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Questions, Questions. Why so many questions?

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

We are Classical Conversations. That means we are always asking questions so that thinking and conversation can begin. Our kids know that a good question will help them move forward when they get stuck while trying to think through an idea. Therefore, tutors aren't the only ones asking questions! What kinds of questions do students ask?

We are Classical Conversations. That means we are always asking questions so that thinking and conversation can begin. It also means our kids are trained to ask questions. They know that a good question will help them move forward when they get stuck while trying to think through an idea. They also know that a good question is a good way to speak out loud tactfully if they feel someone else might disagree. That is the power of a local homeschool community that is doing Christian education, Classical education together. It doesn't talk "at" the students. It gives them the space to think through good questions. Some of the questions the students ask have "right and wrong" answers. Some of them are things about which people disagree. Sometimes, when we don't arrive at a commonly held answer, that gives us the chance to practice respectful listening to people who have a different perspective. All of the questions students raise are intended to go home to parents through good communication between parent and tutor. This is one way that we partner with parents in the discipleship of children. Parents then get to guide those conversations at home and help bring their own children to the truth.

  • Yes, yes, we do all 6 subjects in junior high and high school.

  • Yes, we offer a complete Christian curriculum

  • Yes, yes, we are a college prep program.

  • Sure, we have lab sciences.

  • Absolutely, your child can get college credit through a fully regionally accredited university if they complete our programs. (And that's a great concurrent enrollment program that I personally use with my own kids!)

But more importantly, our students know who they are. They know what they think. They have asked themselves "How do I think Christianly, not just about morals, but about every realm of knowledge?"

They are prepared for the pitfalls of the world because we take their questions seriously, we engage parents in these conversations, and we work together to use their questions to help them to "know Christ and make Him known".

Teens are capable of great questions about deep concepts and content

As an example of what I mean...

Here is a small sampling of questions from a challenge 1 class (in the first semester). The students raising these questions were roughly 14 years of age. Skim through these. You will be impressed at these young thinkers!

1) Is being given responsibility always a demonstration of trust in life?

2) What makes a good marriage?

3) The Declaration of Independence stipulates that government derive its power from the governed? Does it? Should it?

4) Which is more enduring, the Bible, or science? Why?

5) Can Science determine right from wrong?

6) In what ways is science limited?

7) Can science prove that there is no God?

8) Is the subject of origins – how the earth or man came to be – a field of science, history, or theology?

9) Are we adhering to the tenets of the US Constitution today?

10) Is there room for interpretation of the constitution relative to changing times and ideals or should it now mean what it has always meant?

11) What do most people believe about science and the bible?

12) What kinds of things do the Bible speak to?

13) What kinds of things does science speak to?

14) How important is majority opinion on this issue?

15) What is the relationship between law and morality?

16) What is the difference between martial law and law (during peace time), and should there be a difference?

17) How does the culture of the place where a crime happened impact the implementation of the law, if it does? And if it does, should it? (The comparison here was between the moral compasses of sailors and people on the mainland in a particular book at a particular time).

18) If a person breaks the law, should their past conduct affect sentencing?

19) Should intent be considered in sentencing for a crime?

20) How is it just to execute a person for murder (if it is)?

21) Is there ever a time when not issuing the punishment required by law for a crime is the right thing to do? (This question came up in the context of a book character who accidentally harmed another person.)

22) If something is good to do, or right to do, does it matter if it makes a difference?

23) Is it right to lie to save someone’s life?

24) If it isn’t right, why is Rahab called “blessed” and considered a hero in scripture?

25) Does it matter that she had to make a split second judgement, or that she didn’t decide in advance to tell a lie?

26) In law, we learned last year that “malice of forethought” can happen in seconds, so does that mean that Rahab is still culpable for the lie she told even though she had to make a split second decision?

27) What is the nature of a “blessing” (of being blessed, as Rahab was), and under what circumstances, Biblically, does that happen? (Really, they didn’t have the words to say it, but they want to know if blessing is earned, or bestowed, or both).

28) What is the relationship between war and morality?

29) What is the relationship between war and human rights?

30) Is there a single, right morality?

31) How does culture play into the idea of morals if it does?

32) Is it true that there is a part of all men that wants to know God, and that part (if we could listen to it) would agree with all other men (if they were listening to that part of themselves?)

33) “How do you evaluate a political candidate so that you can feel confident about your vote?”

34) Which of the following student-chosen definitions of Love would you accept: affection, loyalty, concern, and/or overwhelming emotion in the moment) unconditionally in the best of times and the worst of times.

35) Is it true that sin makes it harder to love and to be lovable? How do you think sin impacts loving relationships, and how should that inform our behavior?

36) Is lust the sinful side of love?

37) Is the mentality of seeking a spouse wrong?

38) Can you let emotion drive love? Why or why not?

39) What should we be looking for in a spouse?

40) Is there a difference between romantic love and Biblical love?

Great questions, right? I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to talk through these ideas with my child after they came up in class. I'm also thankful that the other parents of my child's classmates were talking to their kids about the same things!

This idea, that we are supposed to be wrestling with the truth as families and as a community as we pursue blessing and virtue together is such a huge part of the Classical Conversations paradigm. Here is one of our "We believe..." statements, which addresses this idea:

I am so thankful that I have had the privilege of giving my children this type of education. I am so thankful that I have been a director who could partner with parents by sending their students' questions home to them and helping to cultivate that kind of relationship where they talk together with their teen about important things. It's true that I'm thankful for the quality academics in CC programs, that they did well on fact-based tests, got good scholarships and etc...

Looking back now that they are grown, the things that were the most important and the most formative for my kids really were those Classical Conversations that we had at home based on what came up in class that week!

Moms, make it your goal to attend to your teen's questions! Partner with your Director to know what questions are being asked in class. You'll never regret spending the time!

Cindy Clendenen

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