2018 Conference

Conference Poster

School of the Ozarks & The Classical Thistle

Annual Classical Christian Education Conference

March 2-3, 2018

College of the Ozarks

100 Opportunity Avenue, Point Lookout, MO 65726

School of the Ozarks and The Classical Thistle joined together  on March 2-3, 2018, to host our annual Classical Christian Education Conference. Our conference explored the practical aspects of teaching classically within today’s classrooms.  Through discussion, classroom examples, and lectures, this conference aimed to equip teachers with practical tools to use right away. The conference was designed around three plenary lectures and 29 workshops spread out over six breakout sessions. Video of the breakout sessions and audio of the plenary sessions will be available soon and can be accessed at no cost!  Although we aim to provide audio and video resources of this and future conferences, nothing can replace the great interaction with other classical Christian educators available at the conference. So as you anticipate those resources, we hope you will make plans to join us for next year’s conference, which will be held on March 8-9, 2019.

Conference Videos

School Culture The Devil is in the Details – Kim Mewes & Bruce Williams

Rethinking Elementary Latin – Ian Mosley

Reaching Educational Outliers – Sara Osborne

Pushing Logic to the Corners Teaching and Reinforcing Logic throughout the Secondary Scott Welch

Classically Educating All Types of Learners – Mary Kay Janke

Christian Principles for Socratic Disucssion – Jacob Allee

The Historical Mind Thinking in the Past and Present – Kyle Rapinchuk

A Lesson Plan Journey From Takeoff to Landing, Part 1 Kim Mewes

A Lesson Plan Journey From Takeoff to Landing, Part 2 – Kim Mewes

Friendship Is Classical Education Possible Without It – Josh Dyson

Writing in the Upper School – Jim Selby

Socratic Method Teaching – William Cooper

Daily Bread – Christine Norvell

Reclaiming the Classroom as a Workshop for Wisdom – Kyle Rapinchuk

Visual Competence – Nicole Potter


2018 Conference Program

Plenary Addresss

Plenary #1: Classical Christian Education in Light of the Sources

Jim Selby, Whitefield Academy

We seek to base our instruction at Whitefield on “ad Fontes”—the Sources.  In the midst of a decidedly non-classical and unchristian culture, classical sources can help keep us classical, and only when we are classical will we stay Christian.  Moreover, it is only when we stay classical and Christian that we can become better at what we seek, “…to repair the ruins of our first parents in order to know God aright.” (Milton, On Education)


Plenary #2: Abdicating Dads—Are We a Part of the Problem or the Solution?

Bruce Williams, Grace Classical Academy

Luke 6:40, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” True successful education occurs because of a child wanting to be like someone else. Douglas Wilson states, “Fathers are essential to any successful school system, and no system of education can successfully compensate for the abdication of fathers.” We all want to be a part of successful schools, but are we becoming part of the problem of dad’s abdicating?


Plenary #3: With an Eye to the Future: CCE for the 21st C

Kyle Rapinchuk, School of the Ozarks & The Classical Thistle

Soon we will find ourselves in the third generation of students in the modern classical Christian education movement. As we move towards this next generation of students, the myriad of problems facing Christianity, education, and classical Christian education specifically are mounting. If classical Christian education is to flourish in this next generation, I think we need to take particular care in a few areas to ensure that we pass on this education well to the next generation. This plenary talk will explore these three areas and also provide some opportunities moving forward.


Workshop Descriptions

Workshop Breakout #1

A Lesson Plan Journey: From Takeoff to Landing, Part 1 

Kim Mewes, The Oaks Classical Christian Academy

The process of writing quality lesson plans begins at the 40,000 foot level with the preparation of a Scope and Sequence. Next, yearly objectives help give the teacher the “sightedness” to plan and deliver quality lessons. Kim will explain how to create a Scope and Sequence, yearly and quarterly objectives, and weekly lesson plans that keep sight of classical methodology and The Seven Laws of Teaching. A question and answer session will follow this workshop.

The Historical Mind: Thinking the Past in the Present

Kyle Rapinchuk, School of the Ozarks & The Classical Thistle

History is one of the core classes that one can expect to find in all schools, regardless of whether it is called history, social studies, humanities, or a great books seminar. Yet despite the significance of history, many cannot explain its importance beyond dates, names, and battles. In this session, we will explore the historical mind and the task of historical thinking and ultimately explore a model for teaching “history” in a way that allows the past to speak into our present in a more meaningful way. Workshop attendees can expect to leave with some practical steps to use and teach about the historical method, as well as an example of how to employ this method in the classroom.

