I’ve had several recent emails asking about our experience with Claritas Classical Curricula memory work for our homeschool studies, so it seemed like a good time to review it on the blog.  Especially now that we’ve been using it for a year and a half, I feel like I can offer my perspective to hopefully guide other families on their search for a memory work curriculum.

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I have really enjoyed using Claritas for our memory work curriculum!  It was a very abrupt transition from Classical Conversations, but I’m thrilled that we made the switch.  There are several differences from CC that I truly like better:

  • Claritas offers 4 Cycles of memory work with 28 weeks each.  After experiencing all 3 cycles with CC, I prefer this 4-cycle program because it offers (in my opinion, for what that’s worth) a more substantial memory work curriculum.  An extra cycle and four additional weeks per cycle allows for more memory work and more repetition in some of the subjects.  For example, English grammar weeks 1-11 are the same each cycle and Math weeks 1-14 are the same each cycle (I believe – if you’re a Claritas person and I’m wrong, please message me!) but there’s still plenty of variety in the other weeks.
  • Claritas’ Fundamental Grammar curriculum follows the English Grammar memory work.  It is thorough and rigorous.  It’s a fantastic fit for older grammar students (comparable to Essentials).  A grammar curriculum for younger students is also available, but I don’t have experience with it so I can’t comment on it.
  • History memory work is aligned with the four books of Story of the World.  This is great because we can listen to SOTW in the car, and our memory work completely follows it.  I still like to add supplemental read-alouds, but I love following SOTW.  The extra cycle gives us a true study of the ancients also, which is lacking in Classical Conversations.
  • In addition to history, science, Latin, English grammar, timeline, math, and geography memory work, scripture and hymn are included each week.  This is awesome because I don’t have to come up with another scripture memory plan and it’s all set to song!  Likewise, I love that my children are learning to recognize and appreciate the traditional church hymns!  Because we are members of a more contemporary non-denominational church, we don’t sing the “oldies” much, but I still love for my children to know them.
  • All memory work is set to song, except the Timeline.  Having the songs easily available without having to search CCConnected is wonderful.  And everyone is using the same memory work songs for all subjects, which offers consistency.

This brings me to the one “con” in my experience with Claritas.  It is my personal opinion only.  I don’t like that the Timeline isn’t set to song.  I believe that there has been discussion about eventually putting it to music, but I know nothing about that for sure.  We still use the CC Timeline song in our family’s personal memory work review because we just love it.

Also, if you’re looking for a community of thousands upon thousands of other families all doing the same thing in communities, you won’t find that with Claritas.  This is one of the aspects that drew us to using this curriculum after our experience with CC – we were looking for the ability to do our own thing.  Claritas sells the material and you can use it how it works best for your family.

For us, this meant creating our own community that now meets two days a week.  We included everything we loved about CC, and added in all of the extras that we wanted to learn together as a community.  In addition to learning new memory work and giving presentations each week at the grammar stage, we also have classes for full language arts curriculums at skill-appropriate levels, a full music appreciation and theory curriculum, cycle-specific science experiments, art history/appreciation combined with a study of the elements of art and art projects, history enrichment activities, geography and map drawing, health (required by our state), and a full 30 minutes of memory review games.  We also offer Logic and Rhetoric programs for older students that were designed to be comparable to Challenge while also meeting all of our state requirements.

Would I recommend Claritas for memory work?  Yes, certainly.  Though it obviously depends on what your specific homeschool needs are, Claritas is a very solid memory work curriculum that will provide a well-rounded foundation for students.  Is the curriculum for everyone?  Maybe not.  But it’s an awesome alternative to Classical Conversations if you’re looking for one.

  • December 7, 2016 - 10:18 am

    Debrs Goerner - As the very first group to use Claritas (besides the original founders) we have had a timeline song for 5 years! The woman who set it to music also made hand motions using ASL and you can find them by searching CCA Whitesboro weekly blog. I think I can send you a Dropbox file if you need it. Many other groups have used our song but for whatever reason Claritas wasn’t interested in offering a musical version.ReplyCancel

  • December 7, 2016 - 10:30 am

    Debra goerner - Sorry, it auto corrected the search
    CCA Whitesboro Weebly blogReplyCancel

