Classical Conversations, Spiritual Abuse

Classical Conversations #4: A CC Veteran Gives Advice to New People Considering Classical Conversations

Classical Conversations, High-Controlling Groups, Deleted Comments, Blocked Commenters, Noble Gibbens, Leigh Bortins

delete comments, block people on Facebook, no-talk rule


NOTE: This is part of a series that began with these earlier posts:


Sometimes there are comments that come through that I think really need to be seen by a larger audience, not buried in the comment section of an article where people might never see them. Today’s post is one such case. When I saw Maria’s comment, I knew it needed to be read, especially by those who are considering Classical Conversations.

Her comment is information she learned from experience, not from what was given to her when she started in Classical Conversations. This fact should lead us to question:

  • Why isn’t this information given to newbies?
  • Why does it take so long for people to get information?
  • Why aren’t people being given straight answers to their questions?
  • Why are parents not allowed to use their critical thinking skills and ask questions, when CC supposedly promotes critical thinking?
  • Why is there so much confusion regarding liability issues, contracts, taxes, CC licenses, etc.? These are all legal issues that should have full disclosure.

There are many more questions I can add, but that’s a start. I am still learning about the CC organization and the hierarchical structure. Those with direct involvement in Classical Conversations are the ones who need to have the floor when it comes to sharing experiences, and that is what my blog does – allows you to have a voice, whether that is in the comments or your give me permission to turn your comment into a blog article. 

I am grateful for those who have trusted me with their sensitive information and those who have been willing to risk by sharing their personal stories. Having been involved in a high-controlling church environment where communication was squelched, I understand that fear, and that is why this blog exists. We do not need to live in fear. We need to live in truth and expose what goes on in the darkness. ~Julie Anne


Comment by Maria W. (edited only for grammatical clarity and punctuation)


There are definitely “hot topics” that will get you scolded publicly in training, blocked, deleted, blacklisted, or even put on the “grid.” In my over 7 years involvement with Classical Conversations, I’ve experienced all of these various kinds of mental, emotional, verbal, and bordering on spiritual types of abuse because I simply ASKED a QUESTION !!! It’s so confusing to me why they promote the Challenge Levels of learning as a time for the STUDENTS to seek truth by learning to ask great questions (while telling parents in the same breath that they can RECLAIM their OWN education) and then when you want to get more involved as a Director or some other leadership position such as Area Representative or Support Representative you are all of a sudden prohibited from “speaking” by being blocked, deleted or told directly to shut up and STOP ASKING GREAT QUESTIONS !!!! (Isn’t one of Leigh Bortins’ books called THE QUESTION? Maybe I missed a chapter?) Then you’re fed the line, “trust the system”!!! You lost my trust when you didn’t answer my questions honestly with all the knowledge you have and won’t share with those who have signed your wordy contracts and paid you all kinds of fees to own a crumb of your pie!!!

Overarching themes of questions and conversations that are SILENCED almost immediately by the Classical Conversations “Enforcement Officer.” Noble Gibbens (mentioned in the above #3 post), are Director Liability, Classifying Tutors as Independent Contractors vs. Employees, Child Abuse Issues, Contracts, almost ALL questions regarding various Money Issues, and ANYTHING having to do with the “sacred guides.” I saw a post on the CC main page a while back where Mr. Gibbens even asked for ONLY POSITIVE REVIEWS of the new 5th edition Foundations Guide and seemed to have deleted any negative comments. Just this week I am learning on the Let Us Reason for real Facebook page that topics like using the CC materials at home and diversity have been moved OFF the CC Main Facebook page to separate non-CC admin’d pages (probably because admins don’t have time to monitor !!! That alone speaks volumes!!!

If you’re sitting at a FREE Parent practicum right now (which will cost you greatly in the future if you decide to sign on any dotted lines without doing your homework) while they are recruiting uninformed homeschool moms and dads to fill the much needed Classical Conversations Inc. roles of Area Representative, Support Representative, Director, or Tutor, I HIGHLY recommend that you DO take their advice and PAY an attorney to review ANY CONTRACT you are given BEFORE signing it. Directors and upper levels of management are given contracts that are 20-30+ pages long and even most CC employees can’t explain what MOST of it means.

Especially KNOW what YOUR LIABILITY is and ask detailed questions!!!! It didn’t surprise me in the end that Classical Conversations was NOT going to have any single one of their lawyers help me out of a really difficult situation. IT WAS ALL ON ME to deal with it !!! Then PAY an accountant when you clearly understand how much YOUR CC LICENSED BUSINESS will PROFIT so you know HOW to do your TAXES and HOW it will affect your FAMILY INCOME on your tax return forms. (I’m so sorry if you were fed the line that this was a ministry – it’s a business with financial liability as well.)

Have an accountant VERY FAMILIAR with the Classical Conversations business AND structure clearly explain how the IRS will use their own rules, not CC’s, to classify your tutors in case the IRS decides to ever AUDIT your business as a CC Director. Know what to do if CHILD ABUSE is reported in your community, and DON’T let yourself be silenced if CC Leaders tell you the issue has to “go to the top” first. You go DIRECTLY to the AUTHORITIES [i.e., civil/police] FIRST. No questions need to be asked in this serious type of situation!!! Talk to an insurance agent who can explain all the situations you should have coverage for. DON’T get caught off guard when something serious happens. Claiming that Classical Conversations didn’t train you well in the area of LIABILITY will hold no weight in a court of law!!! YOU hold the liability for every parent that pays you money to have their child(ren) participate in your programs. I wish someone had given me this advice YEARS AGO!!!

