about the background and qualifications of the director. It is very unlikely you will find a person who is familiar with that many subjects. In at least one subject (most likely more) your child will be learning on his own.
    You will also be grading your child, so I would make sure you have extra time to invest in learning some of the subject material with him. (In Challenge B, it is recommended that parents put aside time to specifically learn Logic. You will probably need a lot of time in understanding this, as very few adults have a background in Logic.)

    Also, keep in mind that there are no placement tests to enroll. It is very possible that there will be kids who are behind, especially if they did not take the Essentials course (Challenge 4-6 program) and are brand new to the program. This was very common in Latin. In Challenge 1, the class had kids who were entering their 3rd year of Latin and likewise those who were new to Challenge with no prior knowledge of Latin or English grammar.

    In my area, many kids start with Challenge A, but fewer and fewer continue with the program as the years go on. By Challenge 4, there are hardly any programs at all. If this is the case where you live as well, I would carefully consider even more if you should enroll. You must pay for the entire year at the beginning before you know if the program will be a good fit. And you will not get any of the money back if you later discover that it is not.

    That being said, Challenge is the right program for many kids under the right circumstances. It served our family well when we first began. It was especially nice during prom season to have all of the kids go to a play and dinner together. No no one was left out. We also knew the families very well and came to trust them with our kids. Some (but not all) of the directors were outstanding. Maybe it is the right path for your family. But I would consider the concerns I have listed here in making your decision.

  17. Classical Conversations Review by Charlie Vigilante
    Pros: None whatsoever. Not even a community.
    Cons: The arrogantly ignorant leading the blind

    Grades Used: Elementary

    I am a trained teacher with a Bachelor of Education, homeschooling my children. After a year in a Classical Conversations community, I’m absolutely shocked by the attitude of the CC crowd! What I find very crazy about CC is that that style of “teaching” children is arrogantly ignorant of different learning styles & the multiple intelligences. Memorizing lists of words in Foundations does not meet the learning needs of the different learning styles and multiple intelligences. Not to mention that it’s all JUST surface “knowledge” – CC discourages the child’s questions about these random list of words. The goal is to simply memorize lists of words. I was told to shut the children down if they asked too many questions… YIKES! And yet there is TONS of research that the best way to learn is by asking questions and having those questions learned. Do yourself a favor – don’t bother with it. It’s truly the arrogantly ignorant leading the blind!

  18. Classical Conversations Review by Jaclyn
    Pros: Essentials, IEW, memory work, community
    Cons: it is a long day when you take Foundations and Essentials

    Grades Used: K-5th

    We just finished our second year of CC and we have loved it! It has been great fit for my 10 year old son. He is very independent and loves the memory work. My 7 year old son loves it as well, but mostly for his friends.
    I love the fact that both my boys have the same memory work but I can choose how much we elaborate on certain things. I tend to elaborate more with my 10 year old since he is more interested and ready. I know my 7 year old will be going through all the cycles again so we just work at his pace. I will say, that CC is what you make it. I see a lot of reviews saying they don’t think it is a quality education. I totally disagree. My kids and I have learned so much through CC but i think it’s because we spend a lot of time reading about the memory work at home. For example- we read Story Of the World to correlate with the history sentences. We loved it and got so much out of it! I also added a science curriculum this year to expand on the science memory work.

    I am totally blown away by Essentials and how much my 10 year old has learned. He knows more grammar than me or my husband and can diagram a sentence like nobody’s business! We had an amazing tutor though. We love IEW as well. It has helped my son learn how to write a paper on his own and have confidence in his writing (writing is not his strong suit).

    Our community is fabulous as well. We have made so many wonderful friendships and I so enjoy meeting like minded mamas. So all in all, our experience with CC has been wonderful! i would recommend it to anyone!

  19. Classical Conversations Review by JK
    Pros: Memory skills, kids have a good time learning
    Cons: Some inept tutors, Parents competing, gossip, control issues, bullying, expensive

    Grades Used: K,1,2,4

    I was with four different CC groups because we move a lot with my husband’s position. My daughter loved being with other kids. She did well and was able to do Memory Master. I tried to stay out of all the gossip, control issues and competition I saw in each group. In one group, some moms were even crying over their child not achieving Memory Master( the kids were fine! No tears. ) and the proofers were talking behind one of the mom’s back. I said they should speak directly to her. They simply ignored me.. It was pretty sad. At one group, my child was bullied by the director’s daughter. She was a new director and told me her previous director said her daughter cheated on the final proof of memory master. She then proceeded to tell me that she does not believe her child does anything wrong!! That was scary to hear. When we tried to talk about what was going on, it was beyond ridiculous . It got so bad, we left the group. The girl was constantly bullying my daughter. The other kids saw it and tried to help her. My daughter was so hurt, we finely left the groups. The regional director tried to help, but she spoke of forgiveness and made them say they forgave each other. The other girl sneered at me and my daughter after when no one was looking. We finally left peacefully, lost a lot of money, and yet the next time this director saw us, she glared at my daughter, would not look at us and her daughter did the same. I cannot even explain how insane it felt to see this behavior exhibited. To know God and make Him known is not something I have seen with CC. Some of the ciricullum is good but it is not the only one. Once a lady was sharing with me different sources she uses. I told her I like to get the teacher’s Manuel’s as a reference. One of the tutors piped in and told me if I needed them, I should not be homeschooling. I now have my child in school. Her average is 100. Or close to in most every subject. I think I did okay, And, she has some really sweet friends. Well, for all it is worth, that was our experience.

  20. Classical Conversations Review by Andrew
    Pros: Fun and great for getting interaction between students and between tutors and students.
    Cons: Expensive and rigid.

    Grades Used: 2-7

    Our boys had a great time in Foundations and Essentials. They will be in the Essentials class next year. The have made lots of home schools friends through this group (and another group which we also belong to). However we consider that CC is an expensive program.
    The challenge program for middle school and high school is particularly expensive and very rigid, with no room for students who may be ahead of the curve in some subjects, or for special needs. Spending the same amount on other curricula more suited for the individual student, will probably get much better results.

