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The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education
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The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  954 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
In the past, correct spelling, the multiplication tables, the names of the state capitals and the American presidents were basics that all children were taught in school. Today, many children graduate without this essential knowledge. Most curricula today follow a haphazard sampling of topics with a focus on political correctness instead of teaching students how to study. ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2010)
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This is a book that I can see rating lower in time as I read more books about classical education (update: after reading The Well-Trained Mind, I did lower my rating from 3 stars to a rating of 2 stars: it's okay). The author has a pleasant writing style and presents the philosophy of a classical education in a pretty convincing manner. I'm wondering though, where are the citations? She makes dozens of claims and references to statistics throughout the book, but doesn't provide exact sources. If ...more
Jul 18, 2012 Shannon rated it liked it
While I haven't finished reading every page of this book, I've read enough to say that it's easier to read than the other homeschool book on classical education: The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. When I read Susan Wise Bauer's book, I walked away feeling like a classical education was something that sounded intriguing, but difficult (if not impossible) for me to implement. Bortins makes everything feel more achievable and does a great job of articulating the value of ...more
Aug 09, 2010 Spinneretta rated it really liked it
Shelves: homeschool
The Core, by Leigh Bortins, is a book about how to give your child a classical education. It is written for the elementary aged school child, primarily with home-educators in mind, although someone whose children were in public school would probably benefit from it too.
It is a well written, and fairly easy to read manual. A guide to an overall view of classical homeschooling. It is not really a step by step handbook as the Well Trained Mind or the Latin Centered Curriculum are, this one is less
Dec 04, 2010 Katie rated it it was ok
If you are considering homeschooling with the classical method/trivium and are persuaded by arguments appealing to your tendency to brag and feel smug and snidely superior, this book might be helpful to you. Otherwise, don't waste your time, there are other books out there which cover far more practical ground without the snotty tone. Also, dear author, so your child can identify Millard Fillmore on sight? Big deal. There's a lot more to a comprehensive education than the rote memorization of no ...more
Dec 23, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
I loved the chapter on Geography. I want to do more actual drawing of maps rather than just coloring them in. The rest of this book sort of bugged me because there is so much emphasis on memorization. Memorizing facts hasn't been, at least at my house, the "fun" or "exciting" experience that she makes it out to be in the book. My kids learn better by being immersed in a subject and reading and reading about that subject rather than just sitting to memorize a bunch of facts or timeline as she des ...more
Oct 10, 2011 Marks54 rated it it was ok
Once you start reading this, it becomes clear that the intent of this book is to introduce the ideas of a "classical" education to parents considering home schooling for their children. The book is clearly written, moves along well, and does provide some distinct ideas for what to do if home schooling is chosen. I have little doubt that, if followed through, this book can contribute to a successful home schooling experience. The author, who is an active blogger on these topics, has successfully ...more
Margaret Chind
I've been very eager to get my hands on this book. I've never seen it on a good sale so I've always told myself, maybe later. Then I discovered the library had it, so I figured I'd pursue it there. This morning when I was headed to pick it up from the holds desk a friend listed it for sale on-line and I got very excited. I decided to borrow it from the library anyway just to see how excited I could get.

Well, I'm not excited anymore. I read The Conversation last week for review and knew I wanted
Cheryl Floyd
Feb 22, 2014 Cheryl Floyd rated it it was amazing
Taking the abstract notions of the Classical model and making them concrete and even manageable is the premise of this book, and the author's company, Classical Conversations. I found this book to be highly readable, and even comforting, encouraging, while being engaging and even a little admonishing. As Leigh lays out the Classical model in terminology and in terms of practicality, she also gives you insight into our historical and current educational history. Sometimes this may feel like a rev ...more
Oct 04, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
This book is written in very accessible prose and is more a lengthy essay on why classical education is important than a reliable how-to guide. Ms. Bortins does a great job of making a case for a classical approach to education and her passion is inspiring. For that reason alone, I would recommend this book to anyone dissatisfied with the education their child is receiving. It provides such an optimistic view of teaching children how to learn, and learn well. There is a certain element of market ...more
Sep 22, 2011 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
This is a good, practical introduction to why educate your children in your home, using the classical model. Much of the material will be repetitive for those that have read similar books, but the strengths in this book are that it is short, yet gives good examples of the expectations for each stage of the trivium, as well as material to cover.

