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.
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.