Last year as a part of our homeschooling, we used the Classical Conversations curriculum and attended a weekly community, where I also tutored. This curriculum has taken off, and it seems as if everyone in homeschooling circles is talking about it. We have chosen not to attend the community next year, so people want to know if I didn’t like it and whether I would recommend it.
We really loved the curriculum. My kids learned so much. Even though we will not be involved in a community next year, we will still be using it at home.
I tutored (taught a class) this last year. I absolutely loved being in the classroom again. I taught high school Spanish before we had children and have always missed classroom teaching. I adored my students and honestly think I had more fun than they did.
That said, the position was very stressful for me. I expected it to be very stressful at first, but quite frankly, I woke up with an upset stomach and took many trips to the bathroom each morning before my weekly class, down to the very last day of the year.
Why was it so stressful? For one thing, I think being a classroom teacher worked against me here. The communities are set up so that parents are sitting in each class, so there is always a parent observing. I don’t remember any parent being unkind, yet for me it was always stressful knowing someone would be observing, but never knowing exactly who. It just made me very nervous.
Time was another factor. Though I loved the community benefits for my children, I had been used to having complete freedom with my time as a home schooling mom. For example, if we had company staying with us, I could always take a holiday, or if the kids were sick, we would just take a sick day. Also, we enjoyed taking our vacations while other children were in school such as a week over Labor Day. I missed not having that flexibility.
When it came to preparation, time was also a factor. I spent over two hours each week preparing for two-and -a-half hours of instruction. This was so much more than I spent preparing to teach my own children that at times I felt guilty.
Now, having said all this, I still think Classical Conversations is a wonderful program and well worth the stress and time constraints. However, we are expecting another child in December, and after experiencing a miscarriage last November, we thought it best for our family to keep stress to a minimum where possible this year. I am going to continue tutoring my kids at home. My plan is to have a little class once a week. We may love it and continue doing this, or we may decide after this next year to get back into a community. The jury is still out!