  21. Classical Conversations Review by Carolynn
    Pros: Good for very early education
    Cons: Expensive no refund prepay, Cliquey, Lots of additional curriculum needed

    Grades Used: 3-5

    Our daughter is now 12 and we completed three years in classical conversations, changing co-ops one time. Being that she is an only child I had hoped to become a part of instead it was very cliquish. Besides the $960 tuition, registration fee and etc., we also purchased additional spelling, math, science, foreign language and history curriculum. We also had our daughter in additional music and violin classes. I was stunned at the constant emails and requests for donations to help this person and that when everyone was fully aware of these people being much more financially secure than many of us. There was even an email that went out to all of us requesting that we “pitch in” to buy about $700 worth of “Young Living” oil’s and diffusers for a family. I lost it, that is not a need, it is a want!!
    When I had 3 surgeries, in concession, I was told that they would have some stuff for us for my husband to pick up. It was a laundry basket full of junk food and fresh fruit and vegetables, some of which had already begun to (odor) deteriorate. I finally broke down and spoke with a number of other mothers and the director in our co-op about feeling as though we were outsiders and of course in good pretentious fashion, they gushed expressing sympathy and began inviting us to things. When we attempted to take them up on those offers the excuses felt like psychological battery!!!
    I have learned a great deal about homeschool and curriculum since then and I’m no longer a part of CC.

  22. Classical Conversations Review by Charlie Vigilant
    Pros: My kids have made friends
    Cons: Snobby, clichy, uneducated & a perfect curriculum for underachieving

    Grades Used: 1-5

    I was looking for a Homeschooling community and thought I’d join Classical Conversations. I ordered my books for both Fundations and Essentials at the beginning of August and unlike a most million dollar reputable companies (who use a reputable delivery company), they sent these items snail mail. The end result was that the books arrived well after classes already began, I didn’t get the chance to see what the books had to offer & I lost out in a lot of money in class fees (because you can’t drop out once classes begin).

    The Fundamentsls book is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen! It’s no more than a table of contents! It’s like handing a child the table of contents if a well written story, asking them to memorize just the table of contents and then puffing out your chest and telling everyone that your child read the book! People who love to learn are not satisfied with just memorizing a list of words! I’ve never encountered anything more ridiculous! This is clearly just a business and a very deceiving one for people who have no clue! It’s little wonder why our governments feel they need to regulate us homeschoolers more! This is below what public school has to offer! Sorry if that offends people but it’s a fact!

    The Essentials guide was also ridiculous! The only thing that was of value was the IEW, which Classical Conversations can take NO CREDIT FOR! Sadly, Essentials doesn’t cover the THIRTY lessons in IEW! Instead they do SEVENTEEN of this Lessons. Let’s do some Math – that’s only 57% of the wriring course! Thats barely a passing grade if this were a test!? Then they say they completed the book…? This is also ridiculous!

    I encountered some beautiful people in the group (new comers who haven’t been caught in the cult) but the people who have been in the program for several years are very clichy, ignorant (the unlearned kind) and closed minded. They really think this is the “be all end all” and God forbid if someone has a different opinion. I also found them to be very threatened by the fact that my grade three child was able to do the work in IEW when it clearly states that it’s for grades 3-5 & they have students as old as grade 8&9 doing this course (which I did NOT point out)! This obviously threatened their little bubble! They also have get-togethers after CC but don’t include everyone. At one point a party was announced during CC, the host didn’t invite everyone (she excluded people) and there was no accountability for her snobbery! The director of the group (although she’s a nice person) lacks leadership skills, regularly misses people in her emails and doesn’t take responsibility for anything. I’m happy my children have made friends but it’s hardly a community with these snotty women!

    This is a perfect group for people who want to get by with the bare minimum. Somehow this low achedemic standard slips by facilitator/school boards supervising. I however now understand WHY governments are starting to monitor homeschoolers more!

  23. Classical Conversations Review by James
    Pros: community
    Cons: boxed curr

    Grades Used: 6th grade going to 7th

    My daughter is currently attending Essentials and we are trying to make the major decision of Challenge A or not. To the former director Ibell please give me guidance on what to do. I like the community feel of Challenge A but I don’t want her to live in a box during her educational years. I have taught her mostly without any boxed curriculums and she is very bright naturally. However, I want her to love learning and not kill the passion of learning. You gave a true honest review that I appreciate so much.

    I have struggled with trying to see how Essentials Grammar is really helpful. None the less, she has really enjoyed the class participation. She is very creative and also very analytical as well. I don’t know how to balance that when most groups are one or the other. I do hate that there is not enough creative writing during this time and would she even have time to do so?

    Thank you so much for all of your reviews. God bless.

  24. Classical Conversations Review by Tonya
    Pros: Quality Literature, Great Support, Loving Community, Subject Integration
    Cons: Wish I would have found CC sooner.

    Grades Used: 5th through 9th so far

    CC came along right when I needed support and direction in our homeschooling path. CC is not for everyone, just as most things in life. It is a great fit for us. I love that I am my students primary teacher. The one community day gives us the accountability that we need to have our work completed. The resources to assist our teaching and the personal experience offered is priceless. Our children have met lifelong friends. Most important our children are amazing individuals in their character and integrity. These are qualities that have been drawn out and supported through the CC curriculum.

  25. Classical Conversations Review by B.
    Pros: We have met some great people. Super honest, and seemingly loving people
    Cons: Feeling lost for the first few months. You are not sure if you made the right decision.

    Grades Used: ??????

    I pulled my daughter out of traditional school, and gave u her IEP scholarship to do CC. It seemed like a great idea. She loves to sing, and is very social. The class was setting was small.

