Waldorf homeschool group seeking more members
Classical Conversations focuses on parent-led instruction in 3 stages
A relatively new homeschooling collective in north Waldorf is looking to expand to include more families.
Classical Conversations Waldorf North is a homeschooling community that meets weekly at Trinity Baptist Church in Waldorf and held an open house Tuesday evening.
Classical Conversations bills itself as a “classical Christian community” program, according to Waldorf North director, Lisa Powell.
“We are a homeschool group, specifically Christian centered, focused on classically educating children,” Powell said.
Powell, the mother of four children, said she became involved in Classical Conversations three years ago.
“Since we started homeschooling, we’ve been doing Classical Conversations,” Powell said. “It’s phenomenal watching the kids be able to recite things, and we are amazed a lot of the time, seeing our children learn a vast amount of information.”
Powell said the group had three families last year, but expects more this year.
“We started out relatively small, but every year we’ve been growing,” Powell said. “We’re a really tight-knit community and everyone is pretty much like family.”
The program is divided into three stages of learning, Powell said, grammar, dialectic and rhetoric.
The grammar stage typically begins around 4 years old, Powell said.
“The children will be learning basically facts in history, math, science, Latin; basic knowledge,” Powell said.
In the dialectic stage, typically between the ages of 10 and 13, students learn how to put the knowledge they’ve learned to use, such as diagramming sentences, according to the Classical Conversations website.
At the rhetoric stage, students are taught to use what they’ve learned to solve a problem, write an original paper or speech or lead a discussion, according to the website.
“They take that information and use that knowledge to be persuasive, and able to eloquently present themselves,” Powell said.
Students in the grammar and dialectic stages meet weekly with a tutor, along with their parents, who lead their children’s instruction.
“It really humbles us as parents to be able to learn alongside our students,” Powell said. “When they’re struggling, we can sit down and learn alongside them.”
The older students meet with a challenge director who leads the group activities and discussions and provides accountability and support.
“They start to have a more structured setting, they learn to be big boys and big girls,” said Bonnie Davis, the challenge director. “By the end of the program, we’ll have our next set of senators and congressmen and presidents.”
Powell said the program is different from private schools in that it really keeps the focus on the parent as the ultimate teacher.
“For Classical Conversations, what they emphasize is that the parent is the best teacher. On Mondays, when we’re here, the tutor is just modeling how the parent could teach the child if they wanted to, but they don’t have to do that. With Classical Conversations, they give you a curriculum to follow, but you can do whatever fits your family best,” Powell said.
Powell led visitors through a typical day, with current students at the school assisting, reading assignments and solving problems.
For more information on Classical Conversations, go to www.classicalconversations.com. For more information about the Waldorf North group, contact Powell via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Classical Conversations support representative Vanessa Hall at email@example.com.
Lisa Powell, director of Classical Connections Waldorf North, leads a group discussion on seven different biomes during a demonstration lesson at the open house Tuesday night.