Monday, December 21, 2015

Classic Education... the Charlotte Mason way

Classical Education is the age-old method that produced many educational "giants"  like Aristotle, Newton, C.S. Lewis, and Thomas Jefferson, among others. You can't pin one precise recipe for Classical Education, since of course the Greeks and Romans didn't all do the exact same thing, or even label their educational method as "Classical," for that matter. But they did have a common goal. It was not the mere development of the intellect, but also that of producing virtue in their pupils and influencing their conduct. Students were taught to think for themselves and become life-long learners. 

Classical Education involves teaching children is based on their stage of cognitive development: Grammar, Dialectic, then Rhetoric. Most educators today would define those stages as something like this: 
  1. Grammar - Grade school students absorb lots of facts, laying the foundation for future study
  2. Dialectic - Middle school students begin questioning and evaluating the facts, and learn to think through arguments
  3. Rhetoric - High school students apply what they've learned by making arguments themselves through speech, writing, etc.
Interestingly enough, what we call "Classical Education" today isn't necessarily so. I recently read a great book showing the connection between Classical Education and the Charlotte Mason approach. I came to realize upon reading it that today's version of Classical Education (whether in schools or home schools) may be an attempt to replicate doing what classical educators did rather than getting to the heart of why they did it. This actually matters a great deal, as it can result in the modern version no longer remaining true to the original purpose. 

Let me explain. 

Classic Education began with Rich Literature, Not Rote Memorization

Monday, December 14, 2015

Why Homeschooling Rocks For Our Family

There have been so many times over the past few years that I've been thankful we homeschool our children. Today I thought I'd share a few of the reasons that homeschooling ROCKS for our family. 

We declare our own holidays.
Making our own schedule is one of my favorite things about home schooling. We generally start our school year during the heat of summer so we can enjoy plenty of time off in the spring and fall. That's also when we take our family vacations so the weather's great and we don't have to deal with lines or crowds. 

Our field trips rock!
While other kids were cooped up in school, we have climbed a mountain, competed in homeschool olympic days, taken water survival lessons, visited the zoo, a horse ranch, an alpaca ranch, the lake, museums, parks, and pumpkin patches, ridden trains, toured the fire station and Auntie Ann's Pretzels, dug for crystals, gone fishing, hunted crawdads and caught butterflies. Sometimes we join other home schoolers for field trips, sometimes we go as a family, and sometimes it's just me and the kids. One time we took a three-family vacation with a couple of our favorite homeschooling friends at the start of the school year and our kids had the run of an entire huge castle all to ourselves.