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Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for any Child

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This revolutionary new book guides parents and teachers in implementing the beauty of a classical education with special-needs and struggling students. Cheryl is an advocate of classical Christian education for special-needs students. The love of history, music, literature, and Latin instilled in her own children has created in Cheryl the desire to share the message that c This revolutionary new book guides parents and teachers in implementing the beauty of a classical education with special-needs and struggling students. Cheryl is an advocate of classical Christian education for special-needs students. The love of history, music, literature, and Latin instilled in her own children has created in Cheryl the desire to share the message that classical education offers benefits to any child. - Increase your child's academic success - Restore your child's love of learning - Regain confidence to teach any child - Renew your vision of hope for your special-needs child - Receive help navigating the daunting process of receiving a diagnosis - Learn how to modify existing resources for your child's needs - Find simple stategies any parent or teacher can implement immediately - Appreciate a spiritual context for bringing truth, goodness, and beauty to any child


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This revolutionary new book guides parents and teachers in implementing the beauty of a classical education with special-needs and struggling students. Cheryl is an advocate of classical Christian education for special-needs students. The love of history, music, literature, and Latin instilled in her own children has created in Cheryl the desire to share the message that c This revolutionary new book guides parents and teachers in implementing the beauty of a classical education with special-needs and struggling students. Cheryl is an advocate of classical Christian education for special-needs students. The love of history, music, literature, and Latin instilled in her own children has created in Cheryl the desire to share the message that classical education offers benefits to any child. - Increase your child's academic success - Restore your child's love of learning - Regain confidence to teach any child - Renew your vision of hope for your special-needs child - Receive help navigating the daunting process of receiving a diagnosis - Learn how to modify existing resources for your child's needs - Find simple stategies any parent or teacher can implement immediately - Appreciate a spiritual context for bringing truth, goodness, and beauty to any child

30 review for Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for any Child

  1. 5 out of 5

    Glenda

    I bought this book this summer at the Conference for Classical Lutheran Education XIII. I began reading it aloud to my husband on our drive home. We do not have special needs children but we do have children whom we have struggled to teach in our home. Cheryl writes such an encouraging book for all parents striving to give their children, whether special needs or not, a classical education. Reading this aloud to my husband provided us many opportunities to discuss how we could be more diligent a I bought this book this summer at the Conference for Classical Lutheran Education XIII. I began reading it aloud to my husband on our drive home. We do not have special needs children but we do have children whom we have struggled to teach in our home. Cheryl writes such an encouraging book for all parents striving to give their children, whether special needs or not, a classical education. Reading this aloud to my husband provided us many opportunities to discuss how we could be more diligent and helpful to our struggling children. It also helped us set our priorities as we planned our upcoming school year.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tirzah Eleora

