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Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child Paperback – May 20, 2013
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Cheryl Swope's book is perhaps the best story of classical education ever written. This book will take classical education from theperceived ivory towers of academia into the real lives of all people,especially those uniquely blessed with learning disabilities. Here isclassical education at its very best, an education that nurtures eachsoul 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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Because of the challenges the author faced when endeavoring to meet the needs of her learning disabled students while still providing a rigorous, nurturing, and beautiful education for her children, Ms. Swope approaches the question of "how" with a scope much more broad than most homeschool manuals. She presents alternative methods of teaching and learning which she and her children learned mainly through trial and error, graciously acknowledges the people and ideas who helped her most, and often sheepishly laments the fact that her background in institutional education proved to be more of a hindrance than a help in teaching her own children. The vignettes and anecdotes of Michael and Michelle, the author's children, are beautifully rendered portraits of true-to-life young people with interests, foibles and challenges, and it is through their story that the picture of a mother's heart emerges: yearning for a rich existence for her children despite circumstances and naysayers who did not believe they were capable of such.
Finally, throughout the book, the author's faith in the sufficiency of Christ shines brightly, and the reader is drawn to understand the wonderful gift and awesome responsibility given to parents to guide their children and raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. With grace, patience, and humility, Ms. Swope shows that a simple, childlike faith in the Lord and a love for neighbor is worth far more than what math program one chooses, or whether a child learns to read at four or fourteen. A classical homeschool, indeed any homeschool, would be richly blessed by adding Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child to its shelves.
Soli Deo Gloria
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.