    I can say, I felt a little lost. I think, I came in around September. It was really hard to catch on. I go to school, and work, and added homeschool to my plate. I was so confused. For weeks, I was not sure if I was letting her down. I still don’t know where to find the calendar on big tent. I am surprised when we have a week off. There should be a sit down to welcome you in. Who wants to feel lost???
    I like to have a definite structure, and then expand from there, The book is great structure. However, locations could be a little better on helping new people blend into this life. It’s like everyone is this big family, and we are slowly fitting in. However, I am not cut from the same mold at all. I am not a stay at home mom at all. I have one child, and I am making business moves.
    Is there something better for me??? I’m not sure!

  26. Classical Conversations Review by lbell
    Pros: Community
    Cons: Loss of Control; lower educational expectations

    Grades Used: 3rd-8th

    I was actually a tutor and director of CC for several years. My daughter started CC in 3rd grade. She did Essentials and went all the way through Challenge B in which I was the director. There are things I really like about CC and things I’m choosing to do differently. Since starting CC, however, I feel there are better options. Here’s a synopsis.

    1. Essentials – My daughter told me not to do Essentials with my son because she never mastered english grammar. Most Essentials tutors use the analogy that Essentials is like throwing spaghetti against the wall. Not all of it will stick, but some will. The problem we ran into is that not enough stuck. I wish I would have done Easy Grammar or Analytical Grammar with her while she was in Challenge A & B, but I “trusted the system.” I know they consider Latin grammar, but it didn’t help in retaining everything necessary for high school writing.

    With my son, I chose to do Easy Grammar in 3rd grade to introduce each part of speech. This year for 4th grade we used Winston Grammar and he learned to parse sentences one part of speech at a time. I can’t tell you how much I love Winston Grammar and how much easier it is than Essentials. Next year, I will use Analytical Grammar Jr. or Well-ordered Language 2 by Classical Academic Press if it’s published in time. Next year, my goal is to add diagrammimg.

    I do like IEW but I prefer Writing & Rhetoric by Classical Academic Press because it allows for creativity. My son is doing Writing & Rhetoric 1 online through Classical Academic Press.

    My sister in law is doing IEW online through IEW.

    Another friend is doing a 5th grade writing/grammar class with Wilson Hill Academy and loves it. They use Shirley Grammar.

    2. Challenge A – This was a great year for my daughter to learn to study and self-govern. Fortunately, she had a tutor that actually taught them in class which is a no – no, but it made it worth taking the class. I plan to have my son do classes through Classical Academic Press and Wilson Hill instead.

    3. Challenge B – I did Challenge B because of Logic & Mock Trial. Current Events ended up being a highlight too. One thing that drives me crazy about CC is the pace of the work the kids are suppose to do. They don’t expect kids to master it the first time. I believe less needs to be done at a higher level. You need to learn to study for mastery. I will probably have my son do writing & Logic with Classical Academic Press and his other classes with Wilson Hill.

    4. Challenge 1-4 – Science and math are a year behind especially if your child wants to pursue a career that requires them. I have learned, if possible, students should do Algebra in 8th, Geometry in 9th, Algebra 2 in 10th, etc. so they have covered what is necessary by the time they take the SAT & ACT.

    Physical science, used in Challenge 1, is an 8th grade curriculum. It’s ok if your child is not STEM bound.

    There is no true history curriculum. They read historical books and documents but there is no context. Tutors are not suppose to add to the curriculum so it’s up to the parent to fill in the historical gaps which few have time or the knowledge to do. I also think you need to start with ancient history, move to medieval history, etc. to understand our constitution with is studied first in Challenge 1.

    I know many like CC, but I guess it basically comes down to – I want more. I also want the freedom to change curriculum I don’t like and choose inspiring teachers/classes for my children.

  27. Classical Conversations Review by April Palmer
    Pros: social connections on community days
    Cons: a creepy need for control and unwavering devotion to the company, exploitation of Scripture to further corporate goals

    Grades Used: K-4 - 5th grade

    Though I’m mostly going to talk about the structure of the CC communities and not the content, this is still a review of the product since CC insists that their product IS the community, not just the curriculum.

    I was a part of a CC community for four years, and it was great!… Until the managers stepped in and told our director she was doing a lot of things wrong. This company claims that directors own their own business, but managers consistently step in and “guide” the direction of the campus. The managers even have a system for correcting a wayward campus. It’s called a SMART plan. Our director was placed on a SMART plan, and it included punitive requirements such as a public apology to every family in our campus (all 29 of them – we were a large campus) for not following CC standards exactly. We’re talking small things like how she allowed her tutors to magnet printouts on the board instead of handwriting the material. On the one hand, CC is trying to offer a consistent product. On the other hand, they are attempting to keep the cheapness of hiring “independent contractors” but then treat them like employees. So many of us have had negative experiences with this company’s methods for control and been ignored when we ask CC leadership to address the problems that there is a public Facebook group discussing these issues. It’s called “Exploring CC’s Business Structure”.

    Our CC campus was great. We followed the curriculum, had a great director and great tutors. It was the company and its managers that ruined it for us. Our campus was dissolved after five very successful years.

    That one reviewer would question whether the people leaving negatives reviews “love the Lord” gives you an idea of where this company and its most devoted followers’ heads are at. I most certainly love the Lord and having a negative opinion from a bad experience with a multi-million dollar company doesn’t change my standing with God.

  28. Classical Conversations Review by Angela
    Pros: Comprehensive program
    Cons: Educational environment inconsistent

    Grades Used: K through 7

    CC offers a unique educational environment which in parent involvement is crucial. In the elementary years (up to grade 6), the students are given the facts and the parent is responsible to expand on the facts and to reinforce the material. It is dependent on the parent to go into the subject matter more deeply.

    In the middle and high school years (starts at grade 7), the students are given assignments which are to be completed. The students then are able to discuss their research and explain the subject matter at the next meeting. They are encouraged to learn independently with parent and tutor assistance. Comprehensive curriculum with Christian apologetics.

