Andrew Kern

Andrew Kern

Texas Homeschool Convention South Carolina Homeschool Convention Ohio Homeschool Convention

Andrew Kern is founder and president of the CiRCE Institute, the founding author of The Lost Tools of Writing, a co-author of the best-selling book Classical Education: The Movement Sweeping America, which he wrote with Dr. Gene Edward Veith, and is on the board of The Society For Classical Learning (SCL). Since establishing CiRCE as a research and consulting service to classical educators, Andrew has trained teachers, led board retreats, and assisted with institutional development and start-up in over 100 schools since 1996. He has been directing the CiRCE Institute full time since the summer of 2000. Andrew helped start Providence Academy in Green Bay, WI, in 1993, where he served as “Lead Teacher”; Foundations Academy (now Ambrose School) in Boise, ID, where he served as Director of Classical Instruction from 1996–2000; The Great Ideas Academy in Charlotte, NC, where he served as Headmaster from 2001-2003; and The Regent Schools of the Carolinas, where he served as Dean of Academics from 2006–2008. He and his family live in North Carolina.

Martin Cothran

Martin Cothran

Texas Homeschool Convention South Carolina Homeschool Convention Ohio Homeschool Convention California Homeschool Convention

Martin Cothran is director of the Classical Latin School Association and is the father of four homeschooled adult children. He is the editor of Memoria Press’s “Classical Teacher” magazine and the author of several books for private and home schools, including Memoria Press’ Traditional Logic, Material Logic, and Classical Rhetoric programs, as well as Lingua Biblica: Old Testament Stories in Latin.

He is past Latin, Logic, and Rhetoric Instructor at Highlands Latin School in Louisville, Kentucky. He holds a B.A. in philosophy and economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an M.A. in Christian Apologetics from the Simon Greenleaf School (now part of Trinity University). He is widely quoted on education and other public policy issues in Reuters News Service, USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post and numerous other state and national news sources. The Lexington Herald-Leader called him “the master of the thirty-second sound bite,” and the Associated Press has described him as “articulate and relentless.” His expertise on education and public policy and made him the most frequent guest on Kentucky Educational Television’s “Kentucky Tonight,” a statewide weekly public affairs program. He is also the only person to have publicly debated a federal judge on a case that was still before the court.

Dr. Carol Reynolds

Dr. Carol Reynolds

Texas Homeschool Convention South Carolina Homeschool Convention Ohio Homeschool Convention

Dr. Reynolds was long a professor of Music History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. Since retiring, she has focused her professional career outside of the university walls, teaching and speaking on the importance of the fine arts to homeschoolers, concert audiences, and travel enthusiasts. For decades, she has served as an educator for arts organizations, including the Dallas Symphony and the Van Cliburn Foundation. Fluent in Russian and German, Dr. Reynolds has led educational tours to Russia, Germany, and arts centers in the US. Now on behalf of the Smithsonian Institute she speaks to audiences in the Holy Land, the Caribbean, and across the Atlantic, and leads arts tours to Eastern Europe.

Dr. Reynolds is the author of the homeschool multi-media courses Discovering Music: 300 Years of Interaction in Western Music, Arts, History, and Culture and Exploring America’s Musical Heritage. She is currently creating a course covering Early Christian liturgical music from the Temple in Jerusalem through the Middle Ages.

She has two grown children and makes her home with her husband on a ranch near Bowie, TX, where she raises goats and soaks in the rich cultural heritage of the Southwest.

Adam Andrews

Adam Andrews

Texas Homeschool Convention South Carolina Homeschool Convention Ohio Homeschool Convention California Homeschool Convention

Adam Andrews received his B.A. in Political Economy and Christian Studies from Hillsdale College in 1991. He earned his M.A. in History from the University of Washington in 1994, and is currently a candidate for the Ph.D. in History. He is writing his doctoral dissertation on the history of American higher education. Adam is a Henry Salvatori Fellow of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and was a founding board member of Westover Academy, a Classical Christian school in Colville, Washington. He is the assistant director of the American Council for Accredited Certification, a non-profit professional certifying body.

Missy Andrews received her B.A. in English Literature and Christian Studies from Hillsdale College in 1991. She and Adam have six children, ages nine to eighteen. Now in her fourteenth year of homeschooling, Missy’s class has grown to include all six kids, as well as several students from neighboring families who participate in a local home school cooperative. The family attends Christ Reformed Church in Colville, where Adam does most of the preaching.

Both Adam and Missy have long felt a calling to serve the homeschooling community, and have constantly been on the lookout for ways to make high-quality education accessible to committed parents and teachers. Inveterate bookworms, they have spent the past twelve years making booklists of great literature for students of all ages, and trying to find a literature curriculum that is both accessible and substantial. Teaching the Classics is the result of their conviction that the best curriculum is one that involves both teacher and student in a discussion of great ideas.

