100 Books that make Classical Literature Approachable – Leigh Bortins

Jan 13, 2020 | Webinars

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Join Leigh Bortins in a discussion about the 100 good books that prepare us to read the dozen great books.

Anyone can begin to read difficult classical literature if they just know where to begin. In this session Leigh Bortins, the founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Classical Conversations Inc. and the author of a dozen books on classical, Christian education , tells you just where to start.

Download Leigh’s list of 100 GREAT books here.

Learn more about Classical Conversations here.

Automated Transcript (Spelling and grammar errors are guaranteed!)

Yvette Hampton: Welcome Back to the Homegrown Generation Family Expo and look who I am here with Leigh Bortins. I know that so many of you are so familiar with her, especially if you are a Classical Conversations family. You’re very familiar with the name Leigh Bortins. And so Leigh, we are so excited to have you here with us. Thank you for joining us for this event. Leigh is the founder of Classical Conversations and Leigh you have had a great impact and then just a huge blessing to so many families including our family. We actually did CC for three years when we were in California, had an amazing CC community there. I hope some of you are watching though. I happen to know that today’s Thursday and Thursday is their CC community day, so they’re going to probably watch this later. So hello to all my CC people back home. We miss you dearly, but we love to CC. It was just an incredible organization and, and a true blessing to our family for many years. And then we took off on the road and we’ve been traveling for the past three years, so we have not had a chance to be part of a community. But we are grateful for what you’ve done. So welcome to the, the expo. We’re glad to have you.





Leigh Bortins: Thank you so much. It’s really good to be with you, you, Yvette, and all the listeners out there and viewers. I’m excited about this next hour.






Yvette Hampton: Yes, it’s going to be lots of fun. You are talking today about 100 books that make classical literature approachable and I am totally intrigued with just the title.






Leigh Bortins: It’s going to be fun and I can’t. Yeah. And the reason I came up with the title is so often we’re at a homeschooling conferences on classical education. People rattle off, you know, the best books and the, most of them are books. None of us can read cause this, the writing’s too hard or it’s too ancient. And I’m always thinking of books that can help you get to that place where you can read those books because they really are approachable and they’re really great books, but you, you almost need to read a thousand good books so you can read the top 10 great books. And so I want to begin that conversation today.






Yvette Hampton: Yup. I love that. Before we jump into that, would you tell us a little bit about you and your family?






Leigh Bortins: Sure. My husband, Rob and I are now grandparents. We have four sons and our eldest, Robert, is expecting their third grand baby. We are about to graduate our, our youngest David, from a school in California. And both William and John, the middle two live here by Classical Conversations and they, we see them all the time. And just our family super close. I w I’d like to say one thing that relates to the topic and my family lots of times really what’s different about homeschooling kids? There’s all kinds of great students and all kinds of great situations and or school situations I would say. Yeah. You know, there’s kids that will learn something in a cave if you just left them there. But the one thing that I’m seeing with my grown sons now that they’re men in their twenties and thirties is they choose to read books every single day. And very few men across our country read classical literature, sport, any kind of literature throughout the week. And so to see them as grown men reading the, and you know, John had a surgery a few months ago and for his recovery he re-read the challenge books. Right. So I just really love, I’m schooling and I love what you’ve been doing and I love my family. Yes, well we are very grateful for you and for the, the vision that the Lord has given you for the homeschool community. And I’m so thank you for all that you have done to serve at the homeschool community. So I’m gonna turn it over to you. I’m gonna step out. I’m going to go actually have a vanilla bean frappuccino that might do that sweet neighbor just brought to me and then I’ll jump back in at the end for some Q and. A. If you guys have put in your comments, that would be great.






Yvette Hampton: So we can see them. But if you have questions we will answer those at the end. And by we, I mean Leigh will answer those at the end and I’ll help her kind of sort through those. But if you could put in front of your question, just put the word question so that we know that it’s a question and not a comment and then we’ll get to those at the end after Leigh has presented to us about these amazing books. So Leigh, thank you so much. I’m going to turn it over to you and I’ll be back in just a little bit.






