When we first began our homeschooling journey I dabbled in giving Josiah a Classical Education. While it didn’t quite fit his particular needs, the model is quite impressive. As Josiah grows older, I am also anticipating the challenges that homeschooling in High School will bring us. We recently had a chance to review a brand new book from Classical Conversations Written by Leigh A. Bortins, The Conversation, talks about homeschooling during the high school years.
You might have heard of Classical Conversations . It is a community of Christian believers that help support homeschooling parents and students using the classical educational model.
Classical Education divides learning into three distinct stages. These are the grammar, dialetic and rhetoric. A Classical education has always emphasized a study of Latin and philosophy. However, Classical Conversations center all education on the Word of God.
The Conversation focuses on those rhetoric years (or High School years). The five canons of rhetoric include: Invention, Arrangement, Elocution, Memory and Delivery. There is a lot of information in this book!
My concern when I initially signed up to review this book was that I didn’t want to bogged down with information about an educational model we did not follow. However, this is much to be said of the classical model. The grammar stage allows children to learn and memorize facts. During the dialectic stage, students are encouraged to start asking questions and evaluate what they are learning. The rhetoric stage allows teens to apply that knowledge practically. I think that the whole style is a fascinating study. I have seen great results among friends using the classical model.
I think that one of the big thing I struggled with (and still do) is confidence in my ability to homeschool my son successful. The very first chapter in the book is called Confident Parents. Mrs. Bortins talks about those things all of us struggle with in homeschooling a teen. I found advice that I found extremely helpful. She suggests to using easier materials if your child is struggling. This helps them develop good study habits that are invaluable. I have been guilty of pushing content throughout our homeschooling journey.
The following chapters talk about how to use the five canons with reading, speech and debate, writing, science, math…all the subjects that a High School student will be expected to take.
The final chapter, A Graduation Conversation, gives advice to help guide the student at the end of High School. The book finishes with a good number of appendices that are filled with helpful information.
If you are a classical homeschooler this book will be invaluable for your high school years. Even if you’re not classical, I think you will be encouraged and find many good little nuggets in between the pages.
Here is a quote from the book that I absolutely love.
As classical parents and educators, we sometimes forget that we really only need four things in order to educate someone. We need pencil, paper, good books and time for great conversations.
Sounds like wonderful advice!
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