Our Mission

Adam and Missy founded the Center for Literary Education in 2003 to help parents and teachers provide high-quality instruction in the important disciplines of the mind.

Many of these disciplines have been lacking in American education for decades, and a return to greatness in the next generation requires that we reclaim them. The Center for Literary Education exists to help parents and teachers give their students facility with ideas, making it possible for them to rise to positions of influence and authority in their society.

We believe that influence and leadership opportunities will eventually go to those who know how to handle ideas, and that education, if is to be rightly so called, must deal with ideas first and foremost.

Since the beginning of human civilization, men of influence—leaders—have always concerned themselves with ideas; they have been familiar with the eternal questions, familiar with the usual answers, conversant with the long-running debates. The record of their intellectual journey remains for us to contemplate, written down in the literature of the western world. The ability to read and understand this literature is a necessary and crucial part of a sound education.

In the American literature of last 150 years, we find one of the most chilling portraits of the crisis of modernity ever recorded. Some of the greatest writers of this period, from Stephen Crane and Jack London to F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, provide in their works a window into the plight of the modern soul. Having denied the relevance, authority, and very existence of God, many such modern authors floundered in their search for someone to replace Him. Their works thus powerfully demonstrate the consequence of such a denial: the destruction of certainty in all its forms.

To a great extent, we 21st century Americans live in a world bequeathed to us by the thinkers of our recent past: a world devoid of certainty. We must look to a new generation of leaders to help us restore the philosophical and spiritual foundations of our culture. Leaders of this new generation will depend upon a sound literary education: the ability to interact with the arguments of history’s most thoughtful men.

The Center for Literary Education strives to help produce such leaders by equipping parents and teachers to understand, analyze, and interpret great literature, so that they can pass these critical skills on to their students. To this end, it provides seminars and curriculum materials designed to make the basic techniques of literary analysis clear and accessible to teachers and students alike.

John De Gree

John De Gree

Texas Homeschool Convention South Carolina Homeschool Convention Missouri Homeschool Convention Ohio Homeschool Convention California Homeschool Convention

John De Gree is the founder of The Classical Historian. Originally from California, he studied history and language and worked and lived in Turkey, Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia for five years. Working in private, public, and homeschool education for over twenty years, he saw the great lack of critical and independent thinking in history education.

He founded the Classical Historian to promote the best that is offered in the great tradition of Western education: honesty, virtue, patience, logical analysis of evidence and conclusions, and belief in the truth. John De Gree teaches that the American experiment of self-government under law is a result of its Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman heritage.

John and his wife Zdenka have been married for 23 years and they raise and home school their seven children in San Clemente, California.

Leigh Bortins

Leigh Bortins

Texas Homeschool Convention Missouri Homeschool Convention Ohio Homeschool Convention California Homeschool Convention

Leigh Bortins is a nationally-acclaimed educator, perhaps best known for her ability to demystify the fundamental tools of learning. As a teacher, author, and commentator, Leigh is credited with helping to launch the “home-centered learning” education movement.

After earning a degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, Leigh worked in the aerospace industry before beginning her work as an educator. In teaching study skills for 30 years to children and adults, she has written several books including The Core, The Question, and The Conversation, a series which explores the classical trivium from a parent’s perspective.

She has authored complete K–12 curriculum guides for program directors, teachers, and tutors all across the country. Leigh is the founder and CEO of Classical Conversations Inc., an organization that models the home-centered learning approach to empower learners of all ages. She trains facilitators dedicated to duplicating her methods, and is thereby transforming education and improving the quality of family and community life.

Leigh is currently working on developing a K–12 math curriculum that maps the structure of learning math from a classical, Christian perspective. Leigh’s emphasis on the time-tested enjoyment of learning and the fundamentals of education and critical thinking skills grew out of her own experiences in homeschooling her four boys with her husband Robert. They, their children, and grandchildren live near Pinehurst, NC.

2B or 3 Christ, the Wisdom and Virtue of God

Christian classical educators believe that wisdom and virtue are the goals of education. How does the revelation that Christ is the Wisdom and Virtue of God guide our teaching and keep us from making the sorts of mistakes that harm or even destroy our children’s souls?

A Classical Approach in a Modern World

Missouri Homeschool Convention

What is a classical education? Studying Latin? Learning logic? Reading The Iliad? Although Andrew Pudewa does not claim to be the expert extraordinaire on the subject, he has been exploring this idea of classical education for the past twenty years and has witnessed the frenzy, the skeptics, and various views of what actually denotes a classical education. In this talk, Andrew shares his personal journey, some observations, and his conclusions that have enriched his own teaching both at home and in many communities across North America.

