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Classical Conversations: A Classical, Christian, Homeschool Community

01/25/2017 10:00AM ● Published by Hood Magazine

Gallery: Homeschool Community [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Shaina Herrmann



Three years ago, my then 6-year-old was introduced to a beautiful way of learning that engaged her in math, history, geography, science, Latin, English, art, music and speech. My quiet little girl was actively participating in the class, enjoying every moment! By the end of the year, she and several of her fellow students were sad to see it end. That was the day I knew this program was going to be a part of our lives for years to come. 


In the fall of 2014, the first Classical Conversations community in eastern South Dakota began with just under 50 students. Three years later, the program has blossomed into three communities in Sioux Falls, as well as communities in Brookings, Watertown, Brandon and Parker, SD. These communities range anywhere from eight students to a maximum of 49. There are currently 172 students enrolled in Classical Conversations in the region.

 
Classical Conversations (CC) is a nationwide program designed to come alongside parents and students on their home education journey. From preschool through high school, CC provides students with a strong foundation in community, quality educational resources and the tools they need to learn any subject. One day a week, trained parent tutors model the classical method to parents and students, instructing them in the seven liberal arts through the language-centered Trivium: grammar, dialectic (logic), and rhetoric, and the mathematical sciences of the Quadrivium: astronomy, geometry, harmonics (music), and arithmetic.

 
Classical education develops a child’s maturity in writing, speaking and thinking. The classical method of education has produced some of the world’s greatest thinkers and leaders, such as Aristotle, Plato, C.S. Lewis and Thomas Jefferson. It cultivates a love of learning in the students by providing them with the same tools of learning that have been used over the centuries. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, only 13% of adult Americans are now considered to be proficient in their ability to perform complex and challenging literacy activities. Classical educators seek to provide students with a well-trained mind; proficient in literacy, wisdom and virtue.

 
Students begin with the grammar stage, at CC this is covered in the Foundations and Essentials programs, where they are immersed in vocabulary and basic facts, repeating the information over time, until it has been mastered. When children reach middle school age, the dialectic stage, the student learns the relationships between those facts through discussion and debate. This is where CC’s Challenge program begins, with Challenge A and B.
 
Finally, once students are high school age and have mastered their understanding of a topic, they enter the rhetoric stage where they learn how to articulate that information well. In Challenge I, II, III, and IV numerous classical subjects are studied with the purpose of developing these six skills: grammar, exposition and composition, debate, research, rhetoric and logic.

 
Sample Schedule of the Foundations Program (ages 4 to 11):
 
Opening Assembly |  9:00 - 9:30   The group gathers together to pray, share announcements, practice group memory work (such as a Bible passage or the preamble to the constitution), each week a different family gives a family presentation. At this time the students and parents are dismissed to their classrooms.  There are about 7 children in each class. 

New Grammar |  9:30 - 10:00  A tutor spends 30 minutes quickly and creatively introducing the “new grammar” for the week. They learn new facts about math, English, Latin, history, geography, science and seven timeline points.

Fine Arts | 10:00 - 10:30 - The next 30 minutes are spent learning the basics about many different forms of fine arts, divided into six week stretches. This includes drawing, music and tin whistle, great artists, and orchestra and composers.

Presentations | 10:30 - 11:00  Every week the children each give their own 2-3 minute oral presentation to help build their public speaking skills.

Science Experiments | 11:00 - 11:30  Each week the kids will participate in a science experiment or demonstration. They memorize and practice using the scientific method as they learn about the different sciences.

Memory Work Review | 11:30 - 12:00  The tutor and students participate in a review game time where several weeks’ worth of grammar is reviewed.
 
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    11:00AM — 01:00PM

    Scheel's Family Open Ice Skate Open Skate Rates: Admission – $6.00 $4.00 for ages 12 and under...


  • Hood Night at the Sioux Falls SkyForce

    01/29/2018
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Come join The 'Hood Magazine at the SkyForce game!


