Review: The Conversation, by Leigh A. Bortins from Classical Conversations

logo_zpscqdrybw9I’d say in recent months to perhaps even in the last year I’ve noticed our homeschooling style has started to bend toward the Classical direction just a bit.  We’ve started to use some curriculum from some of the well known Classical curriculum providers and I’ve begun to research this topic quite a bit.  I was delighted when I was chosen to review a new book called The Conversation, by Leigh A. Bortins from Classical Conversations. This book talks a great deal about homeschooling at the highschool level.  This is something that is starting to surface a bit on my radar screen as my oldest son is starting to close in on his last years as an elementary aged student. 

The Conversation is actually the third book by Bortins in a series about the various stages of classical education.  She has previously written The Core and The Question for elementary and middle school levels respectively.  I haven’t read the previous two books, though I now plan too.  It isn’t necessary in order to get much from The Conversation. This book is 267 pages with the index and appendices.

The Conversation   is broken up into three parts called:

  • High School at Home
  • The Rhetorical Arts
  • and the Appendices

Early on in the book you’ll find a lot of encouragement to continue the homeschooling journey through the high school years.  Homeschooling an elementary aged child might seem to some to be a great thing to do but for whatever reason once those children reach the high school age everyone starts to look at you a little bit differently.  Maybe it is because they think you are depriving your child of a typical teen experience. Perhaps they think you are unqualified because after all how exactly are you going to teach high level math?  A parent might even start telling themselves that they aren’t capable or that their child would be better off in school.  At least they’d have access to sports right?  Many parents give into fear at this point and send their child to school.  Encouragement for families that have reached this level is crucial. There is a lot of fantastic factual information provided as well.  The high school level marks the rhetoric stage of classical education.  Bortins defines that for the reader and starts laying the ground work for what a great high school education at home can look like.

The middle section, The Rhetorical Arts, drives the reader through each subject area that most children study at the high school level.  The Conversation goes through, subject by subject, explaining how to implement the five canons of rhetoric. There are chapters explaining ways to include rhetoric is just about every subject including: Reading, Writing, Science, Math, Hostry, Speech and Debate, Latin, Fine Arts, and more!

the-conversation-coming-summer-of-2015-10.gif_zpshfavqygsBortins offers examples and gives you ideas of how rhetoric is used in every area.  She provides real life examples.  She talks about important ares of study that might be over looked such as Latin and speech and debate.  She provides great arguments for why all of this is important, how parents can integrate them, and what children gain from studying such subjects.

The last section is the appendices where you’ll find games, definitions, and lots of resources.  This section is brimming with fantastic aides and further reading for any homeschooler.  You should not miss it.

The Conversation is a fantastic guide for parents looking to homeschool through high school.  Bortins has laid the groundwork for you to follow and the encouragement you’ll need to keep going until the finish line.  I’ll read this again as my children keep advancing toward the high school level.  I love that I now have a vision for those final years!  I’m now anxious to get my hands on her other two books in the series.  I hope you enjoy Bortins’ The Conversation as much as I did.

Classical Conversations Review

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