And if you’re a parent considering filling out an APPLICATION to be ACCEPTED into a community and getting ready to pay your NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT by July 20th to “hold your place,” take a real close look at all the paperwork you’ll be signing, because once you’re IN you’ll surely be given the run-around, or worse yet, silenced, as it appears so many other have been if you decide to ask any of the TOUGH QUESTIONS in search of the TRUTH!!! If you’re silenced before you even drop a dime, then find a different way to enjoy fellowship with other homeschool families. There are LOTS of great options out there!!!

I’ve actually done a complete turn around in just the last few weeks, and rather than blaming God for letting our family get involved with Classical Conversations, I am thanking Him for allowing me to be blacklisted, or whatever way CC edges you out of a leadership role for asking too many direct questions. CC can delete my comments and block me from participating in their censored conversations, but they can’t stop me from teaching my children how NOT to treat others when they get out into the business world, whether they are an employee or business owner. They also can’t stop me from sharing my REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE with other homeschool friends. I hope this blog will help expose some of the bullying techniques and legal tactics that Classical Conversations has used to SILENCE those who seek the truth.

I’m praying that someone at the corporate level will see the error in their ways and do an “about face” before things get worse. There is still time to make this right rather than digging an even deeper bunker to hide in. I pray that CC leaders will clearly see that their effort to silence parents who have learned to ask great questions is setting a poor example for our Challenge-age students. I can tell you that my children don’t learn with blinders on in our homeschool. They have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly that Classical Conversation offers.

I need to go now and have my oldest child proofread my comment since THAT student is the one who has suffered and grieved the MOST in our family. If CC wants the next generation to buy into their products and programs, then they better consider an emergency meeting in the SITUATION ROOM and ASK THEMSELVES, “Is what we’re doing/selling BENEFITING the STUDENTS?” or better yet, “Are we putting the STUDENTS FIRST”?

39 thoughts on “Classical Conversations #4: A CC Veteran Gives Advice to New People Considering Classical Conversations”

  1. Thank you. You are not alone. I, too, was blacklisted and regularly had comments deleted merely for asking intelligent questions, especially on the Essentials forum. It kind of blew my mind how obsequious and ridiculous the Essentials forum was.

    My line has become, “CC will claim to teach logical objective thought, but don’t turn it on them. They will claim that rhetoric is for truth, goodness, and beauty but will use it for their own interests.”

    My story is long and has many pieces. But one of my children was definitely damaged as well by seeing how terribly CC handled a situation in which a substitute tutor slapped him and then went on to become a director and then an Area/Support Manager (whatever is above a director).


  2. Wow!!! Thank you Maria for sharing your story. The behavior of the CC leadership all the way to the lower level moms is so cult-like. Especially as Christians we should value and highlight truth whenever we can. Partial answers, deflecting, deleting sincere questions all add up to a very messed up system.


  3. Nancy, It was hard to put that all into words, but I hope it will help others find the answers they are looking for.

    Thank you Brooke for confirming that my experience was not an isolated incident. I WILL keep your child in my prayers because no student should have to experience trauma like that at the hand of a supposedly “trained adult tutor”. It’s inexcusable.

    Thank you for sharing Sandra. I’m thankful that my husband helped me to clearly see how our family was being affected and that I left in time to continue our remaining years of homeschooling without all the drama and uncertainty.


  4. It’s a scary thing, to innocently join a group for beneficial and even noble reasons, only to find out later it is a group that exerts “Undue Influence” and can be destructive to its members.

    I’m NOT saying that CC is a cult. I only want to point out that, in my opinion, it seems CC has some problematic areas that are similar to how cults operate… and therefore CC may be a risky company to be involved with… unless and until they can prove they are transparent and reliable in the eyes of their associates and members.

    The Freedom of Mind Resource Center (FOM) is headed by Steven Hassan, a highly respected and internationally known expert on cults. The website provides a lot of excellent info, including a list of questions to research before joining any group. Here are some quotes from FOM (not in exact same order as website, I cut & pasted):

    Vague, evasive, deceptive, or manipulative answers are a huge red flag! Give yourself the time and space to investigate and think about any groups you are considering.
    Do independent research before you make any commitments. Don’t only rely on the recruiter’s information, and don’t let anyone put extreme pressure on you to make quick, impulsive, or uninformed decisions.

    • Does the group culture discourage you from asking questions?
    • Are questions and doubts permitted within the organization?
    • Are all members expected to conform to group beliefs, or can they form independent belief systems?
    • Is there honest disclosure of group history, doctrine, practices, and expectations?
    • Are there “in” groups and “out” groups?
    • Do [top leaders] financially exploit followers by expecting them to live in poverty while they indulge in luxury?
    • Do ordinary people find [top leaders] inaccessible, unreachable, or elitist?
    • Is there real financial accountability and transparency?
    • What structural checks and balances exist within the organization to prevent abuse of power?
    • Is there an independent “ethics” committee to challenge and change policies of the group?
    • If there are abuses or injustices, what structure exists to correct them?
    • What do former leaders and members say about the group?
    • Does the group do background checks for people working with children?
    • What measures are in place to prevent child abuse, whether emotional, physical, or sexual?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. • Does the group culture discourage you from asking questions?
    Absolutely. CC’s answers to questions are: “trust the method”, “you just don’t understand the classical method”, and DELETE

    • Are questions and doubts permitted within the organization?
    No. You MUST swallow the KoolAid to rise within the organization. Questions mean you are not philosophically on board. I was told this in the exact words when I asked to not return as a tutor, “You need to bring your questions to leadership. Because you have brought your questions to leadership, we believe you are not philosophically on board.” Read that again. I was actually told that. The logical inconsistency is astounding.