    When I first started reading this book I was under the impression that it was a general discussion of the classical method of education. Turns out, it's a discussion of the classical education method as applied to severely autistic students. Despite the fact that I don't have any children, autistic or otherwise, it was eye-opening. I've always been in favor of classical education, but Cheryl Swope really gets down to the heart of the matter and clearly demonstrates in her methods for her own kid When I first started reading this book I was under the impression that it was a general discussion of the classical method of education. Turns out, it's a discussion of the classical education method as applied to severely autistic students. Despite the fact that I don't have any children, autistic or otherwise, it was eye-opening. I've always been in favor of classical education, but Cheryl Swope really gets down to the heart of the matter and clearly demonstrates in her methods for her own kids what classical ed really IS. She has good, common-sense advice for teachers, regardless of the method they are using. Always teach the child at his level. Push for true understanding, not immediate results or high achievements. Work with a child's strengths, but don't use that as an excuse to ignore his weaknesses. Encourage without giving superfluous praise. I look forward to implementing her wisdom when I educate my own children someday! It's certainly worth the read, but feel free to skip through it and read the bits more relevant to those who are not working with special-needs students. Also, go Michelle and Michael!!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Good book. With the wide range of needs within the special needs population, I’m sure this book won’t hit everyone, but I bet there are a number who will benefit greatly. Like the author, I also taught special education in public school and have moved to homeschooling my own children classically, so it was really interesting to read of her experiences and paradigm shifts (similar to mine, though hers are definitely more extreme). I was pretty bemused throughout the book by her high love of Latin Good book. With the wide range of needs within the special needs population, I’m sure this book won’t hit everyone, but I bet there are a number who will benefit greatly. Like the author, I also taught special education in public school and have moved to homeschooling my own children classically, so it was really interesting to read of her experiences and paradigm shifts (similar to mine, though hers are definitely more extreme). I was pretty bemused throughout the book by her high love of Latin and Greek. We’re learning Latin at my house and I’m gradually becoming more and more convinced of its value, but I don’t think I’ve at all become as convinced as her. :) If my own children had special needs, I doubt it would have crossed my mind to tackle Latin. I understand its worth in making the brain orderly and requiring attention to detail, but those can also come through math and logic, so I would probably have focused on many other aspects of classical education—such as wonderful, soul-forming literature—and just ignored Latin. But maybe it makes a lot of sense: her children thrived in the languages, not in math, so it was a way to develop order through their strengths. Anyway, food for thought. And it’s lovely to see the Simply Classical curriculum packages on the website. Those things can be pieced together, of course, but it’s wonderful to see support for the special needs community developing within classical education.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lara Lee

    Simply Classical is about giving special needs children a good homeschool education using the classical method. Even though the advice can be used in a classroom too, it is from a mom with an education degree who homeschooled her kids to other moms who want to homeschool. The book speaks primarily to parents of extremely disabled children such as those with autism or mental-emotional disorders, but the advice is good for any parent. Since I did homeschool my son with autism in the classical meth Simply Classical is about giving special needs children a good homeschool education using the classical method. Even though the advice can be used in a classroom too, it is from a mom with an education degree who homeschooled her kids to other moms who want to homeschool. The book speaks primarily to parents of extremely disabled children such as those with autism or mental-emotional disorders, but the advice is good for any parent. Since I did homeschool my son with autism in the classical method for a few years, I recognized much of what she was talking about. I think some new parents may feel overwhelmed reading this book, but the advice is covering all grades. A parent will not do everything that is suggested in every grade. I would recommend this book to any parent of special needs children because it also gives hope when experts are bent on prophesying doom. I have seen so many special needs children sit in a school and learn nothing because schools and teachers are not equipped to teach them. Laws mandate that these children should get a good education, but often they don't. Parents need to know that there are other options out there and that even severely disabled children can learn. Every child can have a good life and be a productive member of society. This book gives a picture of what that might look like in reality.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    I enjoyed the inspiring personal stories. I only skimmed the advice specific to special needs.

  6. 4 out of 5

    amanda gardiner

    This book was an overflowing treasure chest I did not expect. I picked up the book thinking I was mostly going to read someone’s personal story of giving a classical education to her own special-needs twins. While this book certainly did that in detail, what I did not expect was the extremely useful instruction contained in therein! I learned so much!! I was so encouraged and challenged in my own journey of classically educating children with disabilities. I was forced to face some realities that This book was an overflowing treasure chest I did not expect. I picked up the book thinking I was mostly going to read someone’s personal story of giving a classical education to her own special-needs twins. While this book certainly did that in detail, what I did not expect was the extremely useful instruction contained in therein! I learned so much!! I was so encouraged and challenged in my own journey of classically educating children with disabilities. I was forced to face some realities that I think I hadn’t really considered about my children’s futures, but also reminded of the worthiness of giving the best that there is to those whose minds can only hold a little bit. Surely if my child can only remember a small amount, then that small quantity should be the best! Also found it personally encouraging when she shared that sometimes she had to go back, redo lessons or even entire years of work (because I have often been discouraged with the lack of linear progress in some of my children). Overall I am leaving this book more determined than ever to offer my children with disabilities a classical education, to the best of their more limited capabilities.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    What Cheryl Swope and her children have accomplished through classical education is inspiring and encouraging. I highly recommend this book for anyone whose kids have special needs, especially if they’re homeschooling. I’m not sure what I think about the academic focus in the early years - it goes against what I’ve read from Charlotte Mason and advice from other homeschooling moms - but I do think that my kids with special needs benefit from a highly structured schedule. Still mulling over that. What Cheryl Swope and her children have accomplished through classical education is inspiring and encouraging. I highly recommend this book for anyone whose kids have special needs, especially if they’re homeschooling. I’m not sure what I think about the academic focus in the early years - it goes against what I’ve read from Charlotte Mason and advice from other homeschooling moms - but I do think that my kids with special needs benefit from a highly structured schedule. Still mulling over that... but overall, this book is incredibly helpful.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hester

