Category Archives: Classical Conversations

9 Ideas for Challenge classes during National Poetry Month

My students in the Challenge III program of Classical Conversations study five Shakespeare plays, and work on poetry through the year. But because they are so busy, poetry gets put aside, and we sip a thin broth on poetry sharing … Continue reading

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Overdosed on Hamilton

Students in my Challenge III class wouldn’t stop talking about Hamilton; something said in discussion would trigger them and they would start chanting and moving in syncopated rhythm while the rest of us looked on in bewilderment. After a couple … Continue reading

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A Practicum in Grace

Dear Reader, I am sitting at a table before a soot-stained fireplace at a wee wood-shingled library in coastal Rhode Island. Just coming off my final practicum for Classical Conversations, I am resting with friends in their tiny cottage two … Continue reading

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Billy Collins’ “The Trouble with Poetry”; Bluebook exam

As a Challenge III tutor with Classical Conversations last year, I had the pleasure of studying poetry with my students. Besides our readings in The Roar on the Other Side, we discussed a poem a week. Since in our study … Continue reading

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Thoughts on “Don’t Stay In School”

The other night I told my friend Katharine about David Brown’s scathing rebuke of education in England. She experienced the English school system herself. To my surprise, she confirmed important parts of his critique. When my 15 year old son … Continue reading

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Epiphany at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

Yesterday at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston I stood before this painting more than any other. It is called Museum Epiphany III by Warren Prosperi (2012). It didn’t take me long to realize the painting, the only modern … Continue reading

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Breaking My Math Fast

A couple of days without math and I am feeling itchy and unfulfilled. I am working through the last half of Saxon’s Algebra II in order to start Advanced Math after Thanksgiving. The boys and I work silently at the … Continue reading

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Introductory Letter to My Challenge III Class

For our first class in August 2014, I requested each student write a letter about themselves, answering questions about their history and their favorites. In cleaning off my desk today I found my own letter.  Dear class, Thank you for sketching your character … Continue reading

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Traveling the Mississippi with Mark Twain

Last night, when I read to the family from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain, we came upon a passage that made them erupt in laughter. I read it again a couple of times just to savor the choice … Continue reading

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Passing up Frank Sinatra for Euclid

This morning I read an exuberant article about the delicious wordsmithing of the songwriters for the old crooners, namely Frank Sinatra.  http://www.worldmag.com/2014/08/rhythm_and_rhyme  My son Barnabas, whom I just delivered to St. John’s College in Annapolis, gets a kick out of Sinatra. He … Continue reading

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