Questions for Leigh

As y’all know, a few days ago I shared some of what I learned from reading Classical Conversations founder, Leigh Bortin’s, new book The Question.   Well, I was also able to recently ask Leigh some questions of my own regarding her new book and homeschooling.  I’m excited to share her replies with you today! 

CC at Home: Leigh, first let me tell you, I am always encouraged by your books not only through understanding more about classical Christian education by the end, but also through the more subtle message to enjoy teaching my children.  The work is hard and some days are hard, but learning is accessible and exciting for those who seek after it.  Not to mention, the unique relationship development we can experience as homeschooling families.  Thank you for that regular reminder!  

In The Question, you talked about parents in a secure, trusting, respectful relationship with their child teaching their child to ask questions by inspiring them, modeling for them, and then challenging them.  How do you start preparing the relationship with your foundation-aged child now for that type of trusting relationship later? 


Leigh Bortins: Thanks for the kind word and questions Beth.

I think the best way to develop trust with our children is to be there.  We trust those who know us well and that means spending much time with the person.  We all make many mistakes as parents where our children learn not to trust us so it means spending an extraordinary amount of time making up for it through positive activities.

I may have had a day of frustration and outbursts around my children, but snuggling around a book before bedtime can repair a lot of damage.  I may wrongly accuse my older children of poor motives and have to apologize through both words and watching football on TV with the one I offended (which I don’t like but my one son loves).

I see what passes for interaction among families and am not surprised that teens become rebellious or worse, cynical.  I wouldn’t really want to be home schooled by some of the parents I meet.  Trust comes from spending more time together than needed so understanding is developed; then when there isn’t understanding there can be trust.


If you opened a copy of any of your books in my home, you’d see notes scribbled in the margin, favorite points underlined, and stars next to all the titles of the books you’ve talked about, because I want to add them to my “to-read” list.   What books are you reading now? And what authors do you find yourself returning to over and over again?

Right now I am reading a soon to be released book by Ravi Jain called The Liberal Arts Tradition, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Two of the authors I often return to are Douglas Wilson (author of Recovering the Lost Tools of LearningThe Case for Classical Christian Education and many more) and Robert Farrar Cappon (author of The Supper of the Lamb and The Mystery of Christ among many others).

I count myself among the many blessed to have your classical Christian education “guidebooks” to teach me about the next turn in the road before I get there.  From your experience, are there potholes on the road that we should avoid? Any areas you can mark with caution signs before the damage is done? 


Remember just because you taught something doesn’t mean your child learned it.  Be prepared to teach the same things over and over.

Practice testing with your children.  Emotional stress seems to have too strong of an influence.


Thank you so much for your books and for sharing with us today.  I’m excited for my children to suffer my “stupid questions” and hear their “brilliant answers.” (Socrates, as quoted in The Question, page 113)

Check out What I Learned From The Question and stay tuned for a giveaway of The Question in just a few days! 

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