Classically Homeschooling The High Schooler ~ Classical Conversations #Review
Right up front, I absolutely have to admit that I do not know much about the classical style of homeschooling, so don’t take my thoughts as absolute truth – take them as they are, from someone who is curious, slightly intrigued… but yet still a bit mystified. This mama has always intended to learn more about classical homeschooling, because in so many ways, it seems like it would be a good fit for the way I think and live… but finding time to research it, in the midst of actively homeschooling, well, I’ve just never had the time to give it the full attention that I’d need for the kind of research and full understanding I’d seek.
Enter The Conversation, the latest physical book by Classical Conversations, Leigh A. Bortins explores the reasons for continuing to homeschool though high school, and provides a framework for doing so according to the rhetoric stage of the trivium. The Conversation is the third title in a series, following The Core and The Question, which progress through the grammar and dialectic stages, respectively.
Again, confession time: I haven’t read either of the first two books. (They’re still on hold at my library.) I only have a superficial notion of what either of those two earlier stages are about, so please bear with me. I’m learning as I go.
The three stages roughly correlate to elementary, middle, and high school. During the elementary years, learning is focused on facts and memorization, the details and solid base on which to build. In middle school, the focus shifts to questions, the more fluid nature of truths and beliefs. In high school, the rhetoric stage encourages them to think, respond, and interact with each other about all they have discovered.
Given that I know so little about classical education, what did I expect to get from reading The Conversation? Along the way, we’ve used a variety of curricula that was identified as intended for classical homeschooling; some we used as intended, some we adapted, which is pretty much par for the course around here. Given what little I did know, there are elements that I already know I agree with, having come to them on my on. There are strategies throughout that seem like a perfect fit for my style, and others that would drive me absolutely insane. Not to mention how my kids would react. (Dictation, daily? I’m looking at you.)
What The Conversation does – and will continue to do, because it’s definitely not a book that I feel like I got the whole gist of in the mere read and a half I’ve done – is give me a way to mindfully incorporate the techniques of classical education into my daily lives with my high school (and young adult) children. This is important, because while I’ve been “winging it” all along, and doing some of the same things, it’ll be that much more effective if 1) I know why I’m doing it, 2) I have goals behind it, 3) I have some new tools to work with to accomplish those goals.
As almost rabidly-eclectic homeschoolers, I’ll take what I learn, twist it, and apply it in a way that works for me and my family – and I really appreciate that The Conversation is accessible enough to allow me to do that, even without my having a strong background in classical homeschooling.
It’s well worth a read if you’re curious. There are tactics here that (I am convinced) are just plain part of raising confident, capable, responsible adults… and every parent should have those tools in their skill set.
Connect with Classical Conversations on Social Media!