    • Are all members expected to conform to group beliefs, or can they form independent belief systems?
    Members are sheep who need to be of little brain to succeed. They are kept in the dark by being given very little or extremely wordy “talk” that explains absolutely nothing but makes them feel as if they know nothing and never could.

    • Is there honest disclosure of group history, doctrine, practices, and expectations?
    CC believes there is.

    • Are there “in” groups and “out” groups?
    Anyone who toes the line is “in” and anyone who doesn’t is “out”.

    • Do [top leaders] financially exploit followers by expecting them to live in poverty while they indulge in luxury?
    This I don’t know, although there are many who have questions.

    • Do ordinary people find [top leaders] inaccessible, unreachable, or elitist?
    They pretend to be helpful and peacemaking but in all efforts, they are absolutely following a script given to them. And many times, they seem to have made up their minds already. With answers such as “trust the method” and “you just don’t understand” and the deleting that is common and telling people not to talk to each other – with that level of communication from leaders, you can see why they seem inaccessible (while pretending to be accessible but giving NOTHING in the way of actual answers).

    • Is there real financial accountability and transparency?
    I am not sure. Many people claim they are not so.

    • What structural checks and balances exist within the organization to prevent abuse of power?
    I doubt these exist in ANY CASE WHATSOEVER. I have seen abuse of power and people will NOT stand up to it. They just let it happen.

    • Is there an independent “ethics” committee to challenge and change policies of the group?
    If there is, I would fall over and die of shock. They have ZERO interest in challenge or change. I repeat: they have ZERO interest in challenge or change.

    • If there are abuses or injustices, what structure exists to correct them?
    They will claim that their methods of reconciliation and peacemaking accomplish this. Rather, these are WEIRD methods and scripts. I was once asked to apologize to the substitute tutor who slapped my child (this was in the “reconciliation phone call”) because it had surprised her to have to deal with it months after she had done it. (In actuality, I had told my director twice in the presence of witnesses, left it in her hands, and then when this did come to light my director lied by saying I had never told her).

    • What do former leaders and members say about the group?
    Yep. We will slowly see more people being willing to come out when they realize they are CUSTOMERS of CC, not church members required to say nothing about wrongs done to them lest it be labeled gossip.

    • Does the group do background checks for people working with children?
    I’m very curious if they ever did a background check on me or anyone else. I would love to know this.

    • What measures are in place to prevent child abuse, whether emotional, physical, or sexual?
    I’ve NEVER ONCE heard measures discussed like this. I was the one who brought up and created systems in our community and at the practicum I ran which covered child protection. There may be measure now, but I do not remember seeing them in the 7 years I was there. The only one I know of was that our community asked that a tutor always have at least one parent there in his/her room. But I don’t know if that is CC-wide or was our own community rule.


  6. • Are questions and doubts permitted within the organization?
    No. You MUST swallow the KoolAid to rise within the organization. Questions mean you are not philosophically on board.

    i.e. Only when you have been utterly broken to The System will you be permitted to advance within The System. Long Live Big Brother.


  7. Why isn’t this information given to newbies?

    It is the Inner Mysteries available only to the Inner Ring, like Scientology’s R4 Bank/Wall of Fire Engram.

    In Koine Greek, “Occult Gnosis” (Hidden Knowledge).
    And those with that Occult Gnosis are called “Gnostics” (He Who KNOWS Things).

    Why does it take so long for people to get information?
    Why aren’t people being given straight answers to their questions?

    They are not of the Inner Ring of Specially-Enlightened Illuminati.


  8. Both campuses where we participated DID ask for background checks for tutors, and all parents were asked to be thoughtful of making sure each class had two adults each morning, and we had to pay two nursery workers for only a few kids, so at least at my campuses my directors WERE mindful of these issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have been very blessed to be part of several Classical Conversations groups through the years. CC operates from a biblical Worldview model and truly lives out it’s Mission “To Know God and make Him known”. I appreciate that they keep the costs low for families and have not had a tuition increase for several years. Yes, directors could be paid much more, but then tuition would have to increase. Grateful this is not the case. Homeschool sports and drama classes cost much more than 24 or 30 weeks of academic tutoring. My students gave been encouraged to ask questions and have learned through the dialectic method of asking the right questions.

    Through a deepening understanding of the Five Common Topics my own kids and I have grown academically and spiritually through the fine art of dialogue. We have never experienced being shut down from asking questions and I so sorry Julie that you experienced that. I am thankful for the 117,000 plus students that are presently enjoying being in a Classical Christian Community. I am sorry it has not been a blessing to you and your family but I am sure you have found the schooling method that has worked well for you. I hope you can find positive encouraging thoughts and ideas to share about what has worked well for your family.


  10. Sally, I was part of a co-op where moms taught the classes they wanted to teach. We put our kids in classes we wanted our kids in. The only cost involved was materials. It met once a week throughout the school year. In over 23 years of homeschooling, I never paid close to $1,000 for all of my kids combined.

    I have a question for you. Do many large families use CC? I don’t see how CC could have worked with my large family. My little ones always had 2 naps a day. This would be impossible if I had to have all of my kids there all day one day a week.

    Another issue: I heard that you can’t have a child who does not do CC? Is that true? If it is true, I find that ridiculous. Just as you said above, CC is not for everyone, so why should they demand that it’s for all of the children in a family? Each child learns differently. One year I changed everything and bought Calvert School for my daughter because she seemed to need that kind of structure. After that year, we went back to what we were doing before, but she needed the change. It doesn’t sound like families would have that ability to be flexible because of the rigid rules. I hope someone will correct me if I”m wrong on this, but it seems I have read this a few places.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. We have multiple friends whose children have been involved in CC. We have a huge homeschooled crowd of nine children, and CC members have tried to recruit us, particularly when they discovered my wife used to teach in the hard sciences for a major university, but we’ve resisted.

