Classical Conversations

We have completed our first year of homeschooling using the classical education model. We used the approach primarily outlined in "The Well-Trained Mind" and the use of "Story of the World." We found this suited our learning style so well we have decided to join the homeschool organization known as Classical Conversations.

I highly recommend reading "The Core" by Leigh Bortin. I found this book every bit as informative as "The Well-Trained Mind" and a little less daunting. I have tried to provide a high level overview and my take here on the Classical Conversation approach for those of you who are interested. Please feel free to ask questions or better yet read one of the many great books on classical education. I can't come close to explaining it as well in this forum, but I do want to make an attempt to explain what and why we're using this approach.

The mission of Classical Conversations is "To know God and to make Him known."

At a very high level classical education focuses on the idea/methodology of the Trivium. The Trivium "consists of three stages: grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. Grammar is the art of learning the terms and facts associated with a subject. Dialectic is the art of contemplating ideas within and across subjects. Rhetoric is the art of clearly communicating the grammar and dialectic of a subject."

To state this more simply, you can consider the grammar stage the "poll-parrot" stage in your child's life where it is relatively easy for children to memorize facts and data. These are basically the elementary years where you are creating a basis for all future learning to be built. You are learning the "grammar" of all subjects. The dialectic stage coincides with the middle school years and is also referred to as the "pert" stage when children are naturally more argumentative. This stage helps students understand how to use their inquisitiveness in constructive and respectful ways to discover more about the world around them. The rhetorical stage essentially encompasses high school. This stage builds on the knowledge acquired in the previous stages and focuses on helping students learn how to communicate their ideas clearly and effectively.

Another way the Trivium stages can be thought of is as follows:
Grammer - Knowledge
Dialectic - Understanding
Rhetoric - Wisdom

Here is part of the description provided on the Classical Conversation website (provided below). "The three paths of the Trivium also mirror the biblical pattern of learning expressed by Proverbs 24:3-4: knowledge—the grammar—fills the metaphorical house of the soul with treasures; understanding—the dialectic—is what holds the house together, giving it integrity; wisdom—the rhetoric—is what builds it, providing it with its final purpose."

This certainly does not describe every aspect of what we are doing, but hopefully it is helpful for those of you who are interested in understanding what educational approach we have chosen for our children. It's one I would highly recommend for anyone whether they are homeschooling or simply supplementing their child's education experience. It is an amazing process and I can't wait to see how our children develop using this method!

To learn more about Classical Conversations and the classical approach, please visit the following general website: or to answer the question "What is Classical Education?" please visit this website:

No comments:

Post a Comment