    I have been with CC for the past 2 years and had experience with 6 tutors. Our tutors and directors were committed Christian women.

    This year, a 10 year-old classmate had disrespectful and disruptive behavior. His mother was a tutor for another class and was not present. The tutor had a son in the same classroom. The son and this classmate have been friends for years and they both had been in CC for years also. The issue was never addressed sufficiently. Some parents had their child withdraw from CC because of it. Others did not sign up for the coming year. My child did not like the drama and distractions; and it caused him to not look forward to class.

    We signed up for CC next year, knowing that my child will not be in the same class as the said student. We like the CC program and highly recommend it for upper elementary and up. My kids are looking forward to next year also. For lower elementary, I feel that it is just a lot of material that is just too much for a kindergartener, first, or second grader.

  29. Classical Conversations Review by Kira Broadwater
    Pros: Great Classical Program, Excellent Home-school Support Base and Accountability, Excellent at Equipping both parent and student
    Cons: Marginal cost (compare with any other program though, and it is a drop in the bucket)

    Reading some of the current reviews of CC, I am shocked! Are these reviews from people who love the Lord?
    I think that grace and truth, as well as a spirit of love and building one another up is what we should strive for as we objectively review any program for our children. In scripture we are taught to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They are our ministry. God has called us, as parents, not CC tutors or directors to be the teachers of our children. How they see us act and react to others is a direct reflection of our Savior.
    That being said, my husband and I have been homeschooling for just five years, all five through Classical Conversations. Our choice is based off of the principle of putting Christ first in our home, and seeing God in all areas of our educational journey, as well as a belief in the classical model of learning. We have been a part of a very small three family CC community, as well as a full-community, and one with only three or four classes. We have sat under two directors, and numerous different tutors, who all work in different ways. It is not their job to be the perfect teacher to our children, it is our job as parents to work through every teachable moment as a reflection of Christ.
    These teachable moments include not only responding to things we may or may not agree with/methods we do not prefer, but also the interest of our child regarding a piece of memory work. While many believe that younger children should dig deeper, and not simply memorize, they do not realize that there are moments to do so, but that is not the primary natural learning stage the child is in. Jump on those teachable moments and dive in! But, keep the focus on memorization during the early grammar stage.
    This curriculum and program has done all the leg work of finding quality (not quantity/exhaustive) information to memorize as a foundation for digging in to that information in the rhetorical stage. It is easy to implement, great for time-efficient home-schooling, gives excellence in achievement to your child (especially if they master most or all of the information), provides accountability, and a great parent support base.
    Essentials is not a difficult curriculum, but is overwhelming to those who do not approach it in baby steps. It is designed to master over a three year period, and in a classical method. Memorizing charts allows the child freedom from researching tools while trying to parse words in a sentence. All they have to do is reference the chart in their brain and follow the question confirmation they have memorized to help them figure out what a word is and how it functions in a sentence. While this may not make sense to many of you who are unfamiliar with the terms I have used, I will try to explain it in a different manner. The students approach a sentence with a set of questions such as who/what is this sentence about? (subject), noun or pronoun? (memorized from their chart is the definition of each. a noun names a person, place, or thing, activity, or idea, a pronoun replaces a noun in order to avoid repetition–i.e. I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they) ETC. The more questions they ask about the sentence, the more they understand each words role in the sentence. This allows the student to find any word and determine how it is used in context, even to the extent of whether it is a limiting adj., descriptive adj., or reflexive pronoun, etc. This is an excellent base for studying foreign languages (i.e. Greek, Hebrew, Latin, or modern languages such as French or Spanish, and understanding the meaning of any modern English text as well. Keep in mind, the student and parent are not expected to master the material the first year. The first year provides exposure and as much memorization as possible. Year two often allows a moderate level of understanding, more memorization, and more application. Year three is when parent and child really begin to understand the material to its fullest, and can work through any sentence, chart, or diagram. Memorization in year three continues, and review is constant. The program overall is an excellent language curriculum.
    IEW is also a phenomenal program designed for both students who love and really do not like to write. It gives them checklists empowering them to write well, and a system of writing that provides confidence which gives birth to creativity and excitement for every student. It reinforces the memory work the student is already memorizing, allowing them to dig a little deeper, and teaches them the writing process successfully. The parent has the freedom to work through more of the book as well when CC is over for the year, providing reinforcement of the material, since the basics were covered in 24 weeks (this accounts for the extra chapters). Again, the parent is the teacher, and is encouraged to take their child through the program at the child’s pace, and yet challenges them to stretch themselves academically. The accountability, and positive peer pressure drives the students to work hard in the classroom, and grow in a positive environment. Granted tutors change the mood of the classroom, but here is where grace and the educational team of parents with the tutor work together to strive toward improvement in all of the children.
    CC is not a cult, by the way. CC is simply a support team to encourage, and empower parents and students on this often overwhelming home-schooling journey. Leigh Bortins does not set legalistic rules, but does set standards in communities for consistency, which is vital for families that relocate and desire consistency in their home-schooling. I love the fact that I came from the UP to Virginia Beach and still have the same “classes” and curriculum each week. Leigh is only a part of an administrative support team that does much of the grunt work, to make our life a little easier as we approach home-schooling. My children are flourishing in this program, each with a different learning “style”.
    In terms of growing the communities, parents are equipped to explain the classical model in three minutes and encouraged to tell others how the classical model works…not CC. This is so that the parents themselves understand rhetorically the model that they are choosing to educate with. True mastery of the model only comes when you are able to explain it to others. For instance, you cannot become a famous chef, until you understanding cooking well enough to teach others. Also, while many communities are growing to capacity, and directors are encouraged to fill the program, in the same manner, so does any local business, school, club, or ministry outreach. Do they force entrance and ostracize those who leave the program? No. CC is not chosen by everyone, and we as believers must stop comparing ourselves to others, and home-school moms to others. Let us encourage one another on whatever journey God has for our families, and in love strive to learn from one another, for we will never be the perfect parent, or the perfect educator. We simply have a task to remain faithful to the Lord in the ministry he has placed before each of us, and extend love and grace to those who have chosen differently.