    The central issue we’ve had is not a cult-like mindset or discouragement of questions, as we’ve never gotten close enough to the program to detect that, but rather the supreme arrogance coming from some children trained under CC. I understand some strutting can be expected from teens who haven’t yet been knocked around by life and cut to size, but what we’ve encountered was extreme and wholly unwarranted. We’ve watched sweet kids turn into pompous monsters after some years of CC training, as if they’re part of some elite forces, the intellectual equivalent of Navy Seals. Our children have been told they’re not intelligent enough to handle CC, aren’t being prepped for college, don’t have the fine logical training, are cut from inferior cloth. This has been a theme of our dealings with CC kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You know, Sally Jean, that read just like advertising copy. I ought to know, decades ago, I was in that industry.

    You don’t do your cause any good when you sound all fake and staged like that; all it does is confirm that there may well be a cult mindset with CC. I knew nothing about any controlling or cultic issues with CC before reading this article today, only had experienced the arrogance from a number of children in CC, truly that was my only issue. But now, reading this article, it had me thinking, but then reading your post, that pretty well nails it for me. I’ll assume from this point onward that CC functions like a cult. You confirmed that.


  13. Hi Julie Anne – Good to know I’m not just imagining things. The arrogance from CC kids and parents has generally been about their superior intellect, as if they’re Plato the great philosopher and Paul of Tarsus, the great Hebrew legal scholar, rolled into one. Sometimes it’s of the Pharisaical variety, as in they’re more spiritual, more holy, than the common homeschooled crowd, and definitely superior to those pagan public schooled kids. The persistent feeling I get from them is we’re just not ready for the commitment that CC requires, not concerned enough to give our children the best, otherwise we’d join in.

    I’ve taught as a FT academic for a decade now, and have colleagues who’ve written multiple books, scores of academic journal articles, with degrees from places like Yale, Duke, Wharton, etc.–you see some attitudes sometimes. But nothing I’ve seen among those people who’ve actually accomplished something academically compares with the smirking pride of many CC kids and their parents. For example, at the reception to my daughter’s wedding a couple years ago, as people were chatting and sipping wine, our old friend with a teenage son stood up, raised her voice, and announced that her CC-trained son was going to entertain us by reciting the speech he was preparing for a competition. This was not planned by us! And of course, this was an event about our daughter and son-in-law. But no mind. At this point, her son launched into his speech before the assembled wedding crowd, which included multiple professors, MBAs, and people with advanced degrees and success in industry. We tried hard not to cringe, I was personally looking for a hole to climb into.

    Our friend has no post-secondary education, and at the time, neither did her son (he has since completed one year of college). There is nothing wrong with not having a university education, that’s not my knock on her, but she used to be humble before she got involved with CC, and her kids were the same. But now we feel that the Boy Wonder is perpetually shoved down our throats. He has been vocal about how smart he is and how lacking in smarts our children are. Nothing, not his poor showing on the SATs, not his average academic record, can shake this confidence. If this is what CC tends to do to people, it’s a wonder anyone would have anything to do with the organization.


  14. Ok, I think my face turned red in the face from embarrassment at just the thought of this. Unbelievable, yet believable, because I know the arrogance.

    I think what we will be seeing is a bunch of CC-schooled adults who have memorized a lot, but do not know how to use critical thinking skills, do not know how to behave social situations like the one you described. Was there awkward silence at the end? I wouldn’t have wanted to applaud to encourage more.

    Interestingly, my environmental science instructor, a PhD, invited me to his book club a while back (because they were reading a book related to cults). I went and sat among a dozen or so very smart people – all left me in the dust academically. These people were so amazingly humble. What I saw in them was their excitement for me in going back to school at my age. True scholars don’t need to brag. They know they haven’t arrived and there is much more to learn. The difference is that I think CC people think they already arrived and are at the top. What a shame.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Must admit there was an awkward, but polite and very perfunctory clapping–then people went straight back to the conversations they’d been having, presumably trying to block what had just happened. It wasn’t even a good speech (in fact, it was awful), and it didn’t relate to the event at hand in any way. The mother showered Boy Wonder with effusive praise and then later took us aside and said “Isn’t he just incredible?” I was actually able to agree to that, as I recall. It was, in fact, incredible.


  16. “Interestingly, my environmental science instructor, a PhD, invited me to his book club a while back (because they were reading a book related to cults). I went and sat among a dozen or so very smart people – all left me in the dust academically. These people were so amazingly humble. What I saw in them was their excitement for me in going back to school at my age. True scholars don’t need to brag. They know they haven’t arrived and there is much more to learn. The difference is that I think CC people think they already arrived and are at the top. What a shame.”


    I’d suppose you’d be able to educate those highly-educated on cults, they know an expert when they see one. One thing I’ve noticed about very accomplished people is they always want to learn more, and when they see someone like you who’s become an expert, they want that knowledge also. I’ll bet they were glad to listen to you. It’s true what you say, some of the most brilliant people are humble, they’ve learned so much they realize even in their own fields, they could never in a dozen lifetimes understand it all. It’s the ignorant people, the uneducated, the ones who’ve read a smattering of the great authors (without understanding the why or how behind their writing) and memorized some lists and bits of random nonsense and don’t know much who are arrogant.

    I see it all the time, kids come through the doors of this university as freshmen and think themselves special geniuses, just too smart for this place (it’s usually a certain type of boy, by the way, I don’t know why), then leave this place as seniors or with masters or doctorates and feel less sure of their knowledge base than when they arrived.


