Over the past couple weeks, I had the great opportunity to read a preview copy of The Conversation by Leigh Bortins. I really don’t think I’m overstating when I unequivocally tell you, you should read this book! In the grammar stage with your littles? Read this book – it will fuel your excitement for the future! In the dialectic stage? Read this book – it will prepare you for what’s coming next! In the rhetoric stage? Read this book – it will support and exhort you! Not sure you even want to homeschool your children through high school? Read this book – it will answer questions and give you more to consider. Excited to homeschool your children through high school? Read this book – you will love hearing the tales from her direct experience and can create your own road map for being prepared.
Y’all know I was surprised God called us to homeschool, but I’ve been loving our journey of learning. Through it, I’ve become a fan of classical education, but I am still learning about it. I consider myself somewhere between the grammar and dialectic stage. Over the last few years, I’ve learned a lot through reading and talking with others who know more than I do. While Leigh and I have never met, I’ve learned so much from her experience and wisdom by reading her series of books, The Core, The Question, and now The Conversation. I categorize this as part of my ongoing education. In The Conversation, Leigh walks us through teaching rhetoric with the clear vision of one who has spent real time teaching teenagers. Leigh has learned the art of a fine classical education traveling the same route you and I are on – homeschooling her children and redeeming her own education at the same time. But beyond defining rhetoric and demonstrating how to teach rhetoric, Leigh also provides the motivation for employing a classical education. If you’re in the beginning stages of classically educating your children, like me, you’ll see that “Everything studied in the grammar stage sees its fruit in the rhetoric stage.” As Leigh defines it, “Rhetoric is the use of knowledge and understanding to perceive wisdom, pursue virtue, and proclaim truth.” What noble and encouraging goals for any education!
You’ll learn how to converse with your child using the five cannons of rhetoric: invention, arrangement, elocution, memory, and delivery. Can’t understand how rhetoric would apply to math or maybe fine arts? Don’t worry! Leigh walks the reader through teaching each of those subjects plus reading, speech and debate, writing, science, government and economics, history, Latin and foreign languages using the five canons of rhetoric. The examples will encourage you that you can not only educate your child through high school, but you can do it in a beautiful and successful way in the loving, “home-centered life” you desire. As much as it is inspiring, it’s also practical. To simplify it even more, the end of each chapter has a chart summarizing how the five canons can be applied to that subject. I have every intention to pull these out as cheat sheets when I approach the rhetoric stage with my littles.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Leigh does not just share knowledge through her writing, but encouragement also. You can feel how much she and her husband have enjoyed home educating their sons and it’s a joy to learn from them. If you’re interested in reading The Conversation yourself, check out the free sample chapter. You can also get special pricing if you pre-order The Conversation now through the CC bookstore. I’d love to hear what you think after you’ve read it! Share your thoughts in the comments below.