An Introduction to Effective Socratic Discussion: Why We Do It and How to Do It Well

Mortimer Adler once said, “A lecture is an exercise where the notes of the teacher become the notes of the student without passing through the minds of either.” How can classical educators avoid the folly of such lecturing and lead discussions so that both the mind of the teacher and the minds of the students are fully engaged and illuminated by a growing, gradual perception of truth?

In this seminar, Dr. Perrin will address why classical educators must learn the skill of Socratic teaching. He will also describe three approaches to leading a Socratic discussion, noting various advantages and disadvantages associated with each and ultimately advocating a method that assumes the existence of knowable truth and the guidance of a skilled, wise teacher. The seminar will conclude with a period for questions and answers.

Classical Education Unhinged

We’d call this session on classical education a “panel discussion,” but that would sound too boring, and the conversation among these six speakers is anything but boring! They discuss what classical education is and how it is done. In the process they agree, disagree, comment, criticize, tell funny stories, dispense advice, and (in the case of Andrew Kern), think stuff up right on the spot.

Watch Chris Perrin use what little energy is left in the room after Professor Carol talks to ask a deep question of Andrew Kern—the answer that makes Martin Cothran simply scratch his head.

Most importantly, you can ask questions and get six different answers, each one—in the opinion of the person giving the answer—better than all the others! And all of it has something important to do with great books, music, language arts, and the humanities. You will leave amused and informed.

From Critic to Curator or Creator: How to Stop Noticing Everything That’s Wrong & Start Making or Supporting Something Good

South Carolina Homeschool Convention

Is your first instinct to evaluate and critique? Do you find yourself ferreting out flaws in stories, sermons, and people? The ancient Christian virtues of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness are best sung in harmony. An over-emphasis on any one, combined with a neglect of the others, is a recipe for a warped cultural posture. There is such a thing as being overly obsessed with getting everything exactly correct at all times. We have sometimes become so obsessively analytical of True information, that we have neglected the crucial role of Beauty and Goodness in formation. As an example, some churches speak the technical truth about Grace, while actively fostering an environment mostly characterized by its absence. Truth is essential, and discernment is likewise crucial. However, an over-emphasis on criticism is a self-destructive culture to foster. Similarly, a snootily-high view of the arts can lead to a culture of impotent evaluations that paralyze efforts at creation. This talk is about moving on from being (overly) critical and into the hospitable vocations of creator and curator. We need more creators and curators, and fewer critics.

However Imperfectly: Lessons Learned from Three Decades of Teaching

In this talk, Andrew shares many humorous experiences (and painful lessons) he has learned over thirty years of teaching and homeschooling, including these:

  • It’s hard not to do to your kids what was done to you
  • Process over product
  • All kids are different
  • “Progressive” education doesn’t mean progress
  • What real “college and career readiness” is
  • Two secret keys to successful teaching

You will be challenged or reassured (or both!), but sure to leave with an expanded vision of your calling as a homeschooling educator.

It’s Never Too Early! Instilling a Love of Beauty in Our Little Ones

From the youngest age, children appreciate beauty. They are drawn towards music, color, movement, and dramatic expression. The arts can—and do—open a child’s mind and heart, develop his cognitive abilities and motor skills, and help shape his character. Come explore a simple strategy for bringing delight and wonder into a child’s life.

Learning from Rest: Cultivating Your Student’s Habits and Virtues to Become Lifelong Learners

For a few years now, many have been thinking about the importance of teaching from rest. This seminar is based on Dr. Perrin’s forthcoming book, Learning from Rest, and will explore the ways we can help our students to learn from rest. What does it look like when a student can restfully engage in learning and study? What virtues does such a student display? How can we cultivate the soul of a student so that he or she will naturally pursue and love the true, good, and beautiful? This seminar will discuss the practical ways we can model restful learning and cultivate student habits and virtue that lead them to become restful lifelong learners.

Loving the Things That Are Lovely: How to Cultivate Affection for the True, Good, and Beautiful in Our Students

Augustine, following Plato, argues that education should largely be a matter of teaching children to love that which is lovely. In this seminar, Dr. Perrin will explore the tradition that sees the education of younger children largely as a matter of cultivating the taste or affection of the true, good, and beautiful. The seminar will begin with the tradition of this educational philosophy (noting writers such as Plato, Augustine, C.S. Lewis, Charlotte Mason, and James K.A. Smith) and then explore the concrete practices that will enable students to not just be lovers of learning, but also lovers of the true, the good, and the beautiful. The seminar will conclude with a period for questions and answers.

