The Conversation: A Look at the Rhetoric Stage of a Classical Education

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I don't really consider myself a Classical homeschooler, but some years ago I had a homeschooling friend who assured me that I really did use quite a few Classical methods. She directed me to some books to read about Classical education, and I discovered that there were quite a few things I agreed with and really did use in our eclectic curricula homeschool. I still wouldn't consider myself a true Classical homeschooler, but I was very interested in the opportunity to read and review The Conversation by Leigh A. Bortins. The Conversation: Challenging Your Students With a Classical Education explores the high school years of homeschooling when students are in the rhetoric stage in the Classical model.

A review of The Conversation, addressing the rhetoric stage of a Classical model of education

I received The Conversation from Classical Conversations. It is a paperback book of 267 pages. It's actually the third of a set of three of books written by the author, Leigh A. Bortins. These three books have been written to correspond with the stages of learners in a Classical model of education. The Core takes a look at the foundations of education during the grammar stage. The Question deals with helping students in the logic stage learn to ask questions and think analytically. The Conversation finishes the trilogy with a look at homeschooling students in the high school years, the rhetoric stage.

So why would I- a homeschooler who doesn't consider herself Classical and who has never even considered attending Classical Conversations- want to review this book, sold by Classical Conversations and appearing to be directed to Classical homeschoolers in the final stages of their students' homeschooling years? The main reason was that, reading the book's description I saw that it had much to do with good conversations with high school students. And having conversations is something our family does. We talk. And we talk. And we talk. We are a family of much discussion. As my children get older and are now into their teen years, these conversations have become invaluable. I love that my children talk to me and that we can talk about things that matter. So I was drawn to a book that is about good conversations with your high schoolers.

The author of The Conversation, Leigh A. Bortins is the founder of Classical Conversations. She has homeschooled four sons, and at the time she authored the book, two were finishing their high school years in homeschool and two had graduated from homeschooling. She writes with the authority of experience. The book is divided into three main sections. In the first part, she takes a look at the benefits of continuing homeschooling into the high school years. She also takes time to define what exactly rhetoric is and to introduce readers to five canons of rhetoric. These are invention, arrangement, elocution, memory, and delivery. In the second part of the book, she takes these five canons and looks individually at the subjects of reading, speech and debate, writing, science, math, government and economics, history, Latin and foreign languages, and fine arts, breaking each down into those five canons introduced in part one. The last part of the book contains four appendices: conversation starting games, definitions and explanation of common rhetorical devices, a list of resources that are referenced in each chapter, and a collection of experiences from Classical Conversations parents that have homeschooled through high school.

There were many things I appreciated about and learned from The Conversation. As I had expected, much of the book was very relevant to our family and homeschool, despite the fact that we've never been true Classical homeschoolers. I also must admit that, occasionally, I wished that I had used more of the Classical methods when I saw how well they fit with our homeschooling and parenting style. I found myself agreeing with the author as she shared all of the benefits of homeschooling through high school. I know so many people who decide not to continue when their children reach high school. And, although I know there are many reasons people may reach this decision, I'm seeing first hand the benefits of homeschooling my high schoolers and the enjoyment I have in doing so.

Rhetoric stage of classical education

The rhetoric stage is all about conversation. Children in this stage love to voice their opinions in conversation, as you know if you have teenagers. As my children have reached the teen years, we have so many opportunities for good conversation. And these conversations will shape their worldview and the decisions they'll make throughout their lives. Homeschooling them means that I have the opportunity to share these conversations with them, to encourage them to think and to support their opinions and to make good decisions.

In several different places the author addresses what happens after graduation. And I found myself encouraged. So many times I stress about credits and transcripts and testing and honors classes- all those things that people ask me about and make me question whether or not I can really pull off this homschooling high school thing. The author gives some specific information about how to consider these concerns, and she emphasizes doing what's best for your child and not just following along with something that everyone else seems to be doing.

Homeschooling high school

The second part of the book is one I know I'll keep as a reference through the high school years. The author has taken all of the basic subjects your child will cover in high school and has broken them down into the five canons of rhetoric, giving concrete examples of using each of the canons in discussing that subject with your child. At the end of each section she's placed a nice summary chart- excellent for a visual learner like me- that sums up some of the discussion points that you can use with your student for that subject.

Rhetoric stage

I have found The Conversation to be an excellent resource- despite the fact that I'm not a true Classical educator. I'm interested now in reading the two previous books- especially The Question, as I also have two middle aged children now.

The Facts

Company: Classical Conversations
Product: The Conversation: Challenging Your Student With a Classical Education- paperback book by Leigh A, Bortins
Instagram: *not currently in use*

Crew Disclaimer
Other Review Crew members reviewed The Conversation. You can see what they thought by clicking below.

Classical Conversations Review

Heart Parenting Giveaway (Part Two!)

