Classical Conversations

CC Tools for Tutors

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Tutoring a Classical Conversations class is a huge blessing on you, the parents, and the children. Tutoring not only equips you to teach your own children more effectively, but it also furthers your education in the classical model. The memory work in itself is enough. Sometimes that is a hard concept to grasp.

Regardless of when you started Classical Conversations, if you are going to be a tutor you will need to use these tools and information.

Most of the tips I will go over are taught in your tutor training but I know sometimes we don’t write everything down and you can always come back here for reference when you need it!

Check out the most important tips for a successful tutor journey!


Leigh Bortins, founder of Classical Conversations, said

“When teaching my own boys or when tutoring CC students, I always ask myself this question: If I only had a stick and sand, could I engage and effectively dialogue with my students about the concept I want to teach them? Asking this question helps us to rely more on modeling, dialogue, and relationship than on the false sense of accomplishment a flashy presentation can leave.”

From experience, I’ve learned that simpler is better on the tutor and the parent. I was the mom who tried to be extravagant with my creativity in presenting the new grammar for the class. I came to realize that all the “glitz and glamour” took way too much time and parents could get overwhelmed trying to replicate what I have used. Simple is KEY. Everything you use to present the new grammar should be easy to replicate at home for the parents. Keep it “stick in the sand”. You can use Pinterest for your review games!!

Tutors should try not to use technology in presenting new grammar. I would upload the week’s songs to my phone through iTunes and use a Bluetooth speaker for better sound. That is the extent of my technology use and that is fine. They really just don’t want you playing a 30 min video on your phone. Instead engage in conversation!


Your new grammar will be on your whiteboard. Classical Conversations ask that you hand write your board. This is just another aspect of the “stick in the sand” method you read about above. Your board should not take long to write and should be kept simple.

You will need some kind of whiteboard. Most tutors will go to Lowe’s and grab a sheet of shower board and cut it into a tri-fold board. They use a cool printed duck tape to add some fun to the board and it keeps the 3 pieces together. I’m pretty sure you can make a tri-fold board for less than $25.

Others have used the whiteboard at their facility. However, you will most likely have to arrive early to write the new grammar on the board.

Of course if you have a whiteboard you will need dry erase markers and eraser. The “eraser method” is for a simple way to drill the new grammar.

Classical Conversations Tutor board for presenting new grammar.


The fact that a tutor is not a “teacher” is absolutely freeing!!! A tutor’s responsibility is to drill the new grammar. The tutor is NOT the teacher. Teaching is the parent’s responsibility. You as the tutor do not have to explain every subject and information that is being presented that week. You simply present the new grammar to your class in a fun and simple way that parents can go home and duplicate. Tutors you are there for the parents. Parents have a wonderful opportunity to sit inside the classroom with their kids and know exactly what they should be learning the rest of the week.



Tutors have a responsibility to create a positive learning atmosphere.  It is better to start off the CC school year with some “call backs” to grab your class’s attention. A “call back” can be as simple as the tutor saying “1 2 3” and the students say “eyes on me”. There are many “call backs” you can use. Google more if you would like.

You could also write the word “FUN” on the board and erase the F if the class is misbehaving. If you have to erase the whole word then they don’t get to play a game for review just question and answer. That is absolutely no fun:(

Use your parents! They are your helpers. Use them to help with any disruption in the class. Parents can simply sit in between two students who may need some redirection.



Hope this post helps you as you prepare for the next year….here comes Cycle 1!!!


If you need ideas of “stick in the sand” ways to present grammar check out my post here.




P.S. What are some other tools I may not have mentioned that help in your CC classroom?

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