Waldorf home­school group seek­ing more mem­bers

Clas­si­cal Con­ver­sa­tions fo­cuses on par­ent-led in­struc­tion in 3 stages

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @JamieACIndyNews

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 ccwal­dorfnorth@gmail.com or Clas­si­cal Con­ver­sa­tions sup­port rep­re­sen­ta­tive Vanessa Hall at vhall@clas­si­cal­con­ver­sa­tions.com.

STAFF PHOTO BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

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.

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