Leigh Bortins: Thank you, Yvette. And while you vet leaves this, I just want to just give her and her husband a lot of kudos. That advertisement that we saw before I came on, about Schoolhouse Rocked. I mean it’s critically important and that they’re creating that movie and I Just want to encourage you to support it and I echo everything that was said in there, I think was a true and encouraging and I really hope that we get to see that movie on the big screen one day. I also want to let you know, I see all of you that are sending in chats and comments and I appreciate your enthusiasm and like Yvette said, hopefully we’ll have someone, we’ll have some back and forth towards the end of the hour. Okay. So I tend to do my kind of due diligence and the duty things first before I speak cause I’m afraid of forgetting the most important parts.






Leigh Bortins: And that is of course making sure that if you don’t get to listen to the whole broadcast or get questions answered, you know the resource in order to go find questions and I mean to get your questions answered. And that’s of course ClassicalConversations.com but I really want to promote more today or book site, ClassicalConversationsBooks.com because all the books that I’m going to be referring to are for sale. They’re also, because they’re classics, the majority of the books are available, used and then this all over the world on websites. So we appreciate when you buy them from us. But I know that if you’ve been homeschooling for a while, good, many of them are on your bookshelf already. And so this might be a fun time to revisit books you read with your younger children or look forward to reading with your older children cause maybe you read them in high school or college.






Leigh Bortins: So then I also need to let you know we have prizes. And so if go to ClassicalConversations.com/homegrownthere’s a place to register and you’ll be able to get, let me make sure I get this right – $100 worth of CC merchandise. will be doing drawings from the names of the people who register. And so that will be our gift to a few of you. And then right now you should be able to do the Facebook page and get my actual PDF of the a hundred books. Just, you know, they’re it’s way more than a hundred books in the CC curriculum. And so one thing that some people say to me is like I don’t see any books by say Aristotle or Augustine or some of the other classics and the reason why is they may be in our [inaudible] or in like our, we have a short story collection which has classic lists in it as well as we have an American document collection that has classical lists in it.






Leigh Bortins: So we don’t always have the title by author on our book site. And so I just wanted you to, and I know that if you look at the anthologies in the list of the authors there, you may find some of these stories that we’re going to talk about today. I think that’s about it. There’s one more thing I want to talk about actually before we get dive into the books. We are now able to accredit our high school students that are in the challenge two, three and four program specifically in some literature courses. So in other words they can get college credit. And something that’s been really wonderful I think is the challenge. Three and four communities are now getting waiting lists because parents want their children to be able to get not just the CC experience, but also the credits for college that go along with that.






Leigh Bortins: And one of the reasons we have a waiting list for the college credits we have, it’s been super popular is because we cannot get enough people to grade the children’s papers. They do the same assignments as Classical Conversations does just nothing added to it. But we have to have an accredited professor with their masters in order to say yes, they did the work that they said that they did. And so think about this as an opportunity. Parents, I’m asking any of you that have a masters to contact customerservice@classicalconversations.com and ask about being a greater for our CC Plus program, you can actually be paid while your children are in challenge. So this is a new opportunity we have. And one of the first things that we’re gonna be doing is beefing up our literature program and our literature credits instead, of course goes along with today’s title.






Leigh Bortins: So I wanted to be able to say something about that. So thank you for humoring me. And if any of that information, the bookstore, the signup for the prizes or information about being paid to be a greater for CC, tell your friends, listen to the beginning of this tape if or this audio, if they’re not willing to the whole thing. And I’ll review a few of those things when we sign off for those that signed up late. So let’s talk about reading and literature. A lot of people don’t really know a lot about me in the sense of how I learned to read or you know why I’m so adamant about literature and classical education. So I thought I would take a few minutes, explain a little bit about my background. I was one of those girls who just said four or five years old could read very little instruction.






Leigh Bortins: I can remember having a Dick and Jane book in front of me and that was it. I just read. So imagine my discouragement when I had four boys and they just didn’t think reading it four or five was a great thing to be doing. And I was pretty frustrated. Isn’t that what people do? They just start reading when they’re four or five who needs lessons. So as a homeschooling parent, I was in the same place as so many of you. I had to learn how to help my children become good readers. They weren’t natural at doing so and so the first person that needed kinda change their attitude about that was me, myself. And so I began studying how to teach reading and writing as well as Latin and the classics while my children were still preschoolers. Now it’s not so much that you know, I had this great vision for homeschooling or CC at that point.