  17. I direct a CC community, and your blog here makes me feel very sad that you appear to have been deeply hurt. Thank you for sharing your perspective and thoughts. They are helpful to me, as a CC director. There are many parts of what you’ve shared that have been very different than my own experience. I strive to lead my own community to be a supportive, encouraging, and safe space for home schooling families who are interested in learning about and using the classical model of education, or some variation thereof. The Classical Model, CC, and even the community I direct are not the best or even a good fit for everyone, but I have been so blessed by linking arms with the dear families I’ve befriended through CC and traveling this home school journey together. I pray the same the for you…that you will find your ‘tribe’ and thrive…and that you’ll be able to fully forgive those who have hurt you along the way.


  18. Rochelle, “The Classical Model, CC, and even the community I direct are not the best or even a good fit for everyone”

    I’m not sure what you really mean by that. I left a church that was very proud of the positions they held that were very factious, and a few people from that church said “our church is not a good fit for everyone”, which means, “not everyone is holy enough or righteous enough to be one of our flock”.

    “you’ll be able to fully forgive those who have hurt you along the way.”

    This reeks of victim blaming and a misunderstanding of forgiveness. I can release people from the harm they’ve caused me but true forgiveness requires those who hurt me to recognize the harm they’ve done and seek the forgiveness that is available. That is what God provides for us – an opportunity to recognize how much we’ve hurt him and seek forgiveness for that. God is not “unforgiving” because he requires us to seek his forgiveness, yet that is how many victims are portrayed even when their abusers have no interest in reconciliation.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Mark, it’s interesting because both of those phrases you addressed also put up flags for me.


    You mentioned:

    The Classical Model, CC, and even the community I direct are not the best or even a good fit for everyone, but I have been so blessed by linking arms with the dear families I’ve befriended through CC and traveling this home school journey together.

    I’m glad you have been blessed, but you seemed to gloss over the fact that CC is not a good fit for everyone. What about those people? Are they given a refund? What happens when CC is not a good fit for a family who has paid? With normal goods and services, you can get a refund or partial refund.

    I pray the same the for you…that you will find your ‘tribe’ and thrive…and that you’ll be able to fully forgive those who have hurt you along the way.

    Rochelle, you are hoping the ones who didn’t thrive will be able to forgive those who have hurt them. What’s missing here is the other side. Since you are a leader, I would hope that a leader would be finding out where they had caused harm and ask forgiveness first. Chances are that if one family was hurt, others also may have been hurt in the same way. When it is brought to your attention that you caused someone else pain, it is time for reflection and introspection – to see if there were perhaps others who were harmed.

    Did you forget to say that part? The burden is not on the hurt family, but on the perpetrator of the harm.

    A quick fyi: I want to make sure it is clear that I was not a former CC member. This article was written by Maria, a former member, and I am hosting the CC series on my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Rochelle – You sound like another paid advertisement, just a little less polished and fatuous than the first. I’m trying really hard to see a human being there in your post. Did someone send you over here to do damage control? If so, OK, I get it. If not, you are profoundly sanctimonious, condescending and faux-righteous.

    Next time, do your cause a favor and just try to vaguely approximate a human being and not an advertising bot, OK?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. “…and that you’ll be able to fully forgive those who have hurt you along the way”

    The parting slam. Wow. Glad to see it wasn’t just me who thought that was totally inappropriate.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. @Julie Anne
    “Another issue: I heard that you can’t have a child who does not do CC? Is that true?”

    It depends on the circumstances.
    The basic answer is no, it’s not true. As a community member, and even a tutor, you are allowed to enroll or not enroll any number of your children. Last year, as a tutor, I had one child enrolled in the foundations program as well as another child enrolled in a public school. There are many other parents and tutors who do the same.

    The restriction is when you move to the level of Director. Directors are not allowed to have any of their children enrolled in any other “school”. This means if you become a Director, you cannot be enrolled in a charter school and receive public funds. Not for any of your children, regardless if they are enrolled in CC or not.

    This becomes a serious problem in the later grades. In CC, K-6 is one campus with one Director. When you reach 7-12 grades (“Challenge A, B, 1, 2, 3 & 4”) you need to have a separate Director for each grade-level. There is no longer “tutors” in the Challenge program, only the Challenge Director of each grade. This means that if you have a Challenge age child and you want, or need to be their Challenge Director, you can no longer enroll your elementary aged children in a public school or charter; you must give up your funds.

    @Julie Anne
    “Do many large families use CC?”
    There are a number of large (4 children) families in our foundations program (K-6). I don’t believe any of our Challenge (7-12) families had more than one child enrolled. The larger families whose eldest have entered the Challenge program, seem to disappear. The realization of how much this program will ultimately cost appears to be a significant factor, especially considering they will lose their funds if they become a Director. Based on my own “modest” cost analysis; the bare minimum cost to enroll four children K-12 would be $71,639.00 (this is not an exhaustive analysis and does not include onsite daycare, other curriculum, sports or recreational programs, etc.).


  23. Though my long association with CC has not included negative experiences with tutors/directors/”leadership”/communities, I am again finding myself at a crossroad with my son, contemplating whether the pros of our years with CC have 1) actually been pros, and/or 2) outweighed the cons.

    Eight years ago my husband and I enrolled our (at-the-time only) child into a CC group after having dabbled in a hodgepodge kindergarten at home. We drove (cough, in a small voice under breath: two) hours one way to join a community nearest where we were living at that time. Such was my lack of confidence–and my need for accountability.

    Long story slightly shortened, now fast-forwarding several years, most of which I tutored: we burned out. Something about the once-positive encouragement toward “mastery” (via memorization) spoiled into a nasty negative insistence on my part for a level of perfection I felt my (of course, “gifted”) child was capable. Our relationship suffered. Greatly. All that emphasis on memorization had taken a toll. (As had, yeh, eventually the drive, though by his 5th grade year we had joined a newly-formed community located a mere hour away).