Nurturing Competent Communicators: The Power of Linguistic Patterns

Many parents think that good readers will naturally become good writers. Others think that writing talent is just that: a natural ability that some have and others don’t.

Both are myths. History and modern research show very clearly how good writers have developed. What are the two most critical things you can do as a parent to develop a high level of aptitude, from a young age and into high school? With humor and insight, Andrew will share the two easy but unbelievably powerful things you can do to build language patterns and nurture competent communicators in your family.

Paper and Pen: What the Research Says

Recent years have seen an enormous increase in the use of technology in education for even the youngest students. But is technology really the cure-all that many believe it to be? While traditional skills such as cursive penmanship are seen as unnecessary in the modern world, the actual research tells a different story. Learn the compelling reasons to choose paper books instead of electronic devices for reading, to handwrite instead of type when note-taking, to teach cursive instead of printing for penmanship, and to grab a pen instead of pencil for composition. Discover how to unleash creativity that goes beyond technology.

Planned Amenesia: Knowledge and Its Fashionable Enemies

Modern education theory emphasizes skills and downplays content. But is there really such a thing as “reading skills,” “critical thinking skills,” or “problem-solving skills” apart from specific content knowledge? What does research say about whether skills can be learned outside of a subject? Can abstract skills be tested and what do these tests really measure? Can technology replace memory and content knowledge? How does classical education better do the things that skills training and technology purport to do? Learn why many schools are teaching less literature and history than they used to.

Short Story Seminar

Martin Cothran teaches a short story in an hour-and-fifteen-minute interactive session that shows an audience how a story works by corporately meditating on a great story. In the process of reading a story together and asking important questions, teachers and parents will learn how a narrative story works and why literature is such a powerful tool in enrolling the imagination in the process of teaching the truths of human reality. It is designed not only as a demonstration of how to teach literature, but as an object lesson in how to engage in Socratic discourse. This class is intended to teach how to teach by simply participating in a model class. (A copy of the story discussed is available here and it is recommended [but not required] that participants read the story before attending the seminar.)

The Four Deadly Errors of Teaching Writing

We’ve all suffered it at one time or another: frustration about writing assignments. Either on the receiving end, or perhaps now on the giving end, there can be a few distinctly discouraging aspects to teaching and being taught writing. The tough questions include these:

  • What to correct and how to give a grade?
  • How much help is too much?
  • Isn’t the assignment clear enough?
  • Why don’t students find their own errors?

Learn and avoid four teaching mistakes that contribute to this frustration:

  • Overcorrecting
  • Holding Back Help
  • Unclear Assignments
  • Over-Expectation

The Power of Our Early Christian Music

Why do we sing in worship? How did our Christian music traditions arise? Come partake in this lively session, filled with beautiful images and music. Journey from the songs of the Old Testament to the hymns of our great-grandmothers. You need no musical background for this workshop.

What is Classical Education?

The term “classical education” has become a buzzword in many education circles, but few of those who use it can define it. Of those who can, some consider it merely an educational “method,” others that it has something to do with the study of the Great Books. But the term has a historical definition that was universally accepted until the late 20th century.

  • What is classical education and how does it differ from the two rival philosophies of education that came to prominence in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries?
  • What was the purpose of classical education before it was replaced in schools and how can these ideas inform today’s education?

What is Logic and How Do You Teach It?

Logic is the science of rational thought—and the ability to use it. This seminar covers how the science of logic is divided, its purpose of teaching the art of deductive inference, the benefits of logic instruction, and how is it best taught.

  • What is the difference between an argument and a quarrel?
  • What are the two branches of logic and how do they differ?
  • What is the difference between modern logic and traditional logic?

Get a solid grounding in one of the central language skills involved in classical education.

What Is Music Theory?

It’s not just reading notes or learning chords! And it’s not only for people who play instruments. Let’s discover the mathematical, analytical, and creative benefits of studying how and why music works, using a step-by-step program that takes student from the rudiments to an understanding of music’s vast expressive capacity.

Why Should Christians Embrace Classical Education?

For over 20 years, a growing number of Christian home educators have adopted the Classical approach to education. Should you? Have you? What is classical education? Why are Christians from so many backgrounds and educational philosophies embracing it?

Why Teaching Latin Is Important

Why would anyone teach Latin in a modern classroom? Isn’t Latin a dead language? Learn why Latin is the key to a good language arts program and the three reasons to teach Latin.

  • How does Latin improve English vocabulary knowledge?
  • How does Latin improve grammar knowledge?
  • What is the role of Latin in teaching critical thinking skills?
  • What is the relation of Latin instruction to good test scores?
  • What are the benefits of teaching Latin in a grammar-intensive way rather than as a conversational language.