Bortins is good at encouraging parents that they can give their kids a great education using the classical model, and also creative in how to actually do
Feb 24, 2015 Thadeus rated it really liked it
Shelves: education, kindle, own
This was an outstanding book! It did a great job of laying out the reasons for, and a framework of classical education. If you have just learned about the trivium and classical education, this is a great book to start with in order to gain an understanding of the reasons for, purposes of, and a little 'how-to' of classically educating your children.

The style was very conversational and gave me a great basis for finding my way in the realm of classical education.

Recommended for those who have hea
May 20, 2013 Carrie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homeschool
Really enjoyed this one. I've already read it twice in the last two months. A good complement to The Well-Trained Mind. I find myself more in line with the Charlotte Mason style than I would have thought two years ago. Like most books having to do with homeschool, I found things I totally agree with and others that don't really work for us (or matter as much). I did like her ideas for teaching mapping/geography and will try and integrate that next year. This is a book I will keep on my shelf.
Dec 10, 2010 Jana rated it liked it
Read for further research into the classical model. Useful, and I didn't really notice the haughty tone noted by other reviewers. There were some great suggestions and ideas incorporated throughout. A fine overview of the model that takes a lot less time to read than does "The Well-Trained Mind"! (But you really should read WTM, too...)
Mar 12, 2015 Kcshrader rated it did not like it
Shelves: homeschooling
I've read this one twice, because I keep trying to like it. I want it to be a knock-your-socks-off exposition of the joys of classical education. Instead, it reads more like a course catalog for Classical Conversations (founded by the author) -- full of glimpses of what your kids could be doing, but no information at all about how to actually pull it off. A grave disappointment.
Dec 18, 2015 Stacy rated it it was amazing
This was my 4th reading through The Core. Each summer I re-read this a refresher and a reminder to the goals of a classical educator. I'm encouraged and renewed each summer to set out to teach the core subjects and to bring about mastery. It is a easily read and modeled examples of how even a public school raised mom can learn how to love learning thru the classical model.
Nicole L.
Apr 14, 2014 Nicole L. rated it really liked it
Shelves: nicole
This book was a great introduction to Classical education. Leigh Bortins did a great job of presenting how Classically educating your children can prepare them for whatever they choose to do when they become adults.
Lea Lea
Nov 02, 2015 Lea Lea rated it it was amazing
I recommend this book to anyone interested in classically educating. It is easy to read and gives examples for each subject. I am re-reading a second time. This time with a pen in hand for underlying. I also plan to try her recommendations for geography this summer.
Angie Libert
Jul 09, 2014 Angie Libert rated it it was amazing
I am so glad that I finally read this book! The author presents a totally doable approach to applying the Classical Method in a homeschool setting, especially during the Grammar Stage. I am looking forward to applying her various ideas into our daily routine.
Kara Guffey
Aug 09, 2013 Kara Guffey rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
I felt like this was a good and very practical book about classical education. It makes classical education doable. I agree that other books give more depth and breadth of the subject but this book is a great place to start and get your feet wet with classical education.
M.G. Bianco
Aug 26, 2010 M.G. Bianco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
Good book to help the new homeschooler get on the right track. Great introduction to classical education, christian education, and home-centered education. A When You Rise Up-type of approach to education.
Jul 24, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mom
Totally regret not reading this when we first started CC. However, it is not too late and I can totally use all the information in this book still. Should buy this book soon..krb 7/24/16
Tricia Oaks
Jul 09, 2016 Tricia Oaks rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing!! Helped me wrap my mind around classical home schooling. Encouraged without overwhelming me. Quotes to chew on for days. Great resource lists
Catherine Gillespie
"Classical education encourages us that we are capable of becoming an Oxford don who builds bicycles, or a plumber who reads Milton, or a business owner who spouts theology. The classically educated are not defined by their occupation so much as by their breadth of knowledge and understanding." -Leigh Bortins

