Monday, February 28, 2011

CC Writers' Circle




New from CC!

Classical Conversations has formed a Writers' Circle! A number of writers from inside and out of the Classical Conversations Community will be turning out articles about the reasons we homeschool, how to homeschool more effectively, how to homeschool classically, creation and science, classical education, homeschool sports, getting into college, Classical Conversations alumni, directors, state manager and current student highlights, and Latin.

Contributing to our circle will be Andrew Kern, Adam Andrews, Alan Schaeffer, Aaron Hebbard, Matt Bianco, Kathy Shepard, Kim Walsh, Jonathan Bartlett, Tobin Duby, David Bailey, Chris Davis, Leigh Bortins, Lin Tomkinson and Jennifer Courtney.

To read more about these writers and see their latest articles, go to ClassicalConversations.com, click on CC Connected --> Guest --> Articles, or click here to go directly to the press release.

If you'd like to submit an article to the CC Writers' Circle, please send us an email!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Classical Discovery of Classicist's Books



Does classical learning really take place outside a school context?

Absolutely! For a great example, check out this article about the detective work rare books librarians do ('Amazing' trove of Thomas Jefferson's books discovered), and read how the researchers involved model putting grammar and logic to work to achieve a valuable end.

This week, rare books librarians at Washington University of St. Louis revealed the discovery of 74 books from our third president's personal collection.

"It is so out of the blue and pretty amazing," said Washington University's rare books curator Erin Davis of the discovery that was announced on the U.S. holiday of President's Day. The books were among about 3,000 that were donated to the school in 1880 after the death of Jefferson's granddaughter, Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge, and her husband, Joseph Coolidge.

Part of the researchers' job was a kind of detective work that involved knowledge of the Latin alphabet and an understanding of printing conventions:

In the hand-pressed books that were common in Jefferson's day, printers would place the letters of the alphabet — called signatures — at the bottom of some pages so that when the books were bound, the pages would be placed in the correct order. One way Jefferson marked his books was to place a small "T" in front of one of the "I" signature, which was significant because "I" is "J" in the Latin alphabet.

The researchers had to piece together what they knew about Jefferson's family history (how the books ended up at Washington University), languages, Jefferson's personal habits, and printing conventions to solve the mystery.

Now, thanks to their efforts, scholars are able to study Jefferson's handwritten notes on the archaeology book he used to design the University of Virginia.

Jefferson himself famously received a classical education (see this article from Memoria Press): "Jefferson received early training in Latin, Greek, and French from Reverend William Douglas, a Scottish clergyman. At the age of fourteen, Jefferson’s father died, and, at the express wish of his father, he continued his education with the Reverend James Maury, who ran a classical academy. After leaving Douglas’ academy, Jefferson attended the College of William and Mary, where his classical education continued along with his study of law."

Today, scholars are applying similar methods to uncover more information about this classically educated man.

What a great model for learning that gathers knowledge, then relates different categories of knowledge to each other in order to discover something new and share it with others!

For more information, why not read A Thomas Jefferson Education from the CC Bookstore?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

FYI from Leigh! at Lunch 2/23/11

If you are interested in topics that came up during this week's show, here are a few links and tips from Leigh at Lunch on Blog Talk Radio 2/23/11, "Testing with Shannon Brown." (Click on the title to listen to the show archive now).

Had a question for today's show that you didn't get to ask? Email it to 1smartmama@gmail.com or comment on this post for an answer!

Coming soon from 1 Smart Mama
  • Tune in next Wednesday, March 2, at 12 noon EST to join the conversation with Leigh and radio show hosts Bob and Geri Boyd.

  • Ongoing events

  • Don't forget to sign up for end-of-grade testing! Visit our new website, Homeschool Testing Services, to register and get test-prep materials.
  • Register now for our 1-day and 3-day summer Parent Practicums and Student Camps!
  • Register as a friend on BlogTalkRadio to be eligible for our weekly drawing! Click "follow" so you'll get updates about spontaneous and pre-recorded shows. Send questions to Leigh via AskLeigh@ymail.com.
  • Check back regularly to find out more about Leigh's tour dates this spring.

  • Notes from today's show
  • Using Homeschool Testing Services, find dates and locations to sign up for a test site near you by visiting this page. Click here for testing prices.
  • Why No. 2 pencils? Read this article from How Everything Works about the history and mechanics of test scanners.
  • Visit Classical Conversations Books to buy test prep materials, either the old Spectrum books or the new (cheaper) Stanford books.
  • To register as a test coordinator, go to the "Site Coordinator" page on Homeschooltestingservices.com.
  • Email questions to Sbrown@homeschooltestingservices.com.
  • Shannon Brown on Leigh! at Lunch



    Dear Friends,

    TODAY, Feb. 23 on Leigh! at Lunch, please join me at 12 noon as I interview Shannon Brown about homeschool testing.

