Socratic Discussions Program FAQs

When Do Classes Start? Weekly classes start the first week of September and the second week of January. The students in our Socratic Classes for Grades 3-8 read many different kinds of texts.  All of the readings are short, generally no more than a page or two.  In the lower grades many of the readings are folk tales from around the world.  These stories are always about one or more common human ideas or common human experience.  For instance, in 3rd grade the students read a story from Latvia titled They Share the Work.  What is it about?  The story centers on the activities of planting, harvesting, watching.  There is much else involved in those activities – responsibility, patience, industriousness, expectation, disappointment, anger, and how different people may have different ideas about what it means to share.

When are the Classes Held? The grades 3 – 8 Socratic Discussions are held on Mondays.  The first classes for grades 3 through 8 will be on September 14th, 2020. Class dates are every Monday (excluding Thanksgiving Break, Christmas Break, Spring Break, Martin Luther King Day and President’s Day).

How Long Are the Classes? We ask that students arrive in the classroom about 10 minutes prior to class time to enable us to make sure that everyone can hear and be heard.  This also gives the students some time to visit with one another prior to the start of class.  So the students are together for longer than the official length of classes stated below.  Also, at times the classes run a bit longer than the official time but students are of course free to leave whenever they must.

  • 3rd grade and 4th grade classes are 40 minutes long.
  • 5th and 6th grade classes are 50 minutes long.
  • 7th and 8th grade classes are 60 minutes long.

What Are the Readings? As the students progress into the higher grades there are more readings that are excerpts of great works about ancient history, civics, and the humanities.  As an example, 8th grade students may read an excerpt from The Republic, by Plato; an excerpt of The Prince by Machiavelli; or a section of Augustine’s Confessions. Prior to each discussion the students receive an e-mail that gives them the reading/thinking assignment.  The e-mail also contains some questions for the students to ponder and wonder about after having read the text.  It is this reading and thinking that constitutes the students’ preparation for the discussions.

Can We Start Anytime? Yes, we are flexible with parents and students. If you wish to join during the school year, we are happy to have you join a class (provided there is room in the classroom). Your tuition would be pro-rated based on when you join us. We would be happy to discuss our classes with you. Please email us at

How Do the Classes Work? The online classroom software that we use works very well for our live-audio discussions. It is a professional, virtual classroom and a real-time online collaboration environment designed for discussions over the Internet. Our live, online classes and discussions often take place with students from all over the world. You can even join one of the classes from your Android smart phone or tablet! Join our online classes from your Android mobile device, laptop or home computer!