Frequently Asked Questions
It's a Latin word meaning an intermission of work, leisure for learning, learned conversation, debate, disputation, lecture, dissertation; or a meeting place for teachers and pupils, place for instruction, place of learning, school; or the disciples of a teacher, body of followers, school, sect. (--Elementary Latin Dictionary, OUP)
This is why Schola's homepage says, "Schola's tutorials are offered to students who are willing to devote themselves to a course of serious liberal arts study before they enter college or the world of employment and family. Schola's tutorials provide guidance for the self-motivated student who understands that the real work of learning takes place in his own study time with a book, a pencil in his hand, and an active mind. Participants in Schola's tutorials, both instructor and pupil, constitute a body of followers of classical education."
14 years old. For Rhetoric, 16. Being older is no problem; being younger often is, regardless of how well and how much a student has read, because of the psychological maturity and experience needed for the level at which these tutorials are conducted (highschool level, or "rhetoric level": see Dorothy Sayers' excellent essay The Lost Tools of Learning, and note the paragraph toward the end that starts with the words "Towards the close of this stage...."). See also #11 and #24.
This depends very much on the student, the subject, and the lesson, of course. The major courses (Great Books, Rhetoric, Latin, Greek, Church History) have typically taken students an average of 4-7 hours per week for reading assignments once they adjust to the coursework. Great Books and Rhetoric also require papers which will take an additional average of 5 hours per paper. For the major courses you should allot your child an hour per day, five days a week (outside of classtime) for each course to begin with until you see how he or she handles the load, and then you can adjust accordingly.
Yes, roughly from late August to early May. The exact schedule is posted each year on the academic calendar.
All classes meet once a week for one hour and forty-five minutes.
See the Online Tutorials page for fee information.
Schola does not give grades, for a number of reasons, including 1) the disparity of ages among students in the tutorials, 2) the variety of expectations among homeschooling fqmilies, 3) the disparity of homeschool regulations in different states, 4) Schola's aim (to provide tutorials as a support service rather than a replacement school for the people who are ultimately responsible for the students' education--the parents), and 5) because of the great number of students involved in Schola.
However, a written assessment of the student's performance, and even a suggested grade, will be supplied any time a parent requests it. Furthermore, Cindy Marsch, of Writing Assessment Services, offers a special evaluation package for Schola Great Books students. I highly recommend her services as a complement to the Great Books tutorial.
Generally it's not a good idea to start students in the Great Books tutorials much younger than the minimum suggested age. There are more things to consider than simply intellectual ability; emotional and spiritual maturity move at different speeds than intellectual maturity, and many of the ideas and levels of discussion involved in the Great Books require more emotional and spiritual stability than a younger child usually has, even if he has no trouble actually reading the books. See also #2.
This is not as much a problem as the above question is; if a student is a year or so younger than the suggested minimum age, but has done well in a fair amount of introductory Latin or Greek, exceptions can sometimes be profitably made. However, twelve is usually a fairly hard minimum for the presentation in these courses, and most 12-year olds would really struggle.
This does not mean that younger students cannot do Latin and Greek; on the contrary, much younger children can and should be exposed to the vocabulary, history, culture, and grammar of these languages, with the right presentation. But Schola's tutorials are geared for older students with the aim of reading ability and coverage of most of the grammar in one or two years, and this is too advanced a pace for most younger students.
All of the books can be ordered through Schola Bookstore. All required books are listed on the Bookstore page and are linked to Amazon, but it's fine to buy your books elsewhere as long as you get the same edition. Also, see#23.
Primarily from my own experience as a teacher and tutor. In the course of about 20 years of teaching literature, I have compared and used many different "great books" lists--from libraries, high school and university syllabi, internet study groups, books about great books (such as Mortimer Adler's "How to Read a Book"), and other great books courses of various kinds. If you collate a random handful of these lists, you find an 80-90% percent overlap, which means that there is a small group of "great books" that everyone, everywhere, recognizes as foundational to the development of our western culture and the ideas that have driven it. I am, of course, ignoring in these comments the relativist/multiculturalist attack on the western "canon". Many others have ably defended the idea of the Great Books. I accept the argument and offer the course for others who do too.