  • December 8, 2016 - 10:26 am

    Kara Taylor - Nicole,

    Amazing providence that I came across your blog as my family (5 children at the moment) is going through a similar journey. We are just beginning to explore outside of CC, and would love to talk with you about the community you have constructed. Please e-mail when have the occasion. Blessings.ReplyCancel

It was two years ago that we walked into the infamous Guangzhou civil affairs office as a family of five, and walked out as a family of six.  Two years ago, I watched a timid and unsure boy sit on the other side of the red curtains while he waited for the unknown.  I waited eagerly and then anxiously rushed toward him when I saw the orphanage director take him by the hand to meet his forever family. And suddenly, I became a mama four times over as I held our precious, scared, brave little boy in my arms for the first time.  I was finally able to feel the weight of his body on my lap and breath in his scent and hear his sweet voice.  It was one of the most anticipated moments of my life, a first meeting I had been impatiently waiting over nine months for.  That moment was so beautiful, yet so difficult and painful.  Because even though adoption is a miracle, adoption is born from loss.  It comes from such a significant and heartbreaking hurt that no person should ever have to experience.  I can’t pretend to understand even a glimpse of the pain.

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Thankfully, I know adoption also helps to write stories of redemption.  Through adoption, we’ve seen a small glimpse of our Abba Father’s remarkable redemption of us.  It’s a redemption that starts with broken pieces and pain.  Heartache and loss.  It’s a messy kind of redemption that doesn’t always have a direct route.  Sometimes it takes more of a slow, meandering path.  Beauty from ashes.

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This journey is sometimes messy and definitely not easy, but so very worth it.  Even on the really hard days.  Especially on the really hard days.  Because when we mess up, we are forgiven by the One True God.  We get to see those really hard days be redeemed as we start the next day with new mercies.  We remember over and over again what His adoption of us means, as we try to grasp our eternal inheritance in heaven.  And we get to be a small part of His plan of redemption.  That is beautiful.

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Today as we celebrate Thanksgiving and all of our blessings, we also celebrate two years together.  I am so incredibly thankful that God chose us to be his family.  To walk with him in his journey of life.  His journey of redemption.  He is precious and treasured and incredibly loved.  And he’s blessed us in more ways that we could ever imagine.  He is one of the happiest, joy-filled people I have ever met.  His zeal for life is unmatched.  And his laugh.  Oh my word, his laugh.  It’s absolutely contagious.  His love and compassion for others leave me speechless.  His sweet personality wins over everyone who has the pleasure of meeting him.  He has taught me so much about life and grace and mercy and redemption.  It’s an honor to be his mama and walk through life with him.  Happy Family Day to my precious son, who was fearfully and wonderfully made, and is so very loved!

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“God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:5-6

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Yesterday was World Adoption Day.  I’m a day late.  Whoops, mom fail.  Oh well, my #worldadoptionday2016 post will be on November 16th instead of November 15th.  I’ll call it #wecouldhavemissedthis day instead.

I am so thankful for my crew.  Yes sometimes the days feel impossible and I go to bed with my head hanging low.  Or the early morning starts with me needing several cups of coffee.  But mostly our days are filled with happiness and joy.  Even through the really hard stuff.  Because being a part of God’s plan for our children is always worth it.  Seeing stories being redeemed is beautiful.  And witnessing the love that is shared between us takes my breath away.

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Photo credit: Melanie Joy Photography

We had a super big day today!  We hosted our 2nd Orphan Sunday, an event that is recognized internationally to bring awareness to the plight of the fatherless.  The service was great, the sermon was incredibly convicting (I seriously encourage you to listen to it HERE), and we made a huge announcement today!  We launched a new ministry at church, which is something that’s been in the works for the last 6 months!

Rooted is a new ministry committed to partnering with local adoptive and foster families to encourage parents and children along their journeys. Our goal is to bring families together in a safe community where they can get support, be connected, worship, and do life.  We’ll be mentoring those who may be considering adoption or foster care, as well as getting people connected with trusted agencies and organizations.

We’ll be hosting training opportunities for adoptive and foster parents on a variety of topics that will be relevant and meaningful, and we’ll also be training our church volunteers so they can be better equipped to lead and mentor children who may have experienced trauma, abuse, or neglect.  And as other needs arise in the local adoptive and foster community, we’ll be working our hardest to help in whatever ways we can.

The support and encouragement we received today from our church family was overwhelming!  I am so thankful for our community of believers and I cannot wait to see how the Father is going to use this new ministry!

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