A new homeschool path

I want to begin with stating that I firmly believe in and respect the educational product Classical Conversations offers to homeschooling families.  We have learned so much during our three years with CC and we have very much enjoyed our community days. The memory work is strong material that has helped us grow into true grammarians.  We have met wonderful friends and have had the opportunity to be led by and learn with like-minded families.  In many ways, Classical Conversations gave me the confidence I needed to homeschool in the beginning.

But I’ve also witnessed some very unprofessional actions within the management team over the past several months that have led me to question our participation with CC.  While our director did a very good job leading the community, the management team above her seemed to have personal differences with her that hindered their ability to manage effectively.  These personal differences snowballed into several uncomfortable situations that negatively impacted everyone in our community.  This resulted in a lot of stress and half of the participating families withdrawing in the spring.  Despite all of this, our director worked diligently to keep our community together.  Our family supported her wholeheartedly and wanted to remain with our CC community because we valued our relationships and believe in the CC product.  However, our director ultimately announced her resignation last week because (in my personal opinion) the management team was unwilling to work with her.  I will not write about the details, but this experience has saddened me greatly.  Personal differences should not have such negative and widespread consequences.  I’ve shared my concerns with the local manager (to which I received no response back in the spring), and also with our Regional Manager.

I do earnestly hope that CC will eventually resolve their management issues.  But we will not be returning to Classical Conversations because we don’t want to put anymore effort into supporting this management team.  The window for schooling my children is finite, and there are only so many hours in day. I am disappointed because we truly love and value our CC family.  But after a lot of prayer and many discussions, we know this is the best decision for our family.  We are still committed to educating our children in the classical tradition and will be forming a new local group with another family using memory work published by Claritas Classical Academy and digitized by Cross Seven.  We aren’t excited about a change after three years with CC, but I actually like several aspects better about their material.  They offer four 28-week cycles, which include scripture and hymn memorization, in addition to all of the other subjects.  The history sentences line up with the Story of the World curriculum, which will streamline our history studies.  Also, there is a greater variety of memory work in all subjects.  Once we get over the initial hurdle of the memory work change, I think we are going to be very happy!

I will continue to keep my Classical Conversations blog posts up so that other families can use them, but my readers will not see any more CC-related posts.  I will definitely be blogging about our new homeschool adventure though!  I am excited to start working with the new material and I am eagerly anticipating our new community’s formation.  We are looking forward to a successful new school year!

web new path

  • July 14, 2015 - 11:07 am

    Melanie Johnson - I’m sorry you’ve had to experience this when involved in something that is designed to be uplifting for your family. We are also involved with CC. I have been our local director and am the Essentials tutor so, obviously, I support it. There are many parts of the organization I’m not thrilled with, one being the need to have all your children part of the program in order to be in a leadership position. This is limiting and not with the child’s best interest in mind. But, it has been wonderful for us and has been instrumental in getting us pointed in the right direction when we started homeschooling. I do believe CC is trying to get “a hold” on their exponential growth. Maybe it’s just growing pains.ReplyCancel

    • July 14, 2015 - 11:52 am

      Nicole Renée - Melanie, we have had a wonderful experience with CC and our local community. Our director was a terrific example of what CC should be for everyone. I’m willing to bet that many of the issues we experienced were a result of CC’s rapid growth and the need for more leadership quickly. I’m hopeful that the kinks will be worked out eventually, but we were putting forth too much energy trying to “fix” the consequences our community was left with.ReplyCancel

  • July 14, 2015 - 11:14 am

    Marta Joy - have you ever heard of Charlotte Mason? Best homeschooling years ever. I was not a fan of CC. But I know many families who loved the approach.ReplyCancel

    • July 14, 2015 - 11:47 am

      Nicole Renée - Yes Marta, we definitely use some Charlotte Mason theory too! But we love the Classical model – the kids have done really well with it, which is why we are continuing to use it. I love it too! We truly enjoyed our time with CC also, but we simply can’t support the management unless some serious changes are made.ReplyCancel

  • July 14, 2015 - 5:15 pm

    Danielle - I echo your sentiments when you say “I am disappointed because we truly love and value our CC family.” Us too! You are one of the families we are going to miss!

    I will still be using the 3 year cycle approach for history/science and the weekly audio memory work for us, but we are going to a new co-op this year. Not classical, but in some ways this will give me some freedom to try a new approach for a few subjects, like focusing on history for the fall and going deep, then science for the spring (called loop scheduling).

    I would love to hear how the new classical material/group goes this year. Who knows, we may be interested in the future!ReplyCancel

    • July 14, 2015 - 5:56 pm

      Nicole Renée - Thanks Danielle, it was a very difficult decision. The new community will be very small as we put all of the plans together this year, but we will include more significant language arts lessons, as well as more music, and more in-depth science experiments. We want to make the time more useful and meaningful for families, but still keep all of the parts that made our CC days great. I also really like the new memory work, I like it even better than CC’s because it offers more variety. I didn’t want to leave CC, but I also cannot support everything that happened by staying. Such a struggle. I will seriously miss seeing everyone weekly.ReplyCancel

  • July 22, 2015 - 12:33 am

    Jen - I am so sorry to read this and I can say that I know first hand how you feel. I just ended my contract as a Director with CC and when I read your post I thought it was one of my families that had written it. It did make me feel better but also sad to know our region wasn’t the only one. There have been several letters to management written by families all of which have gone unanswered. We have started a different classical coop and I am happy to keep many of the same families together. But, I wanted to thank you for posting this. It helped me realize that I wasn’t going crazy…..ReplyCancel

    • July 22, 2015 - 7:51 am

      Nicole Renée - Oh, I’m very sorry to read about your experience too. What a shame. I’m happy to know you are keeping your community though, we had to make the decision to leave (what was left of) our community and it was a tough, tough call. I am really excited about the changes that we are making though – I do believe it will ultimately be a more meaningful and useful local classical opportunity for homeschool families. But this will certainly be a year of transition for us (which I was hoping to avoid!) as we plan and form the new community. Blessings to your community on their new path!ReplyCancel

  • September 18, 2015 - 3:34 am

    Mia - Hi Nicole,
    I am so glad you are following your heart and what’s right for your family. I had a question about Claritas Academy, can you purchase their memory work and cds without being in a group, like you could from the CC online bookstore? I’m on the West Coast and would love to incorporate their memory work products into what we’re already doing. Thank you in advanceReplyCancel

    • September 18, 2015 - 9:23 am

      Nicole Renée - Hi Mia! Yes you can! It’s not quite as seamless as CC’s website, but you definitely can. You could do a monthly subscription to the http://www.crossseven.org site with online access to the memory work and songs, or you could email Holly Schrock at holly@claritasclassicalacademy.com to purchase the guide and CDs. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • August 6, 2017 - 2:52 pm

    Jami Bartz - I am seeing this blog for the first time. I am a F/E director with 2 challenge programs starting up in our community this year as well. BUT…my heart echos what you have shared here. Last week I met a woman who is on the board with Claritas Classical Academy. My heart wants to move in that direction, but I am worried about starting over. Any input or direction you might be able to give would be greatly appreciated.ReplyCancel

    • August 6, 2017 - 4:26 pm

      Nicole Renée - Hi Jami!

      It was SUCH a hard move for us, and I wasn’t even a director. But it was the right choice for us. We love our new community and have designed it to be exactly what we want. It’s small, but big enough for our children to create good friendships with other children. It is definitely more work for me, compared to just being a CC family before. But I have truly enjoyed designing curriculum and working with all of my students. I can imagine what a difficult place you are in right now. Hugs to you, as you navigate how to move forward.ReplyCancel

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