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How does one provide a classical education? Circe Institute lovers?

children\'s literature the great conversation 8filltheheart wisdom circe book lists good books classical ed discussion wtm awesome thread andrew kern the scary thread

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#151 justamouse

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:33 PM



Actually, it's always been my slightly sub-concious goal of my homeschooling endeavor to have my children someday pick up Orthodoxy by Chesterton, read it, and think, "Wow, this is exactly how I've always thought about things, but never quite knew it!" It's nice to finally have a term to describe that illusive quality I wanted to instill in my children so badly.


That is so so wonderful.

#152 birchbark

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:48 PM

Doesn't this look refreshing.
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#153 Irishmommy

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:50 PM

To bring this back down into the realm of the practical... this is a wonderful curriculum that uses nature study to promote analogical thinking as the basis of both poetry and scientific inquiry.

The Private Eye: Looking/Thinking by Analogy

It's as simple as can be. All you need are the teacher's materials, a 5x jeweler's loupe for each person, and some paper and pencils. Some people start it in K, but we've had the most success with ages 6 through grown-up. :)


Wow, this looks awesome! I can't wait to order this for next year!

#154 CourtneySue

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:57 PM

Here is an example of one of the ideas floating around in my head. Tonight I read my girls "The Story of the Four Little Children who Went Around the World" by Edward Lear. http://www.nonsensel...Lear/ns/fc.html It is a complete nonsense story and full of malapropisms and is just plain hilariously meaningless. My 7th grader, who has been sick yesterday and today w/a nasty stomach bug (which unfortunately appears on its 2nd round through the kids in 2 weeks, blech) even sat in listening to the story. She and I were cracking up (though even she got lost multiple times) and my 4th grader was eager to understand what was being said. That story is a veritable treasure trove of vocabulary and is just begging for me to come up with way to incorporate it into our school day. I can see giving them each part of the story to "translate" and using the vocabulary to write their own nonsense stories (and they will probably find that writing using malapropisms actually difficult and cements the words' meanings more firmly.) FWIW, 7th grade dd just walked by on her way to bed and I asked her what she thought of the idea and she said she would really enjoy doing that. :001_smile:



I loved this story and I love your idea. I'd be interested to see what you come up with. I love that sort of out-of-the-box thinking. I think that's what makes this type of classical education so different. Honestly, it's more than a list of facts to memorize, and might qualify for what Kern would call "mimetic teaching." Awesome!

I recently read this review on Amazon by a homeschooling mom talking about taking her kids through the act of learning to "read books better". You have to read it: http://www.amazon.co...DiscussionsNRPB

#155 CourtneySue

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:01 PM

Doesn't this look refreshing.


It's amazing what can be done in just three hours. I love the simplicity!

#156 ElizaG

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:44 PM

I loved this story and I love your idea. I'd be interested to see what you come up with.

:iagree: Please keep sharing these ideas and anecdotes!

I recently read this review on Amazon by a homeschooling mom talking about taking her kids through the act of learning to "read books better".

That is a great story. Good for her. I've never had any interest in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, but this review has me wanting to read it for myself. :)

#157 mo2

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:01 AM

I recently read this review on Amazon by a homeschooling mom talking about taking her kids through the act of learning to "read books better". You have to read it: http://www.amazon.co...DiscussionsNRPB


Wow.

#158 i.love.lucy

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:12 AM

Doesn't this look refreshing.

Just add some Latin (maybe that's Lang Arts?) and you are good to go!:D

#159 prairiegirl

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:11 AM

I cannot access the podcasts as we are still in the caveman era with dial up but I did go over to the Edocere site. Wow! The light bulb has been flashing on and off for me ever since.

Jesuit education has been talked about here for the past year or so. I have googled it and read some of the articles and pdfs but I was still in a fog as to what a Jesuit education looked like. The articles on the Edocere site explain it quite clearly. What a treasure trove of information and inspiration! Thank you, Justamouse, for posting that link.

#160 FO4UR

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:16 AM

Ah...I have been drooling over Memoria Press packages...have pretty much decided...written out my tentative daily plans for gettin' 'er done...and now I have this thread inputting a check into my thoughts...

#161 justamouse

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:24 AM

Doesn't this look refreshing.



Huh. That looks like one of our 'off' days. It is the reason we're so far ahead though we take weeks and weeks off. But I never thought of just making it our schedule. And our 'art' would be about three hours. :001_smile:

That DOES look refreshing.

#162 justamouse

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:35 AM

:iagree: Please keep sharing these ideas and anecdotes!


That is a great story. Good for her. I've never had any interest in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, but this review has me wanting to read it for myself. :)


:iagree: And I have about five copies. You see that book at the used books sales ALL the time and my kids always pick it up. I have to make a point though, Mom had to read the book herself. ;-)


I cannot access the podcasts as we are still in the caveman era with dial up but I did go over to the Edocere site. Wow! The light bulb has been flashing on and off for me ever since.