I’ve been disturbed recently by a trend of demeaning the idea that everyone deserves a good education. You have probably seen these items too: “Does one need to read King Lear to be qualifie
Oct 02, 2016 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: education
More theory than a book like the well trained mind, so someone approaching the classical model of education might find it a bit more difficult to implement. Full disclosure: I would consider myself a proponent of classical education. It appeals to me, and I've seen first hand what happens when logic and rhetoric are removed from post-elementary education. I found myself agreeing with the first chapter "What's wrong with education today?" most of the time. However, I have one problem with the arg ...more
jessica wilson
Sep 18, 2016 jessica wilson rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016-reads
There are some educational points regarding Classical Education within the pages of this book. The profound biases within read more like a blog than a tome of reference.
Sep 13, 2016 Laura rated it liked it
I felt like this might have been a better read had I been on the fence about homeschooling. The first half was very informative about homeschooling, but I didn't need to be convinced so I found it a little dry and slow to read. The second half was much more practical and I gather several helpful tips on teaching various subjects. I'll be referring back to the second portion as we go for ideas.
Matt Pitts
Aug 27, 2013 Matt Pitts rated it really liked it
There is a growing dissatisfaction in America with our system of public education - and not just among homeschool advocates. Our system is failing our students (and probably frustrating our teachers). But what other options do we have? Leigh Bortins reminds us that there is a better way - a way that was proved over the course of thousands of years - a way called classical education.

Classical education emphasizes mastering the basics of a subject in the grammar stage, applying the basics to more
May 06, 2015 Leslie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homeschooling
When people ask why we want to homeschool our children, I often mention that we're after a different "product." Worldview is part of the equation, but in addition and almost as important is the process, the methods, and the content. A classical education depends on the trivium (the time-tested process of training the mind: grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric stages). This book is the first of three in a series to explain this process. The Core emphasizes the grammar stage, which relies heavily on m ...more
Jun 07, 2013 Joy rated it really liked it
The Core offers parents, educators and anyone else interested an overview of classical education. While Leigh Bortins' focus is on a home-centered classical education, she offers suggestions for incorporating the classical model in traditional schools as well as at home after a day in a traditional school. This book can also be a guide for adults interested in classically training themselves. This book has takeaway value for anyone who reads it.

This is the second in a stack of books on classical
Jul 22, 2016 Meredith rated it liked it
Let me start with a disclaimer: my children are classically homeschooled and part of a Classical Conversations community. My husband is the director and this was a required read for him. Long before we found CC or this book, we'd made the decision to homeschool classically.

While this is a much easier, more accessible read than The Well-Trained Mind, to me that's what made it fall somewhat flat. There are fewer practical suggestions and curriculum choices here (probably because she wants to stee
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What do you want to get out of reading this book? 1 1 Sep 22, 2016 04:35PM  
Let's get started 1 1 Sep 22, 2016 04:31PM  
Classical Convers...: Chapter 4: Reading 8 48 Aug 19, 2014 10:44AM  
Classical Convers...: Chapter 6: Math 6 32 Jul 10, 2014 12:54PM  
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  • Climbing Parnassus: A New Apologia for Greek and Latin
  • Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style
  • Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition
  • Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Reading
  • Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child
  • The Latin-Centered Curriculum: A Homeschooler's Guide to a Classical Education
  • The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home
  • Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning
  • Home Education
  • The Living Page: Keeping Notebooks With Charlotte Mason
  • For the Children's Sake
  • Charlotte Mason Companion
  • Educating the Wholehearted Child
  • Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum: A Guide to Catholic Home Education
  • Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace
  • The Three R's
  • A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century

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