Claritas Publishing is an Alternative for Classical Conversations

claritas publishing classical conversations classical education memory work Nov 10, 2023

If you have been homeschooling for a while, you've probably heard about Classical Conversations (CC). It is very likely that you have friends in the program, or that you have been a part of it yourself. Our family was a part of a CC community in Oregon for two years, before we moved to Virginia. CC is extremely popular. According to their website, there are CC communities in fifty countries, and 45,000 families are involved in Classical Conversations. That's impressive! And yet, CC isn't going to work for some families. This post is not intended to be disparaging about CC. I simply want to share about Claritas Publishing, because many people have never heard of this company, and explain how it is an alternative option for the CC memory work.

The Similarities Between Claritas Publishing and Classical Conversations Memory Work

First, let's talk about what the two programs have in common:

Both Programs Have a Timeline Song

Personally, I like the CC timeline song better--but it is also what I learned first, so that may be why I prefer it.

Both Programs Teach History, Geography, Math, Science, Latin and English Grammar

Claritas covers all of these same subjects as Classical Conversations, plus some extras (see below).

Both Programs Include Cheesy Memory Work Music

If you love cheesy memory work music, you won't be missing out if you switch from one program to another! You can find Claritas Publishing memory work on cds, a downloadable mp3 file, or on Cross Seven, which is a Roku channel (and monthly membership).

The Differences Between Claritas Publishing and Classical Conversations Memory Work

Second, let's take a look at the main things these two programs do differently:

Claritas has Four Cycles, Classical Conversations Has Three

This is perhaps the biggest difference. The CC program takes students through world history in the first two cycles, and then they spend a full year on American history in Cycle 3. Claritas publishing takes students through all of world history, chronologically, in four years. I have always loved a four-cycle, chronological approach to history, and this fits with so many history books, as well. I personally struggled with rushing through all of world history in just two years, and I couldn't ever find a perfect book that lined up with CC's three cycle approach.

Claritas is a 28-Week Program, CC is a 24-Week Program

If you love the short school year, you may not like adding four more weeks. I don't mind it. I'm just grateful it isn't 36 weeks, as I've always had a hard time with 36-week programs! 

Claritas Publishing Includes Scripture Memory and Hymn Memory

I LOVE this!! While CC's motto is to "Know God and Make Him Known," I only remember our children memorizing the Ten Commandments and John 1:1 in Latin in the CC memory work. I don't believe there is any other Scripture in the memory work. I love memorizing Scripture with my children and getting it stuck in our heads. I'm grateful that Claritas includes Scripture every week for all twenty-eight weeks! Also, Claritas includes hymn memory work each week, which I think is so special and unique.

The Guides are Different

A benefit of the CC guide is that you purchase one guide for all three cycles (until they change the guide, which they did our 2nd year in CC, so we ended up buying a guide each year we were in the program). There are four Claritas Publishing guides: one for each cycle. The Claritas guides are also in full color and beautiful and the paper is smooth to touch.

The Extra Resources are Different

I like the CC maps that line up with each cycle. Claritas publishes a map book for each cycle, and it is nice, but I really like the fold out maps that CC produces. I also think the CC timeline cards and memory work flashcards are a little nicer. I like that the CC timeline cards include information on the back. The Claritas Publishing cards are blank on the back.

CC is Well-Known, So There's Lots of Info on the Internet

There are alternatives for almost all of the cheesy CC memory work songs on the internet. Since Claritas is not widely known like CC, you won't find alternatives to their music online (yet!). Also, when I look up memory work games, almost all of the games I find are for CC, and I have to adjust them a bit to fit with Claritas (to include hymns and Scripture, for example).

What About a Community?

So many people are drawn to Classical Conversations because of the idea of community. Our CC community in Oregon was lovely! We became very close with the people there, and we look back on that time with them with fond memories. The idea of letting go of a CC community and going "rouge" with a brand new program, may seem scary to you. I get it! At this time, there are definitely not Claritas communities in 50 countries, and there are definitely not 45,000 families across the globe participating in Claritas communities. BUT--there are Claritas communities, or, "Claritas Connections," popping up across the United States. You can see a current map of communities here.

My homeschool community, STAR, is listed on that map. I decided to start STAR in 2022 because I wanted an alternative to CC. I will share about the differences and similarities between STAR and a CC community in a future post.

We are in our second school year, and it's going well! 

You Can Start a Community, Too!

Maybe you have ideas about what the perfect homeschool community would be like. That's great! Pray about it, and if God leads you, go for it! It is incredibly rewarding! I have started a Facebook group for people like you! Join us in the conversation.

If you like the idea of using classical memory work in your community, consider using Claritas Publishing. You could also use the Claritas memory work materials as a family in your home, or with one or two other families. You get to choose how to utilize these materials! I just wanted to provide you with a quick review, and Claritas Publishing is a great alternative to the CC memory work, in my opinion.

Have you used Claritas Publishing's memory work? What has your experience been like?




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