Classical Conversations adds high school class

Published 3:06 pm Thursday, October 6, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

The Chilton County Classical Conversations home-school program hosted a Excellence in Education community showcase on Oct. 4.

The program has reached two milestones this year, adding a high school program and five years of meeting at the same location.

“We are very thankful for the partnerships,” Jodie Hood, director for Foundations and Essentials, said.

Liberty Hill Baptist Church in Clanton has been a long-time partner of the program allowing classes to meet at the church for five years without paying a fee.

“That is a huge blessing,” Hood said.

Other community partners include Judge Chris Speaks who has allowed the older students to use the courtroom for their mock trial presentations, which he also participates in, as well as the YMCA of Chilton County, which provides lunch for the weekly class meetings through a grant-funded program.

Hood said the lunch program is “a huge help for us.”

Community days like this are encouraged by Classical Conversations. Hood said the home-school community is growing and the community showcase day brings awareness to the   program and let the community know it is a local option while building community partnerships.

Classes do not meet weekly for the entire semester. How many weeks they come together is different for various grades.

“Even on weeks when we are not here, families are still continuing with work at home,” Hood said.

Multiple classes showed community members what they were learning during the event. Mandy Lanier, director for the Challenge I class, and her ninth-grade stuents showcased the Latin words the students were learning and how they serve as the root for English words as well as the symbols of the periodic table.

Students just starting school begin the program in Foundations before moving on to the Essentials and Challenge: A, B, I, II, III and IV, which is equivalent to middle school and high school curriculum.

The classical approach of the curriculum emphasizes memorization, recitation, logic and persuasion.

“We don’t want our kids to see something one time and then check it off of a list,” Lanier said. “We want them to truly understand what they are learning.”

This is done through having repetition of material at different points in various grounds.

“The big overall mission is to know God and to make him known,” Hood said. “Looking at all subjects and everything through a biblical world view and seeing God as the creator and author of everything.”

The curriculum also focuses on learning across subjects, such as learning about historical documents during debate class.

Lanier said it is possible for students to join the program at any grade.

“Once we were able to join the community, it made a huge difference,” Lanier said. “It really adds to the overall home-schooling experience and to their education. It allows the kids to interact more and see how other teachers present information.”

Hood said the program is also “more directed at equipping the parents for the work at home” on meeting days, rather than simply being a drop-off class time.

Each class is led by a tutor. Material from the current week and from six weeks ago to keep students from losing information.

“Our main job on Tuesdays is to make sure that the moms and dads feel equipped and have the information that they need to carry on the work at home,” Hood said.

In Chilton County, the program has 62 students from 29 families enrolled. The program has been offered for seven years.