    We took his 6th grade “off” to try homeschooling a la Charlotte Mason. The shift was jarring, albeit enlightening. Though I remembered the CC song “pegs” from the previous 5 CC years, referencing them through our readings, my FOUR-time Memory Master(TM?) son did not. Had we memorized useless information? Was memorization of certain facts useless? Panic ensued. Having bought into the Trivium, I wanted to help my son “know” as much of the right stuff as I could–while he was still in the grammar stage. And yet, the more energy we focused toward reading, narration, and dictation, the more he seemed to retain–yet without the cocky pride I had been previously, unintentionally grooming.

    We stepped back into CC the next year (He had made some close friendships the year before our break, and though we enjoyed our experiment into CM’ing, most of the time I flailed around trying to find my bearings.) We joined again this year; after all, we are now only 15 minutes from our group.

    So why am I up WAY past my bedtime, having found this blog on a google search for “classical conversations negatives?” My son is 13 and in his last weeks of Challenge B. According to his Guide, he has about a month to memorize the first twenty elements in the Periodic Table. “If you can memorize facts from the first eighteen elements, your job [as a high school chemistry student] will be much easier.” I have my doubts. “Does that make sense?” I asked my husband. “What do you think?” I asked my son, who said, “Do you remember that book we read that year we didn’t do CC? The one about the uncle talking to his nephews about phosphorus being stored in water? I remember a lot from that book.”

    Sigh. CC boosted my confidence as a homeschooling parent and provided continuity with a future goal in mind that I would likely not have landed on of my own accord during those early years. For better or worse, it also provided a community of people all doing practically the same things, which offered a sense of “real” and, in particular, legitimacy for relatives who were less-than-enthusiastic about our choice to home school. I weigh these things: my son, who was once an excellent sentence diagrammer, now struggles to remember what a predicate nominative is; my son knows the Latin he knows through the time and effort we have put into it at home–not because of the suggested anchors drilled early on, nor due to the expected conversations he has in community–most students don’t keep up; he should know geography, yet on occasion after occasion he demonstrates he does not; in fact, in conversation with his father last week we discovered he had no idea that it is presently summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

    Again, and again, and again, SIGH. I could go on and might pop back in to go on a little more. In the meantime, here’s a closing thought: All of the above was DESIGNED as a necessary foundation for “The Challenge Years,” aka high school. I’m so tempted to see if my star Foundations/Essentials/ChA/ChB student excels in Ch I. Will there be an “AHHH!” moment for us when everything will seem right and worthwhile? Are we willing to spend money and time to find out?


  24. I think that learning, in general, takes the path of facts -> knowledge -> wisdom, and the classical method supposedly separates those into the three stage, but I find that my kids have combined all three at all stages. Why? is not a fact question it’s a question asking for more depth – knowledge and wisdom.

    I think part of the sales pitch for homeschooling is that the hard work is worth it. I have my doubts. We tried briefly with our first and realized quickly that we needed someone else to tell her what to do because with us, she just dug in and refused to do work. She is still like that to this day, and I’m thankful we didn’t have to slog through that. For our others, we’ve considered it, but again, it’s a lot of effort.

    There are some theoretical problems, though. We see the “dragon moms” even in our public schools. How much more successful are their children when they push them to their limits and schedule every hour of their day? The answer is… not a lot, and probably even less successful. The success stories are the people who realized that the school model was orthogonal, or even negative to their goals. They didn’t have a 4.0, they didn’t focus on performance. Instead, they figured out what they wanted to take away from school and they pursued that. Bill Gates, famously, convinced his Harvard professor to give him a class grade based on the final. Makes perfect sense – he still learned what the professor wanted him to learn, but he didn’t have to jump through all the intermediate hoops the professor put in the way of all the other students. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gates retained more knowledge from that class than the students who came home with 100% on all the tests.

    That’s the unfortunate path that most schools take, and classical even more so, that hard work equals success. The problem is that these schools focus on hard work and not so much on learning. So, my daughter learns her math in class, but then comes home with 30 problems to do. She doesn’t need those problems to reinforce her knowledge, but if she doesn’t do the hard work, she won’t get an A, and then the school is going to close doors – maybe she can’t be in the honors program, or she can’t take the advanced math track. Another bristled at the homework, often skipped it or turned it in late, but then got 80-90% on the tests. The grades were mediocre, but if you looked, it was the “hard work” that was mediocre and the “learning” that was actually pretty good. We talked with the principal and the principal said… if you just WORK HARDER you can get better grades. We said, why aren’t the grades reflective of the learning. If my student comes home with 80%+ on all the tests, but is failing the class, it seems the method of evaluation is wrong.

    The good jobs in today’s society are not for people who have buckets of facts at their disposal. They are for people who can look at a problem, ignore the unimportant stuff and solve the most important pieces of the problem. Schools don’t teach that, typically, because they place the same importance on everything – work that needs to be done.


