My family participates in a classical group learning environment for homeschoolers called Classical Conversations. There are campuses all over the world, and there’s probably one in your backyard if you live in the USA. If you would like to learn more, visit ClassicalConversations.com. To find out why I love the CC Challenge Program for middle and high schoolers, read my post about it by clicking here.
The Classical Conversations discussion threads are often abuzz about the affordability of the program. Our first year with CC, we were definitely a bit sticker shocked, especially since it was summertime when we decided we wanted to give the program a try, and we were headed into Challenge A.
Even with only one child, it was a financial stretch for us at that time, especially when you factor in books and supplies.
This year, I tutored Challenge B, which more than covered my daughters tuition, but I didn’t tutor for the money. I truly felt that I could do a great job tutoring, and I think that should be The Number One Reason people choose to tutor, whether it be Foundations, Essentials, or Challenge.
If you are having trouble paying for Classical Conversations, here are a few considerations for you:
1. You could consider tutoring. Each program has different payments for tutors and directors. Tutoring also has tax implications you should be aware of before you agree to take on the task. So, if this is something you’ve considered, talk to your director. Ask them about the time commitment, preparation commitment, and responsibilities that you might not be aware your tutors do! There is also mandatory training, and, if you take on a Challenge class, a few extra responsibilities, such as running information meetings, that you should be aware of before you make your decision. Tutors in all levels need to own curriculum and purchase a number of supplies that are outside of the supply fee. These purchases are usually tax deductible, but it’s important to be aware that unexpected expenses may pop up.
2. Consider waiting for one more year to begin CC, and budgeting for that amount until that time. Usually, communities begin taking registrations in February, and in some areas of the country, communities fill very quickly. So plan to pay your fees next February. Divide your total owing by the number of months you have remaining until that time, and tuck it away each month.
3. If neither of these things are options for you, some communities offer fundraising. But I would offer up something else to consider. Perhaps CC isn’t right for your family at this time. Classical Conversations has fees that come along with it. It’s a business. It’s a company. It isn’t a co-op, or a homeschool get-together. It’s not run by parents or volunteers. It’s run by employees, and contracted directors and tutors. And that means, it costs money. Many people homeschool for free, or for less than CC costs. Many people spend more! If CC is right for your family, than the money will be provided, or you will make it a priority to save for it. If you don’t have the means to do this, than perhaps God is telling you this is not where he wants your family at this time.
1 Corintians 16:2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.
Luke 14:28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
God has stuff to say about money. Know that CC is a great way to teach your kids. But it isn’t the only way. It’s not the ONLY good thing. It’s not for every family. And if you’ve considered every option, and really can’t afford it, consider that maybe, God doesn’t want you in a community at this time.
Here’s how the fees break down per week, if you put *all the costs in a pot.
Supply Fee $50
Divide this by 24 weeks, and you pay $19.58 per week
Divide this by 3 hours, and you pay $6.53 per hour
Divide $470 by 12 months, and you need to sock away $40 per month to pay for the program.
Supply Fee $20
Divide this by 24 weeks, and you pay $18.33 per week
Divide this by 2 hours, and you pay $9.17 per hour
Divide $440 by 12 months, and you need to sock away $37 per month to pay for the program.
Supply Fee $50
Divide this by 30 weeks, and you pay $48.33 per week
Divide $48.33 by 6 hours, and you pay $8.06 per hour
Divide $1450 by 12 months, and you need to sock away $121 per month to pay for the program. The Challenge tuition portion is payable in 2 installments, which is helpful for this larger amount.
These fees don’t include curriculum or books, which, depending on the level of your kids, can be almost nothing, or very expensive! Investigate! Do the math! Decide if this is the right step for your family. Whether it’s ‘worth it or not’ isn’t the question. For some families, it is, and for others, it isn’t.
As I said earlier, even with only one child, it can be a financial stretch for us. But we’ve decided we feel led to participate in this program, and are going to make the effort to plan for this expense. This year, I tutored, so I will have the money for next year, whether I continue to tutor or not. We will continue to look ahead to the coming year, and budget for CC, or whatever educational path we place ourselves on. We know that if we feel led to CC, we can’t always rely on a miracle to cover the costs. We will intentionally plan for these fees so that we are honoring our personal finances, the directors who deserve to be paid on time, and God, who ultimately directs our bank balances.
It simply comes down to this: Is Classical Conversations worth the money to you? If it is, plan. If it’s not, that’s perfectly fine! There are many great options, and you’ll find the one that’s right for your children.
All my good vibes, prayer and love go to you, as you make this decision for your kids!
* All the costs does not include facility fee, which varies from community to community, and also, varies depending on how many children you have, as they are typically a ‘per family’ fee.