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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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Why I Chose Classical Conversations

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Before I delve into my reasons for choosing to add Classical Conversations to the mix, I want to give a small caveat.  The decisions we've made are the best decisions for our family.  While I am passionate about the things I pursue, by no means do I expect others to follow the same path.  In fact, I don't want others to follow in my footsteps unless they have clearly evaluated what works best for his/her situation.  Each child is a unique and perfect creation with varying needs.  Follow the child.  Always.

So on to the main event!

Classical Approach
Obviously, one of the most critical pieces of choosing Classical Conversations was our love of classical education in general.  It's a model that resonates with both my husband and me.  If you want to learn more about classical education, then I highly recommend The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorthy Sayers.

Accountability
As much as I enjoy joining my children on the educational journey, I can be as easily distracted as one of the dogs in the movie Up when a squirrel is spotted.  I'll never mince words.  Homeschooling is hard.  It's not a sprint but a ten month marathon.  My life waxes and wanes, and there are weeks where it's hard to stay on track.  The weekly meetings with CC will be just the push I need to keep myself on track.  

Academic Structure
As much as I love Montessori, I've never felt that the scientific pursuits were well structured, especially once the elementary years enter the picture.  Granted, I make this statement in regards to the homeschooling approach.  I have stumbled across numerous schools that do a fantastic job of providing a well-rounded academic structure.  I was still unsure how to do it here.  CC provides an amazing, all encompassing structure.

Long-Term Vision
We are in this for the long haul, meaning unless God throws a major curve ball, we plan to do homeschooling through high school.  It's a lot to take in when your oldest is only 5 years old.  I'm a planner, so I really hoped to find a program that would take us from kindergarten to high school.  CC provides that opportunity in spades.  As I look ahead to the Challenge program, I am blown away by the comprehensive education I can provide for my children.  Our long-term goal is to teach our children how to think, not what to think, which lines up amazingly well with CC.

Freedom in Teaching Style
One of my favorite aspects of CC is the fact that outside of the weekly meetings, how you teach the material at home is your business.  This aspect allows me to put a Montessori wrapper around every topic we encounter.  

Community Participation
While I don't worry obsessively about socialization, I do look for opportunities to expose my children to peers.  I love the community opportunities that my children will have.  CC offers a public presentation opportunity every week, which is something I simply can't replicate on my own.  In addition, all participants address weekly memory work, fine-art projects and science projects as a group.

Community Support
As I said above, doing homeschooling is hard.  I desperately need other moms who will grab me by the shoulders and tell me that I'm capable of getting from one day to the next.  CC offers that.  Granted, communities vary from location to location, but I am exceedingly impressed with the care our director takes to ensure our community connects.

But, but, but.... It's so much memorization!
Yes, the underlying core of CC requires memorization.  I understand why that idea is disparaging to some.  Most children are highly open to memorization at younger ages and will excel profoundly in this area  At the same time, some will struggle with this aspect due to reasons outside of their control.  I think my children will do fine, but I'm not 100% sure.  This year, I plan to work approximately 20 minutes per day on memory work.  We will get what we get.  The beautiful thing about CC is that everything works in three-year cycles.  All of my children will repeat most cycles 3 times.  We'll get there eventually.  

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