This is on for moms! I recently got to read The Conversation, by Leigh A. Bortins
from Classical Conversations the newest book to her how-to trilogy of classical education — The Conversation: Challenging Your Student with a Classical Education.
Do you ever get the question, "What method of homeschooling do you use?" I like to answer this way... "We are a bit Unit Study, kinda Charlotte Mason-ish with a decidedly Classical flair and an occasional textbook thrown in here and there..." Or, for the short answer....eclectic!
The Conversation is a handbook for any parent of high schoolers, even if you aren't a "classical" homeschooler. It is broken down in three parts:
- High School at Home - Confident Parents, and Defining Rhetoric
- Rhetorical Arts - Subject by subject chapters outlining and illustrating the art of rhetoric in Reading, Speech and Debate, Writing, Science, Math, Government and Economics, History, Latin and Foreign Languages, and Fine Arts
- Appendices- Conversational games, rhetorical devices, resources and real parent responses
Let's pause... you do know what fundamentals of the classical model, right? If not - here's a quick review. All students pass through three stages of learning: Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric. Grammar students are taking in information, memorizing facts, filling their brains. Dialectic students are then organizing and categorizing all that information. And, Rhetoric students are ready to take the organized information and turn it into action - they are using it to persuade others, debate, and discuss.
Each chapter guides you through scripts of what conversations with your student might look like using the Five Canons of Rhetoric. (Not sure about most people, but my children...never follow the script!) The Five Canons are Invention, Arrangement, Elocution, Memory, and Delivery. This is a helpful guide to show you how to initiate these conversations with your children. This book focuses on that final stage of learning - usually where your high schoolers are. I have three high schoolers this year. Oh, my, that's a lot of conversation - even for me!
Leigh A Bortins offers so much practical wisdom in this book. (she's an aerospace engineer...aka - rocket scientist) She says, " We sometimes forget we only need four things in order to educate someone. We need pencil, paper, good books and a time for conversation..." AHA!
If you haven't been following a classical model - it's never too late. Homeschooling educates two generations at once, this book offers plenty of useful suggestions you can implement any time, even with the adults in your life (maybe even husbands...shhh, don't tell them!)
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