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Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child Paperback – May 20, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


Cheryl Swope's new book is perhaps the best story of classical education ever written. This book will take classical education from the perceived ivory towers of academia into the real lives of all people, especially those uniquely blessed with learning disabilities. Here is classical education at its very best, an education that nurtures each soul on purity, truth, and beauty.
-Rev. J. Bart Day, Executive Director of National Mission, Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child gives a clear and practical introduction to Classical Christian education and its significance for children with significant physical and cognitive disabilities from Helen Keller to her own daughter, Michelle. The reader will be excited by the ideas and deeply moved by her story.
-Dr. E. Christian Kopff, University of Colorado - Boulder, Author of The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition

As a classical educator, I have seen what classical education can do for my students; however, as a mother of a special-needs child, I was initially unsure whether this education was right for my own son. Cheryl Swope has convinced me that classical education truly is a beautiful education for every child. This book is a treasury of inspirational stories and practical advice. I am already seeing her ideas bear fruit in our home.
-Joanna Hensley, Latin Teacher; Homeschooling mother of a special-needs child

A classical education is like climbing a mountain, each child benefiting from whatever vistas he or she attains in that upward journey. Cheryl Swope shows us that the special-needs child benefits from the uplifting vision of a classical education as much if not more than those without learning challenges.... In doing so she has advanced the cause of classical Christian education by confounding its critics who claim it is only for the elite.
-Cheryl Lowe, Author of Latina Christiana, First Form Latin; Founder of Highlands Latin School, Memoria Press

Cheryl Swope ostensibly writes about special education, but she also makes one of the clearest and most compelling cases for classical education in print. All children, including academically-challenged students, are human beings, and they deserve an education commensurate with that fact....If a child cannot accommodate the amount or depth of knowledge of most children, it is not less, but more important, that what they learn be of the highest quality.
-Martin Cothran, Editor of The Classical Teacher; Author of Traditional Logic, Classical Rhetoric with Aristotle

From the Author

Who Will Benefit From This Book?

Parents of special-needs children, whether the needs are mild and common, or more severe and complex -- Some may not have heard of "classical education," but they want the best possible education for their children. Others may be well-versed in classical education, but they wonder whether their special-needs children can benefit. This book was written especially for you.

Anyone interested in a straightforward explanation of classical Christian education -- Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child offers an accessible description of classical education and its implementation.

Teachers of special-needs students -- Whether in a tutorial setting, classroom, cottage school setting, home school, teachers of special-needs students will find encouragement, strategies, and resources in this book.

Families who wish to homeschool their special-needs children -- Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child offers support and recommendations from toddlerhood through high school.

Parents who wonder whether a specific child might need further assessment -- You will receive suggestions on informal and formal evaluations with screenings, charts, and tips for navigating the diagnostic process.

Classical school headmasters and teachers who know they are not meeting the educational needs of some struggling students -- Find support in these pages for bringing classical education to special-needs students, rather than ask such students not to return. Schools may wish to better integrate these students into classical classrooms or design a "school within a school" in which smaller classrooms, perhaps K-3 and 4-8, provide a much slower pace overall. With improved strategies and methods, struggling students can continue to receive a classical education.

Anyone already engaged in the excellent pursuit of bringing classical Christian education to any child -- This book is intended to encourage, inspire, and assist classroom teachers, homeschoolers, university professors, classical publishers, headmasters, and more.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Memoria Press (May 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1615382402
  • ISBN-13: 978-1615382408
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.7 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cheryl L. Swope, M.Ed. is an advocate of classical Christian education for any child.

See full bio with free audio downloads, webinars, upcoming events, past events ... - NEW BIO TAB

-Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child
foreword by Dr. Gene Edward Veith (Memoria Press, 2013)

-Eternal Treasures: Teaching Your Child at Home
foreword by Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison (LCMS, 2015)

-Simply Classical Curriculum for Special Needs (Memoria Press)
Voted #1 special needs, OldSchoolhouse magazine 2014

Married nearly 25 years, Cheryl holds a master's degree in special education (Learning Disabilities) and a bachelor's degree in special education (Behavior Disorders).

Cheryl and her husband home-schooled their 20-year-old adopted special-needs children from their infancy with classical Christian education. She holds a lifetime K-12 state teaching certificate in the areas of learning disabilities and behavior disorders.

The love of history, music, literature, and Latin instilled in her own children (twins with autism, learning disabilities, and mental illness) has created in Cheryl the desire to share the message that classical Christian education offers benefits to any child.

