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A Classical Conversation

Join the conversation! An eclectic group of folks have joined in to carry out the classical conversation; some of these folks may share or represent views we don't hold. We need them to be dialectic and have a classical conversation, and they need us too! So thanks for being patient with us and our fellow participants.

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Stand Up for Parental Rights

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on Tuesday, 14 January 2014
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At Classical Conversations, we believe that parents are the very best teachers for their children. This is at the core of everything we do. This is why we firmly believe in equipping parents, and why we have parents attend Foundations and Essentials with their students. This is why we have tutors rather than teachers in the Challenge program. This is why we host free parent training events around the country every summer through our Parent Practicums.

 

However, all of this is only possible because of the very great freedoms we enjoy in our country. It is often easy for us to take these freedoms for granted. In 2012, Classical Conversations sponsored the first Global Home Education Conference in Germany. We spent a week meeting with families from around the world who do not have the freedom to educate their children at home in the manner they would choose. It was eye-opening to say the least.

Amber Alert: German Government Kidnaps Homeschool Children

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on Wednesday, 04 September 2013
in News and Updates

If you have a cell phone and alerts turned on you may periodically get messages warning of emergency weather conditions or Amber alerts asking you to assist in the recovery of a child kidnapped from their family. The system has saved countless numbers of lives. Yet, when a government kidnaps children there is no task force in place for their recovery.

 

As you may remember, we went to Germany last year to support the Global Home Education Conference and help lawmakers see that homeschooling was not something to be fearful of, but rather to embrace. I met some of the Wunderlichs, a persecuted homeschooling family living in Germany. They were wonderful people who had done a great job raising their oldest son. Unfortunately, their school-aged children have since been kidnapped by the German government, and fellow homeschoolers must act now. HSLDA has compiled everything you need to put pressure on Germany to release the children back to their parents. First, please pray for them, as God has protected them in the past and we know His Will will be done again.

 

Help the Wunderlichs Get Their Kids Back

 

At 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 29, 2013, in what has been called a "brutal and vicious act," a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family's residence near Darmstadt, Germany, forcibly removing all four of the family's children (ages 7-14). The sole grounds for removal were that the parents, Dirk and Petra Wunderlich, continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

 

The children were taken to unknown locations. Officials ominously promised the parents that they would not be seeing their children "anytime soon."

 

Act today and contact German officials

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What about College?

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on Monday, 05 August 2013
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“A thorough knowledge of the Bible

is worth more than a college education.”

Theodore Roosevelt,

26th President of the United States

 

Are you worried about college? Most homeschool families do. I am sure you have concerns about properly equipping your students for college admissions, checking off the “right” credits, and preparing them for the all-important standardized tests. Then, once students are admitted, new worries about the rising costs of higher education begin. Whether you are teaching a rising high school senior or a first grade student, it is important to consider the right goals of a Christian education. Do we believe Matthew 6:33, that all things will be added to us if we seek first the kingdom of God, or do we lean on our own understanding?

Hindsight and High Hopes

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on Monday, 29 April 2013
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As April ends and the school year winds down, it is important to reflect on all that has been accomplished. Most Classical Conversations communities have completed the school year and are preparing for EOG testing and Parent Practicum. This moment presents the opportunity to reflect on all that we have accomplished, and to throw a party! If your student was a Memory Master, or you just completed your first year of homeschooling, you need to congratulate yourself.

 

As for my family, we are rejoicing. This month we celebrated the completion of Challenge IV by my brother, William. In fact, our local Classical Conversations community recently commemorated the graduation of the first group of students who progressed through the entire Classical Conversations program from first grade through twelfth grade (a couple of them are going to join the Mandala Fellowship)! It is quite an accomplishment to homeschool a child through high school, but it is not as daunting a task when you have a solid academic plan and wonderful community support.

 

Sports: The Open Door for Government Control of Homeschooling in America

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on Thursday, 07 March 2013
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Some people believe the “Tebow Laws,” which are being proposed in various states, are a positive advancement for homeschooling. However, I believe homeschoolers should seriously consider the following perspective: although it is, perhaps, mostly like-minded friends who are pushing these “Tebow Laws” through their state legislatures, these laws are likely to have negative consequences for homeschoolers.

 

“We pay taxes; we should have access to the sports and the fields we pay for.” This is one of the primary arguments voiced in favor of such laws. Conservatives tend to be in favor of these laws. Liberals are generally against them.

 

The following quote is from the Washington Post:

 

Happy New Year

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on Wednesday, 09 January 2013
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The New Year is a good time to make changes in your life, because you have just experienced a time of rest and reflection. Nevertheless, it seems to be a tradition in America to make New Year resolutions and then break them before the second month begins. The reason most resolutions fail is because people often do not have a plan associated with their resolutions. Or, they may have a plan in place, but it has not been prayed about and laid out in a succinct manner. Thus, on their own, most people do not follow through with their resolutions. We at Classical Conversations are not alone, however, because we have committed our plans to the Lord.

