Monday, February 18, 2013

First Week of Classical Conversations at Home

We finally decided(I finally decided and managed to convince the hubby)that we(I)had gone long enough to Classical Conversations every week.

I should qualify that statement.
( I might suggest you take a DEEP breath here.)

We live a full 40 minutes away from the Classical Conversations "community" that we "joined" this year. My husband is a tutor for the Challenge I level, which begins a full 30 minutes earlier than the Foundations level for my younger children. He needs to be there about 30 minutes before his class begins in order to be ready for the breakneck pace of the day. His class also runs a full 30 minutes longer in the afternoon than the class for my Redhead, which means that we were leaving home at 7:45 on Tuesdays and returning somewhere around 5:00p.m. on "normal" days.
That's too long to be away from home, added to the stress of "What's for dinner?" and the stress of "CC is tomorrow!!!" and the strain of staying up WAYYYY too late the night before CC in order to get everything ready.
We weren't what I would label "thriving", the younger two kids and I. 
I was melting down, spending all day on Monday repeating this phrase to myself: "You could stay home tomorrow if you really wanted to!"

I was much like this:

We were spending all day Monday worrying over papers for Essentials and topics for Presentations, then packing up(ewww!)lunches(I've mentioned LUNCH at CC before)and skedaddling out the door on Tuesday mornings LONG before any of us were ready. We were crashing down on Tuesday evenings into a stupor of over-peopled-ness, and this state was lasting through the day on Wednesday....
are you counting how many days of our school week CC had thus far consumed?

We weren't getting ANYTHING done, school-wise, at home. I've been teaching my kids at home for the better part of eleven years now. I know that not getting ANYTHING done most of the week is NOT the way to meet grade standards AT ALL.(Please don't jump on me for mentioning standards. There's a plethora of reasons getting nothing done is bad, I realize. Trust me, standards, the expectations of other people "in authority" in regard to my kids' education, are NOT the biggest worry I carry around! Just so we understand one another here.)

So I begged and cried and pleaded with the hubby to LET ME STAY HOME.
Tough guy. Really. :)
It was too late in the year to "quit" and find another curriculum to use, and the CC curriculum for Foundations really is quite adequate for elementary children, so I decided--with his blessing, finally--to stay home on those LONG Tuesdays that he is gone with the older two girls to Challenge I, and to "do CC day" at home.

It has been SO GOOD.
Fun, even?
I mean, I didn't KNOW that CC could be FUN with my kids.
We've done art, science, review, and new material, and have ENJOYED it each week. I feel like we've been able to use the quiet day at home to do a great job of "kicking off" our week of learning.

The first week "out" we were able to take our time and enjoy art.

 We took our time and enjoyed lunch.

After lunch and having started prep for dinner, the Redhead and I even began our very first TINY QUILT PROJECT.(Did you hear that? I actually KNEW what was for dinner on a CC Tuesday!)
 She's working on a Little House on the Prairie dollhouse.
We had TIME.

 I don't know how many 1" squares we cut, and matched, and pinned.
 We still haven't finished it, but we are now working on tons of projects for C's birthday party in a couple of weeks.

 While we were enjoying our little bitty quilt project, the Boy was building a wall for his soldiers' next battle.

We did geography with a map. 

We read some of the history from the cards, and we  watched some fun videos on our science topic that week. 

I do think we have enjoyed "having time".

In my first "Tylenol Tuesdays" post I addressed some of the pitfalls we've seen in the Classical Conversations setup--some of them are curricular, some are just preference of homeschooling style, and some of them are likely campus-oriented. I know there are families who LOVE this program, and I don't begrudge them that joy. I do believe that in the exercise of wisdom as a mom, however, at times what MY inclinations tell me would be BEST path for my kids(and for myself as their teacher) IS the right thing.  

Our experience--at least some of it being our distance from our campus community--was just not even MOSTLY positive. We were tired. We felt out of the loop no matter how hard we tried. I always felt torn between wanting to be WITH my kids and having to be in a certain place with no real options to do differently. We weren't able to spend time getting to know other families because of the intensity of the schedule. We weren't enjoying school at home anymore because any mention of "school work" called forth feelings of anxiety and fatigue and "having to" on Tuesdays. It really ROBBED our joy and depleted our energy--very similar to the year we had the girls in public school.

This welcome change has us enjoying HOMEschooling again.



Marissa said...

So nice to see everyone doing there thing!..oh I wish I could see more of the tiny quilt!
Blessings, Marissa

mavis said...

ahh, i read this and thought, "i remember that." it still sends chills up my spine. ;) there's nothing like staying home. oh, that's right, it's called homeschooling. love your mantle.