Classical Conversations rounds out first year

Published 7:09 pm Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Over the past six months, Washington resident Caroline Collie has worked to build a community.

As founder of the Washington chapter of Classical Conversations, a program for homeschooling parents and their children to meet for weekly sessions of educational and social support, Collie has dedicated a lot of time to making connections with other homeschool families.

“It has been a lot of fun, and I think the biggest surprise for me this year has been, even though we meet only once a week, you get to see so much growth in the students,” Collie said. “One of the coolest parts so far has just been seeing what it does in the lives of the kids, the growth and the improvement and the things that they’ve learned.”

The last 24 weeks of meeting at Church of the Good Shepherd culminated in an end-of-the-year celebration Tuesday night, in which the group of students presented a wide array of information learned in Classical Conversations sessions. The information includes: 24 English grammar facts; multiplication tables up to 15 times 15; basic geometry and unit conversions; more than 100 locations and geographic features; 24 facts about the planets, biomes and Newton’s laws of motion and thermodynamics; Latin verb endings; a chapter in the Book of Ephesians and more, according to Collie.

Students also practiced oral presentations, completed a science project, studied composers and music theory and memorized all U.S. presidents, she added.

“I think we’ve been really fortunate in that it seems to have just naturally come together. I think part of that is probably because homeschool families need, sometimes, different things from other families,” Collie said. “It’s just a different situation for parents … to be at home with their kids all day. They long for a community.”

Collie said planning for next year is already beginning: there are more families who want to register for Classical Conversations, and that means moving to a larger space and enlisting the help of another tutor.

Registration officially begins this summer, and parents (homeschooling and non-homeschooling) are also invited to attend a practicum in July, she said.

The future is bright for Classical Conversations, Collie said, and she is thankful for the opportunity to get it started, as well as support from Church of the Good Shepherd and others.

“Childhood in itself is just such a precious time, and I’m thankful to be able to pour into my kids and other people’s kids things that I believe will make a difference 30 years from now, you know, or maybe when I’m not even here anymore,” Collie said. “What a privilege it is to get to witness that.”