Canons of Rhetoric

The five elements (or steps) for creating an argument or presenting truth: (1) invention, (2) arrangement, (3) elocution, (4) memory, and (5) delivery.


An acronym for Classical Conversations, an organization dedicated to supporting homeschooling parents and cultivating a love of learning through a Christian world-view in fellowship with other families. Our mission is to know God and to make Him known.


A dialectic- and rhetoric-level program for ages 12 through graduation that offers more than a complete middle school and high school curriculum through six seminars. Challenge ultimately develops thinking, speaking, and writing skills across the subjects of math, Latin, literature, logic, science, economics, history, philosophy, and theology. Challenge meets weekly for 30 weeks. Challenge is also what some students call their coursework as in "Mom, this is a real challenge!"

Challenge Director

An experienced homeschooling parent who agrees to be the “leading learner” for a Challenge program, which consists of up to 12 students who meet weekly for 30 weeks. The Challenge Director is responsible for leading group discussions and activities as well as providing accountability and support. Challenge Directors are sometimes also called “tutors” or “mentors.” Parents are the “teachers” and are responsible for grading.

CiRCE Institute

An acronym for Center for Independent Research on Classical Education , a leading provider of inspiration, information, and insight to classical educators as well as the publisher of The Lost Tools of Writing program, used in Challenges A and B

Classical education

A time-tested philosophy of education that teaches a student HOW to learn and is ultimately concerned with cultivating knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in the life of the student; recognizes that the Trivium is the most efficient and effective method of learning; see also Trivium.

Common Topics of Invention

The five types of questions that govern the canon of invention: (1) definition, (2) comparison, (3) relationship, (4) circumstance, and (5) testimony (or authority); these are also elements used in leading good discussions.

Dialectic stage

The second of the three stages of learning; associated with asking questions, sorting, comparing, and practicing using the knowledge learned in the grammar stage


A dialectic-level program for children ages 9 to 12 (with a parent) that teaches English grammar, writing, and math drills; meets weekly for 24 weeks; sometimes referred to as “not your mama’s grammar class,” or NYMGC for short (although it might possibly be your grandmother’s grammar class, if you are old enough).


A grammar-level program for children ages 4 to 12 (with a parent) that teaches students how to memorize in a fun, interactive environment; meets weekly for 24 weeks; commonly referred to as, “This is fun, Mom!”

Foundations Director

An experienced Classical Conversations parent who has the gift of organizing messy science and art projects and managing the Foundations and Essentials programs that meet weekly; a person dedicated to nurturing homeschooling parents.

Grammar stage

The first of the three stages of learning; learning the words and terms associated with a subject; memorizing the facts.


An acronym for Home School Legal Defense Association, a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms.


An acronym for the Institute for Excellence in Writing, an organization founded by Andrew Pudewa that produces the excellent writing program Teaching Writing: Structure and 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.

Memory Master

A Foundations student who can recite all the memory work covered in the 24 weeks of the Foundations program.


1) A course of study which involves practice of the studied theory; 2) a free multi-day conference on classical, Christian homeschooling sponsored by CC in which parents learn a lot, are encouraged, and practice teaching skills with like-minded homeschooling parents


Follows after the Trivium and comprises four additional areas to delve into more deeply: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. The seven liberal arts are made up of the trivium (three) plus the quadrivium (four).

Rhetoric stage

The third of the three stages of learning; practicing the skills associated with communicating the truth of a subject through writing, speech, or conversation; rhetoric refers to persuading others of the truth through writing, speech, or conversation.

Saxon Math

A rigorous, trusted math curriculum that provides step-by-step instruction in math with plenty of practice problems and maintains quality of instruction all the way through advanced math and calculus; the recommended (but not required) math curriculum of CC.


What we call our Challenge classes, as in, “We have six seminars in Challenge I: math, Latin, literature, government, philosophy, and science”; the word seminar is derived from the Latin word seminarium, meaning “seed plot”; a small discussion group that delves more deeply into a topic than a lecture-style class could.


An acronym for Support Representative; an experienced CC homeschooling parent who nurtures and supports approximately five CC communities and their respective directors, helps to grow the organization; can be some of the most cheerful people outside of Disney.


The Latin word for “three ways,” which refers to the three stages of learning: (1) grammar stage, (2) dialectic stage, (3) rhetoric stage; the basic method at the heart of the classical model; the way we learn naturally.


Homeschooling parents who are willing to be the leading 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 CC, parents are the “teachers”—the ones with ultimate responsibility—and a tutor leads group activities and offers support and accountability to the parent-teacher.

Writers Circle

A storehouse of helpful articles written by a dedicated group of contributors. These articles are designed to encourage and inspire parents who wish to homeschool classically; articles can be found on our website, (You can also sign up to receive the articles daily via email.)


Due to the ongoing safety guidelines regarding COVID, we have closed registration for all May practicums. Families signed up for May Practicums have been contacted regarding next steps. We will be in touch by 4/30 with answers about June and beyond.

2020 Parent Practicum

Parent Practicum 2020 Cultivating the Conversation

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Classical Conversations Classical Christian Homeschool Community

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