Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Homeschool Files: Pardon My Dissent

I sometimes get frustrated by just the sheer number of homeschooling methods--unschooling, Charlotte Mason, classical, Montessori, Waldorf...--see my point. I like Charlotte Mason because of the reading it encourages, actually it makes the want of learning the goal for the child. If you have a kid who desires to learn, you have a great foundation. Unschooling, I love because it makes the world your classroom. Why do we have to tag all of the methods? I had a conversation at the beginning of the summer with a *new* friend. Of course, homeschooling came up--it always does. She's more of a classical learner and thinker, we're kindred spirits. It's always nice to giggle over learning and the savory smell of books.

Our visit together left me longing for more substance, physical substance in our homeshooling here. When I worked at a christian book store part time, I would find my self perusing the homeschool sections. T-Bird was only 3 then, so that was sometime ago. I remember skimming through The Well Trained Mind. At the time, it seemed so involved that I leaned more toward the Charlotte Mason method. However, after the conversation with my *new* friend, I bought The Well Trained Mind and have committed to following most of their recommendations. That's horrifying to most of my friends. I know that they are cringing right now. But I truly believe in my heart of hearts, that this is the way we should go. Not only to I believe it because I want to, but I presented this to the Lord, and I feel like he has answered me. I have such a peace. Not only a peace, but this ~method~ has brought out the most input and help from my dear husband. Apparently, Brett is a more classical guy as well. {I knew he had class.} You know how you wonder if your husband has any unspoken expectations about your kids education. That's tough. Brett is my quiet fellow, but ~this~ has totally let me know of his ideas and goals for our kids. What a blessing!

I might also add that it's not like I would declare that we are a classical homeschool. I think the methods overlap in our case. Hello, do you know me?! There is a lesson in everything. I'm Mary Stinkin' Poppins when it comes to everyday we learn a new thing and probably sing a song about it. We went on a carriage ride this weekend, which of course led to the traveling by wagon and carriage conversation and how do you change wheel questions. Life is learning.

Side note, my kids were playing the Alamo the other day. You know fighting of the Mexican army in the Alamo. My! I think they forgot the end of that story! I love it! No, not the end, the part where they were pretend playing about a specific point/story in history.

Back to the big story: The classical style also includes reading and memorization very similar to Charlotte Mason. Why all the labels? I believe if you say classical, people immediately think woeful and laborious. Once again, do you know me? I wouldn't be able to do woeful and laborious. Yes, you have to be committed to educating them, but no more than any other method. They all require thought!

Okay, but can my kids handle this method? Prof X is doing Pre-K this year. Classical learning is his style. He's doing fantastique! But what about my Free Bird second grader. We've been testing out the new methods over the past two weeks. He's doing great and literally giggling while he is learning. That is so encouraging to this Momma!

I feel I should also clarify that I'm glad we've waited to start this way. My T-Bird needed the looser schedule, he's a boy who really needed the free time. Being the Momma of boys is one of the myriad of reasons that we educate at home. Most of us boy moms have read the books and statistics that say boys need that extra running, dirt dobbing fun time. They are just not ready to 'buckle' down until around 8 or so. I don't want to squash their little spirits. How many boys are labeled ADD or ADHD in school at such an early age? Perhaps they have had their little spirits squashed and are now labeled for life. Bah!

I love the schedule and suggestions of the classical style. I guess I'm such a free spirit that I need someone to map it our for me. That's what this does and so much more. We've chosen more in depth curriculum, which again, I have friends cringing, but I'm okay with that. The boys are loving their education! Isn't that the best thing.

So pardon my dissent. We're moving away from other methods and into the woeful, laborious classical style. {Haha} No, we're having a blast. Even if it takes us five hours to homeschool now. We're doing okay.

And isn't that the great part. You have to do what's best for you, your kids and their education. No homeschool is exactly the same. It's wonderful.

I've also put on my homeschool blinders. I did research during our seven week summer vacation. About two weeks ago I stopped blog hopping and site searching. I've 'favorited' the sites we'll use and I feel meet our needs at this time. I can't look at anything else unless I feel we need help. I have an addictive personality. No, no, you flatter me, not like you're addicted to my personality but as in I like new things, I like jumping into new boats, bandwagons, what have you. I have to protect my children, myself, our home and our goals. So we'll run our 'race' with a vision in sight. If I'm constantly searching, I'll get so distracted. Blinders on please.

Happy Homeschooling Trails to you.

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