A Chat with Leigh Bortins of Classical Conversations

Today I have the privilege of participating on the first day of the Schoolhouse Birthday Bash Blog Hop. I am very pleased to host Leigh Bortins, founder and CEO of Classical Conversations.

Leigh Bortins is a nationally acclaimed educator, perhaps best known for her ability to demystify the fundamental tools of learning. As a teacher, author and commentator, Leigh is credited with helping to launch the “home-centered learning” education movement. She has written several books including:

  • The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Home-Centered Education
  • Echo in Celebration: A Call to Home-Centered Education
  • The Foundations Program: A Classical Curriculum (a teaching guide)
  • The Essentials of English Language Guide (a teaching guide for language arts from the classical perspective).
Leigh is the founder and CEO of Classical Conversations Inc., an organization that models classical, home-centered education to empower learners of all ages. She trains facilitators dedicated to duplicating her methods, and is thereby transforming education and improving the quality of family and community life. Classical Conversations is nearly doubling in size and scope each year.

I am excited to chat with Leigh as she is one of my favorite authors and speakers! This school term I am a first year Director of a Classical Conversations program in my community and we utilize Classical Conversations curriculum as a core resource within our homeschooling studies.

Hello Leigh! What initially drew you to the classical education model? Did you always follow this approach with your children or transition to it over time?

Leigh - My husband and I have always educated our four boys at home. With our first two sons, we took a modern education approach, studying all the “right” subjects in the correct sequence—math, the sciences, English, etc. Then, we noticed that when we would tried to read the great works of literature and history, we all struggled with the meaning of the words. We wanted our family to have access to these works that high school students used to read, so we began to search for a new plan. Our search led us to the classical model as a time-tested method of using the skills of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric to study anything. We learned that classical education always leads to high literacy.

What is the most important benefit that you hope children and families will receive through Classical Conversations?

Leigh - As I work with families across the country, the most important thing for them to know is that they can be their child’s best teacher. I want to help families uncover the tools of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric (just like our family did) so that they can join in the great conversations of history. It is exciting to see families across the country reading and discussing Shakespeare, philosophy, logic, economics, and American government. The communities offer support to one another and foster a real love of learning and of wrestling with big ideas.

Tell us a little of what readers will find in your upcoming column, The Classical Homeschooler.

Leigh - In my column this year, I will explain the tools of a classical education—grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric—so that other families may begin to use these skills at home. I will focus on applying these tools to all areas of core knowledge such as math, writing, geography, and the fine arts. These articles will demonstrate how to study any subject classically with any age of student. I am excited to share some of the things I have learned after twenty years of homeschooling my own boys.

Thank you Leigh for sharing with us today!

If you are interested in learning more about Classical education, you can download a free copy of Echo in Celebration: A Call to Home-Centered Education by Leigh Bortins. Her book The Core, available at Classical Conversations Books is an excellent read!

Be sure to check out the other featured columnists during the Schoolhouse Birthday Bash blog hop this week held at the Homeschooling with Heart blog!

Giveaway Time!
Today, we're giving away two great gifts from TOS. One winner will receive a one-year digital subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, and a second winner will receive a digital copy of the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner.

One-Year Digital Subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

What do you look for as you homeschool? Motivation? A little encouragement? Perhaps a unit study? Maybe an art activity? Within each issue of The Old Schoolhouse® you’ll find amazing resources, candid interviews with business owners, glimpses into the routines of other homeschools, articles from the experts in homeschooling, as well as up-and-coming innovators helping our days run a little more smoothly. Find them all in our pages along with their insight, expertise, and honesty as we all homeschool together!

Along with your subscription, you'll receive free access to Teacher's Toolbox, our exclusive, subscribers-only website packed with daily recipes, "This Day in History" lessons, printables, unit studies, and more!

E-Book: The 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner

Jump into a great year with The 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner! Erase the frazzled feel of disorganization with the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner and bring order and efficiency to your school year. Packed with relevant articles, clever calendars, useful forms, handy lists and so much more, this planner is the key to meeting your many goals for the 2011-12 school year. We put our heart into the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner so you'll have more time to put your heart into your home. Click here to view sample pages from the Planner.

To enter, just a leave a comment here by midnight September 25, 2011! Winners will be randomly selected (using a random number generator) from the comments and will be notified via email.

Rules: Must be 18 or older to enter and provide a valid email address. TOS employees, contractors, product reviewers, and Crew members are not eligible to enter.


Shellie said…
Yay! Happy Birthday Schoolhouse!
nerdymom said…
Thanks for introducing me to Leigh and Classical Conversations! I am looking forward to reading her book and learning from her! =)
Tamra Meservey said…
I am looking forward to hearing more from Leigh and her walk in Classical Education.
Laura said…
I'm in my third year directing. My 7 year old was a MM last year! Very proud of her. We love CC!
Katie said…
Would love to win this and hear more about Classical Conversations. I have heard great things so far.
Day said…
Love Classical Conversations! De-mystifying the classical education is the perfect way to describe what Leigh Bortins has done.
mebegley said…
Great giveaway. Either one of these gifts would be wonderful to win.
mebegley said…
Great giveaway. Either one of these gifts would be wonderful to win.
Jennifer said…
Leigh has recently been added to my favorite author list, too. The Core has changed my way of doing a lot of our education at home. I didn't realize you were director of a CC group. Do you ever slow down? I am enjoying our first year of somewhat modified Classical Conversations at home.
Anonymous said…
We love Classical Conversations!!
Thank you for the article and contest! =)
Anonymous said…
great giveaway. please enter me. thanks.


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