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In early June, I had the opportunity to attend my first Classical Conversations’ Parent Practicum. Practicum, derived from the latin practicus, a noun which means “one who practices or takes action”. Why is it called a practicum? Because parents practice their teaching skills while being mentored and trained to be great classical home educators by trained veteran or experienced homeschoolers.
I cannot say how much I was blessed by this event. Not only did I get to enjoy the fellowship with other CC parents, but I learned so much more about the classical Christian model and how to apply principles of rhetoric to everything in life. This year’s topic was “The Art of Rhetoric”.
I learned that the word rhetoric, has wrongly been used, because most people either think of it as someone trying to persuade you of believing a dishonest idea or as a sort of “make believe”:
“Rhetoric: this pejorative term now means any language, spoken or written, which is misleading or actually untrue. There is reality, and there is rhetoric”. -Scott F. Crider, The Office of Assertion.
There is actually a different, older meaning to this word. As Scott F. Crider continues explaining in his book The Office of Assertion:
“As Aristotles explains, ‘What makes one a sophist is not the faculty but the moral purpose’ (I.I.I4). Aristotle believes that rhetoric and sophistry are distinct: rhetoric is persuasion aimed at the truth; sophistry is persuasion aimed only at the appearance of truth.”
For Classical Conversations, rhetoric is persuasion aiming at the truth, and why learn it? For the purpose of making God known (Mathew 28:19). This concept is summarized in its mission: “TO KNOW GOD AND MAKE HIM KNOWN”. Simple, yet profound and powerful.
Rhetoric was covered during three days, and divided into its five canons: Invention (inventio), Arrangement (dispositio), Elocution (elocutio), Memorization (memoria), and Delivery (pronuntiato). Mainly the first three canons were emphasized and practiced. It was all complemented by interactively adding group discussions involving brainstorming, arranging and expressing thoughts.
It was fascinating for me, to realize how rhetoric is classically presented during the grammar stage (Foundations), developed during the dialectic stage (Essentials) and mastered during the rhetoric stage (Challenge). It is understated to say that I was blown away by the amount of deep information I received.
During the afternoon, parents had the opportunity to see demonstrations for teaching at home and to practice. I didn’t participate on that section, since this will be my first year as a tutor, and as such, I was required to attend the tutor training. I have to admit being a little nervous on this new venture, nevertheless, I’m quite excited with this challenge, as it is an opportunity to go an extra step in my learning journey as a homeschooling parent by giving me accountability, practicing advanced planning, and helping other parents with their own home education journey as well. During those three days I joined other brave moms to be trained as a Foundations tutor (if anything, you should rest assured that your child’s tutor is well trained, and prepared).
I have to admit this: I really wanted to tutor/direct Challenge, but as I sat in a couple of their classes earlier this year, I felt like a cold bucket of water was thrown at my face (the water, not the bucket…you know what I mean). I realized that I needed to begin from the bottom, the foundations. I humbly admit, that I need to redeem my education, it doesn’t matter that I have a degree in Bachelor of Science, I need to redeem my education (I recommend sitting in one of those classes to understand what I mean).
So, moving on… what was another great thing offered at the Practicum? Resources!! The Classical Conversation’s Bookstore was present, and for purchasing a certain amount of resources I got 10% of my whole purchase. Many moms paired together so that we could receive the discount, plus we saved on shipping even on items that were not present at the Practicum (yay!). So pretty much I’m set for the year.
I did get additional fun things for me, like the CC tote and Parent Practicum 2014 t-shirt:
There were many prizes given in the lapse of those three days. The first day, all participants received a ticket that was placed in all drawings (ONE ticket constantly placed in ALL drawings, how neat is that?). I’m not usually that lucky about earning door prizes, but I happened to win one (actually I did get a couple of other free resources…but keep reading).
In the following picture you can see the first book, which I got because my ticket was drawn, then the second one was given to all parents who had kids registered at the camps, and the third one, I have no idea…the sweet lady at the bookstore gave it to me. Maybe because I bought so many resources? I don’t know, I was so happy I didn’t even ask (I have to clarify that she intended to do so, as she brought it to me during lunch).
After organizing all my resources at home, this is my list of books to read during the summer (more like for the rest of the year!):
There was a nice and well thought detail given to all participants as “Practicum favors”: watermelon seeds!
I will definitely make plans to attend next year’s Parent Practicum, and I highly recommend it to any parent considering home educating their children classically, and to parents who already belong to a CC community, please attend these practicums, the amount of tools and knowledge is priceless, and best of all, they are offered FREE. The only thing you would have to pay is for your kids’ camps (if you don’t have anyone to care for them), and even still, it is a great investment because the kids learn as well, as the camps are divided by age into the following: Nursery (0-2), Play Camp (3-5), Geo-Drawing Camp (6-8), and Academic Camps (9-14 and 13-17). To learn more about these student camps read here.
These Practicums are very well organized, and the speaker and tutor trainers themselves, are very well prepared and trained.
Invest time not only on your children’s education, but on yours as well; it will be one of the best lessons you will give them.
“Rhetoric is persuasion aimed at the truth. In the words of Plato, rhetoric is ‘the art of soul-leading by means of words.'” -Scott F. Crider, The Office of Assertion
Let’s constantly prepare ourselves to lead our children’s hearts amid God’s truthful path.
Blessings to all!!!