- Invention: What should I say?
- Arrangement: In what order should I say it?
- Elocution: How should I say it?
- Memory: How should memory inform my presentation?
- Delivery: How should I present this truth in speech and action?
This first section of the book provides the theory; the remainder of the book provides a practical guide for the implementation of classical education in the high school years. Chapters for each major subject area give examples of how to include each of these canons in the subjects of reading, writing, speech and debate, science, math, history, government and economics, and fine arts. Examples of student discussions are included demonstrating ways to discuss how to do math problems, reading The Scarlet Letter, and guiding a student through the writing of a research paper.
I actually found this book very helpful and plan to refer to it frequently. Although I was unfamiliar with some of the terminology of classical education used, I did see the benefits of implementing these techniques into each of our school classes even though classical education has not been our focus. It is important for students to not only thoroughly understand subject matter, but to be able to apply concepts and previously learned knowledge to new situations. Expressing ideas clearly both in speech and writing is an area in which many students are lacking, but is critical for the leaders of tomorrow and I think this book will help me to help Emily learn these skills.
I do wish that I’d had the opportunity to read the first two books in the series prior to reading The Conversation. The author spent minimal time explaining the grammar and dialectic stages. Although this is understandable since The Conversation concerns the rhetoric stage, I feel it would have been beneficial for me personally to have had more background information.
I think this series would be a great guide for families using classical education, but it is also useful for families using other methods.