Sunday, June 15, 2014

Classical Conversations Is Not Perfect

I feel led to share this today.

A “perfect” Classical education is not for every child, if there even were any such thing.

Our children are not products, but souls. And they are not collectives, but individuals. They have distinct personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and passions, and God has unique plans for their lives.

As no child is the same as another, no family is the same. We are made up of varying numbers of unique individuals, and each family has a unique situation and atmosphere and needs and desires.

Classical Conversations is not “the right way to educate a child” (Just as The Well-Trained Mind or Charlotte Mason or… is not “the right way to educate a child.”) It is not a perfect fit for every family. Not even most families. And each CC community is made up of humans. Very HUMAN humans. So each community experience will be different.

Wouldn’t this world be a boring place if we were all the same? I think so. Would we understand our need for God’s grace if we didn’t experience it daily—both in giving and receiving?

But if I talk about Classical Conversations as a wonderful experience, it is because that is our experience.

Perfect? No. For everyone? No. The only “Christian” way to educate a child? No. A permanent decision that should never be re-evaluated? No. A good fit for every family in every season? No. An enjoyable experience for every child? No.

[Is there anyone who wouldn’t make a few changes to the program if given carte blanche? No. Would everyone make the same changes? No. Is there any program in which there is unanimous approval? I think not.]

But a good fit for us? Yes. How we feel called to educate our children in this moment? Yes. An intentional rather than default decision on our part? Yes.

A business deal? No. If you enroll in Classical Conversations, I get nothing but the hope that it is a good experience for you. [If you make purchases using my Amazon links or my All About Learning Press affiliate button on the side, I do receive a small commission, and I’m thankful for those of you who choose to do so. But you are in no way to feel pressured to do so, and I have no way of knowing who has purchased items using my links and who has not. And when I recommend a book or resource, it is because we have found it helpful and/or delightful.]

If you read my blog, I hope you feel encouraged and supported regardless of your educational decisions.

If you came to a CC practicum where I spoke, I hope you felt encouraged regardless of your decision to enroll in CC (or not). I hope you learned something new that was applicable to your life as a parent interested in the education of your child. I hope you learned something new in your own journey as a life-long student. I felt encouraged by you and by your willingness to join in conversation. And I learned many new things, as well.

I believe strongly in choices and support and encouragement for parents. And I, for one, am so thankful that the choice to enroll my children in our local Classical Conversations community was available to me—because it is a great fit for our family in this season. I am thankful for the opportunity, for the experience, and for the community of wonderful humans that we have been blessed to be a part of.


Jennifer said...

Thank you! I am attending a Practicum in July, but with our upcoming move to Zambia (as missionaries), I know we won't be enrolling. I do plan on continuing to use CC resources, but I have often wondered if I am ruining my children educationally for not being able to do CC. I hope to leave the practicum with some encouragement still.

Phyllis said...

Well put.

Gwenyth Wendell said...

Jennifer, it sounds like you have learned about the CC process of grammar, dialectic and rhetoric stages? If not the Cc practicum will fill in blanks for you...There have been a few years that I wasn't able to be in CC community and it was very feasible for me to implement these learning stages in any place or with any curricula I chose. So really all that I miss out on is the community. (And at this point the challenge programs are a mystery to me.) This is to encourage you. If God has called you to be missionaries and you are called to homeschool, then he will give you wisdom and knowledge in educating your children too.

Adrienne said...

I love this post. I've rarely ever commented here, but today I feel compelled to speak up! Heidi, through your blog you introduced me to the world of Christian classical education. My initial reaction was that this was the method of education that I had been craving my entire life! And I don't even homeschool nor did I have any intention of doing so! Ha! Needless to say, I did a little research and found a classical Christian school in our area and now my oldest two attend school there. It is a perfect fit for us. And if we ever feel led to homeschool in the future, I always know I can come to your blog for tips and advice. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Heidi -- these are beautiful words. May I share them in the CC Blog Carnival for July?

You have put into words what I have wanted to for quite some time. Thank you!

Heidi said...

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. :)

Jennifer~ You are absolutely not ruining your children academically. Take what you love best about CC and implement it, but know that *many* parents homeschool successfully without CC. Blessings on work as missionaries!!

Mary~ You are always welcome to share whatever you like. :)

LS said...

Beautifully said! My best friend has chosen not to do CC and I support her in that knowing she is doing what she feels is best for their family. I have had a wonderful experience so far with CC but I agree that no human organization is perfect and there are no perfect curriculums or families.