Jesuit education has been talked about here for the past year or so. I have googled it and read some of the articles and pdfs but I was still in a fog as to what a Jesuit education looked like. The articles on the Edocere site explain it quite clearly. What a treasure trove of information and inspiration! Thank you, Justamouse, for posting that link.


You're welcome! I'm trying to think if there's a way you can listen...

I wonder if those of us that had blogs could make a blog ring and as we hit great lessons like 8 and that homeschooling mom who put up that stellar review, we could blog it and ring them. Or, at least once a month share our best lesson? Something to share with other moms in a singular space so that we're not missing posts all the time.

Edited by justamouse, 20 March 2012 - 09:47 AM.


#163 magistra

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:44 AM

[I have been drooling over Memoria Press packages...have pretty much decided...written out my tentative daily plans for gettin' 'er done...and now I have this thread inputting a check into my thoughts]

And why would MP *not* provide one possible answer to the question of how to put these ideas into actual practice? I've been wondering that throughout this thread. Aren't the principles behind their curricula very much in alignment with Circe's?

#164 momtoamiracle

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:54 AM

:iagree: Please keep sharing these ideas and anecdotes!


That is a great story. Good for her. I've never had any interest in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, but this review has me wanting to read it for myself. :)



I have always loved this book. I plan on reading it soon to my son.

#165 angela in ohio

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 10:11 AM

And why would MP *not* provide one possible answer to the question of how to put these ideas into actual practice? I've been wondering that throughout this thread. Aren't the principles behind their curricula very much in alignment with Circe's?


I can't think of any reason. [Again, to me, though, it's not about the materials, it's about the use of them and the teacher/student interaction.] MP is one of the places I read and heard a deeper understanding of classical methods in the early days. They are very much in line with Circe, imho. Martin Cothran is on their blog, for example, and speaks at their conferences.

#166 joyofsix

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 10:25 AM

I recently read this review on Amazon by a homeschooling mom talking about taking her kids through the act of learning to "read books better". You have to read it: http://www.amazon.co...DiscussionsNRPB


Wow! Good stuff!

#167 ElizaG

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 10:44 AM

Yes, Martin Cothran and Cheryl Lowe are both involved with Circe.

It's pretty clear that no expert is close to having the whole answer (thus the benefit of getting people together for discussion :)), and as homeschoolers, we're not going to able to overhaul everything in one generation, as justamouse said. There are many possible starting points. Even the established providers are open to new ideas (which are typically rediscoveries of very old ideas). For instance, Kolbe has been around since 1980, and although they've always been inspired by the Jesuit model, they used to use a lot of parochial school materials at the elementary level. They seem to be moving away from that somewhat, by incorporating some things that are more along the lines of Memoria Press.

Sometimes I'm tempted to take the best from each provider, and then add in my own ideas, but I think that would end up being too intense. And what is "best" anyway? Is it the most rigorous and disciplined approach, or the most poetic and inspiring one? Clearly both are needed, but our children can't spend all day doing Latin grammar and picking daisies. The old head vs. heart dilemma... ;)
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#168 simka2

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 11:18 AM

I cannot access the podcasts as we are still in the caveman era with dial up but I did go over to the Edocere site. Wow! The light bulb has been flashing on and off for me ever since.

Jesuit education has been talked about here for the past year or so. I have googled it and read some of the articles and pdfs but I was still in a fog as to what a Jesuit education looked like. The articles on the Edocere site explain it quite clearly. What a treasure trove of information and inspiration! Thank you, Justamouse, for posting that link.



I just got lost what is the Edocere site?

#169 Connections

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 11:21 AM

Yes, Martin Cothran and Cheryl Lowe are both involved with Circe.

It's pretty clear that no expert is close to having the whole answer (thus the benefit of getting people together for discussion :)), and as homeschoolers, we're not going to able to overhaul everything in one generation, as justamouse said. There are many possible starting points. Even the established providers are open to new ideas (which are typically rediscoveries of very old ideas). For instance, Kolbe has been around since 1980, and although they've always been inspired by the Jesuit model, they used to use a lot of parochial school materials at the elementary level. They seem to be moving away from that somewhat, by incorporating some things that are more along the lines of Memoria Press.

Sometimes I'm tempted to take the best from each provider, and then add in my own ideas, but I think that would end up being too intense. And what is "best" anyway? Is it the most rigorous and disciplined approach, or the most poetic and inspiring one? Clearly both are needed, but our children can't spend all day doing Latin grammar and picking daisies. The old head vs. heart dilemma... ;)


Maybe I am missing something but isn't that the refreshing point- that great literature packages up the head and heart together for us to explore and ponder and learn from?

