Whenever we learn something new, we start with the grammar of the subject.

Art of Dialectic

The second art in learning a subject is to sort, compare and understand the words and the rules that apply to them. For example, when learning to analyze literature, compare and contrast multiple ideas. We call this art dialectic, because much of the work done in this process is accomplished through questions. Children generally enjoy this art most between the ages of ten and thirteen.

Art of Grammar

The first art in learning any subject is to memorize the vocabulary. For example, when you learn to read, you memorize the names of the letters and the sounds they make. Classical educators call this the art of grammar. Young children enjoy this art; they love repeating songs, changing rhymes, and pronouncing big words. We capitalize on their enjoyment by teaching young children the grammar of many subjects, using songs and activities and practicing with friends and family.

Art of Rhetoric

The third art in learning a subject is to use what you have learned to solve a problem, write an original paper or speech, or lead a discussion. In history, this would be the time to focus on the themes and context of what you have read and to apply the lessons learned to one’s own life experience. Older teens usually enjoy this process, because they long to express themselves and be creative problem solvers.

CC: Classical Conversations

An acronym for Classical Conversations, a group of homeschoolers supporting other homeschoolers with a mission to know God and to make Him known

CC Connected (also known as C3, CC-Con)

An online hub of multimedia and learning resources designed by homeschooling parents to equip and to support homeschooling families to homeschool through high school with confidence

CC + (also known as CC Plus)

Challenge courses designed to accomplish both high school and college credits (concurrent enrollment), through partnership with colleges around the country

CCMM: Classical Conversations Multi-Media

The multi-media team of Classical Conversations which creates, edits, compiles, and publishes curriculum for the Foundations, Essentials, and Challenge Programs


The Challenge Programs are for students who are 12 years of age and up. This program focuses on the art of grammar, the art of dialectic, and the art of rhetoric. Students participate in six seminars spanning subjects like math, Latin, literature, history, science, logic, and more while practicing essays, conversation, presentations, speeches, discussion leadership, and debate. Each seminar strand is facilitated by a licensed Challenge Director.

Challenge Director

A licensed lead learner for Challenges A-IV, who facilitates group discussions and activities, provides weekly accountability and support for homeschooling families in six specific seminar strands

Classical Education

A time-tested philosophy of education that mentors students in learning and cultivating knowledge, understanding, and wisdom; this method of learning embodies the Trivium which utilizes the timeless arts and tools of learning.


A dialectic-focused program for children ages 9 to 11 (who are accompanied by a parent). This program guides students in English grammar, writing, and math drills; this program meets weekly for 24 weeks with a contracted tutor.


A writing or speech which conveys information specific to a topic and is organized in paragraph form

Five Canons of Rhetoric

An intentional thought path for developing an idea into a written or oral artifact. Moving from invention (copious thinking), to arrangement (orderly thinking), to elocution, (appropriate expression), to memory and delivery, makes this a powerful tool for lifelong learning.

  • Invention: The asking of questions through the 5 Common Topics
  • Arrangement: The sorting of invention into organized thoughts
  • Memory: The flooding of words and sensory stimulus associated with an idea
  • Elocution: The choosing of the best way to present the thoughts
  • Delivery: The practicing of presenting the best thoughts

Five Common Topics of Dialectic

A tool of learning that leads us to deepen our understanding by asking good questions. The five topics common to all subjects are definition, comparison, relationship, circumstance, and testimony/authority.

  • Definition: Discover what something is.
  • Comparison: Discover similarities first, then differences.
  • Relationship: Discover causes and effects.
  • Circumstance: Discover what else is happening at the same time in other places.
  • Testimony/Authority: Discover what others say

Five Core Habits of Grammar

Tools of learning easily remembered as NAMES (Naming, Attending, Memorizing, Expressing, and Storytelling), these activities help us gain knowledge by using our senses as well as our imaginations to begin our learning.

  • Naming: Know the appropriate word.
  • Attending: Differentiate the word from other known ideas.
  • Memorizing: Remember the definition to build a knowledge base.
  • Expressing: Use the body and senses to share knowledge.
  • Storytelling: Use words, specifically written or spoken, to share knowledge.


A grammar-focused program for children ages 4 to 12 (accompanied by a parent) that models memorization and classical learning in a fun, interactive environment; meets weekly for 24 weeks

Foundations Director

A committed parent who has the gifts of organizing messy science experiments and art projects, the heart to nurture and to lead parents, and enjoys imparting a love for learning


The words we encounter whenever we begin learning something new. The foundational language and words for a specific course of study.


An acronym for the Institute for Excellence in Writing, an organization founded by Andrew Pudewa that produces the excellent writing program Teaching Writing: Structure & Style (and its accompanying support books), which is used in the Essentials Program


An acronym for The Lost Tools of Writing, a writing program for youth and a ninja-thinking program for parents of teens, disguised as a writing program for youth. LTW teaches good writing practices by employing the five canons of rhetoric to help students organize, refine, and polish their thoughts.


The best educators for their children, stewards, and advocates for their children and partners with Classical Conversations in mission and in homeschooling made doable.


  1. A course of study which involves practice of the studied theory
  2. A free conference on classical, Christian homeschooling sponsored by Classical Conversations in which parents learn, are encouraged, and practice tools of learning with like-minded homeschooling parents
  3. An equipping event (in-person or online) which models and applies classical tools for learning in an effort to make homeschooling doable


The Latin word for “three ways,” which refers to three ways knowledge is acquired through the art of grammar, the art of dialectic, and the art of rhetoric. The trivium is the heart of the classical model and is the model for natural learning and development.


Homeschooling parents and alumni who are willing to be the lead learners of a group of homeschooled students; Foundations and Essentials Tutors are supported by their Foundations/ Essentials (F/E) Director; Challenge Directors are sometimes called tutors, too. A tutor is both guide and mentor; in Classical Conversations, parents are the “teachers”—the ones with ultimate responsibility—and a tutor leads group activities and offers support and accountability to the parent-teacher.