    Please join us as we discuss the ins and outs of year end testing. Is your child ready? What are the legal requirements for YOUR state? What do you do if your child has struggled all year? These questions, and more, will be answered in this session of 1 Smart Mama on BTR.

    Please join us at 12:00 noon EST and feel free to call in (347-215-6509) to ask questions of me or Shannon.

    Click here to go directly to the show.

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    (Pro)tests in Context



    This week, New York City is taking a tougher stance on auditing test scores and grading practices, after fears that schools might be manipulating the statistics to make themselves look better. (Read the story here: New York City to toughen Auditing of Test Scores.)

    This week, there are thousands of people protesting outside the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. The initial reason? A bill on education.

    For one side of the story, read this article by education historian Diane Ravitch (Why America's teachers are enraged). One of the biggest issues she lists is the emphasis placed on testing and test scores. That's an issue a lot of people in education are asking questions about.

    Why should we do it or not do it? What do the results mean? How should test scores be used?

    At Classical Conversations, we're making a paradigm shift when it comes to testing. Read more about my thoughts on testing here: (Is That Going to Be on the Test?). We test and test often because test practice removes fear and builds confidence. We let our children know NOTHING negative will result if they do poorly. We clearly communicate that the point of a test is to train for things that really matter. Tests are just small steps in a life-long process.

    Still, we know a lot of homeschool parents get anxious when it comes to testing, and others want to know how something that measures learning quantitatively fits into the classical model.

    I hope you'll join me for Leigh! at Lunch, my Blog Talk Radio show, this Wednesday at noon as I talk with our guest Shannon Brown about the subject of testing. (Click here to go directly to the show.) Shannon is working with our new website, Homeschooltestingservices.com and will be glad to help me answer your questions.

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Classical Conversations from the Inside


    Check out this great overview of CC from Heidi Scovel over at the blog Milk and Cookies, as part of the 10 days of Classical Education. Here's a teaser, but you should read the whole thing.

    It felt like Christmas the day my Foundations Curriculum Guide (and other materials) came in the mail. I poured over it and felt my excitement growing. It contains all the memory work for all 3 cycles. (We will only need one copy for all 3 boys for all the years of Foundations.) ...

    Visit Heidi's blog, Mt. Hope Chronicles, to read more about her journey with Classical Conversations and see her beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Heidi!

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    FYI from Leigh! at Lunch 2/16/11

    If you are interested in topics that came up during this week's show, here are a few links and tips from Leigh at Lunch on Blog Talk Radio 2/16/11, "Leigh at Lunch with CC Graduates." (Click on the title to listen to the show archive now).

    Had a question for today's show that you didn't get to ask? Email it to 1smartmama@gmail.com or comment on this post for an answer!

    Coming soon from 1 Smart Mama
  • Tune in next Wednesday, February 23, at 12 noon EST to join the conversation with Leigh and Shannon Brown about the pros and cons of testing.

  • Ongoing events

  • Don't forget to sign up for end-of-grade testing! Visit our new website, Homeschool Testing Services, to register and get test-prep materials.
  • Register now for our 1-day and 3-day summer Parent Practicums!
  • Register as a friend on BlogTalkRadio to be eligible for our weekly drawing! Click "follow" so you'll get updates about spontaneous and pre-recorded shows. Send questions to Leigh via AskLeigh@ymail.com.
  • Check back regularly to find out more about Leigh's tour dates this spring.

  • Notes from today's show
  • What kind of results do Challenge graduates get? Check out this PDF file, The Challenge Difference, to read about SAT scores, college acceptances, and other quantitative measures.
  • Find out more about the colleges our guests attended, visit the websites of Queens University, Bridgewater College, Clemson University, Patrick Henry College, and Grove City College.
  • Read more about "Watson," IBM's latest project on artificial intelligence, and its stint on Jeopardy.
  • Books recommended on today's show include The Rector of Justin by Auchincloss, Shop Class as Soulcraft by Crawford, and Norms and Nobility by Hicks.
  • To get last-chance savings on older editions or to order the all-new editions of the Words Aptly Spoken series of literature guides by Jen Greenholt, visit the CC Bookstore.
  • Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    CC Graduates on Leigh! at Lunch



    Dear Friends,

    This Wednesday, Feb. 16 on Leigh! at Lunch, please join me at 12 p.m. as I interview CC alumni Sarah Tomkinson, Jen Greenholt, and Andrew McIndoe.

