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14 Reasons to Choose Classical Conversations

There is a lot of uncertainty across the country right now regarding what this next school year will look like, and over these last few months we have fielded a record number of inquiries about why parents should choose Classical Conversations and best homeschooling practices in general.

Parents across the world are facing the realization that they are uncomfortable sending their child back to the public or private school system and asking the question, “In light of this new world, what is the best option for educating my child at home?” And, “Even if the current shutdown only lasts a few months to a year, is the Classical Conversations model still the best way to prepare my child for success in their future education?”

To that question, we would answer a resounding, “Yes!” Here are 14 reasons new homeschoolers will want to choose Classical Conversations, as well as one reason current homeschoolers should help these new ones be successful.

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Is Protocol “Starched, Stuffy, and Stiff?”

Classical Conversations’ Challenge communities organize chaperoned Spring Protocol events each year for their Challenge I-IV students. Students choose dressy attire, eat together in an upscale setting, and may attend a cultural event (such as the theatre, opera, or symphony). Many communities have individualized Protocol training using Sandra Boswell’s book, Protocol Matters.

Spring Protocol allows students to practice proper etiquette for formal occasions. This trains them in the skills of participating in formal functions with ease. The children we are homeschooling will one day be leaders of their homes, churches, local organizations, and communities. Quite possibly, some will even be leaders on a national or international scale.

Classical Conversations puts the highest value on equipping our students with the skills combined with the wisdom they will need to know God and to make Him known. To neglect to teach them the skills of formal events would be to overlook an important component of what they will need as adults leading their generation and those who will follow after them.

Protocol = love one another

The purpose of Spring Protocol encompasses the practical, but it delves deeper than that. Protocol provides valuable insight into one of Christ’s most important directives: “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34, NIV).

Classical Conversations is raising up students to value what is true, good, and beautiful. It also seeks to spread an appreciation for truth, goodness, and beauty as they fulfill the Lord’s purposes in their lives. No matter where or to whom they are called to do so, they will need to wield skills of courtesy and grace through appropriate manners and considerate behavior. They will need to know how to manifest Christ’s dictum to love others through their dress, speech, and actions.

As our young men and women fellowship during Protocol, they learn to show focused consideration to those with whom they are keeping company. They discover that it takes not only knowledge but effort to be gracious to others with whom they are expected to socialize, regardless of whether they have interests in common.

Protocol teaches high regard for others

Protocol produces an environment in which young adults practice different ways they can show high regard for each other in an age and within a secular worldview which dismisses such consideration as simply meaningless, empty “formality.” Indeed, we live in a culture which tries at every turn to informalize—in effect, downgrade—how we treat one another. This has resulted in a society which seems to have only a faint idea of how to be respectful of elders and those in authority, let alone peers.

Perhaps it is human nature for one generation to reject the mores of the generation that preceded it. This is a phenomenon often referred to under the umbrella phrase, “the generation gap.” It is important to consider, however, the following questions and conclusions as we prepare for Protocol:

Questions and Conclusions

  • If one is eager to reject the manners and standards of one’s elders as being pointless and simply “for show,” you can be sure that the generation that follows will mimic those attitudes.
  • That generation will also reject the values which the previous generation deems important. Consider how this may make one feel later in life, walking amongst those in a society who not only reject, but condemn, concepts of good behavior that one holds dear.
  • It is vital to ponder at what point the erosion of standards will stop. Where will society draw the line? Does such a line exist? It is possible that the erosion never ceases until there remains nothing to erode. Is this a place we really want to reach?

Spring Protocol is, therefore, about exploring how to behave with deep respect for one’s fellow human beings of all demographics, who are made in the image of God. As Christians, we are called to put others before ourselves. Protocol provides students with the opportunity to practice what Scripture teaches about the value we should accord every person as a human being created by God, with His holy intent and purpose. It helps train our students to “love one another,” but it also helps train them to be aware of how their treatment of one another is a witness: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35, NIV).

Protocol is a blessing: a grace-filled time of fellowship, conversation, and appreciation of the arts and delicious food. This is made possible through the extra care participants take with their appearance, manners, and consideration of one another, putting others before themselves, from the moment of planning their appearance through the moment of farewell.

Starched, stuffy, and stiff

Does this mean that the event is “starched, stuffy, and stiff” (all modern synonyms for “formal”)? This is what our postmodern culture would claim as it promotes exultation in the philosophy of the “generation gap.” But nothing could be further from the truth. As Christians, we realize that this Christlike kindness helps us to show grace to one another, to include one another fully in our care and conversation, and to be sensitive to others. The cumulative result is that no matter the dresses or suits, no matter the restaurant or the cultural event, all participants enjoy true fellowship together.

Protocol is an important part of Challenge I-IV, in which students are honing significant social skills, as well as Christian character and integrity. It is about learning to use proper manners at formal events. Even more than this, however, Spring Protocol is about learning to show Christian love towards others: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV). There is nothing starched, stuffy, or stiff about that!

Originally posted by Kate Deddens on Friday, 26 April, 2013. Updated by Terri Dunseath.

How do I Homeschool Through High School?

Perhaps you have successfully taught your children through elementary and middle school, but now the time you have been dreading has finally come—high school. Leah Bromen, who had many doubts about whether she would be able to homeschool her children through high school, offers some encouragement for those feeling similarly.