Last week, I posted about an awesome giveaway for churches. The National Center for Biblical Parenting is providing resources for churches to become Parent Training Centers. In honor of this program launch I'm sharing this Heart Parenting Giveaway. This giveaway isn't just for churches. It's for you.

I've just finished reading Parenting is Heart Work, a primary book resource from The National Center for Biblical Parenting. I'm posting a review this weekend, but for now I'll say this. I truly wish that I had read this book early in my parenting years. And I am extremely blessed because Jason and I did have mentors that taught us some of these principles that have definitely impacted our parenting in a positive way. This book gives Biblical principles and practical advice for parenting.

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below to win some awesome prizes worth more than $200!

Heart Parenting Giveaway

Making Science Fun With Unit Studies From Funtastic Unit Studies (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

When I think about my school years, fun isn't a word that comes to mind in relation to science. In fact, I really disliked science because it wasn't fun. At all. When I later taught second grade at the same small, private school, science consisted of reading out of a textbook a couple of times a week. That wasn't very fun either. But in our homeschool, we've really enjoyed science. I've learned that I really do like science. And it's something my kids have often looked forward to. The difference is that we love hands on science- experiments and projects. The hands on element makes it fun.

So when the opportunity arose for me to review Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers from Funtastic Unit Studies, I knew this was something we'd enjoy. This paperback book contains twenty unit studies. The first ten are written for ages 4-7, and the other ten are written for ages 8-13. (Of course as homeschool parents, we know that the ages are flexible, and the author says the ages are just a general guideline.) There are also tests at the end of each of the older student units and an answer key for the tests (and a few included worksheets) at the end of the book.

A review of a science unit studies book

Grapevine Studies: A Bible Study of the Book of Ruth (A Review and GIVEAWAY)

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I've had the opportunity to review a Bible study from Grapevine Studies before. (I reviewed Moses and the Exodus here.) And I've used other Grapevine Studies with my children as our regular curriculum. I love the unique approach that Grapevine has in teaching kids about the Bible. In this review, I'm looking at the study of Ruth- one of the individual Bible book studies that Grapevine offers. There is also an opportunity for you to win your own teacher and student copy of the Ruth Bible study, so make sure that you enter the giveaway below. (It runs from 7/30/15 to 8/8/15.)

The unique approach of Grapevine Studies...

Reading Discussion and Resources for The Door in the Wall (Read Aloud Wednesdays)

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I stumbled upon the book The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli by accident. We received the Progeny Press study guide as a review item, and I wasn't at all familiar with the book. I knew it had a Middle Ages historical setting, which was why I picked it. But other than that, I really had no idea what it was about. The book isn't very long, but the themes of the book may be better understood by older readers. I've seen it recommended for upper elementary through middle school grades. I read it aloud to the younger girls who were 4th and 5th graders at the time, and we used the study guide. We quickly became quite interested in the story, and it ended up becoming one that I loved and can definitely recommend as an excellent read aloud. In today's Read Aloud Wednesdays post, I'll give a synopsis, some discussion points, and links to resources that can be used with the book. Don't forget to link up your reading related posts at the end.

Discussion points and resources for The Door in the Wall children's book

The story...

Choosing Electives for Homeschooling High School (Homeschool High School Blog Hop)

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Most states require a certain number of electives for high school graduates. Although non homeschoolers might think that the choice of electives is limited for homeschool students, we've found the opposite to be true. We have so many choices that it's sometimes hard to choose just a few. Occasionally we have to pay for electives that traditionally schooled students would have free access to, but there have also been electives that we've been able to do for no charge.

In today's Homeschool High School Blog Hop, we're featuring high school electives. I'm sharing some of the things we've used as high school electives and where we've found some great electives resources.
Ideas and resources for choosing electives for high school

Special Post: A Tribute to My Dad

At the end of last week's wrap up, I mentioned that my mom and dad had been in a serious automobile accident and that my dad was in ICU with extensive injuries. Yesterday we held a memorial service for him. On Thursday evening, after they removed his ventilator, he passed away and went to meet Jesus.

I know without a doubt that he was ready to go. I know that going to Heaven and meeting Jesus was something he looked forward to. I know that he had no desire to linger and to suffer. And I know that, because of the hope we have in Christ, I'll see him again.

Daddy's memorial service- which we called a Celebration of Life- was a beautiful remembrance of him. His brother told stories about them growing up. Charles read one of his favorite Scriptures, and my sister talked about his impact on her when he married my mom, and my sister was twelve years old. I didn't choose to speak at the service. Although I can be pretty wordy when I'm writing, talking in front of a group isn't really my cup of tea. But I do have some great memories of my dad. There are things I've passed on to my kids, and now they'll have those memories as well. There are things that Daddy has said or principles that he's taught that will have a lingering impact on generations to come, I'm sure.

A tribute post upon the death of my dad

As a tribute to my dad, here are some of the things he's taught me over the years.