Classical Conversations showcases program
By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer
It was a time of learning for students and community leaders alike as the Classical Conversations Community hosted a lunch presentation at Liberty Hill Baptist Church.
Classical Conversations is a homeschool program focused on creating a community for parent teachers and students.
Jodie Hood started the presentation by saying that parents who were in the Chilton County Classical Conversations chose the program because they felt like it was what God wanted them to do to provide education for their children.
“I want to dispel a myth that is probably going on,” Hood said. “Everyone in this room is not here because we have had a poor experience with public school. We are not here because we do not like public school teachers, in fact some like myself were actually public school teachers … We are here because we feel that this is where God has led us to educate our communities and to lead our communities.”
The program is a Christian, Classical program in community.
Part of the classical model means that in addition to core subjects of math, history, grammar and science, students also learn Latin.
“We are different from a lot of co-ops or classical educations in that we have a community,” Hood said.
She explained that in a co-op parents have the option to drop their child off and pick them up later. In the community model, parents are required to stay with their child through sixth grade.
“Only in the seventh through 12th grade years do we start to allow that (drop off) because we do see the need for children to become independent,” Hood said.
On “community days,” students and parents come together with parent-tutors leading each class. Hood said focus is placed on making learning fun because “we want our children to love learning.”
“We want them to see Christ in everything around them,” Hood said. “… We want them to be able to see God in all things as the ultimate creator, and if he created all these things with such order, so should our subjects have order.”
Every parent in the program attends summer training, but tutors attend additional training.
In the Foundations classes in the first three years of the program, students focus on memory work — memorizing the same information in varying degrees of depth over a three-year period, Hood said. This portion starts with preschool for fourth-year-old students. As a part of the preschool program, students are taught to introduce themselves and give a three to four-minute presentation, Hood said.
Examples of a typical community day lesson was showcased during the event.
During Foundations, studying music theory and science experiments are completed weekly.
The Essentials program starts in fourth grade and goes to sixth or seventh.
“We teach them to be able to gather their thoughts, have discussions with people, share their ideas but be able to do it in a concise manner,” Hood said.
The high school program is called Challenge and uses overarching themes including personal investment, ownership, discipline, freedom, choices, consequences and leadership.
“It’s all Christ-centered,” Hood said.
Hood said some classes have been approved for dual-enrollment.
“The community part is my favorite because I feel like the Christian part or the Classical part we could find anywhere else, but the community part is special,” Hood said. “I homeschooled for four years before a community existed in Clanton before I even knew Classical Conversations existed. This has been what has allowed our family to continue to homeschool.”
She said it was a special time for families to come together with people who have the same mindset.
For more information, contact Hood at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information meetings and open houses are held on an ongoing basis.
The program has been in place for 20 years. Hood gave statistics for Classical Conversation students having a higher average on SAT and ACT tests.
The average English score on the ACT for CC students is 29.1, according to Hood. The national average is 20.3. Math scores are also higher. Hood said the national average 20.7 and the Classical Conversations average is 25.