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2024 National Conference: Pre-Conference
July 16

The 2024 pre-conference will be held Wednesday, July 16th from 9am-4pm ET. Breakfast and Lunch are provided along with Coffee, tea, and water during the day. 

There are four pre-conference sessions available:


The Art of Hospitality with Dr. Matthew Bianco:

Hospitality, that thing by which we might entertain angels unawares, is not just a thing we do. Hospitality is an art, and to do it well is to open up physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual paths that can enable real growth, learning, and union. As an art, hospitality is more than just inviting neighbors over for dinner or offering a guest room for a night to visitors. Hospitality is a way of being that extends, or should extend, to everything we do.

In this pre-conference, Dr. Matthew Bianco will look at the art of hospitality: what it is, how we do it, and what are those paths that open up and allow for growth, learning, and union? Since the art of hospitality is most easily recognized in the sharing of a meal, we will look at hospitality through that lens and then consider what lessons and principles can be drawn from the shared meal and brought into the classroom, the church, and all aspects of life.

This preconference is priced slightly higher at $147 than the others because it will include a special lunch experience to embody the principles of hospitality that will be learned as part of it. Not only will participants be learning “about” hospitality, but they will actually get to practice hospitality. The special lunch will include a full, special menu for the meal and wine. Please come prepared to participate in the full hospitality experience with food and wine.

Starting a Christian Classical School or Homeschool with Jonathan Councell:

School formation is at its core a creative and artful act. The Christian Classical Renewal is not merely a movement of our time but a timeless return to the permanent things, like goodness, beauty, and truth always necessary for the nurturing of wise and virtuous souls.  We are surrounded by assumptions within the spheres of community, governance, curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment that, when unexamined and practiced, lead inevitably to what C.S Lewis calls the “abolition of man.” Successful educational enterprises must navigate from within the humane tradition in a manner that creates a harmony between the local community, the Christian tradition, and the age.  This challenge cannot be “solved” by either a stubborn adherence to some past age or by conforming to current convention.

In this pre-conference, Jonathan Councell will present some of the fruit and learnings from the decades of teaching and research of the CiRCE Institute on school formation: what should be prioritized, what are supporting materials and organizations that can aid a start-up school, homeschool, or co-op, and what are the ways in which a community can undergird, protect, and sustain real education? Much of current thought on school formation comes from sources that are derived from neither a classically humane or Christian tradition. We will be considering the practical and normative commitments necessary to consciously work against the broad movement towards a world of post-humanity.

New Book Launch with Andrew Kern

Join Andrew Kern for the book launch for his highly-anticipated new book, Unless the Lord Builds the House! This pre-conference launch will feature a day long discussion of Andrew’s new book and the core ideas surrounding its development, see the description of the book below:

In this new treatise on Christian education, Andrew Kern returns to the roots of education by exploring the Hebrew Temple as a pattern for learning. He shows how this pattern applies to all of education, from selecting the course of study to practicing life-giving pedagogy and argues that if we rightly understand this pattern, it will transform all we do in education.  

Going beyond merely diagnosing the symptoms of conventional education, Unless the Lord Builds the House prescribes a cure: returning to the eternal foundation of Christ the Logos and building a house of wisdom on that Rock. 

Attendees will also receive a free copy of Andrew’s new book along with their registration fee!

Latin – Fabulae Latinae with Buck Holler:

In this year’s Latin workshop, attendees will work through five sessions on the reading and teaching of Aesop’s Fables as translated by Phaedrus. Each session will introduce a new set of fables and apply a different mode for reading, understanding, and teaching the text. In the final session, participants will have an opportunity to fabulam agere, perform a skit of a selected fable Latine! While instruction will be in Latin, participants may use either Latin or English. Selected fables and instruction will be taught at a beginner/intermediate level (A2-B1 fluency), though all are welcome.

Confirmed Speakers

Michael Buck Holler

Director of Consulting

Jonathan Councell

Dr. Matthew Bianco


Andrew Kern

President & CEO