May 16, 2013

Call me obsessed, but . . .

I'm not!

I promise!

Being asked by Beth at Classical Conversations at Home to be apart of her new book club has been a BIG turning point in our homeschooling journey (thanks so much, Beth!). I have not been intentional about my educational choices or methods.

"I believe parents want to take a moment to evaluate the purpose of education in order to move forward with conviction and purpose as they choose the type of schooling their children will receive."

The Core by Leigh Bortins, page 215

Oooh, 'Classical' sounds really smart - let's do it that way! Pretty sure that's what was going through my head when I signed up for Classical Conversations. I had certainly not evaluated the purpose of education, and I haven't been moving forward with conviction and purpose. Honestly, what really sold me on CC was one of the other mamas telling me they study the parts of the orchestra. Yeah, sadly that was it (easy sell, huh?). I'm so embarrassed to tell y'all that I really don't know what I'm doing. And, although I never claimed to have all the answers, I sometimes feel that by having a blog about our family and school stuff I'm supposed to be more educated about the whole 'classical model.' Well, I'm not. . .

But, by God's grace, I'm getting there! ;)

Reading Teaching the Trivium by the Bluedorns has lit a FIRE in me to discover what the classical model is and if I really want go that route.

After finishing the brick of a book in a few days, I read Leigh Bortins's Echo in Celebration, Dorothy Sayers's essay The Lost Tools of Learning, The Core, and Classical Christian Education Made Approachable. Now, I'm going back through all the books and writing down what each one has to say about the classical model and about the Trivium. I'm also making a list of what each book says to do at each stage (Grammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric). Oh, yes, now I'm learning.

Yes, I can now say without a doubt that the classical model and CC are a perfect fit for our family. I feel confident that I have evaluated the purpose of education and can now move forward with conviction and purpose (as Leigh says). I will continue to learn and grow in my understanding of it all (because I absolutely do NOT know it all, not even close!), but it's so satisfying to not feel like a poser in the CC blog world. Not that I was ever intentionally being fake, but I now see that I never really understood the classical model, and therefore I never truly understood what CC was all about

So, as my sweet Anna says, "I sorry, 'give me?"

Okay, so why am I spilling my guts. After all, confession is good for the soul, but bad for the reputation. Well, I just figured that maybe some of you are kind of like me. Maybe you're in CC or you're thinking about educating your children classically, but you don't really know what that means or looks like in your home. So, I just want to encourage you to make the effort to dig deeper. Don't settle with just 'going with the flow,' even if you're already in a CC community. Do you know WHY the great folks at CC chose the memory work that they did? Do you know WHAT grammar-level kiddos are supposed to do and HOW? I sure didn't! I just did what everyone else was doing. So, if you're like me, I challenge you to discover WHY you're homeschooling classically and WHY you chose Classical Conversations to help you in your journey. If I can learn about it, you can, too! And having this purpose and conviction will now help me to persevere when the times get tough, which I know they will. So. . .

Are ya pumped?!

Don't know where to start?

Well, if you're a Classical Conversations newbie, I suggest beginning with Classical Christian Education Made Approachable:

It's short (around 100 pages I think), to the point, and it even has some nice charts that explain the Trivium and the entire Classical Conversations program. I learned a LOT from this little book!

(I feel like I'm supposed to say that the best place to start is The Core, because that's like the Bible of CC, but if you're new or lost and struggling, read this nice smaller book above first. I made the most notes out of this one!)

After you finish that one, I would suggest reading The Core, and read it intentionally, too, if you have younger children who are in the Foundations Program.

Then, you can find encouragement in Leigh Bortins's Echo in Celebration. This is a free pdf book, but I took mine to Staples and had it bound so I could really get my hands on it and take notes.

Finally, I would suggest you read Dorothy Sayers's essay The Lost Tools of Learning (free pdf). Personally, I was able to get more out of it after I understood the classical model and Trivium first.

I know it seems like a lot of reading, but it's the summer, friends! If we don't read now, when will we? ;)

So, that's what I've been up to lately. I would love for you to join the CC at Home Book Club by reading along with us as we discover more about classical education this summer!

And, I'd really love to hear your thoughts about all of this. Am I the only CC member who was in the dark about the classical model, which may be the case (red face)?