 

Proverbs tells us that in order to be successful we need to involve the Lord in our plans:

 

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. - Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)

 

If Classical Conversations were to have a list of New Year resolutions, it would look something like this:

1. Provide better customer service.

2. Update our website.

3. Provide more support for Classical Conversations communities.

 

Since most resolutions fail, we have decided to plan and to commit these plans to the Lord, resting in the assurance of His promise articulated in Proverbs 16:3. I would like to share with you some of the plans we have for the upcoming year, so you can pray for us, asking the Lord to bless our plans and make of them a blessing.

 

Let us take a deeper look at each of our resolutions:

 

Teach Us to Pray

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on Thursday, 18 October 2012
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By no stretch of the imagination am I a theologian. With that warning out of the way, I would like to write about teaching children how to pray. I must also note, at this point, that I do not have children. That does not mean, however, that I am not preparing to be a good husband and father, and for that reason it is helpful for me to start thinking about these things now.

 

Let me begin with something all classical learners know: They use the classical tools of mimicking, copying, and then practicing with what a master has done in order to make it their own. So it only makes sense, when we are learning how to pray—and even more so when we are teaching our children how to pray—to go to the Lord’s Prayer, given to us by Christ himself, for our model.

 

Let us begin by looking at the text of the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:9-15 (I included the final two verses because we often forget them and I think they are important for little ones to know):


9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

 

225th Anniversary of the Constitution of the United States

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on Tuesday, 18 September 2012
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Every year we celebrate the birth of our nation on the Fourth of July. The date of the document that secured our freedom, however, is of equal importance.  September 17, 2012 marks the 225th anniversary of the Constitution. Our friends at The Heritage Foundation have launched a new website that I believe will be an amazing resource for your family:  ConstitutionOnline.com.  In order to celebrate this momentous occasion, Classical Conversations will be including a FREE Pocket Guide to the Constitution in orders shipped between September 17-21, as long as supplies last.  Below is a message from Rob Gordon about the new resources available at the new website.

 

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Last Ounce of Courage

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on Monday, 10 September 2012
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I often hear from Classical Conversations families that there are not many family-friendly movies these days. So when one comes across my desk, I like to tell you about it. I recently received a screener’s copy of a new movie, Last Ounce of Courage. It was not produced by one of the five media conglomerates that control over 90% of the published media in America, but was created by a Christian organization: Veritas Entertainment. I was excited to hear that it beat the odds; it is being released in over 1,200 theaters and it is not a straight-to-DVD movie! My family decided to watch it, to be sure that it was something that we could stand behind and recommend to homeschooling families. We believe you will like the movie and that it will generate good discussions for you and your family regarding liberty, freedom, and God-given rights. I wanted to learn more about the film, so I sat down with writer/director, Darrel Campbell, and with Classical Conversations dad and the film’s executive producer, Doug Pethoud, to discuss their new movie, Last Ounce of Courage. What follows is a transcript of our interview, which I believe will be of interest to all families.

 

The Olympics and Classical Education

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on Wednesday, 08 August 2012
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This month we are witnessing some of the greatest athletes in the world compete in the London Olympic Games.  Begun in ancient Greece to honor the Olympian gods and closely associated with the cult worship of Zeus, the Olympic Games have been viewed as the culmination of mankind’s physical and mental prowess.  Although we may not notice at first, the Olympic Games are also rich in classical traditions and classical education methods.

Modern education has tried to change the way people learn, but the world of sports has not made this attempt. This is because it cannot: sports must be taught classically. As a result, classical educators can learn much from the Olympics.

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Do not grow weary in homeschooling!

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on Tuesday, 24 July 2012
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 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9 (KJV)

 

This summer many of you were renewed at a Classical Conversations’ Parent Practicum. Some of you may still be weary, and many of you may just be worried about getting through this school year and letting the next school year take care of itself. Doubts often linger even for the most dedicated homeschool parents who seem to have it all together. Let me urge you to be like the little engine that could and keep going! As they say, it is often darkest before the dawn, so you need some tools to fall back on when the going gets tough.

 

Book Review: Wordsmithy

Posted by Robert
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on Friday, 25 May 2012
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I just received a copy of Doug Wilson’s new book, Wordsmithy, and while on vacation I had a chance to dive into it. For full disclosure I should point out that the book was not sent to me—it was sent to Keith who was probably supposed to give it to someone more important than I—and I would not be in the top half of anyone’s list of people to review a book. That being said, we need content for the website and Douglas Wilson is always a great read, so here goes nothing—or rather something.


The subtitle of the book is “Hot Tips for the Writing Life.” Had I read this instead of glossing over it, then perhaps when the introduction began by addressing public speaking and then went on to talk about writing I would not have been so confused. Perhaps I should have read “Hot Tips for the Reading Life” first.

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Meeting the Challenge

Posted by Robert
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on Friday, 11 May 2012
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The school year is almost over for many of you. Some of you have children in school and you are thinking about homeschooling them next year. Some of you may be worn out from homeschooling and you are thinking, “If only I could take a year off.” Some of you cannot wait to start Cycle 1 or the next level of Challenge! Wherever you stand today, this summer we have the event for you—Three-Day Parent Practicums!

