Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Classical Conversations Conference Part 5

Investment and Accountability
If there's one thing I've noticed over the last several years, it's that few people today are committed to things they start.  I've seen it in every single group that we've been involved with in a social setting.  Whether it's AWANA, Youth Group, Pray and Play, Bible Study, homeschool events, Kindermusik Group, Frugal Friends Club, Book Club, exercise group, sports activities, 5 Day Club, Library Story Time, etc. it is rare to find folks who stick with a group and make it a priority to be there on a consistent basis.  To be fair, rearing children is truly exhausting, and many times our kids' activities and illnesses dictate how committed we can be.  I am a busy mom so I understand how busy moms are and how full life gets.  I know that being flexible and caring for your family and their health comes first and that there are many interruptions to life as a homemaker that are unplanned.  Also, things like pregnancy, having a special needs child, health concerns, having preemie babies, etc. can completely de-rail one's life and committments.

But it is disappointing when people don't show up.  I've planned or been a part of countless get-togethers that have had a poor showing of attendees, even if several people said they were going to come.  I've seen my husband plan many things that fell through when people backed out at the last minute.  While some have great reasons for missing, a lot of times it comes down to "I didn't feel like it" or "I forgot" or "I committed to two things on the same day and had to pick one."  I think oftentimes there are so many good choices, that people fail to choose the best things over the good and load their schedules so much that they end up having to back out of some things.

One thing I had drilled into me as a kid was to be a person of your word.  To be faithful.  Hence, the title of this blog...Faithful Homemaking.  Sometimes I think that all you need to be a leader nowadays is to be consistent at something, because consistency is so rare.
One thing I LOVE LOVE LOVE about Classical Conversations is that it requires an investment.
Because you pay tuition in advance and sign a contract saying you will actively participate, you are obligated to be at the weekly class time unless you are very ill.  Because the kids learn so much during class, a parent will not want their children to "miss out" unless it is absolutely necessary.
For someone like me who enjoys interaction with other homeschoolers and desires for my kids to have great fellowship with their friends, it is a dream come true to be in a group where people are truly invested.
At one point someone asked if we could do the CC material together as a group, and not be registered with the official CC, and therefore, not charge tuition.  It sounded like a great idea considering that for most homeschool families money is very tight.  But, the truth is, if CC were free, there wouldn't be as much incentive to be faithful.  If you didn't get your schoolwork done, or if the weather was dreary, you might just want to stay home.  I think the same few people would get stuck doing all of the work, and then would end up feeling bitter about it.  In the CC model, the parents who do the majority of the work, tutors, are compensated financially.  People have to INVEST in it to join and therefore, only those who are serious enough to back their intention with cold, hard, cash are a part of the group.  Although it's expensive for us, I feel that it is worth every penny.  And I'm speaking from a stand-point of being at the bottom of the totem pole regarding incomes!  Though CC costs more than our former homeschool program did, it still costs only 1/10th of what Christian school tuition is here. 

Another reason I love being a part of Classical Conversations is the accountability as a homeschool mom.  One of my student's moms and I were talking over our picnic lunches yesterday about how having to be prepared for our group time each week pushes us to do more schooling with our kids.  I'm a very disciplined person, and I care about my children's education, so whether or not I am in CC I will be working hard to ensure that they get a quality education.  However, there are definitely some things that used to get put off or skipped because there wasn't a deadline on them.  Now there is a deadline: our CC community time on Tuesday mornings.  So the kid's oral reports had better be researched and ready to go!  They better know their memory work and have practiced their map tracing, fine arts, and math facts at home!

Accountability isn't just good for the moms, it's great for the kids too!  Positive peer pressure is a beautiful thing!  I have two students who are pushing each other to become Memory Masters.  This is no small undertaking, but their friendly rivalry will hopefully keep them going so they earn that prestigious title.  (A Memory Master is one who can perfectly recite all 24 weeks worth of grammar at the end of the year.)  It's great for the kids to give weekly oral reports in front of the class and to practice the memory work at home so they can ace the review games in class.  I don't have to beg my kids to work on memory work.  The LOVE to memorize.  One evening when I was at a Missionary Dinner they persuaded Daddy to play the memory work CD for the whole year (he didn't realize they aren't supposed to "jump ahead" but are supposed to only learn the current week's grammar) because they wanted to learn more history songs.

So, this is why I'm glad that CC costs.  It does cost some money.  It does require agreement with the statement of faith and the students' signed statement of cooperation.  It does demand that you be involved because you are the primary teacher of your child.  You must either tutor or be observing in class and aiding the tutor at CC community each week; you can't just drop your kid off so you can have free time. 
However, the return on investment is amazing!

Anything worth having is worth investing in!

Would my students have spent so much time on their biome projects if they hadn't had to do a speech on them in class?  Probably not!


1 comment:

Peachtree said...

I am enjoying these posts so much! And I don't even homeschool my children! (They go to our church school, just across the road from our house.) But still, I'm their Mom, and teaching happens constantly, so I'm getting a lot out of these posts! Keep sharing!

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