    Join me and some of my past students as we discuss their thoughts and feelings on their education. Where are these students today? In college? Married? Are they carrying on the tradition with their families and homeschooling through a Classical Christian curriculum? Were they accepted and how well did they do in college?

    Join us at 12:00 noon EST and call in (347-215-6509) to ask questions of my former students. This should be a very lively show!!

    Click here to go directly to the show.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Is That Going to Be On the Test?



    If children are souls to be nurtured and not products to be measured, then what to we do about standardized testing? After all, tests 'norm' our children into narrow categories, yet colleges require them right?

    I dislike tests when:
    1. Tests are a poor assessment tool - such as a multiple choice literature test that destroys the passion for literary analysis;
    2. Tests are over- emphasized – such as SAT scores for college admission;
    3. Tests can be 'gamed' – such as a Latin test that has so many English roots you can guess the correct translation;
    4. Tests are used exclusively by adults - students see no benefit to tests because school is something done to them.
    Here are some reasons I like tests:
    1. Tests are a quick way for a STUDENT to assess their strengths and weaknesses;
    2. Tests are a clear way for PARENTS to communicate what they expect their children to learn;
    3. Tests can clearly relate benefits to the student;
    4. Tests are a measure of excellence or competency.
    Life offers tests. Tests on paper are just one kind of test. CC memory recitation is a test. A clean room so you can go play is a test. On a test, an adult has set a standard and then clearly communicate to the child whether the standard has been met. Some tests require activities; some are mental.

    In our family, we give our children many standardized or normed tests every year. Test practice removes fear and builds confidence. We let them know NOTHING negative will result if they do poorly. We clearly communicate that the point of a test is to train for things that really matter. Tests are just small steps in a life-long process.

    We want our boys to be able to go to good colleges, but we also know the college system of the past ended with the University of Phoenix. Anyone can learn anything if they really want to. The old worry about scholarships to good colleges because of test scores is ending as renowned schools like Wake Forest University discuss replacing the normed tests with their own entrance exams. Most colleges just want your money and ask for test scores as a formality. Rather than worry and wonder, we prepare.

    So, at age 12, David a will take the National Latin Exam and the Stanford and the two bluebook exams his Challenge A tutor gives him. As a 15-year-old, William is taking the National Latin exam, the PSAT, and the SAT twice as well as the ACT and the two bluebook exams his Challenge III tutor gives him. At this age, no one cares how they score. But at 17 or 27 years old, they might care. As their parents, we will be sure they have practiced taking tests.

    This past year William did really well on the June SAT and not so well on the October PSAT. We compared the scores and talked about his testing strategies. Boys like talking strategy. I noticed on the PSAT results each section said things like "8/8 answered right, 12 possible," which meant he didn't even answer 4 questions but the 8 he did answer were correct. Turns out he decided to only answer PSAT questions that he was absolutely positive about and leave the rest blank. On the SAT, he had answered everything so he got more right because he filled in more bubbles. Now he knows he's a pretty good guesser and to be more confident this spring as he answers more questions on the SAT. Instead of the score on the standardized test being emphasized, he learned something about his ability to take tests. By testing often, his perspective on both the use and importance of tests is more rational. He can try new things before it really matters. He's been taking standardized tests since he was in 3rd grade, so there's no fear on his part.

    Parents tend to have extreme reactions to testing. They either over-emphasize tests by acting like their child's success is hinged on their results, or they panic because their students got low scores. Children only know what they know. They won't be wise about tests if they don't experience them. Just give a normed test once a year through upper grammar school and then 3-5 test opportunities a year through Challenge. In this way, your child will be prepared in 11th and 12th to take tests that he feels will help him follow God's purpose for his life.

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    FYI from Leigh! at Lunch 2/9/11

    If you are interested in topics that came up during this week's show, here are a few links and tips from Leigh at Lunch on Blog Talk Radio 2/9/11, "Leigh at Lunch with National Day of Prayer." (Click on the title to listen to the show archive now).

    Coming soon from 1 Smart Mama
  • Tune in next Wednesday, February 16, at 12 noon EST to join the conversation with Leigh and several graduates of Classical Conversations. Bring your questions about college, life after CC, and more!

  • Ongoing events

  • Don't forget to sign up for end-of-grade testing! Visit our new website, Homeschool Testing Services, to register and get test-prep materials. Check back Feb. 23 for Leigh's conversation with Shannon Brown about the pros and cons of testing.
  • Register as a friend on BlogTalkRadio to be eligible for our weekly drawing! Click "follow" so you'll get updates about spontaneous and pre-recorded shows. Send questions to Leigh via AskLeigh@ymail.com.
  • Check back regularly to find out more about Leigh's tour dates this spring.

