As Applied to Homeschooling
Classical education, which gives students broad exposure to interrelated facts, thought and expression from ancient times through the present has seen a resurgence in recent years. Author Susan Wise Bauer developed a model for homeschooling based on classical education principles and wrote step-by-step instructions for parents in her book The Well-Trained Mind. She and others will share their knowledge with parents who attend Great Homeschool Conventions (GHC). Five regional conventions are planned for 2012.
The Three Phases of Classical Education
- The first, which generally includes students from first through fourth grade, is called the Grammar Stage and is the time when children learn the facts and rules for writing, spelling, grammar, science, and mathematics.
- The second stage, taking place from fifth through eighth grade, is the Logic Stage. This is a time when children have the capacity for more abstract thought and begin to ask the question, “Why?” In order to answer, they learn how to think and write logically. Students in this second phase delve into subjects in a deeper way than when they were younger. For example, it is no longer enough to know the facts about the Revolutionary Way. The student also discovers why the Revolutionary War was fought and why it was important.
- The last phase is the Rhetoric Stage. High school students begin to build on the facts and logical understanding acquired in previous years. The result is original expressions of thought, the ability to drawing conclusions, and the ability to see the interrelationship among all knowledge regardless of the subject.
Parents Make Learning Decisions
Parents teaching their children at home using the classical education model described by Dr. Susan Wise Bauer have an advantage. Because parents know their children better than any teacher possibly could, they can exercise some flexibility in how and when they introduce the next learning phase.
Dr. Bauer states that the classical approach is language based at all three levels. In the first stage the young student is acquiring basic skills in math and language. In all other subjects, the objective is to introduce the content in a way that the child will enjoy what he or she is learning. The overarching goal of the second phase is for the students to see the forest instead of just the trees; the whole picture of a subject starts to become clear. In the third phase the student thinks and writes critically about subjects.
Leaders to Share Knowledge
When GHC holds its regional conventions in 2012, leaders in the field of classical education for homeschools will be among the featured speakers. Along with Bauer, who has written extensively on the subject, five others will share knowledge and experiences with parents who are searching for the right method to adopt for their children’s education.
Teacher and author Martin Cothran serves as director of Memoria Press Online Classical Academy and edits Classical Teacher magazine. He holds a B.A. in economics and philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Cothran received an M.A. in Christian Apologetics from the Simon Greenleaf School at Trinity University.
Cheryl Lowe created Memoria Press in 1994 and runs it along with family members. Her company publishes education material with a classical Christian theme. The books and other material produced by Memoria Press are used in both private schools and homeschools.
As the founder and current president of CiRCE Institute, Andrew Kern teaches parents and teachers how to apply Christian classical education techniques in their classroom and in homeschool settings. He co-authored the book Classical Education: The Movement Sweeping America with Dr. Gene Edward Veith. Kern, who holds a B.A. in liberal arts, has directed the CiRCE Institute for 11 years.
Teacher and publisher Christopher Perrin holds a B.A. in history, which he received from the University of South Carolina. He went on to earn a Masters in divinity and a Doctorate in Apologetics from Westminster Theological Seminary, located in California. Perrin conveys his enthusiasm for Greek and Latin in his speaking engagements and in his work as publisher with Classical Academic Press.
Leigh Bortins is a nationally acclaimed educator, Founder and Owner of Classical Conversations, an organization that models the Christian home-centered learning approach to empower learners of all ages. She trains facilitators dedicated to duplicating her methods, and is thereby transforming education and improving the quality of family and community life. Classical Conversations is nearly doubling in size and scope each year. Leigh has written two books, Echo in Celebration: A Call to Home Centered Education, and her most recent book, The Core, which was released in June of 2010.
Each of these speakers will share knowledge at one or more of the 2012 regional conventions planned by Great Homeschool Conventions for South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, California and Connecticut. To find out more about locations, registration and convention schedules for each site, visit Great Homeschool Conventions.