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I am a home schooling mom to three amazing kiddos.  We primarily use the Montessori pedagogy to guide our journey.  We also enjoy aspects of classical education and are part of Classical Conversations community. 

I write a Montessori column for Practical Homeschooling Magazine.

I am still a geek at heart and at times miss my former career as an Information Architect/SharePoint Specialist.  I don't have much free time but if I do, it is spent on comic books and video games.
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What is Classical Conversations?

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Don't worry.  There will still be plenty of this!
As you are probably well aware, I am a Montessori mama through and through.  Rest assured, that hasn't changed.  As I have attempted to lay out long-term homeschooling plans for our family, I knew I would eventually reach a point where I needed additional curriculum guidance.

Elora will be six by the end of the year.  I plan on sticking with primary (3-6) for this school year but I know that lower elementary (6-9) is right around the corner.  Once of the challenging aspects of Montessori at home is that it is difficult to find comprehensive guidance.  I've been blessed with the work of KHT Montessori.  Even with these albums it has taken a lot to construct a basic Montessori-based education for my children.

I do intend to continue with Montessori through lower elementary.  However, I have always feared what would come next given that direction for the upper levels gets scarce.  Most of the Montessori community focuses on the toddler or primary age group (3-6).  The approach at each age group does change in relation to the varying developmental needs of the child.  Manipulatives that teach concrete concepts are replaced with research projects and abstract concepts of classical liberal arts.  Workplans are introduced as students begin to track their work.

My goal has been to find something that is reminiscent of the path Montessori takes in later years, focusing on classical liberal arts.  I want a comprehensive program that ultimately teaches children how to think versus what to think.  And finally, I want something with enough structure to provide accountability but enough freedom to allow me to approach each area however I see fit.

After numerous prayers, I finally stumbled across a national program called Classical Conversations.  The program equips parents to provide a classical education for their children.  It run ages 4 all the way through high school.  For 24 weeks we will attend a weekly meeting which includes introducing weekly work, a science project, a fine art project and public speaking opportunity.  Parents attend with their children so they can observe the methods used by the parent tutors.  From there, it is up to the parent to present the work at home however he/she feels is best.  It will also be my responsibility to select a math and phonics based reading program.  Obviously, I'll be using our Montessori albums for those topics.  In fact, I will use my albums as much as possible when presenting our weekly concepts at home.

Classical Conversations is Christian based and focuses on classical liberal arts such as grammar, science, history, mathematics, literature and latin.  The work is divided into three annual cycles.  As each cycle is repeated at a later age, the material can be explored at a deeper level.  The information that is learned each week is aimed to give children a point of reference for future learning.

If you'd like to learn more about Classical Conversations I highly suggest the introductory post from Half a Hundred Acre Wood.  You can also visit the official Classical Conversations website.

I realize that I may have simply confused you even more.  I have some posts planned in the near future the will hopefully help clarify how we intend to use CC in conjunction with the Montessori Method.  I can assure you that our days will still be Montessori focused.

If you'd like to read up on other bloggers who are using both CC and Montessori then I suggest Montessori MOMents and The Adventures of Bear.
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