  30. Classical Conversations Review by Susan
    Pros: Great way to make friends.
    Cons: Essentials Curriculum is Awful

    Grades Used: 2-5th

    I was in this program for two years, and I was disgusted by the curriculum and the director. The first year, I only had my children in the foundations program, because I was concerned the Essentials program might be too difficult for my daughter. Despite my repeated asking to see it, I was not allowed to look at the Essentials curriculum until I enrolled into it. Even then I was not allowed to see the curriculm until the practicum training and only after I had paid for it. If I had seen the curriculum, I would not have enrolled in this program. The Essentials curriculum (grammar and writing) is awful. The grammar book is so hard to understand, even the tutor (our director) didn’t understand it. She would occasionally ask me what a word in a sentence on the board was (such as an adverb) because she couldn’t recognize it herself (I had a really good grammar teacher in high school – apparently she didn’t and she couldn’t learn it from the curriculum itself, which was a bad sign).

    The grammar curriculum is based on a list of grammar mastery charts (labeled A through GG) that the students are supposed to copy repeatedly until they learn them. There is very little explanation of how to recognize things such as nouns, verbs, adverbs, etc. Instead the kids memorize and list model sentences, parts of speech and lists of nouns, pronouns, etc. It’s a fire-hose method of throwing everything at the children at once, and as a result, students who were in it for the second year, still didn’t know much.

    The writing curriculum was also frustrating. The source – Institute for Excellence in Writing or IEW is good, but the book – written apparently by I.E.W. for C.C. – is based on a 30-week program, and C.C. is a 24-week program, which meant we skipped about six chapters. You would think that the person who wrote the curriculum and the people who run the C.C. program might have communicated better before the curriculum was published, but not so.

    The Foundations curriculum was okay, but as others have mentioned, memorizing facts without any background explanation doesn’t work, and unless you keep reinforcing it over and over again, the kids forget it. I’m all for memorization of certain facts, such as the multiplication tables, but memorizing history and science statements without any background information is meaningless. We have switched to a different curriculum, and my daughter keeps saying how much more she is now learning.

    We also had problems with cliques, and our director was just awful. She is rude and unpleasant until the end of the year and then she is sweet as honey, until you re-enroll. Then she’s rude again. Everyone else was nice, but the director was so awful, that I’m glad to be free.

    C.C. is currently the fad, but just because it is popular doesn’t mean it’s right, and it’s overpriced as well. I would urge parents to proceed with caution.

  31. Classical Conversations Review by Kimberlee Herman
    Pros: college prep, fun, community based, excellent material
    Cons: none

    Grades Used: ages 5-8

    We are finishing up our 3rd year in CC (Foundations) and my first year tutoring. We love it. With the classical model you are focusing on memory work in the Foundations level. You can fluff it up if you like, but not necessary at this age.

    Reading through these reviews was surprising. As a tutor I am not sure what rules and regs others are talking about that make it hard to be in CC. We have been in 2 communities and both have been wonderful. Our CC is about support and learning, not about growing our communities. Having an outline of how the model works and should be implemented is important, so that all the communities run the same. If we moved to another state, we would find a CC community and would want it to be the same as we have here. Keeping it the same also protects families from having directors and tutors come along with their own agendas.

    I cannot speak on Essentials or Challenge, as we are not there yet.

    We do use CC as our spine and add to it as we want to. We do add in our own math, english and spelling. We love having community with like minded families. You purchase one book that lasts for all 3 cycles and used with all kids. The other items are optional.

    Tuition can be expensive if you have more than one child. But the quality of material, having another mom present and prepare the material. and the kids having some quality social time is worth it for us.

    Someone said it is like a cult. Well, we LOVE CC and most people in CC, love it to. We agree with the model and want to share it with all. There is a deep respect for the founder as the curriculum is really well done (not perfect, but close) and unlike any other curriculum we have encountered. It is not for everyone, and that is okay.

    If you are curious, you can visit a local community. Just contact the director first so she everyone is prepared to have a guest in the class.

  32. Classical Conversations Review by Carolynn
    Pros: Memorization, Some great tutors, File sharing
    Cons: Expensive, a great deal of supplementing necessary

    Grades Used: 4-6

    We’ve used Classical Conversations for two years and have spent a fortune, a great deal my any homeschool standard. We have bought numerous suplemental books and online subscriptions to expand on beginning CC material. Overall we’ve found many CC parents cliquish and not reflective of the Christian values they claim to embrace.

  33. Classical Conversations Review by Jimbob
    Pros: Good structure, gives H.S. kids classroom experience, Memory Master program provides a great goal for kids to strive for,
    Cons: Kind of cult like (see explanation), Parents often seem to see CC as a full and well rounded education rather then a one useful element to their kids education, a little to much repetition built in for those who keep up with the information at home.

    Grades Used: 4yr old to 6yr old

    My first experience with CC was attending a breakout session at a homeschool conference on CC. One of the presenters wept as he described how modern education was hurting our kids. He was so passionate about the program that he couldn’t stop talking about it even as he realized he had gone over time. I thought he was unique. But CC has many parents that are equally passionate. At a recent conference the speaker was introduced by saying “when I heard her testimony I knew I had to bring her in as our speaker this year”. I came to find out that “testimony” meant how she came to Classical Conversations. CC was presented as the Biblical System of education. Parents were instructed not to read criticisms of the program on the internet. We were taught to be ready share with people about what CC is especially in situations where we have little time. They also encourage much reading by CC authors. I think it makes for many parents who are educated in what Leigh (the founder who CCers often refer to by her first name) wants them to be educated in. Some of the points that CC makes are debatable. But in the CC bubble they are received as gospel truth. All this makes me see it a bit like a cult. They also present the program as being so unique and many parents describe an experience of when they “really started to understand the program”. I think in doing this they make the program seem mystical when in fact it is not. I have concluded that I actually do understand the program but I don’t understand how some can see it as so revolutionary.