In other news, are you going to Parent Practicum? Ours is next Monday through Wednesday, and I'm SO excited! I plan on posting pictures and all my thoughts about it, too, so if you can't make it to one this year you can see what goes on.

Ooh, have to run! Have a great weekend, friends. And thanks for letting me be real with you!


  1. first of all, amazing that you got done that much reading in that little bit of time!! : ) love it! secondly, you're not alone! that's exactly why i started the book club! i think there are moms all across the spectrum -- ones who understand classical & are totally doing it at home, ones like me who have been growing in understanding since i first learned about CC, & ones who add on CC to what they already knew/understood about education w/o digging deeper. which is why it's so hard to do at home! i'm so excited about what i'm learning & the changes it'll make to our next year...maybe, even our summer! : ) as always, thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Beth! Like I said in the post, I am SO thankful that you got this thing going! YOU are awesome, friend! Can't wait to read everyone's reviews next month! :)

  2. If you haven't read A Well Trained Mind, it's my Classical Education bible. I find The Core is basically a summary of it, but I'm into the details.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Kim! I just ordered it, and I can't wait to read it! :)

    2. I think you'll enjoy it. The author is a Christian, but it is not written from that point of view. It differs from teaching the Trivium on a few points...the first one that comes to mind is the age children should begin to read. I tend to lean more toward WTM.

  3. I just finished reading The Core for the third time. It is probably my favorite book on classical education. Echo in Celebration was what sparked a fire in me, but only after reading it the second time, years after I first skimmed it. And CC didn't make sense to me until I went through it years later when my oldest was 9 after quitting halfway through when she was 5. CC makes classical education practical, especially for a large family. WTM is good but sometimes I wish I could take out all her curriculum recommendations and just read the methods. Teaching the Trivium is also wonderful, especially the chapters on what to do at different stages. I use the Core and the Foundations and EEL guides (plus the CC bookstore) to guide our curriculum choices and then use the WTM and TTT to make sure I'm not missing anything. Between the three I feel confident we have our bases thoroughly covered and I strive more and more to make our homeschool a one room schoolhouse. I applaud you for reading all of these and taking notes. It makes me sad when other CC moms are just there without fully understanding what CC and classical ed. is all about. It is my passion to inspire them to dig deeper like you are doing........

    1. Wow! You have really done your homework, friend! Awesome! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the books; I love to hear what everyone thinks about all of this! I completely agree that CC makes classical education practical. I can't wait to read WTM and see how it compares to the others. Thanks again for sharing! I hope to hear more from you, friend! :)

  4. my needing to know more about Classical education. I have no idea what the Trivium is. Clueless. But honestly what appealed to me about CC was getting to meet with others in our homeschooling community each week and studying together...which is exactly what I'd been praying for all these years. I liked what the kids would be learning...which is just what I wanted my kids to learn...and God just put everything we needed into our hands. It was pretty supernatural. One of my goals in homeschooling (just in my own mind) was showing my kids how God fit into their world...into history, science, etc. The timeline did a good bit of that for me. I may not get around to all the reading this summer, but I'm definitely interested in knowing the why behind what I'm doing. But for me personally, even if I don't know all the why's right now, I feel like CC was something God has led our family to do and I really love it!! : ) Thanks so much for sharing! This is really helpful! ~Stacey

    1. Stacey, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, friend! We are in the same boat; God led us to CC, and even though I really didn't understand it all, I knew that it was right. Learning more about classical education and the whys and hows and whats behind CC has just confirmed that 'right' feeling. I now have convictions and can stand behind what we're doing. It's a good feeling, girl! :) Do you have the book Classical Christian Education Made Approachable? If not, you may want to look into it; it was the book that made the most sense and wanted me to dig deeper. It's VERY easy to understand (which is what I personally need!). Have a great weekend, Stacey, and I look forward to learning together with you this summer! By God's grace, we can do it! :)

  5. Thanks for the book recommendation...I haven't read that yet. Honestly, I've been kind of a bum concerning educational reading. Just too much on the "to do" list lately...I barely have time to read. But I just read the summary you posted most recently and it's awesome! I love summaries. : ) I need easy to understand things, too. So glad I've been able to connect with you and your've been SO helpful!


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