  • Join us at the Museum of Visual Materials for these free activities. No registration is required ...


  • Skyzone Toddler Time

    01/30/2018
    09:30AM — 11:30AM

    Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. A time for your little ones to di...


  • Inflatables and PlayDome

    01/30/2018
    11:00AM — 08:00PM

    The County Fair has family entertainment for kids of any age—from our inflatables and Play Dome j...


  • Ladies Night

    01/30/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Ladies Night! Receive 20% off your purchase.


  • Kindergarten Round-Up

    01/30/2018
    06:30PM — 08:00PM

    Sioux Falls Lutheran School invites you to get acquainted with our kindergarten program at our an...


  • A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER

    01/30/2018
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    Getting away with murder can be so much fun… and there’s no better proof than the knock-‘em-dead ...


  • Join us at the Museum of Visual Materials for these free activities. No registration is required ...


  • Toddler Jump

    01/31/2018
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Join us for one of the highlights of our week, Toddler Jump at Air Madness. During Toddler Jump, ...


  • Inflatables and PlayDome

    01/31/2018
    11:00AM — 08:00PM

    The County Fair has family entertainment for kids of any age—from our inflatables and Play Dome j...


  • Open Hockey

    01/31/2018
    11:00AM — 01:00PM

    Open Hockey Monday & Wednesdays 11-1:00 pm Friday 2:00-4:00 pm $10.00 - per session $100 -...


  • Scheel's Family Open Ice Skate

    01/31/2018
    11:00AM — 01:00PM

    Scheel's Family Open Ice Skate Open Skate Rates: Admission – $6.00 $4.00 for ages 12 and under...


  • Discount Skate Night

    01/31/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Skate for $1.00 an hour every Wednesday during our Discount Skate Night! Wednesdays • 6-9pm A...


  • Open Skate Discount Night

    01/31/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Open skating session for all ages at a discounted rate! Admission is $3. Regular skate rental fee...


  • A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER

    01/31/2018
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    Getting away with murder can be so much fun… and there’s no better proof than the knock-‘em-dead ...


  • Tot Time

    02/01/2018
    05:30AM — 10:30AM

    Tot time is designed for toddlers and other little tikes, 6 years and younger, who may not be com...


  • Walking Program

    02/01/2018
    08:00AM — 10:00AM

    Location: Morningside Community Center, 2400 South Bahnson Avenue Walking is one of the best w...


  • 2018 Spring Classes

    02/01/2018
    08:00AM

    Register for spring classes at the Community Learning Center at your Washington Pavilion! We want...


  • Skyzone Toddler Time

    02/01/2018
    09:30AM — 11:30AM

    Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. A time for your little ones to di...


  • Toddler Time

    02/01/2018
    09:30AM — 11:30AM

    Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. A time for your little ones to di...


  • Little All Stars

    02/01/2018
    10:00AM — 10:50AM

    LITTLE ALL STARS (Walking to 6 years )


  • Wee Play & Learn

    02/01/2018
    10:00AM — 11:15AM

    Come with your child to play, meet other families, and talk one-on-one with child development exp...


  • Inflatables and PlayDome

    02/01/2018
    11:00AM — 08:00PM

    The County Fair has family entertainment for kids of any age—from our inflatables and Play Dome j...


  • New Baby & Me

    02/01/2018
    01:30PM — 03:30PM

    This group for new moms and their babies meets weekly. Moms can join in open discussion on topics...


  • Creative Kids

    02/01/2018
    03:15PM — 04:00PM

    Elementary-aged children are invited to join us for books, activities, and a craft. For more info...


  • S.T.E.A.M. -N- Thursdays

    02/01/2018
    03:30PM — 04:15PM

    Discover science, technology, engineering, art and math through activities. This month's theme: S...


  • A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER

    02/01/2018
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    Getting away with murder can be so much fun… and there’s no better proof than the knock-‘em-dead ...