Online discussion group - - free to join!

Specifically for Lutherans interested in "classical" education:

Handbook for Classical Lutheran Education, CCLE Press 2013
Classical Lutheran Education Journal, CCLE Press online academic journal,
Curriculum Guide for Classical Lutheran Education, CCLE Press 2015

Online discussion group - ClassicalLutheranHomeschoolers via - free to join!

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By nicole on July 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child by Cheryl Swope is a rare find in today's homeschool world. As comfortable as a coffee shop chat with a friend, yet with a richness and depth of feeling that leaves the reader both inspired and energized, Simply Classical provides engaging first-person narrative as well as practical hands-on application. The author skillfully weaves a picture of the joyful abundance and painful quandaries that often make up a homeschool family's existence. Sitting down with Ms. Swope's story, one is drawn into the drama of an adoption, the subsequent discovery of severe learning disabilities in her children, followed by her family's quest to build a homeschool based on the classical model of learning.
Forceful without being strident, Ms. Swope deftly makes the case for a classical Christian education that nurtures mind, body and soul with the good, the true, and the beautiful. Every "subject" for a quality classical education is addressed in this guide, and yet the reader is not left with the sense that this is the "only way to do x, y or z." Rather, Simply Classical inspires confidence, not fear, excitement, not dread, and provides a scaffolding for the individual homeschool to build upon. No top-down approach here, which forces a rigid, bulky model better suited to an industrial education environment. Instead, this book is an organic approach to homeschooling in a classical manner. Each family is different, with needs, quirks, schedules and personalities that are unique to it, and Simply Classical empowers the home educator and her family to joyfully explore new territory in learning while staying true to the spirit of classical Christian education.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Miah Arthur on August 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
I have three mildly to moderately special needs boys ages 5, 12, and 13. This upcoming year with all three of them in school has been looming over my head in an overwhelming manner. This book has helped change my outlook from near despair to hopefulness.

There are many ideas for incorporating schooling into all those times when doctor and therapy appointments interrupt the day, which has always been a stumbling point for me. There are also ideas of how to incorporate the therapy homework with school work in such practical and easy ways that make it seem both possible and amazing that I had never thought of them of them before (the best ideas always seem to be like that). The examples from her children, who face vastly greater challenges than my own, and yet have had access to this great store of Classical education are so inspirational.

The points that she makes about looking beyond the purely practical nature of a subject that tends toward limiting the education of a special needs student to only things deemed to be life skills toward what will strengthen the mind and expand the horizons of that child are something I have never encountered in any educational literature before--especially in things targeted to special needs students. Yet, it feels so right.

This book articulates the things that I have always wanted for my children, and blazes a trail toward those goals.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Erik Rottmann on June 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Truth, beauty, and goodness are what you will read about in Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education For Any Child. Author, Cheryl Swope, truthfully shares her family's beautiful story about how classical education benefits her children with special needs from the time they were toddlers to present day. This book not only offers hope to families of children with special needs, but it is filled with suggestions for helpful resources and ideas for classical instruction of special needs children. Examples of helpful resources include the following: simple checklists for assessing special needs as well as developmental milestone achievements, suggestions for further reading on a variety of topics related to special needs and/or classical education, and practical teaching strategies for children of special needs that are easily incorporated into any classical curriculum. Additionally, Cheryl devotes an entire chapter that clearly explains what classical education is and how it differs from classical Christian education. Thank you to the entire Swope family, most especially Michelle, for sharing your journey in classical education. I can think of no better way to "serve your neighbor!" (This review written by Erik's wife, Kelly)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. E. Koehneke on August 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
Swope weaves her fascinating personal narrative with practical tips and resources in an encouraging, humble and hopeful tone. Simply Classical is an inspiration to me as a beginning classical homeschool mother and as a professional educator. Clear articulation of a Classical Christian education is movingly presented as the reader follows the development of Ms. Swope's two special needs children. Many of the practical applications offered in the book are helpful for all children; indeed Simply Classical demonstrates how a Classical Christian education is a beautiful gift that must be accessible to all of God's children.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kevin S. on July 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
Cheryl's writing style makes the book easy to read, interesting and I think I
finally understand the topic! My spouse and I both took Logic as a Philosophy class in college and often reference what we
learned. With my three kids I can see the benefits of the classically-influenced teaching where it has been applied. Cheryl's book will certainly make us think more about the way we approach our kids' education and the classes they take.

Perhaps her efforts are the start or restart of something big.
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