Pro Homeschooling by Audrey

Audrey is a Facebook friend who was wonderful to help me by guest writing on the topic of homeschooling. You can follow her on Twitter and learn more about her fun Etsy Show at @kaboogie. Thank you Audrey!

The Classical Homeschool

When I began my homeschool almost 11 years ago, I didn’t have a “style.” I just knew that whatever we did, my boy had an insatiable curiosity that would devour information, process it, and make sense out of it. I knew this when he asked me one day if he could learn the names of the bones. Not “elbow,” “arm” and “toe,” mind you. He wanted the REAL names. So I got a freebie poster online with the common names they teach kids, and I covered them with the Latin “patella”, “clavicle”, and “mandible.” This child was 3, and he had them down in a few days.

Since then, I’ve taught 4 additional children and have a toddler waiting in the wings. Last year I sent them to a small Christian school, and was delighted to see how they excelled in their studies. However, they found it to be drudgery and boring most of the time. My rising junior in high school decided to stay, as he finds the structure there more conducive to focusing on his work. It is a classically learning environment, and moving more towards true classical teaching in increments.

In essence, I cannot tell you how I missed the togetherness we enjoyed, the freedom we took advantage of, and the ability I had to guide their learning in a micro AND macro sense. Do they know everything? Goodness, no! Do any of us? Is this possible? But they sure know how to find out!

I realized early on that there was a natural way to learn. A few years into our journey, a name was associated with it; classical, or learning by the trivium, meaning literally, “three way” (or road). This is how education was done from ancient times, and was only discarded in the last century as progressive education paved the way for the K-12 model.

The trivium refers to the three things all people need in order to be effective in anything they do. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric, simply put, refers to language, thought, and speech. With the addition of math, all information a student needs can be absorbed through these learning stages. During the early years of our journey, I was under the impression that these processes happened in stages, consecutively. It’s only been recently that I’ve come to know that all of these happen at once. A child learns a fact. He then processes it and makes sense out of it with our guidance (knowing more facts!). Finally, he uses this language and thought to communicate with the world, through speech, writing, inventing and building.

This method is making a huge comeback as parents realize it has a natural ease in fitting with the way we learn. I’ve been stunned at times to see the fruit of this in my children; in that they know things I’ve never taught them, and have an incredible sense of logic and ability to communicate. Children want to learn. We can guide them, give them structure and resources, then watch out.

Do I worry that they will not learn according to some “scope and sequence?” Hardly! The scope and sequence approach to education has made our country into an abysmal mess educationally. Like adults, all children need are the resources to seek knowledge and the tools of learning, and they will amaze you. I’ve included some links to further elaborate on classical education. Dive in!

I’ve included the Classical Scholar website first. This is because, in my classical journey, I had not deeply delved into the proper and actual methods of classical education as I had once thought. I followed The Well Trained Mind, pretty much to the letter, substituting certain books for others as I developed preferences and decided what worked best with my kids. The Classical Scholar (and Trivium Mastery, by Diane Lockman) took what I learned of classical education in the subsequent 3 websites, and made it make SENSE!

We learn individual subjects, yes, but we utilize the trivium to learn, process, and communicate our facts into ideas. Science (we study the history of science, as well as scientists, to learn HOW science developed), history (and ALL of it, from the beginning, not just unrelated chunks that make no sense out of the context of the whole story), geography (integrated into history), math, Latin, modern language, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary. Yes, all of it! Integrated with the trivium as a method of processing and communicating means they have all of the information they need in order to learn more and get their ideas across.

Whichever method you decide to use to educate your children, the key to it all is you. As their parents, you have to be an advocate for what you know is right for your children. You know them more intimately than anyone. Always go with you gut. Each child is a special gift and possesses a unique learning style. If you find the way they are being taught, or the place they are being taught, is wrought with stress and hardship, step in! Don’t be afraid to make whatever changes you see will allow them to learn in freedom, thrive, and show you the best they can do!

What do YOU think about Homeschooling? Would it be something you would want to do with your family? What do you think about Audrey’s points? Let’s discuss homeschooling!


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