Should I become a Director?

Perhaps you are considering becoming a community Director, yet the prospect of doing so scares you. While you might not think that you have the necessary experience or knowledge to direct a community, you might be surprised. Amanda Butler, a homeschool mom and Classical Conversations Director, believes that Directing is really not all that different from parenting your own children.

How do I Homeschool While Working from Home? (Part 2)

Whether you are an experienced homeschool parent considering taking on a remote job or you are an established careerist working from home during COVID-19 and thinking of homeschooling your children, there is good news for you—both homeschooling and working from home are possible with the right preparation and scheduling. Take it from Michelle Oliver, a homeschool mom experienced in the art of homeschooling while working from home.

How do I Homeschool While Working from Home? (Part 1)

 

COVID-19 has, of course, forced many to work remotely. At the same time, it has made parents consider homeschooling their children rather than sending them off to school where they would be at risk from the pandemic. Yet this has undoubtedly caused parents to wonder how they could possibly homeschool while working from home simultaneously. Amanda Butler, a homeschool mom who works full-time, is proof that both are possible.

Insights:

  • Organization is key.
  • Keep your children who easily get distracted in-sight and focused.
  • Let go of your ideas of perfection.

Organization is key.

The first bit of advice that Amanda offers parents attempting homeschooling and working from home is to create a weekly agenda for each child. On these sheets, each day’s specific assignments are plotted out, like the exact page numbers to be read in a history textbook. This eliminates conversations between Amanda and her children about what they need to get done each day, as everything is on these weekly agendas. In a similar manner, Amanda places all the school supplies her children might use in a single place, so that they are not asking her where the markers, rulers, and notebook paper are. Both of these organization practices help free up Amanda’s time so that she is able to work full time from home.

Keep your children who easily get distracted in-sight and focused.

Amanda’s youngest son gets distracted all the time. To keep him on track, he sits right next to Amanda while she works. By multitasking in this way, Amanda is actually saving time in the long run because she doesn’t have to sit down with her son at the end of her workday to ensure he finishes his schoolwork.

Let go of your ideas of perfection.

Amanda’s final recommendation is to let go of ideas of perfection. For her, this has meant accepting that the house is going to be a disaster. With her busy schedule, she doesn’t have the time to keep the house immaculate nor can she keep the children from disheveling it. Not caring about the mess has freed up Amanda’s schedule. For example, at the end of the day, her son will cook up some meal, wrecking the kitchen in the process but giving Amanda some distraction-free time to get more work done.

How can I homeschool while working from home?

Try out Amanda’s suggestions! They’ll help you stay more organized and your children more focused on their assignments, all the while giving you more time to work from home.

 

For more encouragement and answers to your questions, visit our blog or our video series Ask a Homeschooling Parent.

Things Homeschooling is Good At: Benefits of Homeschooling

Lessons on Love of Knowledge and Home

I was homeschooled until college. As some of my friends reached high school, their parents put them into the State establishment but not mine. My high-school years were everything I needed, and I even took the luxury of an extra year before leaving for college.

Many parents feel a pressure to place children in State schools when they approach high-school age. I think it has something to do with the accessibility of sports, programs, or even socialization. I can’t speak to this decision or to the pressures that drive it because I’m not a parent of high-school age children. I can say that I turned out fine.

Here are some of the homeschooling benefits that twelve years provided me with.

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A Director’s Testimony of Successful Homeschool Students

What do our Directors love about their jobs? Most of all, they enjoy watching their students grow into successful, Christian adults who are capable of handling mature responsibilities and defending what they believe. In her time directing, Michelle experienced many such moments of her students going above and beyond her expectations. One of her best memories is of taking her students to defend homeschooling in a forum hosted by the Washington, D.C. government. Check out her incredible story in this video:

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Homeschooling through Every Season

One thing you can predict about life is that it’s unpredictable. You can’t anticipate every life situation that comes up. Life goes on with broken bones, health scares, funerals, financial difficulties, you name it—all while you’re homeschooling. How do you continue to stay diligent when truly all you want to do is go back to bed? I think we’ve all asked that question.

I’m not sure I have all the answers. But I do have one answer—God. During seasons of difficulty, I press into Christ, asking Him for the provision I need, the wisdom I need, the energy I need, the daily portion to walk one day out.

Here are some lessons I have worked on for homeschooling through the hard seasons:

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How do you homeschool your high school student?

Teaching kindergarten? Fine. Teaching elementary and middle school? Not easy, but doable. But teaching high school? Let’s be real. You probably think you’ve basically forgotten everything from your own high school years, right? How could you ever teach this level to your own children?

If these questions are swirling around in your head, this homeschool mom has good news for you—the job of a homeschool parent is not so much about providing your high-school students with information; it’s about teaching them how to learn.

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What’s one concern you had going into homeschooling?

Homeschooling scares a lot of newcomers, and understandably so. There is a lot to be concerned about, from wondering how your children will fare in social activities to how they will get their PE credits to whether they will stir up too much trouble from being home all the time.

When they first started homeschooling, this homeschool dad and his wife worried about whether or not their children would develop the ability to thinking critically.

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