#170 cbmrj777

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 11:30 AM

I wonder if those of us that had blogs could make a blog ring and as we hit great lessons like 8 and that homeschooling mom who put up that stellar review, we could blog it and ring them. Or, at least once a month share our best lesson? Something to share with other moms in a singular space so that we're not missing posts all the time.


I would love to see this. :iagree:

I came across this thread a few days ago but only last night had the time to read it through. I felt like something resonated within me. I have downloaded the podcasts and intend on reading the links. But I'd love to read how this looks in your homeschool and day-to-day experiences. :bigear: :D

Edited by cbmrj777, 20 March 2012 - 12:17 PM.
grammar


#171 Andrew Kern

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 11:50 AM

Wow! I'm stunned by the flashes of insight flickering through this thread and honored more than you can imagine that things we've done at CiRCE have spoken to so many of you. You must know that my reverence for the home school mother - her intelligence, curiosity, and devotion - continues to grow.

The question of providing a classical education is an amazingly difficult one, and that is why I am so reluctant to prescribe a curriculum or tell you what you should read. But let me try to say some immediately useful things:

One, the orientation of your instruction is more important than the content of your instruction.

Two, therefore the content of your instruction matters a lot too.

Three, the paths to wisdom that are the classical curriculum are well trodden and well-marked, though they have become overgrown.

Four, therefore, we can and must teach from a state of rest, not a state of anxiety.

OK, let me explain myself.

The trouble with conventional education is that it is oriented toward the wrong goals. It is about power in one form or another. Classical education subordinates power to the quest for virtue, especially wisdom.

That changes everything. So if there is one practical thing I would urge you to do right now, it is to examine your purpose in teaching your child at home. If it is to get into a great college, impress the neighbors, change the world, or secure a fantastic job, I'm afraid you need to reconsider. You are shooting too low.

It's not that these things don't matter (if they didn't "The gentiles" wouldn't seek them); it's that they aren't the purpose of a classical, especially not a Christian classical, education.

On the other hand, if you seek wisdom and virtue, the odds of securing these things in a fitting and just way are much better than if you seek them directly. But beware: they will always tempt you from the true path.

Two: the content of your instruction matters, not because you need to know it to pass tests, but because you need to know, understand, and be able to do certain things if you want to walk the path of wisdom.

However, there is no reading list that everybody should follow. So here is my second immediate application:

Ask yourself what duties your specific children in their specific contexts will be taking on. It is the assuming and fulfilling of our duties that makes us wise and virtuous, so we can't make this an abstract study for everybody, but a specific study for our own children.

Here are some things to consider:

What duties will they assume because they are human and what virtues, knowledge, and skills will they need to fulfill them? For example, being an effective human requires effective use of language, geared to blessing and not to cursing. How are you teaching your children to optimize their language skills to think, make decisions, and communicate?

Being an effective human also requires effective use of shapes and numbers. How are you cultivating those faculties?

Next, where do they live and what duties are implied in that location?

For example, do you live in the USA? They will need to vote wisely. Do they know how to choose a leader? Do they know their role as a citizen? If they go into politics, will they know their job description (we call it the constitution)? Will they know how to make decisions in community? What are you doing to enable them to assume their responsibilities and prove themselves men and women as citizens?

What is your spiritual tradition? When your children mature, will they be able to accept its flaws and uncynically assume their role within the tradition? Do they know the teachings and how to live them out? What are you doing to enable them to assume their responsibilities and prove themselves men and women in the life of their church?

Are you on a farm? In a suburb? In a city? What do they need to learn to prove themselves men and women in the local community?

Will they marry? What do they need to learn...

Will they likely be parents? What do they need to learn, and when should they start learning...

What family will they be a part of? Will they pass on the traditions and wisdom that your family has accumulated over the centuries?

In sum, is the content of your curriculum enabling your students to fulfill the roles that life will give them? It is in those roles that they will become men or women, and it is in the concrete realities of everyday life that God will bless them into who they are. Our role is to prepare them to be humans, Americans, community members, family members, and virtuous persons.

Could I give you a list of books to cover these things? It depends on your circumstances. Certainly I would urge classical languages taught rigorously, great books (if they're great, who cares which ones you read?), and artifacts that turn their gaze to truth.

But the most important thing is not to read great books, but to learn how to read great books. Or better, to learn how to perceive truth embodied in artifacts (books, paintings, music, etc.) and to learn how to embody truth in our own lives (through actions and artifacts).

So while what precedes might make you feel the earth shifting under your feet and thus anxious, I would urge you to embrace this approach because it enables you to teach from a state of rest, purposeful and not driven by anxiety.

