Classical Education, Homeschool Support, Literary Analysis

What a wonderful day! When I first walked into the Cincinnati convention center I felt utterly overwhelmed. I looked around at all of the people there and started thinking that maybe I didn’t really belong there. After picking up my registration packet,I looked through the ads and other materials that were included and I still felt like a fish out of the water.

Then, I went to my first talk and a wonderful thing happened….I could relate to the speaker. She (Angela Beddingfield) shared some stories about her children and I felt myself nodding in agreement. Some of her experiences have been exactly like mine. For example, one of her children and my ds both would repeatedly jump into pools at a young age when they couldn’t swim. Several times we have both had to jump into a pool, fully clothed, to fish our children out. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so odd any more.

Then I went to Martin Cothran’s talk on classical education. That talk touched upon why teaching the classics are so important for passing on our Western Civilization culture. He talked about beginning by having the end in mind: those books that you want your student as a high schooler to be able to read. Quality over quantity. The order of learning is not always according to the order/importance of knowledge. The need to read the Good books so that one has the cultural literacy necessary to read the Great books. And I walked away with a wonderful quote to ponder: “it is dangerous to read literature if you are not widely read.” (many sentence fragments in there, I know…please forgive me)

Governor Huckabee was next on the schedule and he was a marvelous speaker. I may not agree with everything that he says, but he certainly speaks with conviction. The main messages that he delivered were that our children’s educations should not be compromised by governmental standards and that the knowledge of history in particular is crucial to our understanding of our nation and its future.

Finally, I had a quick walk around the vendor hall before heading to Adam Andrews’ talk on literary analysis. As a math and science girl I must say that he makes LA look doable. The premise of his talk is that all books share common elements of structure, context, and style. To hammer home his point he read aloud a simple (Step into reading?) children’s book and had the audience discuss the conflict and plot of the story. In about 10 minutes we had come up with 3 different conflicts and talked about the climax and denouement for each. Mr. Andrews is such an engaging, humorous speaker that I may just have to buy his program. 🙂

And that was it for today. Whew! And that was just a half day…tomorrow will be a marathon event I fear.


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