Sunday, March 23, 2014

Foundations to Challenge - Bridging the Gap - Meet the Director Series #2

I am continuing our series to try to find out how we as parents, can make it not just to, but through the Challenge levels with our kids.  I'm exploring what it takes to Direct, persevere and press through the Challenge levels of CC.  

Today is another interview with a Director from my local Community.  She is very dear to me because she played a part in my stepping out to do Solagratiamom.  She encouraged me to share my Teaching Plans with other CC families and cheered me on, as I birthed my Wonderful Wednesday ideas, encouraging me to blog it all.  She has had extensive experience as first a Tutor, then a Foundations Director and now stepping into a Challenge A Director position!  She has been around CC for a long time and I'm excited to share with you, her insights and wisdom regarding Classical Conversations®.  

Today meet...
Michelle Blische
Cary, NC 

Challenge A Director 2014 - 2015

Tell us about yourself, your background and your family? 

Chip and I have been married for 20 years, and we have 3 sons, Chad is 16 and in Challenge III, Parker is 13 and he will be in Challenge A and Colby is 6 and he will continue Foundations next year.  Prior to homeschooling my children, I worked at an elementary school as a special needs teacher.

Tell us a little bit about how you got involved with Classical Conversations with your children to start with and your journey so far with CC.  

I started homeschooling when my son Chad, was in 2nd grade, and after researching, I knew I wanted to educate him classically.  I started out with the Well Trained Mind, but found Classical Conversations shortly thereafter and I knew that would be the program for our family!  We started CC when Chad was in 4th grade and Parker was in Kindergarten.  Colby wasn't even born until the next year.  That was almost 9 years ago!  

My journey with CC has been a very rewarding one.  I worked as a Tutor for 3 years and then I stepped up to Direct our Foundations Community.  After doing that for two years, I felt God calling me to step back and pray about what was next for our family.  This year, I have taken a position for fall as a Challenge A Director and I'm very excited about it!  I have enjoyed working for Classical Conversations.  There is a lot of support and the training equipped me to do each job with confidence.  I found each of the positions I have held, rewarding.  I loved teaching the younger children in Foundations and seeing all those little faces and I really got to know so many of our families as a Director and got to encourage many Moms in their journey.  I am certain my job as a Challenge A Director, will be a rewarding one - as I help these children take that next step into learning how to be more responsible for their education, teaching them to take ownership of their work.

Since you have both Foundations and Challenge level kids in your family, what do you see that applies from the memory work in Foundations, to your Challenge kids classes? 

Chad and Parker have been using their Foundations Memory work in so many of their subjects.  The History sentences and Timeline have helped Chad with his US History class in High School and the Timeline has really helped him with Current Events in A and B and all of his High School History classes. The Math memory work has been a huge help in the Upper level Math courses, as they have to know all of those formulas. Really, all of the Memory work was the “Foundation” that they have built upon year after year as they moved through Classical Conversations Challenge levels. 

What made you step up in your Community to become a Challenge Director for next year?  

I love encouraging other Homeschool moms  through this process of moving through the Middle school and High School years.  When I was moving ahead with Chad, it was reassuring to have moms that had blazed the trail before me.  Their insight really gave me the confidence to know that I could continue on the journey God had set before us.  I want to be that encouragement for other families.

What support are you getting as you endeavor to Direct for next year? 

I will be trained on tutoring the Challenge A level both at Director Business Training and this summer at Practicum.  CC also has great tutorials on line, for each Director level, so we know what we need to do to tutor through a year of Challenge.  We also have the benefit of being nearby other Communities and interacting with other Challenge Tutors who have been doing the job already and have great advice and resources to share.  There is always someone that you can call on if there are questions.

What does a Challenge A day look like?  

The day is divided into seminars : Math, Latin, Rhetoric, Literature/Writing, Science, and Geography.  We have one hour for each subject to introduce material, share assignments that were completed the week before and for me to introduce the lessons coming up for the current week. There are presentations, dissections, discussions and map drawing.  While we are discussing and working through all the material, I will be showing them the integration between subjects and point the children to how wonderful and complex God made each subject and our World.  

What are the key things you think prevent parents from feeling like they can become a Challenge Director for their Community? 

I think that parents are afraid of teaching certain subjects.  It can seem intimidating at first.  If you think God may be calling you to Direct, but really feel unequipped to teach a particular subject and that is holding you back, then be encouraged!  CC allows a one year period where another Tutor can come alongside of you to teach that seminar with you for your day, and help you to learn how to teach that subject yourself for the following year.  Remember too, that you are still learning alongside of your student and teaching the material at home anyway.  As a Director, your job is to introduce the subjects and help come alongside of the parents as they teach the subjects at home.  For me, it is exciting to know that not only will I be teaching the Challenge A material at home to my son Parker this year, but I will be Directing his class as well.  I believe it will make me a better teacher to my son at home.

What is one of the biggest misconceptions that you previously, or others you’ve talked to, have about the Challenge levels? 

I think they might think that the work is too “Challenging”.  However, the beauty of CC is that the parent is always the teacher.  So if your child needs certain assignments changed or adapted to suit your specifications, that is totally acceptable.  You have the benefit of having them in a “classroom” environment, while still having the control of how you want to teach the materials to your students and have your own expectations be met.

What do you think accounts for the drop off with families, beyond Challenge B level and how would you encourage them to stay in Classical Conversations and why?  

I think parents are afraid of homeschooling through High School because they might think it would be hard to get their children in a good college.  I think educating children classically not only in the Elementary and Middle school years, but all the way through High School, gives them the advantage of really learning the skills of learning, so when they do go to college, they can use those skills and tackle any subject that they need to and do a great job. Classical education is all about giving our students the skills they need to learn how to learn, but most importantly for them to learn how to think for themselves.  Academics aside, we want our children to know God and make Him known wherever God sends them. We want our children to be lights for Him.

When I first started Challenge A with Chad three years ago, many resources to assist parents weren't available, that are today.  Every year they are adding more resources for parents, to help them homeschool through the Challenge years and transition into Colleges easily.  For example, there are a lot of beneficial parent webinars available and CC Plus, which allows Challenge III and IV kids to earn college credits for some of the classes they do through CC, if they choose to.  There is also a service to build professionally-formatted academic transcripts for your student.  

(If you missed last week's post from our Challenge II Director, Christina Dunn then you can click on this link - Foundations to Challenge - Bridging the Gap - Meet the Director Series)

Join us on Wonderful Wednesday link-up to share your creative ideas or blogger posts each Wednesday!

Are you interested in being a part of the Cary, NC Community with Solagratiamom™?  Then contact Foundation's Director, Dawn Hogan at!

1 comment:

  1. Another great look into CC! Thanks for sharing, Michelle! I learn something new each time.