‘Conversations’ group offers diversity in educational approach

(Above) Classical Conversation students get ready for a lesson from a parent/tutor at the Zion Lutheran Church location.  The group, which meets on Tuesdays, uses three keys to education: Classical, Christian and Community.  -Reporter photo by Chris Barragy

by Michelle Watson

Alternatives to traditional schooling are growing in popularity across the nation.  In Clear Lake, Classical Conversations, a group designed to support the homeschooling community, is attracting a wide variety of students.

Classical Conversations (CC for short), now has 97 students participating in weekly sessions.  CC has outgrown its original location at the Church of Christ and in August expanded to Zion Lutheran Church.

“CC was designed for homeschoolers, but within that, many of our students also participate in public school sports, music, clubs and classes via dual enrollment,” said Emily Forsyth, one of the directors.

Classical Conversations is a nationwide program that was started in 1997 by Leigh Bortons.  CC began in North Iowa in 2010.  Forsyth, of Clear Lake, brought the program to Clear Lake in 2014.  She is the foundation director at the Church of Christ location, while Brooke Hinders, of Garner, is the director at the Zion location.  Students from Mason City, Garner and Forest City, join the Clear Lake students. Parents of younger students also attend.

“Our family started Classical Conversations because it is an established method of educating, which progresses in both rigor and content as the student matures,” said Forsyth.  “Through Classical Conversations, the bulk of a student’s education happens at home with their parents as their primary educators, but the weekly ‘Community Day’ occurs on Tuesdays and brings students together.”

“Classical Conversations shares the love of learning through a Christian world view and fellowship with other families,” said Hinders.  “Our families thrive using three keys to a great education: Classical, Christian and Community,” said Hinders.

Classical means students begin with a grammar

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