    Finally, some realistic stories and advice for parents of children who learn differently. Lots of books are great for students who are intelligent but have just one problem (autism, adhd, dyslexia) but seldom have I found one that makes me feel empowered and comforted as the parent and teacher of children who have complicated and llong term battles as they learn and grow.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Kuhl

    Reviewed on my website, http://learndifferently.com Reviewed on my website, http://learndifferently.com

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    A great encouragement for homeschooling children with special needs. This book also has a wonderful overview of the classical model of education useful for educating any child.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heather Hawkins

    Not just for those with kiddos with special needs, this book has the very best apology for Classical Education I’ve read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    PaminKokomo

    Thank you, Cheryl Swope. This book was such an encouragement! I’m definitely stepping up my game with my littlest girl.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Yolanda

    A moving and convincing narrative. I can't wait to explore classical education more and find ways to incorporate it into our learning support room. A moving and convincing narrative. I can't wait to explore classical education more and find ways to incorporate it into our learning support room.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    This book is the best, clearest defense of classical education I have ever read. As a homeschooler for almost 10 years, mother of two children with special needs (ASD and dyslexia), and wife of a special education & Latin teacher, I have read stacks of books and have had thousands of conversations about classical education, homeschooling, and parenting & educating children with disabilities. After finishing this book, I understand the purpose of classical education better than I ever have before This book is the best, clearest defense of classical education I have ever read. As a homeschooler for almost 10 years, mother of two children with special needs (ASD and dyslexia), and wife of a special education & Latin teacher, I have read stacks of books and have had thousands of conversations about classical education, homeschooling, and parenting & educating children with disabilities. After finishing this book, I understand the purpose of classical education better than I ever have before. First, the book tells a beautiful and poignant story about hope in the midst of suffering. The author's story of adopting twins with many disabilities and the journey of raising them and educating them while navigating a host of medical conditions will inspire any parent. I've read a lot of books written by parents of kids with special needs, and honestly many of them are either triumphalist (we did this therapy, or this diet, etc. and now our child is practically healed) or negative (it's so hard to parent this child I can barely stand it). This book comes across as heartfelt and truthful. The Swopes' twins have achieved far beyond what doctors predicted, but they still face a lot of challenges and attendant suffering. This rings true for most parents of children with special needs. Second, this book gives a compelling defense of the true purpose of classical education that many books ignore. Classical education is about leading a child to virtue, wisdom, and eloquence, not simple academic achievement. Christian classical education goes a step further, nurturing the child's soul and leading him to the Source of truth itself. Cheryl Swope convincingly explains why children with special needs can benefit as much if not more than typical children in being led to truth, goodness, and beauty. Third, Simply Classical provides a serious critique of the current state of special education as is found in most public and private, therapeutic schools. "Deficit remediation" plans and "life skills" course tracks at best fail to acknowledge the full humanity of children with disabilities, and at worst, dehumanize them as unable to learn anything. I especially enjoyed the various quotes throughout the book by classical writers explaining the benefit of a classical education for people of all intellectual abilities. Apparently this isn't a new idea! Fourth, this book offers a lot of practical assistance to parents who want a classical education for their special needs child. There are schedules and suggested resources for homeschooling every age from 18 months through high school. There are also many suggestions for schools looking to adapt curriculum to students with special needs. Finally, the author is employed by Memoria Press, a classical curriculum publisher, and offers assistance to parents with specific questions through the forums on the Memoria Press website. I can't recommend this book or this author highly enough!