Christian Principles for Socratic Discussion

Jacob Allee, Classical School of Wichita

In this workshop, we will examine the purpose of Socratic discussion and the methods to employ in order to get the most out of any given Socratic discussion. We will also discuss the specific way our Christian faith should impact our use of the Socratic method and principles we should follow when employing it. Additionally, everyone will participate in a brief Socratic discussion after reading a quick text from Plato. We will employ and draw attention to the methods and principles discussed earlier in the workshop so that everyone can benefit from seeing these methods and principles in action.

The Lost Tools of Memory: Practical Memory Techniques for the Classroom

Scott Welch, The Oaks Classical Christian Academy

We ask our students to memorize so much material in our schools. We will discuss the problems with how teachers ask students to memorize material without giving them the tools to do it. Scott will give some tips for organizing information to make it easier to memorize, and then he will conduct a workshop memorizing some material using the “Memory Palace” method.


Workshop Breakout #2

A Lesson Plan Journey: From Takeoff to Landing, Part 2 

Kim Mewes, The Oaks Classical Christian Academy

The process of writing quality lesson plans begins at the 40,000 foot level with the preparation of a Scope and Sequence. Next, yearly objectives help give the teacher the “sightedness” to plan and deliver quality lessons. Kim will explain how to create a Scope and Sequence, yearly and quarterly objectives, and weekly lesson plans that keep sight of classical methodology and The Seven Laws of Teaching. A question and answer session will follow this workshop.

Harkness Discussion Method: An Introduction and Demonstration

Scott Welch, The Oaks Classical Christian Academy

In this session, Scott will give a 15-minute introduction to the Harkness method and will then conduct a demonstration with a group of School of Ozarks students.

Friendship: Is Classical Education Possible Without It?                  

Josh Dyson Classical School of Wichita

The ancients regarded friendship as the most valuable of relationships. For Plato and Socrates, friendship provided a context for the dialectic. For Aristotle, it gave meaning to life and was a catalyst for virtue. For Augustine, it was vital in cultivating his longing for the rest found only in Christ. For these men friendship was central. Unfortunately, for most of us in our fast-paced world, friendship has been moved to the periphery—a luxury more than a necessity. What are we missing by our neglect of Friendship? How do we intentionally train our students to cultivate friendships that create opportunities for the dialectic, growth in virtue, and longing for their permanent home? Is classical education possible without friendship? These are the questions that we will explore in this session.

Socratic Method of Teaching

William Cooper, Gloria Deo

This workshop will provide instruction on the value and method of Socratic teaching and give some practical tips for how to implement this method into a variety of classroom environments.

Reclaiming the Classroom as a Workshop for Wisdom 

Kyle Rapinchuk, School of the Ozarks & The Classical Thistle

Many works have been published in the past two decades that suggest our primary goal in classical Christian education is not simply the transfer of information or the development of skills, but rather the cultivation of wisdom and virtue. Our classrooms and curricula, however, often demonstrate an emphasis on mere information rather than wisdom. In this workshop, we will explore what it might look like to have a classroom that is a “workshop for wisdom” and discuss some practical ways we can cultivate this environment. Workshop attendees can expect both to receive some ideas, as well as participate by sharing their own classroom experiences of cultivating “workshops for wisdom.”

Workshop Breakout #3

Classically Educating All Types of Learners

Mary Kay Janke

Practical strategies for reaching your lowest- and your highest-level students.

Visual Competence: Training Children to See as an Artist in the Grammar Stage

Nicole Potter

By teaching the principles of design through the biblical framework of beauty, students obtain a sound understanding that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. This helps students understand art as a discipline that requires devoted labor. Skills in art can be cultivated; it requires devotion and hard work. These skills can and should be cultivated beyond just the art room and should be recognized and reinforced in all classrooms of a grammar school. Here we will discuss practical ways to train the eyes of our students to see as an artist, even if the teacher lacks confidence in his or her own artistic abilities.

Writing in the Upper School—Refutation                     

Jim Selby, Whitefield Academy

Participants in this workshop will engage in refuting a narrative. This refutation includes finding arguments based on clarity, plausibility, possibility, justice, propriety, and expedience. These exercises begin building the fundamental composition skill of invention. The refutation and its corresponding confirmation exercises develop within students the ability to consider multiple sides of an issue. These exercises trace their classical origins to Aphthonius’ Progymnasmata.

Slaying the Time-eating Dragon: Practical Tips to Make the Most of Our Time in the Classroom and with Our Families                                                                

Brad Dolloff, School of the Ozarks         

Have you ever reached the conclusion of class and wondered where the period went because so much time was spent dealing with obstacles that had little to do with the main objective for the lesson? In this highly interactive and practical session, Brad shares ideas and tips from nearly thirty years in education on how to destroy those vicious time-eating dragons that steal precious time from our families and from the classroom. Participants will have opportunities to ask questions and share their own ideas on how to use time more efficiently.

