why we chose classical conversations, again.
Just a little background. The summer that we brought Olive, our 8th child home from Uganda, I registered everyone for Classical Conversations. I mean… a mom to eight children for all of a month (two with special needs that were not confirmed at the time) and all of the adjustment and transition that adoption brings to a family…let’s start something new and do CC on top, what could possibly go wrong?!?!?! I’m being totally sarcastic. I got excited and jumped in completely unprepared not just for everything that CC is, but what that year was also going to hold for our family. We were late registers, so we missed practicum and everything that we were doing I was really just not understanding. WHY are we doing all of this stuff that is so foreign to anything we’ve ever done? Why won’t my non-English speaking special needs child sit for three hours and participate in foundations? (ok, adoptive moms probably cringing- in hindsight I absolutely know and see why this was a terrible idea, really I just laugh about it now).
Come February that school year- we pulled out of CC. We enrolled them in a local Montessori school for the rest of the school year and I scheduled approximately 199385787497 appointments and that’s really what I spent my time on the rest of that year- getting my special needs children diagnosed and figuring out the best way to help them thrive so that our entire family could thrive. It wasn’t ideal, sometimes it makes me sad the things my children have gone through for the sake of adoption (yes, I may be dramatic here, it was just school change for a quarter of a year, but change is change and it’s a big deal for children). Truth is it’s hard and it stinks but we don’t lament and sulk on it- we do the hard work and we press on. We pray for God’s grace and mercy in the areas we royally screw up and we have faith that he is in it all. That all of it is shaping our children into compassionate and understanding people who know what sacrifice is.
We left our CC community, but CC didn’t leave us. That summer we worked with schools and therapists to get our two kids settled into a good atmosphere with the resources needed and we brought our other children back home. We continued to do our foundations memory work and IEW throughout the year at home together and I finally got my hands on “The Well Trained Mind” that made it all click. But at home isn’t the same as in a community, which is where we still all longed to be. A few months ago one of my older children began asking if we could “go back” to CC again, in which I told her we’d pray about it because this mama is not making another hasty decision. I tucked it away and prayed and thought about it for the next few months, even though I knew our old community was full and we wouldn’t be able to get in this coming year…it was still on my heart.
Then God, orchestrated hours of conversation with members of another nearby community. In which we learned that we actually already knew so many families there and they had room for all of us. This sparked our excitement so we began to pray about it more fervently, and in the end we decided to go ahead and join again. Such peace and excitement. Peace knowing that we are familiar with it already, peace to know that this is not a transition year for us, peace knowing that each child will truly be where they need to be this year. So, here is to a fresh start in a new community with children who are so stinking excited.
If you are curious about Classical Conversations, I urge you to scourer their website and to also read The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. I read it each summer. We personally chose CC for our family, both in and outside of a community, and are choosing to return to a community because:
Quality, Accountability, The Classical Method + Community.
We are thrilled with so many aspects of the CC “curriculum” but our favorites are geography, art and sentence diagramming. These are not things that I would typically cover in my children’s education but things that are important and that we’ve come to really appreciate. My children can freehand draw the United States and seven continents (all of which will just improve each year). Until my children began mapping, I could not even do this myself! The quality aspect really pairs with the classical method itself, because it is about quality even in the books that we read and the music that we listen to. What and how we fill our children’s hearts and minds matter, and God is at the center of it all.
Being part of a community is priceless. To be part of a group of like-minded families all on the same journey as you is now a deal breaker for us. We thought we’d have no issue finding community on our year off and while that is not false, it wasn’t the same. I constantly think about my seven-year-old daughter Ava who is very, very quiet and shy. It’s just her personality and I love it. Just 8 or so weeks in to her CC class and she got up in front her class and sang them a song. It was ALL her idea, she was determined it was what she wanted to do, she knew the song and chose it as part of her presentation. She was confident and not scared at all and I love that. I’ve heard people say before that it’s just an expensive way to pay for a community- and it’s not that at all. It’s so much more that.