  15. 5 out of 5

    J.A. Busick

    Swope's book is an elegant defense of classical pedagogy for children who might traditionally be pigeonholed into "life skills" programs that fail to nourish the soul. The one vexing consideration for me was that Swope has been able to dedicate her life to her two severely disabled children in a way that is impossible for those of us who have to fit providing a classical education for a challenged child around outside employment and the needs of nondisabled children. It is one thing to recommend Swope's book is an elegant defense of classical pedagogy for children who might traditionally be pigeonholed into "life skills" programs that fail to nourish the soul. The one vexing consideration for me was that Swope has been able to dedicate her life to her two severely disabled children in a way that is impossible for those of us who have to fit providing a classical education for a challenged child around outside employment and the needs of nondisabled children. It is one thing to recommend limiting a disabled child's involvement in outside activities at certain developmental stages. It is something else entirely too place such strictures on normally-developing children in the same family at such times for the benefit of a child whose potential may be limited. So, I feel like I am dealing with complicating factors beyond just dealing with a disabled child that make implementing many of the book's methods problematic at best.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    Man, if there's someone who knows what she's talking about, it's this gal. Former public special education teacher and mom of kids with significant challenges. I've been intrigued by Classical Education for a while and my husband and I have also adopted a kiddo with special needs. He's only 3 and we don't see a whole lot of cognitive issues at this point (mostly motor), but I'm so glad this resource is available. It gives me hope that Classical Education is an option for him even if cognitive de Man, if there's someone who knows what she's talking about, it's this gal. Former public special education teacher and mom of kids with significant challenges. I've been intrigued by Classical Education for a while and my husband and I have also adopted a kiddo with special needs. He's only 3 and we don't see a whole lot of cognitive issues at this point (mostly motor), but I'm so glad this resource is available. It gives me hope that Classical Education is an option for him even if cognitive delays emerge. My husband is a special education teacher who plans to read this. We'll see what happens.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Becky F.

    This book is geared more towards making Classical Education accessible and valuable for special needs children. It is helpful in reminding all parents interested in a Classical Education for their children that it is possible and desirable for all children. Parents don't need to be afraid of providing a wholesome, beautiful education for any child God gives them. Cheryl Swope's book reminds her readers that Classical Education doesn't mean exclusive education solely for the brightest students, b This book is geared more towards making Classical Education accessible and valuable for special needs children. It is helpful in reminding all parents interested in a Classical Education for their children that it is possible and desirable for all children. Parents don't need to be afraid of providing a wholesome, beautiful education for any child God gives them. Cheryl Swope's book reminds her readers that Classical Education doesn't mean exclusive education solely for the brightest students, but it is a humanizing education that can be especially beneficial for a special needs child.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Heather Asbach

    Swope paints a beautiful picture of classical education for all children, even those with severe disabilities. This book will inspire you and challenge your thinking regarding the appropriateness of a classical education for any child. Swope also gives helpful examples of how she implemented these principles in the lives of her own children.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Cherly Swope writes beautifully about raising her special needs children with classical education. You would think it couldn't be done but she makes it achievable. This is a guide for parents with special needs children, of which I do not have, but I still enjoyed reading this. Cherly Swope writes beautifully about raising her special needs children with classical education. You would think it couldn't be done but she makes it achievable. This is a guide for parents with special needs children, of which I do not have, but I still enjoyed reading this.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This is a great introduction to what Classical Education is. Very helpful read for those who want to learn about classical ed!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Great book for those out there that want to know more about homeschooling those with special needs.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lynne

    Good overview of classical education and some good ideas for using classical ed with children who have learning disabilities or autism.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lorelei

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shawna Christensen

  25. 4 out of 5

    Angela Boord

  26. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Taylor

  27. 5 out of 5

    Julia

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rhea

  29. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Ford

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katy

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