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Publisher's Summary

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.

Leigh Bortins, a leading figure in the homeschooling community, is having none of it. She believes that there are core areas of knowledge that are essential to master. Without knowing the multiplication tables, children can't advance to algebra. Without mastery of grammar, students will have difficulty expressing themselves. Without these essential building blocks of knowledge, students may remember information but they will never possess a broad and deep understanding of how the world works.

In this book, Bortins gives parents the tools and methodology to implement a rigorous, thorough, and broad curriculum based on the classical model, including:

  • Rote memorization to cement knowledge
  • Systematic learning of geography, historical facts, and timelines
  • Reading the great books and seminal historical documents instead of adaptations and abridged editions
  • Rigorous training in math and the natural sciences

©2010 Palgrave Macmillan (P)2014 Leigh A. Bortins

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Great, Practical Application

Would you listen to The Core again? Why?

Listening to this book once a year while my children are under 10 will be a must! The book is jam-packed with tools I can use in our homeschool over and over again. Even as a 5th year Foundations Tutor in Classical Conversations, I learn something new every time I hear/read The Core.

How could the performance have been better?

I personally wish the narrator would have been a little more mature. The sing-song tone she uses throughout the book can drive me batty - especially in the first few chapters. Once I get about mid-way through the audiobook, my ears sort of learn to deal with it and get past the distraction of her style in order to absorb the content.

What did you learn from The Core that you would use in your daily life?

The tips in the later chapters when she starts breaking things down subject by subject are invaluable. Reading, Geography, Spelling, Math, you name it - Leigh Bortins is simple, practical, and thorough.

Any additional comments?

Hoping they will soon have The Question and The Conversation available on Audio as well. Although I hope they choose a different narrator for those.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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A must read!!

Complete how to on classical eduction! Practical and empowering. I left this book with a plan and confidence to educate my children.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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SO encouraging!

Leigh Bortins gives me some amazing encouragement and direction to families whose children are enrolled in Classical Conversations, a classical school, a private school, a public school, who homeschool, to those who teach, and to those that are involved with children outside of a school setting. It was well worth my time, and I will probably listen to it several more times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Book is great, Narrator needs help

Honestly, I only got through the first chapter, and that was only by gritting my teeth. The narrator's intonations are monotonous and do not ebb and flow with the words and the passion of the concepts written. Her voice is pleasant, but her reading style is just not for me. Since I think this is a worthwhile read, I'll be reading the paper copy instead.

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This is the best!

I have read quite a bit about teaching in preparation for homeschooling an older child. This has by far been the most practical and helpful. Watching my own children develop, I disagree with the idea of strict stages of development because I have seen higher level thinking come and go in fits and starts all along. Also, I have seen memorization fail when not tied to some understanding or conceptual framework, so in these regards my observations are at odds with a strict classical teaching model. But that said, the sheer lack of copy work, memorization, mechanics, grammar and practice in my child’s time in public school has resulted in stalled learning and knowledge gaps that are painful to watch. “Pre-school” that I had provided for my child before kindergarten was far more classically modeled then I had realized, as the methods simply seemed like the best, and most well-tested methods to teach simple preparatory matter. It is too bad I was unable to homeschool all along, but life is winding, and best understood only in hindsight. While I don’t plan to follow the authors model perfectly, I will be incorporating and adapting many techniques and lesson plans. I bought the Audible which is wonderful and can be “read” doing other chores at whichever speed works best, but later bought the kindle version as there are many concrete lists and recommendations that I would like to refer to more purposefully and copy directly. Most home education books are very thin on actionable information. Be forewarned.

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Very helpful information!

I'm really thankful I found this book on Audible! I have a hard copy but trying to find the time to read it has been difficult. Thank you for making it available here!

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Classically Helpful

We are fairly new to classical education, but experienced homeschoolers. This book was just what I needed to hear as we start our classical journey. I feel this book would be good for any parent interested in this type of education, not only those who home educate or join CC. Its always good to feel like you are on the right path with your kids, or directions to get on the right path.

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Good ideas

It had some good ideas but a lot of it seemed really boastful and felt like a sales pitch

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Wonderful, uplifting, and reassuring!

The narrator’s simple enunciation adds to the idea that classically educating your children can be fun, and easily folded into daily life whether your children are educated from home or at a brick and mortar school. The ideas presented here are backed up with historical and international statistics on education in America, and somehow spends less time making the listener feel guilty for not classically educating their children from birth, but spends more time offering hope and motivation to those who wish to begin. I’ll listen to this several more times to glean more wisdom!

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Good How-To book about classical education

Good explanation of how to provide your children the foundational years of a classical education at home. This book is useful even if you do not plan to be a part of abClassical Conversations group.