through an online distance learning seminary program. My students watch video
lectures of Francis Schaeffer discussing
European art. My third son is currently
enrolled in history courses through a
partnership with Bryan College and
Classical Conversations. His courses have
allowed him to be mentored by an experienced college professor who has helped
him to improve both his writing and his
knowledge of history. My company just
launched an iPad app that is designed
to help students practice and retain their
memory work. All of these are excellent
ways in which technology allows us to
enrich the knowledge and experience of
The Classical Homeschooler
For Further Reading
• Bauerlein, Mark. The Dumbest
Generation: How the Digital Age
Stupefies Young Americans and
Jeopardizes Our Future. New
York: Penguin Books, 2009.
• Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse
in the Age of Show Business. New
York: Penguin Books, 1985.
• Trelease, Jim. The Read-Aloud
Handbook, Sixth Edition. New
York: Penguin Books, 2006.
Brings the Ancient World Home
Leigh A. Bortins is author of the recently
published book The Core: Teaching Your
Child the Foundations of Classical Education. In addition, Ms. Bortins is the
founder and CEO of Classical Conversations, Inc. and host of the weekly radio
show, Leigh! At Lunch. She lectures about
the importance of home education nationwide. She lives with her family in West End,
North Carolina. To learn more, visit her
or her blog,
1. Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death:
Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.
New York: Penguin Books, 1985, p. vii.
www.river.org/~dhawk/gkc-quotes.html, accessed March 24, 2012.
3. Trelease, Jim. The Read-Aloud Handbook, Sixth
Edition. New York: Penguin Books, 2006, p. 154.
4. Bauerlein, Mark. The Dumbest Generation: How
the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and
Jeopardizes Our Future. New York: Penguin
Books, 2009, p. 10.
More so than ever, home ducators recognize the value of Classicallanguag- es, literature, and history.
Though they’ve died out in our failing
public school system, these topics are
alive and well in home education because
the rewards are long-lasting. Latin and
Greek students reap a lifetime of verbal
skills. Classical literature and history provide an understanding of Western Civilization. Classical archaeology adds discovery and adventure.
Occasions to learn these subjects at
home used to be limited unless one had
a friend with a Classics degree willing to
tutor. A typical homeschool family could
quickly read through the scant local library branch’s book selection, and few
knew where to turn next. Today, technology helps bring these subjects directly to
your home and gives every learner powerful tools to master them.
Whether your children are just starting
or have been at it for a while, a fast Internet search will yield free online goodies
to suit your needs. I advocate providing
a buffet of parent-approved online resources to help learn languages or grow
interests in history, archaeology, and
Latin and Greek
students reap a lifetime
of verbal skills.
literature. Computer-based games or colorful museum sites can help a reluctant
beginner begin; online study tools can
take an intermediate student into advanced levels.
Technology is a potent tool for language learning, especially if you try
online classes. As a six-year veteran of
online teaching, I have a few suggestions.
First, keep a human involved. Self-tutor-ing can fail because languages are best
taught by a fluent tutor to keep things
moving smoothly. Live online classes can
bring that tutor into your home afford-ably. Second, a student should constantly
review. Look for online skill-linked games
and ask for a digital recording of your live
class. Third, look for an online course that
offers regular instructor-graded quizzes
and homework. Students must be able to
check their knowledge to make progress.
History and literature studies benefit
from a well-rounded interdisciplinary
approach. Both should involve a heavy