Ever wonder how homeschooling moms do it? Or wanted to see an actual homeschooling co-op in action? I did. Yesterday I had the unique opportunity to attend an open house for Classical Conversations. I attended one of their Foundations classes (for students ages 4-12) which meet once weekly from 9:10 AM to 12 noon, during which time their students learn new memory work, review past memory work, conduct a weekly science experiment, and learn about great artists while creating an art project. The classroom I attended was for four year olds and there were eight students in the class. In addition to the instructor there were three other moms and one older sister in the class. Parents don’t have to be in attendance – an older sibling can accompany a younger student to the class. The focus age group for this class was age four.
Classical Conversations is a Homeschooling co-op for ages four and up with a curriculum that focuses mainly on history, science and art. Math and Language Arts curriculum would need to be purchased separately.
I was surprised to learn how much a four-year old can recite from memory. They had memorized a time line of ancient history with the help of a catchy song. In addition, they recognized many of the ancient countries near Egypt and could name all the parts of a cell.
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What I enjoyed the most was seeing the enthusiasm of the students and their parents. Every student was engaged in learning and each at varying levels of mastery of the subject matter. I did not feel like they had to dumb down the material in any way nor did any child seem far behind the others. Since these parents take responsibility for their children’s learning, what I saw was a very engaging class full of enthusiastic learners. In some ways it seemed like a normal classroom that I would expect at a public school but it was also different in that everyone was truly paying attention to a fast past introduction of new material as well as a five-six week review. There were no angry outbursts or any other disturbances during my visit. Teachers are known as tutors and Erin was the teacher for the four year olds. The tutor, also a mother to one of the children in the class, was very good at reminding each student to be on their best respectful behavior.
It was just amazed by how much these four years olds knew. I spoke to the campus director, April, and she explained that these early years are prime for memorizing tools that will be helpful in years to come. Children are memorizing factorial tables and history timelines via song since they have a certain strength in memorization now. They may not understand everything about what they are memorizing, but one can understand how in later years when they go into more in-depth study it would be helpful to have this information stored away.
Kids climbing rock wall, photo image courtesy of: http://www.inflatablestartup.com/2011/09/indoor-rock-climbing-wall-options-for-jump-centers/
April also explained that this type of learning would be like placing rocks on a rock wall to climb. Each new building block of learning would be like a new foothold or handhold to help the child learn to climb the rock wall. Each piece of memory work mastered was a permanent “peg” to stand or climb on. Erin was sure to point out though that classroom learning also needed to be fun and that children at four years of age also needed plenty of time for play.
It’s exciting to think of the years ahead and all the fun and interesting things we will learn as our boys grow and mature. Just thought I’d share my glimpse into this community of homeschooling moms and their intelligent children.
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I hope this post on Classical Conversations has given my readers some additional insights on homeschooling co-ops.
In His Grip,
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