 

Practicum is the Latin word from which we derive the word “practice” and it is defined by thefreedictionary.com as:


A school or college course, especially one in a specialized field of study that is designed to give students supervised practical application of previously studied theory.

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In Fine et in Principio*

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on Thursday, 19 April 2012
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I am finished, or perhaps I should say this in the classical rhetoric, “I have just begun.” As one student said to their mom yesterday, “Robert has graduated from middle school, high school, and college, and is now in the fourth grade again!” I told everyone I was in fourth grade this year so they would not expect too much of me!

 

Our last day at Classical Conversations this year was really fun. We had a potluck lunch, thanked our tutors, and said goodbye to old and new friends. Today, as I reflected upon our journey, I came to understand that this was not a finale—as modern education would tell us—but rather the beginning of a new adventure.

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Classical Conversations Foundations Guide Spotlight

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on Thursday, 09 February 2012
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Is it February already? What happened to January—did we skip it? I can’t believe I am almost four weeks into the semester. I have started working on my Faces in History paper for Essentials. I am going to be…wait a minute, I can’t tell you that…!


In other big news, we are very excited about the newly released fourth edition of the Foundations Guide. Do not worry that there are a few changes this second semester. The goal in the Foundations program is to develop the skills of learning, and learning a new set of history sentences will only strengthen your students as they mature and develop those skills. Keep going with your third edition. However, I am sure you have questions about the fourth edition and I will try to address some of those here.

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The Writer's Circle Top 11 Articles of 2011

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on Friday, 30 December 2011
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These rankings are according to the number of hits throughout 2011.


Jen_Courtney_new_picture#11. July 4th Celebrations and Memory Work

        by Jennifer Courtney 

          "On July 4th, and on other American holidays, do we really pause to reflect on our nation’s history?"

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A Quick Look Back at 2011

Posted by Robert
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on Tuesday, 27 December 2011
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We would like to wish a Merry Christmas to all homeschoolers and to those who take part in Classical Conversations communities across the world. This past year has flown by, and we have been very blessed by our Lord and Savior to have been able to help so many of you. This year, we attended over 250 events in over forty states. The number of Classical Conversations students grew to over 37,000 — and to over 100,000 participating individuals when you include moms, dads, and siblings across the globe. It has been amazing to watch the growth this year. That is just a testament to what God will honor when you are following His footsteps, and it is a testament to the great work you have been doing with your children at home. We would not grow if you were not succeeding as parents. We would not want to grow if we were not helping parents.

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Essentials

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on Friday, 16 December 2011
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Made it! The first semester is done. I survived. I had a lot of fun. I just got four tickets in my Essentials class for four very short sentences!  I learned a lot in Foundations this first semester, but I really took to Essentials. I knew going into this year that I was not as good a writer as I wanted— or needed— to be.

After going through the first semester, I believe the Essentials program is aptly named. It is essentially what I missed the first time and it is essential to be a good writer. It still is not easy, but I feel that writing is not so scary now.  Microsoft Word does not give me the dreaded red line for “incomplete sentence” nearly as often as it used to, and when it does, I can figure out how to fix it. I spent the year writing by hand, then editing on the computer, and then rewriting by hand. The computer helped, since I did not have my Mom to help me. The hardest part of it was my hand strength. At the beginning of the year, I could not write for more than five minutes without needing a break. I made a decision to practice my handwriting by writing the paper by hand. I also, did not want to replace my ink cartridge.

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Back to School (IV): I have fallen behind...

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on Tuesday, 08 November 2011
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Nationwide Insurance has a tag line that says, “life comes at you fast”—and it does. I must confess, I have fallen behind in my Foundations memory work. I had to go out of town because of work for a couple of weeks in a row, and it really threw me off. I would say I am a good two weeks behind, but I am not too worried because…

1.) Homeschooling is flexible:


I have winter break in which to make up for lost time, and I can also devote more time between now and then to catching up. Yes, it will be more difficult, but one of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can always do better than you did yesterday, and you do not have to worry about others around you.

Tags: Essentials
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Back to School (Part 3)

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I am now preparing for the sixth week of Foundations and Essentials—halfway home for the semester and a quarter of the way done! I think the hardest part for me so far has been keeping up with consistently practicing the memory work. The weeks when I work consistently thirty minutes a day practicing the Foundations material, I have much more confidence than during the weeks when I skip practicing. I also do not have a CD player in my car; if I did, then I would have the Audio CD’s and would be able to review memory work in the car. I think that would help me with the timeline—boy does that timeline get long fast!

This past week our usual tutor had a family emergency and our group had to be divided up into other classes for the day. The seven boys were split up and added into three all-girl groups. Now, not all campuses spilt up into male and female groups. My campus was not divided like this last year, but it just happened to work out that way this year. So, we had to sit with the girls. Queue the horror music. We managed to survive. It was fun for me to see how another tutor presented the material. The focus and style were different, but the material was obviously the same. Both tutors do a wonderful job, and you can tell the children are learning a lot—which means the parents are doing what needs to be done at home.

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