  25. We have, and continue to be, CC participants. I tutored for several of our multiple years.
    However, I am quite aware of failings, mostly in CC business structure. There seems to be a disconnect between whether they wish to be a resource company or a school. I find it peculiar that a homeschool resource company should care that parents enroll their children in a program if the children are below a “recommended” age. Additionally, I believe that a homeschooling parent should be able to choose the best education for each of their children, and that can mean a variety, as no child is the same even within a single family. Other personal concerns are regional biases, inconsistent application of logic training throughout the curriculum, a definite bias toward fundamentalist/evangelical faith evident in curricula choices, and an overall pervasive “best education” pride.
    Now, that said, we remain in the program for multiple reasons. The community day starts our week of learning, but even in the Challenge years, it’s not a “bible” for us. It’s a beginning that we then explore further in the direction I wish to educate my children. I have met some amazing people and a few deeply frustrating people in our years, but while we’ve had some disappointments, our overall experience has been positive. I have coached my children how to interact with some of the people with difficult interactions. I would have had much greater issues if my children were younger than they were, but some coaching through awkward situations and people was a useful life lesson for teenagers. I researched carefully before joining CC, and still value the same things that brought me to this choice, despite some disappointments in the execution.
    I’m saddened that some have suffered such horrible issues. I hope you take my prayers for healing and wholeness in the open giving intent I mean.


  26. Why can’t more people think for themselves?
    Not all groups, whether it is a home school group, church group, workplace, etc, operate the same, even if they are connected. Just because someone works in Wal-Mart and all of his co-workers are miserable people, doesn’t mean someone working at a Wal-Mart in the next state over is going to have miserable coworkers.

    This is not a defense or argument for or against CC. It is just interesting that Julie Ann seems to imply that her co-op experience was great (or at least, cheap), but in other posts talks about her “failing” her daughter, and implying partly that was as a result of homeschooling. Why blame homeschooling? Can you not take ownership for whatever happened in your family and not paint all families with the same brush?

    I am beginning to think the blog is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It appears at first to exist to help and “warn” home schooling families. However, upon closer examination, in this blog, there are a lot of seeds being planted.that home schooling (HS) families are mostly a bunch of patriarchal, cult-following whackjobs who don’t take care of their children.

    In one post (circa 2012), JA seems to point out in a sort of funny, then not funny, way some stereotypes of home schoolers. Really though, it is perpetuating stereotypes…I live in a pretty conservative part of the country, and have yet to see a blue jean jumper wearing home school mom. I also must say in many of the HS families I’ve talked to, the mothers, not the fathers, are the ones who advocated for homeschooling, or it was a joint (NOT patriarchal) decision.

    I have also lived in a part of the country where HS encounter government interference (and not a lot of community support)…I thought of them (though, I think anyone should join HSLDA) when I read JA’s “who needs HSLDA’s fearmongering” comments.

    In this country we have options for education…home school is one of those options, just as re public or private schools. People need to think for themselves and research with an open mind. Home schooling is not for everyone, but neither is public school, or private school. A great thing about home schooling is if something isn’t working, you can try something else! It is pretty libertarian, if you think about it. If some “group” is telling you to do it their way and that isn’t your way, DON’T DO IT. Pretty simple.

    Last point…people need to remember that CC is a BUSINESS. That is not being pro-CC or anti-CC…it is a fact. My opinion happens to be, when a business promotes itself as a ministry, it is getting into an area it may do well to avoid. Be a Christian curriculum company, but be honest you are doing it to make money, and not as a “ministry.” It amazes me when people complain about the cost of CC…would you make the same complaint about another textbook publisher, or since CC markets itself as “Christian,” do you expect them to work on a sliding scale? IF you don’t like the cost, then don’t get involved! If you feel you are being forced to join and pay, then maybe you are showing signs of being in a cult…but remember that you CAN choose other HS options!


  27. “It is just interesting that Julie Ann seems to imply that her co-op experience was great (or at least, cheap), but in other posts talks about her “failing” her daughter, and implying partly that was as a result of homeschooling. Why blame homeschooling? Can you not take ownership for whatever happened in your family and not paint all families with the same brush?”

    I could respond to a lot of your comment, but it’s late, so I’ll start here. You refer to co-op. My family was never part of a CC co-op.

    The ideologies in the conservative Christian “Homeschool Movement” played a big part of our lives. It wasn’t “homeschooling” that was the problem, but the ideologies that were taught. I didn’t paint all homeschooling families – I wouldn’t because homeschooling is very diverse. My postings/experience is with the dangerous ideologies espoused by people like Doug Phillips, Mary Pride, Gregg Harris, HSLDA, etc. That is a specific group who were very prominent in the conservative Christian homeschooling network.

    ‘ll try to respond to other parts of your comment tomorrow.


  28. I am trying to understand how a writer could use her blog to denigrate an organization she never belonged to. Am I correct that Julie Ann never belonged to a CC group?

    I have been in a CC group for 5 years, and now direct that same community. We love it but we have always had our eyes open to its strengths and weaknesses. I have seen so many of its weaknesses lately, and I had to reassess whether it’s still for us. My husband and I decided that it is, but don’t think it’s for everyone. It’s not a cult, as far as I can tell. CC has grown quickly and I don’t think they’ve been able to keep up technologically or in matters of policy with this exponential growth.

    As an African American, I often have strong feelings about what is missing from some of the curriculum and some of the styles of leading in the higher levels of leadership. I’ve decided I’ll be myself as a leader, and I am uninterested in going to higher levels of leadership. I am only directing because our beloved group needed a director, and I am happy to serve these families that I love so much- even though it’s a lot of work.

    As directors, we have to attend an all day training, and then there is ongoing training. CC doesn’t advise you about financial matters because those vary from state to state. This can be frustrating, but I get it. It’s a weird kind of business model, not quite a franchise. I generally feel that the leaders lead with integrity. I do think the advice to read all your contracts (they are not 20-30 pages, by the way!!!) and talk to your financial experts, to keep yourself covered. I didn’t realize it would involve all that, and by the time I did, I was already in it- but actually now that I think about it, in my interview we did discuss that and I don’t think I took it seriously enough! But it is serious!


  29. “I am trying to understand how a writer could use her blog to denigrate an organization she never belonged to. Am I correct that Julie Ann never belonged to a CC group?”

