Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sonlight and Classical Conversations

I have had several people ask me about what they need to do if they are participating in Classical Conversations. CC has spread quickly in the past few years and more and more people are finding that they and their children love what it has to offer. But, it is not a full curriculum and they want to know what they need to add to make it so.

Basically CC is a one day a week co-op that is academically strong. You can look at Sonlight as your curricula and at CC as academic enrichment. It is the one day you can get out of the house and CC enhances what your children are learning, gives your kids timeline and historical “hooks” to put  their information on when they learn it.

 In Foundations [done in the morning]  they learn memory facts on different subjects: Bible, history, science, Latin, Math, Grammar and Geography. They memorize time line information and one sentence summaries of various historical events. They also cover art, music and a science experiment along with a weekly presentation in front of their class of peers and a family presentation in front of the whole group once a year. These oral presentations in CC give them practice with something that isn’t easy to replicate at home.

Essentials [afternoon classes] covers grammar in-depth, IEW writing and math games (to help them get the facts down pat). There isn’t any reading or in depth study. It is mostly an academically strong enrichment that compliments Sonlight nicely. You would still do a full core but  usually  you start each day with about a 15 minute review of their CC memory work for that week. If you do the afternoon Essentials in CC you will not need to use the Sonlight Language Arts as it includes grammar and writing.

All this to say Classical Conversation and Sonlight work well together. If the CC cycle of the year matches your Sonlight core theme, that is great,  but it is not necessary. If your child is doing Sonlight American History, for example, and the CC cycle is Ancient History, it can still work. Just look at SL as your curricula and the memory work your child is doing in CC will serve him well when he gets to Ancient history.  Even though he may not be currently doing a full study in that time period, he will memorize information that will be reinforced when he studies that time period in more depth in later years. 

If you have anything to add to this I would love to get your input as I would like to be able to help people put together the best curriculum for their family...whether it involves using Classical Conversations or any other program.

Take care,


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  2. Thank you for this. I've been pondering this question. This is our first year with SL and enjoy it. We also just started CC and my two LOVE it. The community is great as well.

  3. Thank you for answering my question! Sonlight is our first love, academically, and I wanted to find a way to seamlessly or not so much work on my part, keep memorization in. My daughter loves to memorize, yet, I found it a dreaded task for me to constantly prepare what to memorize, when, etc. This way I could just facilitate it. :) I was struggling to find out how the cores could align with the CC cycle. I am thankful to know that it really does not have to. :)

  4. Hi Lynette,

    I want to be sure everyone understands that I did not do Sonlight with Classical Conversations. My children had already graduated when CC came to my area. I gleaned a lot of this information from friends who did combine the two.

  5. I think what many people don't understand is that CC is NOT a curriculum. When you get to the high school age it is, but in the younger years it is a once a week supplement. Your kids will learn lots of facts, do experiments and projects and do oral speaking, but they will not get in-depth study. By learning the facts, they will have the pegs to hang the information they will learn from other disciplines through the years.

    The CC model is useful, but is not complete in and of itself. By combining Sonlight and CC you have the best of both worlds. Your kids learn through the power of stories--they are able to put themselves into the shoes of other people in different places and times and to immerse themselves in joyful learning. CC gives them the timeline to put their Sonlight stories on. You do not have to have your CC rotation and your SL rotation match up--in fact I almost think it is better if they don't. If your kids learn about the ancients in CC and then next year they learn about the ancients in SL, it will reinforce what they have already heard about.

    Either way works great. For my money, Sonlight provides everything your child needs to learn and for you to teach. But, if you want to supplement with memory, fellowship, experiments and public speaking, then CC deserves a close look.

    I hope this helps,