A classical conversation about education
Homeschooled students meet with community leaders
Mayor Robin Laubaugh greets the crowd. Submitted photo
WADSWORTH – A group of home schooled students recently had the opportunity to meet with community leaders and show them some of the things they have been learning.

Officials including Mayor Robin Laubaugh, Council President Bob Thurber, Municipal Judge Stephen McIlvaine, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci’s community relations coordinator Thomas Queen, Medina County Park Rangers Dave Swinehart and “Ranger Bob” and Northside Christian Church Pastor Robin Hart gathered at the Chapel to meet with the group of 45 students who participate in the Wadsworth branch of Classical Conversations, a nationwide organization that provides parent-tutors to guide students who are home schooled.

“We wanted to invite area leaders to learn more about our organization,” said Janeen Oesterling, Challenge B director for the Wadsworth campus of Classical Conversations. “Our students came and demonstrated some of the things they do in class and then our guests joined us for lunch and the kids had the chance to sit and interact with our guests.”

Oesterling said the 45 students enrolled at the Wadsworth campus – located at The Chapel on State Road – meet every Tuesday for tutor-guided lessons and interactions with each other. The students study independently throughout the rest of the week.

“The classical method implements learning certain skills to match childrens’ natural development,” Oesterling said.

Oesterling said children learn in three basic steps under the classical method. Grammar refers to the first step in learning which is to learn the basic parts and vocabulary, which young children especially do very well. The next step is dialectic where students sort, compare and understand the words and basic parts. This step generally takes place for students ages 10 to 14. The third step is rhetoric where students learn to communicate, practice and use what they have learned. This happens most naturally during high school years.

Abby Huffstutler, a former English teacher, said the method works very well for her daughters who are ages 13, 10 and 5.

“I didn’t grow up home schooled,” she said. “When I was an English teacher it felt like there was kind of a disconnect like there wasn’t this big cohesive picture on how all learning connected. I wanted to show how English could tie into history and how that could tie into math.”

Huffstutler said Classical Conversations gives a nice structure for home schooled children, adding that there is already materials and curriculum in place with hands on activities where her children can learn. Then through homeschooling the rest of the week, her children can learn independently.

“Having a community like this helps to pull everything together,” she said. “But as parents we can individually tailor it to our own kids. I think that is one of the biggest reasons parents want to homeschool because we don’t want to send our child to someone we barely know for hours.”

Huffstutler said home schooling might not be right for every family, but thinks it is the best situation for her children.

“The appeal for us is that the model really maximizes our kids’ learning abilities,” she said.

For more information about Classical Conversations, log on to https://www.classicalconversations.com/.