    Simple. When many people share their personal stories in which they receive the same kinds of treatment – methods used in high-controlling cults – while claiming to be Christian, I take note. I especially take note when they use their position or scripture to control what underlings can and cannot be said, or when they use threats of legal action. All of this has been done. So, here it is. I don’t need to experience it to report on it.


  30. My recent experiences with CC have been quite disturbing. In fact almost everything about CC goes against my grain except for the fact that it is Classical. There are many factors to which I could speak like the lack of flexibility, the evasiveness of information, the strict rules & protocols, to name a few. The area in which I wish to discuss in the lack of accountability when it comes to legal, liability, and financial concerns.

    For the past 2 years I’ve been apart of what I thought was an amazing group of women. Sure I had my complaints and issues with CC, but our director was much more laid back than other directors and gave us so much freedom that our tutors never felt stifled. The glaring concerns showed up when COVID hit, and our group decided to go virtual.

    Our director’s desire for enrollment at all cost caused me to see the greedy, dishonest, unaccountable part of CC.

    To begin with our Director refused to let us meet in person despite the fact that CC had sent out letters saying that we should do everything possible to meet “incarnate”. When asked if we could do in person family groups we were told “no”. When in fact, from a letter from CC, I realized that this was one of the options. We could have a “family style directorship”. Yet, we were never told of this option and by the time I realized this, it was impossible because I would have had 2 weeks to become licensed. We asked to do family groups in a variety of ways, but each time were told no that we couldn’t and if we did, we’d still be required to go “virtual” and she’d still have to show up at our “in person groups” to direct us.

    We, tutors, are hired as “Independent Contractors” which means we don’t answer to her and we can do our own thing. Yet, she was quite adamant that we couldn’t function without her oversight. I’m not sure what the legalities of this are, but to my understanding, under the IRS code, Independent Contractors cannot be told what to do. This was enlightening to me because upon further investigation, I realized that she would have lost a great deal of revenue if we had decided to branch out on our own. She didn’t won’t to lose our business nor our money, and this is why we were told “no”.

    In addition to liability issues regarding “Independent Contracting”, we were not allowed to conduct the Foundations virtual sessions the way we desired. We were given strict parameters. We were told it would only be one hour. We were implicitly told “no” when it came to other agenda items we wanted to do to make our “virtual” classrooms more meaningful. It was a depleting experience to say the least.

    Secondly, the entire CC program compromised its integrity by literally slashing programs in half when it went “Virtual”. For example, a 3- hour Foundations program in person was changed to a 1- hour program virtually. A 2- hour Essentials Class was cut to 1 hour. Finally, the 6- hour challenge classes were cut to 4 hours. I find this to be unacceptable because parents are still being charged the same price for a virtual program that has lost most of its material and are paying double or even triple for a “session” that all siblings are getting at the same time (that may or may not be age level appropriate). In addition, the virtual sessions lost its age level brackets. I felt the whole scenario was dishonest. When I mentioned this to the director, there was no response. It was even stated that people would pay this regardless. Where is the oversight?

    Myself and 3 other tutors (out of 6) presented a scenario where we could maintain the integrity of the program & offer the entire program, yet the plan was rejected for various reasons, (none of which we particularly agreed with or liked, but I won’t discuss those because although they may have merit, it doesn’t fall under my complaint of being dishonest, greedy, and liable.) Once again, I saw the greed for money being the driving force. It didn’t matter that the Program was compromised, cut in half, or not age level appropriate; all that mattered was that parents were paying their tuition.

    Finally, when a couple of the parents (on the inside) realized what was happening both tried to get refunds but were denied. I find this to be deplorable because I know for a fact that money had not been turned in and besides the fact the program had not even started, yet the “hard fast” rule of “no refunds” was referred to “by the letter of the law”. Secondly, CC did not offer the program it presented and the parents should have been able to get a refund on that principal alone. Again, I see the sheer greed for money. One of those same parents tried to do a class transfer because of the absolute incompetency of the Essential Tutor as well as a complete lack of training, and again told “no” and that classes “were full” – mind you – they are virtual this year!? How can a virtual class be full? Anyway, the class size limit is 16 for Essentials this year, and the class size was not exceeded.

    Above are examples that show the lack of accountability and oversight that Directors have in CC. When CC trains them to become licensed directors, CC releases themselves from any involvement, and the Directors are on their on. I believe Directors dishonestly hire tutors as Independent Contractors because we are treated as employees because we are given parameters and protocols and told what we can and cannot do. I’m not sure what the legal amplifications are to this as opposed to hiring us to be employees or Independent Contractors, but something is fishy. I just don’t know “what”.

    I know one person who is a Director AND a Support Representative of not just her region but also another region. Where is the accountability there? She can do whatever she wants!

    Regardless Directors in general seem to me to work together to keep a monopoly on making money and making up the rules as they go. They seem to stick together, and if there’s ever an issue or a problem, it can never truly be resolved and the parent ends up with the raw end of the deal.

    My personal thoughts is that having no accountability and/or oversight can be a slippery slope when it comes to financial gain and operating a business. Integrity of one’s personal character and that of the company in which it represents should be considered at all cost especially when operating a Christian company whose motto is to “Know Christ and Make Him Known” and who advocates everything that is “Good, True, and Beautiful” – which is the model of Classical Conversations (CC). Therefore, it is my estimation that denying Independent Contractors autonomy, slashing the programs in half and compromising its integrity, & refusing to give refunds when the program doesn’t deliver what it advocates, and not being held to a higher accountability of Biblical finance and operation is dishonest gain and does not model “the good, the true, and the beautiful” nor does it present itself as “knowing Christ and making Him known”.


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