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The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education
Palgrave Macmillan / 2010 / Paperback
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With details on the "why" of classical education as well as the "how," The Core provides a perfect introduction for parents looking to understand the benefits of the classical model, while learning how to implement such a study in their own home. With a chapter on the primary subjects taught: reading, writing, math, geography, history, science, and the fine arts, you'll be inspired to learn more about learning yourself! Discover why classical education emphasizes specific educational elements and be encouraged in your journey by the tips and personal anecdotes woven throughout. 238 pages, indexed, softcover.
In the past, correct spelling, the multiplication tables, the names of the state capitals and the American presidents were basics that all children were taught in school. Today, many children graduate without this essential knowledge. Most curricula today follow a haphazard sampling of topics with a focus on political correctness instead of teaching students how to study. Leigh Bortins, a leading figure in the homeschooling community, is having none of it. She believes that there are core areas of knowledge that are essential to master. Without knowing the multiplication tables, children can’t advance to algebra. Without mastery of grammar, students will have difficulty expressing themselves. Without these essential building blocks of knowledge, students may remember information but they will never possess a broad and deep understanding of how the world works. In this book, Bortins gives parents the tools and methodology to implement a rigorous, thorough, and broad curriculum based on the classical model, including:
• Rote memorization to cement knowledge
• Systematic learning of geography, historical facts, and timelines
• Reading the great books and seminal historical documents
• Rigorous training in math and the natural sciences
Leigh A. Bortins is the founder and CEO of Classical Conversations, Inc., whose enrollment is 20,000. She hosts a weekly radio show, Leigh! for Lunch and lectures widely about the importance of home education at nationwide conferences and seminars. She lives in West End, NC.
The Core is an interesting book, not only for its content, but also because of who wrote it and why. Author Leigh Bortins founded Classical Conversations, Inc. to ...lead the home-centered education movement by equipping parents and students with the classical tools of learning needed to discover the order and beauty of Gods creation and to inspire others to do the same(*). This handmaiden group for Christian (and anyone else interested) homeschoolers considers the family as the basis for successful education, and Classical Education homeschooling to be the best way to educate your child. Through personal experience, they have discovered that most homeschoolers agree with them. What is a Classical Education? Bortins website explains that it models ...the three stages of classical learninggrammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. Using age appropriate methods, children are taught the tools for studying any subject...[it] emphasizes mastery of facts during the early years. This gives students a foundation on which to build later learning and a solid framework where ideas can be categorized and compared as students mature(*). In other words, Bortin and her associates seek to step away from modern methods of teaching and provide real, brain-engaging information which produces interested scholars.
The foregoing also explains the why of this book: to get the message out to a wider audience; to show how to educate in this manner; and, to let people know about Classical Conversations, Inc. Does The Core achieve these aims? Definitely! Besides being a savvy homeschooling educator and interesting writer, Bortin has done her homework and provides well-researched, significant information about Classical Education. With humor, panache, and compassion, Bortin makes this book worth reading from the various prefaces through to the epilogue. In the first section, Bortin writes of her experience discovering what her family had missed in homeschooling their children and how they began to fill in those missed spaces. Then she discusses the problems of todays education, the need for a classical education, and how it can help you. The main part of The Core looks at the actual content and teaching of classical education: reading, writing, math, geography, history, science, fine arts, and schedules and resources. The epilogue discusses the benefits of this type of education accruing on into adulthood. Be prepared for hard work when educating the early ages. To round off this informative volume, a thorough list of resources and a detailed index are included.
As Bortin outlines in her preface, The Core, is useful for homeschoolers and parents wanting better for their public-schooled children, public and private school educator professionals looking for ways to improve their curricula, adults looking to broaden their abilities, and all those hoping for a generation of competent thinkers and leaders. Donna Eggett, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
“The Core provides an altogether practical curriculum, a handy reference work for busy parents who want their children to enter adulthood fully-equipped with the knowledge and skills possessed by responsible citizens, discerning consumers, and ethical selves."
--Mark Bauerlein, author of The Dumbest Generation
"In a time when many parents are rediscovering the classical methods of education, whether at home or in the classroom, it is heartening to see more and more educators studying, applying, and refining these methods. This book by Leigh Bortins is admirable part of that project, and I commend it to you."
--Douglas Wilson, author of The Case for Classical Christian Education
“Shifting American education from the factory model to a classical model is the goal advanced by Classical Conversations founder and President Leigh Bortins. The public school bar for educational achievement has dropped so low that it takes time for parents to discover how much more potential their children have outside government's educational straightjacket. The Core brings a wealth of practical experience developing classical skills and content for thousands of families engaged in home-centered education nationwide.”
--Gregory Rehmke, Program Consultant for Foundation for Economic Education
“Leigh shows a breadth of knowledge and awareness that will be very helpful. Since I believe our future as a nation depends on the willingness of the home schooling mom to exercise and live with her freedom, this book could make a serious contribution to our national well-being.”
--Andrew Kern, President, Circe Institute
“If you have children of your own – of any age – and you long for a way to be certain they will prosper in life, you will love this book. If you deal with children in an educational situation, this book will motivate you to think differently about how they might best learn. And, if you just simply care about the children around you, you will find this book personally inspiring and you will want to share it.”
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