    That all being said CC has some very strong points. My little one took the Memory Master program as a challenge was able to be successful in it. The information is also very useful. I am impressed with what they have them memorize. Some of the English grammar seems a little over the top to me but at the same time if kids can memorize it easy enough why not do it? The Math, History, Geography, Timeline, and Science are all great.

  34. Classical Conversations Review by Lynn
    Pros: Teaches value of hard work
    Cons: Inconsistent quality, marketing push, weak science and history

    Grades Used: K4 - 9th

    CC seems to be losing itself in a never ending push to market, grow, and regulate. Reading other reviews here, I noticed that they were pretty positive in 2012, but by 2014 they become more reserved or outright negative. That was very much my experience with CC. I loved it, but as more and more and more rules came from the corporate office, I found it to be legalistic.

    I also had the experience of an unacceptable tutor. Her interactions with my child were disrespectful, and there was little quality to the class she ran. As an independent director, there was no accountability. Class consistently started 30 minutes late, routinely had an extra long lunch break, and frequently ended early. My experience with tutors at every other level was good. You must know your tutor well, and don’t expect him/her to be there long. My oldest had a great experience in a challenge level, but when my next child went through it was a different tutor and a very different experience, although not necessarily bad it was inconsistent.

    I also saw the push to grow at all costs and the toll that it took on directors/tutors. In my area there are quite a few CC campuses. None are full, and in the case of Challenge classes, some are barely big enough to be sustainable. Yet we must grow, grow, grow. That shows little regard for the time and effort directors and tutors put into the program. It results in campuses practically competing with one another for students.

    The curriculum itself is weak in some areas, and becoming weaker. At the high school level, for college prep students, I think a more rigorous science program should be used, and high school should begin with Biology, not Physical Science. For math, I think that college prep students should be encouraged to take Algebra in 8th grade. The largest gap for me is in history. The elementary program is fine for history. They memorize 24 facts per year, and parents can dig deeper at home if desired. In Challenge history largely disappears. Challenge A (7th grade) – no history. Challenge B (8th) – no formal history, although students learn the biographies of a few famous scientists. Challenge 1 – no formal history, although they pick up some in discussing government and a couple of the literature books. Challenge 2 – no formal history, instead they study biographies of famous painters and composers. Challenge 3 – American history. Challenge 4 – history of the ancient world (primarily Greece and Rome). There is no study of Eastern cultures, African history, political history of the Medieval or Renaissance world, or European history outside of artists and composers and a few scientists.

    Finally, I noticed in my older students that they had not retained any of their memorization from Foundations. That is probably to be expected, because I didn’t continue to review it with them in later years. If you want those Foundations memory pegs to pay off in Challenge you will have to make time to review them throughout challenge.

    As a positive, students will write every week from fourth grade on. This is a tremendous benefit, and will help prepare any student other academic studies.

  35. Classical Conversations Review by connie
    Pros: complete, excellent materials, if you get a gifted director, your life will be very blessed
    Cons: directors/tutors are independent contractors--very problematic, see below

    Grades Used: preK-12th/Foundations, Essentials, Challenge A B 1 2 3 4

    PLEASE understand. The Challenge Directors are independant contractors. Which means, they are self-employed. Ultimately, once contracted, it means they have complete authority to do or NOT do whatever they want. There is very little CC can do about it. I believe the company will grow to a point that this may not be the case in the future, but currently you need to understand what self-employed means for your students and yourself.

    If your child is in say, Challenge A with 12 students, and the Challenge B tutor decides she only will accept 4 students, it is within her right. She can cherry-pick the 4 students she likes, and not accept the others, without explaination/reason. If the B tutor just doesn’t like your child, she can not accept her/him. The tutor can insist every assignment be completed to her standards and a contract signed before she accepts your student. These are just a few examples. While CC would hope this does not happen, it does. When limitations on who can tutor/direct challenge are so overbearing that very few meet the requirements, the contrated tutor/director may not be the best choice to teach, she just might be the only one who meets the requirements, which have little to with gifting/burden.

    If your student isn’t chosen by the self employed tutor/director, you have few options: remove only that student to another campus, or remove your entire family to another campus.

    But, since Challenge decisions are made later that foundations/essentials, you will not get your registration money back for your younger F/E children. Also, as Challenge is junior/senior high, does your child really want to be seperated from the kids he/she has developed relationships with for the past several years?

    This senerio does not fit the mission of CC. It does not facilitate community. And until these directors cease to be their own boss, this will continue to be a poor buisness practice for CC. Given Leigh Bortins mission for CC and the company, I cannot fathom that this employment arrangement will last long term.

    Your challenge tutor/director reports to the Support Manager, not your Foundations/essentials director. Your Support Manager may NOT be a part/likely isn’t a part of your community. Guess who the SM talks to when determining how well your tutor is doing? The tutor. Unless you go before the SM and complain, either for your own child or future children, a realistic picture of your tutor from a PARENTS perspective may never be seen by the SM.

    I encourage all moms to voice your cencerns to your tutor AND the SM. The SM needs the feedback to decide if that tutor should be re-contracted.

    You can appeal to the support manager, area manager and on up. But, remeber, the challenge directors are independent. Ultimately they can do whatever they want. The SM can chose not to re-hire them the following year. But really, if that director is the only one who meets the criteria, do you think that will happen? Not.

    The SM or AM or regional director might convince your tutor to reconsider the any decision made if for example your student wasn’t “chosen”, but would you want to subject your child to a tutor that doesn’t want her/him?