  • Notes from today's show
  • For more information about the National Day of Prayer and its history, visit http://nationaldayofprayer.org. This year, the event will take place Thursday, May 5. Click here to read more about John Bornschein, the Executive Director of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. See the Answered Prayers page for more about the visible changes seen as a result of prayer.
  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a great reference to begin looking into the biblical basis of corporate prayer and confession.
  • Read Joni Eareckson Tada's National Prayer for 2011. Find out more about Joni's work at www.Joniandfriends.org.
  • Visit the Duke Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health to see examples of research on prayer and health.
  • Mr. Bornschein's newest book, The Front Line: Prayer and Spiritual Warfare, will be out sometime next week. Find this and other resources at the National Day of Prayer Store. He especially recommends Drive Thru History: America for homeschool families.
  • For help making the National Day of Prayer relevant for kids, Mr. Bornschein recommends the Pray for Everyday Heroes kit.
  • Monday, February 7, 2011

    Leigh! at Lunch with John Bornschein




    Dear friends,

    I'm excited to be returning to BlogTalkRadio this Wednesday, February 9, 2011 with the 1SmartMama, Leigh! At Lunch Show.

    Please join me at 12 noon EST as I chat with John Bornschein, Executive Director of the National Day of Prayer Task Force and an Executive Member of the National Prayer Committee. He and his team have been charged by Mrs. Shirley Dobson to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in the seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.

    Click here to go directly to the show.
    Visit http://nationaldayofprayer.org for more information.

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Summer Seminars at FEE



    When I was 17 (1979) , I attended an academic camp that changed my view of life in a single week. It was hosted by The Heritage Foundation, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), and The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).

    The following year, I voted for the first time and Ronald Reagan became president. Through YAF, an organization Reagan started, I attended a Rose Garden Tea with Reagan and Sadat. Sadat then returned to Egypt and was assassinated. Mubarak became the new Egyptian president. I then went to the University of Michigan and founded the YAF chapter for the university at the same time I felt the Holy Spirit calling me to our Father. One of my roommates, Leila, was a graduate student from Jordan who was friends with Queen Noor. Queen Noor would call our room to talk with Leila. So, I was aware of Arabic/American relations early on.

    So this week, Mubarak of Egypt and Jordan are both back in the news, it is Reagan's 100th birthday, and I attended a lecture by Larry Reed of FEE concerning the whirlwind of change character and freedom inspire. These connections in my life remind me that all is for His good and His purpose.

    So, why am I involved with the same organizations 30 years later? Am I being called to do something more with my passion for freedom? What is my response to the cries for Mubarak’s removal? I’m reminded of the Bible story which describes the demon being replaced by seven demons that are worse. If Mubarak leaves the palace today, which demon will step in? Democracy requires a process and a plan. I wonder why the protesters are not calling for immediate free elections? Someone will govern...How can we be sure it will be someone better?

    I also attended a legislative event in NC because our new conservative legislature wants to help homeschoolers. They've introduced an odd law in committee that I can't wrap my head around yet as it is social engineering but in a way that definitively dismisses public education. So, while I like the message, I am not foolish enough to believe the underlying message, "We're the government and we're here to help."

    I already know the harm of its unintended consequences as do the legislators, but they seem willing to risk it because it sends a powerful message about parental rights. The proposed law revolves around a tax credit; however it contains so many exceptions before leaving committee that it will not accomplish what the legislators intend. I'm praying for a way to offer an alternative that keeps these conservatives moving our way yet doesn't suck me into social engineering.

    So whether it is the Middle East or educational tax credits, I can definitely point to a week in my life that empowered me to think about these topics, to be involved and to meet people that are truly free indeed. Do everything you can to get your teens to the FEE teen summit in Estes Park Colorado this summer. It's the same event that changed my life 30 years ago. The deadline is March 31, 2011. The application process is competitive, but the week is free if you can just get your child there.

    Love, Leigh

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Outgoing Products Sale at the Bookstore

    Don't miss out on these special offers!

    FEBRUARY SALE

    February 1 - 28
    Deeply Discounted Outgoing Products!
    *Online orders only

    Clearance of old editions being updated.
    New editions coming Spring 2011


    WAS: Children's Lit A - ONLY $8

    WAS: Children's Lit B - ONLY $8 (Early buyers will get a free copy of Shiloh)

    WAS: Short Stories - ONLY $8

    WAS: American Lit - ONLY $8

    WAS: American Docs - ONLY $8

    WAS: British Lit - ONLY $8

    CC Cycle 3 Memory Work Resource CD - ONLY $5


    Also, 2011 Classical Conversations Catalogs are in our warehouse!!!
    Go to the www.classicalconversationsbooks.com to request one and start saving today!