Classical Conversations builds parent community

Published 6:39 pm Monday, July 24, 2017

Washington’s homeschooling community is looking to provide ideas and support for one another, and last week’s Parent Practicum was organized with that goal in mind.

Last Wednesday through Friday, homeschool families with Classical Conversations gathered at First United Methodist Church to delve into the best ways to teach concepts, access learning materials and bounce ideas off of one another. Students also participated in learning activities throughout the practicum.

Families from Washington and New Bern attended the practicum, and staff members came from all over eastern North Carolina.

“Parent Practicums are incredibly valuable as opportunities for homeschooling parents to connect with other parents while receiving training and encouragement at the same time. It is a great boost before starting a new school year,” said Caroline Collie, founder of the Washington Classical Conversations group. “The best way to inspire kids to be lifelong learners is to be parents who are lifelong learners, committed to enjoying the journey of education.”

Classical Conversations is a six-month program held during the school year in which families gather once a week to learn topics ranging from grammar and multiplication, to music theory and biblical teachings. Classical Conversations is a Christian-based program, and Collie started a chapter in Washington last year.

READING MATERIAL: The Parent Practicum provided a sense of community, as well as needed learning materials for all age groups.

Classical Conversations member Christy Steel said the adults all met together every morning before breaking off into groups for tutor training and discussion sessions.

“Our goal in hosting these events — they’re free for parents — is to encourage and equip them, first of all to believe they really have the ability to educate their own children,” Steel said. “For the students, it’s a great balance of, they’re learning some really helpful academics that will help them succeed in the coming year.”

Steel said Parent Practicums are especially helpful for new homeschooling parents because it gives them confidence in teaching their children.

“It’s a good opportunity to remind yourself of what your goals are, or evaluate for the first time, ‘What are my goals for my family, for my children, for their education?’ and just get some vision for that,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to just meet other regular moms who are committed to the same thing and who can come alongside them and say, ‘Yes, you can do this.’”

Collie said the Washington chapter is growing, and between 13-18 children are expected to join the Classical Conversations group this coming school year.

DRAWING: Students also attended the Parent Practicum last week. They participated in learning workshops for literature and geo-drawing, but also took time for summer fun with their peers.