    So, do not be lulled into thinking you are signing your junior/senior high students up for a PROGRAM. Your just signing them up for a years worth of classes. At any time, this community could be removed from whem without explaination. Be prepared.

  36. Classical Conversations Review by Jim Howey
    Pros: Great Classical education
    Cons: program is ruined by Power hungry regional directors

    Grades Used: Foundations, Essentials, Challenge (3rd -8th)

    My wife is an experienced classroom teacher with a Master degree in Education. She has loved being a tutor with CC.

    However, the regional director(s) in Arizona are causing all sorts of problems for directors, tutors and families. They are implementing rules, regulations and general BS that is not specified in the national guidelines and manuals.

    These power hungry individuals have done more damage for CC than good. So many families, tutors and directors have quit because of the bogus requirements that are being placed on them.

    This curriculum isn’t cheap, yet it is going the way of many “Faith Based” curriculum we’ve seen over the last 15 years. Legalistic and completely losing sight of their original vision.

    Many comments above talk about the inconsistencies with tutors and programs, that’s because their tutor training is NOT GOOD! Every training my wife has been to has been with someone who was asked to pick up a power point and regurgitate it. And they won’t let someone like her with lots of experience teach those classes. It’s a joke!

    It’s sad, very sad.

    Sound education has been replaced by legalism and individuals seeking control, for what end?

    It blows my mind!

    My kids have benefited greatly from this program, but all the unnecessary bureaucracy is making it too difficult to continue.

    We stopped homeschooling for a couple of years to give my wife a break, and our different aged kids now do different things, some even in a public high school. Now that disqualifies my wife from being a tutor, not from the national rules, but from the local regional directors. This is causing all kinds of problems for scheduling.

    These types of things are how homeschooling gets a bad name. Too many people and curriculum companies have become too judgmental about “TRUE HOMESCHOOLING”

    Where’s the Love of Christ in that?
    What does that say to a non-Christian who’s thinking about homeschooling and even considering an a curriculum such as CC.

    It’s a disgrace.

  37. Classical Conversations Review by a.i.
    Pros: curriculum
    Cons: some parents

    Grades Used: secondary

    I really loved being a tutor to teens. The curriculum was great and I had some very nice students. Some parents showed up an hour late every week and expected the class would begin whenever they arrived. If your student is a teen in a small class and they don’t show or don’t do their assignments regularly there is a big hole time wise. Other parents would not require the student to do their assignments. Isn’t doing things you don’t like part of growing up? These were also the same issues I had when teaching in regular school. I have a degree in math as part of my education. There was a mom who sat in my class which was fine, but the constant arguing over solutions was not. She would say rhe book was wrong and I didn’t know what I was doing. This created problems in the class that the director refused to address.

  38. Classical Conversations Review by Rosie
    Pros: Like the Curriculum
    Cons: Directors- some good, some not

    Grades Used: 6th-10th

    I like CC’s curriculum, its definitely college-prep at the high school level. However, there is a tremendous responsibility on the parent to provide all the testing and grading. Some Directors are extremely helpful in providing guidance/equipping. Others are not. I found this very frustrating as I needed to develop Latin tests, without the benefit of knowing Latin. It’s very hard for students to teach themselves a foreign language. Henle Latin does not have a pronunciation audio- so its pretty frustration figuring out how to pronounce most of the words. Latin moves at a very fast pace, so even though CC says you can jump in at Challenge 1 without having any Latin background, its extremely difficult to keep up.
    Most homeschool umbrella group leaders in our region do not like CC because there is little documentation that proves mastery of material. And, many moms (especially those who are new to high school) are caught off-guard because they didn’t realize they were suppose to test their students throughout the semester. This is ok for Science and Math, since tests are available by the publisher, but I found myself needing to read all of the curriculum books (Government, Philosophy, Latin, etc.) so I could intelligently make up the tests. You would think CC could help families out by providing moms a collection of suggested exams. This is overwhelming when you have more than one student in the Challenge level
    Your student needs to be incredibly self-directed because the Director does not teach. Unfortunately our Director provided very little direction and we found that the Challenge Guides were pretty vague in explaining some assignments and projects. It was very frustrating figuring out how to prepare for debates when the Director would pretty much just tell us to “read the book”. There was no coaching at all. However, the students were expected to debate in front of the entire CC Challenge Community- very stressful. We felt like we were in the dark most of the time. Its just like public/private school- the teachers (in CC’s case, the Director/Tutor) makes all the difference. So, my advice, interview your Director and go in with your eyes wide opened.

  39. Classical Conversations Review by Ann
    Pros: Community of friends, the singing of facts, general knowlegde gained
    Cons: Possible poor tutors, no refund if you get a bad tutor, not everything is set to music

    Grades Used: K,1,3,4,

    We belonged to a CC for one year which was fantastic, then we moved and joined a new group. Our new experience is a bit of a disappointment. I think it all depends on the CC group you join. One of my children’s tutors is brand new and appears to be rather uneducated. She spells incorrectly, pronounces incorrectly and gives wrong information. One of my other kid’s tutor’s is excellent and really knows her stuff. There shouldn’t be this kind of inconsistency when you are paying to attend.
    I just do not like how anyone can sign up to be a tutor. I was under the wrong assumption that all CC’s were like our first one and that all the tutor’s were qualified to teach. Because of this we probably won’t continue to do CC a third year.

    On the positive side, I was very impressed with the program our first year. This year my kids enjoy going for the most part and are learning some things. It is just enrichment for us so we don’t put as much time into it at home as others might. It is what you make of it. We have a whole separate classical/Charlotte Mason style curriculum we do at home and just listen to the CD’s and youtube videos at lunch or in the car.

    The bottom line is if you have a good director and tutors I imagine you will like it very much. If not, disappointment may be what you come away with.