Again, from my own experience teaching Rhetoric, Greek, and Latin and from contact with other teachers of these subjects. I attempt to choose texts for Rhetoric that are seminal in the history of classical rhetoric, or most illustrative of the precepts of classical rhetoric in modern writing. The Latin and Greek textbooks are chosen for clarity and ease of use for the students' sake, ease of teaching for the tutor's sake, and to a limited extent, price.
No. For some of the books, yes (especially in Great Books 4), but for most of them (especially for translations) it's not a good idea. There are many that require a certain translation or edition because of its importance for ease of understanding or accuracy of translation or because of the value of an editor's notes. In all cases, the student will have difficulty in class by not having the same edition (and therefore the same page numbers or line numbers) as the rest of the class. The books listed on the Bookstore page are the ones used in Schola classes and it will be assumed that the student has these. To see the exact edition, click the book link.
See the Online Tutorials page.
Amazon has very good discounts that make purchasing through them attractive, even with shipping and handling, and they are usually very fast -- this is good for you; 2) Schola gets a percentage of the sales on books you order from Amazon.com through Schola's Bookstore (and it doesn't increase your cost) -- this is good for Schola.
However, if you wish to buy some of the books elsewhere, follow the link to the Amazon.com site and note the exact title, author or translator, publishing company, and especially the ISBN number. Then you can use the information to order through another book dealer, or even hunt for the book in used book stores.
I THREATNED to observe
Of my deare God with all my power and might :
But I was told by one, it could not be ;
Yet I might trust in God to be my light.
Then will I trust, said
Nay, evín to trust in him, was also his :
We must confesse, that nothing is our own.
Then I confesse that he my succour is :
But to have nought is
That we have nought. I stood amazíd at this,
Much troubled, till I heard a friend expresse,
That all things were more ours by being his.
What Adam had, and forfeited for all,
Christ keepeth now, who cannot fail or fall.
See the fees description on the Online Tutorials page.
Wesley Callihan is the tutor. See "Personal Information".
Please contact Schola to let me know of the situation so that I can find another book or another source for the same book and fix the link of the Bookstore page.
In general, no, but there are exceptions. The biggest problem is simply that all the students from the previous GB1 will now fill up GB2 (and so on up the ladder) and there are not usually spaces available. But you're welcome to inquire about availability after you read the next three paragraphs.
Later literature is dependent on earlier literature, and much of our discussion of later works presupposes familiarity with earlier works. The whole point of reading the Great Books is to understand the "great conversation" leading to our own day, and this purpose is defeated if one enters the conversation halfway through - you don't get the jokes, allusions, and references; you haven't laid the foundation.
If the reason for wanting to enter GBT2 without doing GBT1 is the age of the student and limited time before college, I recommend that you begin in GBT1 and skip the last year of Great Books rather than entering in a later year and skipping the first one. This is because a student is less likely to have a good exposure to foundational Greek, Roman, and Medieval works in his later studies than he is to modern works.
There are exceptions, because if a student has already read the majority of the books in the list in another setting and is familiar with them, the same purpose is served. Children's versions do not count! You need to write to Schola if you wish to do this, so that we can discuss your situation first.
25. I'm keeping records or transcripts of my child's high school work in preparation for college--how should I list Rhetoric on the transcripts? As English? As composition? As Debate? Or something else?
I asked this question
of the students in my '97/'98 Rhetoric tutorial and here
'I list it as simply "Rhetoric." Seems to fit. The Great Books I class is listed as "Great Books I." I figure if they need further clarification, they can ask. In my son's case, I'd assume the Naval Academy knows the meaning of rhetoric as it's a required course for all midshipmen.'
'In a burst of originality, we listed Rhetoric as -- ta da -- Rhetoric! Let the colleges make of it what they will, I say. P.S. By the way, I guess they made something acceptable of it because my son was accepted at three of the four colleges he applied to.'
'I haven't given it much thought. For our school district, I have it listed as English. But I think for college transcripts, I will list it as a composition course.'
'We're listing it as our English course for the year. It has been a great help as we are studying Speech and Debate also. The subjects have dovetailed beautifully.'
27. I've missed important e-mails that you've sent out about dates of things, etc. How can I find what I've missed?
The important way to keep up on important information about Schola is to subscribe to the BULLETIN, Schola's news and announcement list. Information will be sent out to registrants. There are also the announcement box and the student forum on the Atrium page (to which you have access once you've registered) and the Bulletin newsletter archives.