School Culture: The Devil Is In the Details                                                            

Bruce Williams, Grace Classical Academy; Kim Mewes, The Oaks Classical Christian Academy

We have a tendency to overlook the little things, claiming they are “little things.” In reality, these little things add up and soon become the hindrance to establishing a culture of goodness, beauty, and truth.


Workshop Breakout #4

How to Equip and Train Parents in the World of Classical Education

Michelle Brayman, Classical Conversations

Would you like to thrive in classical education?  Parents know more about classical education than they realize. Come discover more with us!  Let us help you navigate the classical education language, implement familiar skills and tools that you already have, and provide new ideas of how to utilize classical education to its fullest potential.  You are likely to have fun in the process and possibly redeem some of your own education.

Reformation Poetry: Preparing Students for High School Humanities

Jenni Carey, School of the Ozarks

Tackling classical humanities in high school is a huge challenge. The level and amount of reading expected of our students can be daunting, to say the least. Students who are exposed to key combinations of vocabulary, constructions, and concepts in the study of Reformation Poetry are better prepared for gathering meaning and appreciating the beauty of the works they will experience during their rhetoric years. Workshop participants will be provided examples and resources to take and use in the classroom, guiding them through lessons in Reformation Poetry for middle school students as a preparation for higher-level reading, comprehension, and appreciation of classic works.

The Heroic Journey: Using Joseph Campbell to Understand Story, History, and His Story 

Dan Snyder, Classical School of Wichita

Aristotle advocated the memory of association in his Rhetoric.   What is the rhetoric of story?  How does it help the student associate the events of history and the shape of literature in a combined study that brings the world into focus?  Campbell’s methods have proven fruitful to screen writers, and although based on Jungian assumptions, they are easily recognizable by the classical teaching world as yet another reliable canon of understanding and production for the growing rhetoric student.  This method will spark creative writers and historians as well.

Daily Bread                                                                                                       

Christine Norvell, Regent Preparatory

Jesus taught us to pray and to ask for our daily bread in Matthew 6. Like the Israelites in Exodus 16, we have provision for that day, never too much and never too little. What if we apply that truth to our everyday lives and academic efforts as well? Think of our daily bread of essay writing for example. As teachers and students, we can benefit from this simple concept that can lighten our burdens if we but ask.

Plato’s Meno                                                                                                                                      

Ian Mosley, School of the Ozarks

The ostensible question of this short Platonic dialog is simple enough: can virtue be taught? But in trying to answer that, Socrates will lead his interlocutor through some heavy epistemological sledding. How indeed can we know anything at all?

Workshop Breakout #5

Writing in the Grammar School—Fables                                                                                     

Jim Selby, Whitefield Academy

Participants in this workshop will engage in a series of different exercises around a single story or fable.  These exercises (expanding, condensing, resequencing, point of view, and turning prose into poetry) begin building fundamental composition skills of finding and developing arguments.  The Fable allows students to experience particular events from different perspectives, forming both empathy and understanding.  These exercises trace their classical origins to Aphthonius’ Progymnasmata.

Rethinking Elementary Latin                              

Ian Mosley, School of the Ozarks

Most elementary Latin curricula look pretty similar. What works about them? What doesn’t? How can we improve the quality of elementary Latin instruction and make it better serve the goals of Latin study in the upper grades? The way forward just might be to look backward, at the most successful elementary Latin curriculum of the early Modern period through the nineteenth century, William Lily’s Accidence.

Pushing Logic to the Corners: Teaching and Reinforcing Logic throughout the Secondary

Scott Welch, The Oaks Classical Christian Academy

In many classical schools students learn Logic in 8th grade and then pick it up again in Rhetoric in 11th without much Logic instruction in the middle. Are we giving them enough tools to write a strong, cogent argument in their thesis papers? We will discuss methods that every secondary teacher can use to teach and reinforce good, powerful arguments in every class. Scott will also lead the group in a demonstration of the Toulmin method and will give ideas how to apply it in your classes.

Reaching Educational Outliers: Partnering with Parents to Classically Educate All Students Well

Sara Osborne, College of the Ozarks & The Classical Thistle

Prompted by questions and ideas from Susan Wise Bauer’s recent book Rethinking School and Cheryl Swope’s Simply Classical, this session will explore creative strategies for helping both struggling and academically gifted students in classical schools. How does our philosophy of education affect our view of these students? What strategies can we employ to pursue the same goals of classical education for all students? How can parents play an active role in this process? Please consider joining this important discussion as we consider how to promote the enjoyment and fruits of learning for all classically educated children.

Time is of the Essence: Increasing Efficiency for Maximized Effectiveness

Josh Dyson, Classical School of Wichita

Whether you are an administrator, school teacher, homeschool mom, board member, parent, volunteer, or “all of the above,” time is of the essence. Our time easily gets sucked away into a vacuum, often leaving us scratching our heads wondering, “Where has the time gone?” In this talk I will present strategies that we can implement to recapture our time.