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'Classical' school model bridging gaps

Cory Wise educates the Dougherty County Kiwanis Club Monday on the values of Veritas Classical School.

Cory Wise educates the Dougherty County Kiwanis Club Monday on the values of Veritas Classical School.

ALBANY, Ga. -- There's a growing movement in Southwest Georgia to link the convenience and freedom of homeschooling with the curriculum and certification of traditional Christian private school, officials behind the model said Monday.

Cory Wise, who serves as headmaster and director of the Veritas Classical School based at the LifeGate church in Leesburg, said the concept of a Biblically-centered curriculum that focuses on classical training and puts an emphasis on logic and rhetoric seems to be gaining momentum in the area.

"Our goal is that our students will grow up with an appreciation of God through academia," Wise told the Kiwanis Club Monday. "The key concept in our program is understanding the way God has wired children to learn and then guiding them along a path of rich educational resources."

The concept behind Veritas Classical Schools -- using classics like the writings of Plato, Socrates and other Latin and Greek thinkers -- started in 1995 when the organizers behind the program wanted to help support homeschooling.

Since that time, the program has grown and Veritas Classical Schools have popped up across the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and California, Wise said, with more than 1,300 students in the program.

The program uses a three-stage approach.

The Grammar Phase is for the youngest students in the program and focuses on memorization of facts, basic math skills and language development.

The Dialectic Phase introduces logic for students between 10 and14 years old.

The Rhetoric Phase combines all of the information taught with a focus on the Socratic method.

Wise also said one benefit to the program is that it's fully accredited by the Georgia Accrediting Commission, meaning that students who graduate are eligible for scholarships and financial aid at colleges and universities, a stumbling block for some traditional home schoolers.

For more information on the program, go to veritasschools.com.