  40. Classical Conversations Review by V
    Pros: Excellent curriculum that is easy to follow; organized; great sense of community
    Cons: Not a true co-op as only a few people lead/teach; too many rules from national office

    Grades Used: Foundations, Essentials, and Challenge

    I have been a member of a CC community for many years now. Yes, there are pros and cons. I am glad to find this website and see an open discussion. I have several children who have participated in all levels of CC- Foundations, Essentials, and Challenge and have also tutored.

    We love the classical model and how CC allows several students in one family to focus on the same materials. We do all of our science and social studies together – except for my kids who are in Challenge. I never knew how to do this until I came to CC, and I have saved a ton of time by putting these subjects together. The Essentials material is an outstanding language arts program. It ‘s best I’ve ever seen and has worked for all of my kids who have different learning styles. The best part of CC, though, is that it has fostered a wonderful community for our family. All of my kids, even the teenagers, love CC and I cannot imagine leaving.

    However, to me it is not really a cooperative. I say that because only a small portion of the moms do the teaching and everyone else does not contribute to the program. Tutors have to know a tremendous amount of material each week in all of the subjects. Because of the time spent in the class she teaches, tutors likewise cannot be a part of anything their own children do in their classes.
    It really would save everyone so much time by just having specific people do the art and science and rotating the kids instead of each tutor having to spend so much time learning the material each week. Just my opinion, but this program is set up to exhaust those who teach and hinder everyone else form using their gifts to bless the community.

    While the program is very organized, there are also a lot of rules from the national office that limit how much input local groups can have in making our own decisions. For example, our Challenge programs have lost several very talented directors over the years because some of the these ladies did not have all of their kids in CC. These have been outstanding teachers who have been sent away for that reason alone. (there is a rule that all Challenge teachers must have all of their kids in CC,no matter what the ages). Some oversight is helpful, but in many of these areas, in my opinion, it is too much.

  41. Classical Conversations Review by Janann Fine
    Pros: My children enjoy singing their multipication tables. They like the hands on for the geography. Early years really does not require a community.
    Cons: Expensive, community can become a click, too repetitive with material. They sell you on the upfront expense of the books that will be for the entire program, but keep updating and you are required to buy new books, just another way to make money, not educate.

    Grades Used: Prek-7

    I found that if you are serious about homeschooling your children, I am not sure that you need to belong to a community to teach and use the Foundations and/or Essential material. I find the tutors to not be any more qualified to teach than other homeschool parents. Too many times, the clicks start with the Directors and Tutors and it carries over to the students.

    I like some of the material, but find other material just filler with no real value.

  42. Classical Conversations Review by Dorothy
    Pros: Classical model
    Cons: did not like the inconsistency with tutors; not trained well

    Grades Used: Challenge A, B, I, II

    We went from public, to private, to online school to CC. The reason for CC was it taught students to seek God in all areas of their learning which is still occurs. Also teaches students to gain tools to help them learn not just the subjects they are learning but also about dealing with life’s challenges. If the tutor does not have facilitation skills and is not able to handle a variety of personalities and sometimes family value differences, the overall dynamics of a class can be difficult. The tutor makes the difference in how much your student will get out of the curriculum. I do not agree that CC should be a ‘one size fits’ all approach but there are tutors who believe that if one student is doing something different at home to learn, but they come prepared and sometime more prepared than others it won’t work. Each student has different ways of learning because God created all of us uniquely different so His kingdom will grow and change will occur that will glorify Him.
    Also tutors who have their children in their class need to treat their child no differently than the other students. Also any issues not addressed between child and parent prior to class about assignments should NOT be part of any classroom dialogue. That is unprofessional and takes away from the class time. Classical teaching allows students to learn according to their needs and CC does NOT support that which is why we are not continuing. It mainly due to how a tutor manages the class and is not open to suggestions which when your student moves up to Challenge 2 and 3 the students start to own the class discussions and teaching that occur. It is critical to allow this to occur and not be forced by the tutor. Tutors have the responsibility while in class to ensure that students discussions are occurring and that relationships among the students are not impacted. The rigor of class is good for teaching students what they will face in college but it does not allow for thorough learning. Example is the American Government in Challenge 1. It is not teaching students about our government with respect to the how, why and what we as Christians can do today to help change the way our government operates today. There is not enough Biblical teaching incorporated. History is taught using a timeline but time does not allow ones to study the constitution extensively as students today need to so they know their rights as a citizen. Understanding more deeply the why about something is not possible with the rigor of CC. My students kept up with it but it was not fun always which can take the joy of learning out of it. This time we as parents have with our students is critical that they get as much learning possible and have a love of learning because when they go into the world as young adults they will have so much more to learn than what we as their parents could have taught them.
    The other issue with CC is the tutors facilitation skills are not taught during training for those that are new or not that good at it. You can have the desire to teach but you must learn to manage a class which is not always easy. They need to carefully consider who is put in these roles because if they struggle in this area than class time will not be fruitful or celebratory after working hard to be prepared for class.
    Also have had a tutor look at her classroom as a business and not as young people coming to eagerly learn. We homeschool because public and private run their schools either by government requirements, certification standards or as a business to bring in money to support their sports, arts, etc…The prices for CC are reasonable if your student gets the full benefit from it but it is not if your student is not progressing because of a tutor’s inability to manage or create an environment of learning each week.
    Class size is also a challenge. The max is 12 which in Challenge 1 and above can be difficult to manage and get everything done. We had a tutor who was great with her class of 12 and she was flexible when the planned day did not go as planned because she knew God was in control. She clearly communicated what happened via email at the end of class day so the parent knew. It was great. With a smaller class of 3 or 4 going to Challenge 2, it does not always work if the dynamics between tutor and students is not conversational. Students relationships with each other definitely impact the level of discussion in class.
    CC is growing and can be good for some but it is trending toward a one size fits all approach due to its own growth challenges. It started out small and now has to evolve due to its growth and change in how students are educated in these modern times while keeping God and relationships with others the central focus.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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!

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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!

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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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