Two years ago, I read it takes 3 years before you find your homeschooling groove.
I was all, “Girrrrl, please. I know what I’m doing!”
Since then, I have floundered around quite a bit. We started with School-at-Home.
Then I saw Charlotte Mason out of the corner of my eye and we headed in that direction.
Then I corrected course toward Interest-Led with an Unschooling bias.
Then I started thinking those weird Latin Moms had a few good ideas (you know who you are).
Then I suffered a panic attack, because I finally had it narrowed down to Relaxed, Interest Led, Slightly Unschool-y with a side of Strict, Organized, Classical.
And those two philosophies seem pretty opposite.
Probably even the road to Crazy Town.
After much thinking, reading, talking, researching, Twittering, and whining, I think I have a plan. At least for now.
Obviously, Big is at the age where we are mostly focused on the basic skills. I’ve reduced our formal, scheduled subjects to Math, Literature, and Spelling. Math is the only workbook. I finally realized the other workbooks were just busy work. Astonishingly, Big retains more when we do less. Now that he’s a reader, I can hardly keep him in books. We are working our way through a stack of Real Literature, as well as a bunch of read-for-pleasure books.
The part of Classical Education that appeals to me the most is the rigorous thinking. I’ve said before that one of my main objectives is to teach my kids how to think, not what to think. From the ideas outlined in The Well Trained Mind, we will steal Latin, Math, and Logic & Rhetoric. We will being Latin next January.
Everything else: Interest-Led.
It is unfortunate that we have been conditioned to think kids aren’t interested in anything but video games, and that they have to be dragged kicking and screaming to learning. It is sad that we assume if they had their own way, they would do nothing. A discussion for the damage the school environment does to the desire to learn is for another time; however with my own children, I can barely keep up with their interests. They have the attention span of a gnat, but also manage to be insatiable. A passing conversation with my son reveals interests in Words, Geology, Outer Space, Geography, History, Gardening, Machines, Sharks, and of course, Volcanoes. Little wants to know more about Kittens, Ladybugs, Fish, Horses, Swimming, and Pink Stickers.
And so, we will Notebook everything we are interested in. Presently we are Notebooking Vocabulary, Book Summaries, Science (we are ladybug farmers!), and a 50 States in 50 Weeks sort of a thing.
That’s the plan. Some hard stuff, some easy stuff, and lots of fun stuff; stuff that they have to learn, stuff they want to learn, and stuff they will learn because someone else has an interest in it.
Kind of like real life, right?
The same kids
in the same room
doing the same thing
at the same time
in the same way
to achieve the same results
because they are the same age.
They had a link to this at Simple Homeschool over the weekend, and I loved it so much I wanted to keep it.
Organized education operates on the assumption that children learn
and only what
and only because we teach them.
That is not true.
It is very close to one hundred percent false.
– John Holt
• This weekend I tasted Nutella for the first time ever. Oh. Em. Gee. I am in love, and will be swirling a big spoonful into my coffee as soon as it’s done brewing.
• On Sunday, my son was helping sweep the kitchen floor. Then he swept the table.
With the broom.
I was not there to see it, but I heard my husband holler, “NOOooooooooooooo!” while I was in the shower.
When I came downstairs, he asked if I wanted to know what all the yelling was about.
I said No.
But he told me anyway.
And now I have to burn that table.
• On Saturday night, I got a quart of Ham and Bean soup out of the freezer and asked my husband to make some Jiffy Mix cornbread to go with it. A minute later he gloomily announced we were out of eggs.
I remembered last week Connie at Smockity Frocks said you could make an egg substitute using ground flax. The chance for a science experiment was too good to pass up. What’s the worst that could happen – we ruin a $1 Jiffy Mix? I mixed 3 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of ground flax and followed the rest of the directions on the box.
We were both pleasantly surprised that it worked (Jim more so – he is suspicious of stuff I find on the internets). The cornbread turned out fine – maybe a little crumbly, but it usually is. We covered it in butter and honey as per usual, and ate it with a spoon.
(yep. boxed cornbread. the cheap stuff. eaten off a paper plate. with a plastic spoon. that’s how we roll, yo).