And that leads to my third point:

we don't need to discover the classical curriculum. it's been followed off and on for almost three thousand years. People disagree about details, but it's not the details that matter so much as the end. Set your face to Jerusalem, as it were - set your path for virtue, and go back and see how it was done for all that time. It was simple. They set aside the myriad distractions that arise from the lost curriculum of the 20th century and focus on a few things:

Language
Mathematics
Perception of truth

By strengthening some absolutely core human faculties, the cultivation of which IS learning:

1. attentive perception
2. recollection (ie. a trained memory)
3. contemplation (the ability to note, recall, and compare - slowly)
4. Apprehension (the Eureka faculty - that God-given ability that knows when we have found the truth or how things fit together)
5. re-presentation (the ability to embody a truth we have learned in actions, words, or artifacts).

So what can you do right now with this third point?

Grab a note book and give it one page each for the five faculties above. Take one minute each day for the next while and describe how you will cultivate each faculty in your child, one faculty per day.

For example, you might think about how to cultivate their faculty of attentive perception on Monday. Start, if necessary, by writing "I'm not sure what he means..." and then think about that. "Attentive - that has something to do with attention. He is saying we should teach our children how to pay attention. I dont' know how to do that. If I tell them to pay attention, that should be enough."

OK, fine. You have begun to think about it. Your teaching will improve as a result. You know why? Because you have begun to give your attentive perception to something you need to attend to.

Everything begins with the ability to pay attention. All learning is grounded in attentiveness. Don't let this go slack. Just ask: how can I help him develop this SKILL of attentiveness.

On Tuesday, write about recollection. FOR ONE MINUTE. No more, or you'll be overwhelmed.

We have to learn bit by bit, inch by inch, row by row, question by question, note by note. The path of wisdom is a path we need to walk. There's no helicopter ride to the top.

Above all, I entreat you to note the fourth point: we must teach from a state of rest, not anxiety. if we are anxious, we will pass our anxiety on to our children. Anxiety does not lead to sound decisions or careful thinking.

Shuck off the failed expectations and theories of the world you home school to escape. Obey the laws with joy, but don't let the establishment intimidate you. Even more, don't worry about the neighbors and their children or especially about this awful average quasi-child, non-existent child who you are supposed to use as your standard to assess your own child.

Take your time.
Rest.
Don't even try to catch up.

Identify the core skills you want your children to learn and find the best way to teach them (yes, Memoria Press is excellent for this).

Identify the knowledge you want them to know and teach them. They won't remember what is in a text book anyway, so don't worry so much about which text book you use. There are hundreds and thousands of good and great books.

Identify the ideas you want them to think about (you could include this on the page about apprehension above) and think about them.

You'll make a thousand mistakes, but not as many as I have. But you'll learn so much you won't be able to stand the pleasure and you'll watch your children's souls flow to overflowing.

And chances are, they'll pass the SAT test too.

I hope I've given you something actionable/practical. I also hope you can see why I'm reluctant to prescribe more than is fitting. You get to decide what your child will learn. Keep seeking wisdom and enjoy the privilege.

And keep it simple!
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#172 Andrew Kern

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 11:52 AM

Yes, this is brilliant! Do this!! :)

I was discussing this again with my dh (dear man is so patient) and he said, "You know, in business management, something we learned is that removing obstacles to get where you want to go is more productive than making sweeping changes." I had a little light bulb moment. I am overwhelmed at the...hugeness, the impossibility of "packaging" the Good the True and the Beautiful into something I can tackle on Monday. Maybe I should start by looking at what I am doing already and seeing what is NOT the Good, True, Beautiful and eliminating those things first. Making more room for the the best things to enter our lives.

I don't know. It just seemed more...doable.:D



#173 Andrew Kern

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 11:56 AM

Yes, exactly. That is the question! This is why I love this forum: you ladies are incredible because you are willing to ask these questions.

Let's think about one of them, because I'm here to learn too. How do you teach math in a way that cultivates virtue?

Can some of you list one way that math can cultivate virtue?

So, the question is - how does one teach math, science, Latin, or grammar with virtue and honor?

Beth



#174 Bang!Zoom!

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:11 PM

:::beatle fan screaming fit::: He's here, he's here! :w00t:

Hi Andrew, glad you've stopped by.. :)

I learned from the talks that math develops a patient mind ala Simon Weil's theory that was shared somewhere along the tracks of the tapes/articles.

That concept was a stunner for me (and a few others I shared it with I think) - there's not many people running around on this planet I can talk to about that idea, so it's wonderful to have this area to discuss the concept.

"The Christian Mind is orderly and simple."

We can develop some of that, the clarity mindset, and mental fluidity through the exercise of logic's of mathematics.

I wrote a small journal entry while I was getting my feet wet with the idea here: Loving Your Mind With God

#175 Amie

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:16 PM

Thank you for taking the time to share with us! Your entire post was lovely (and helpful!).

.



But the most important thing is not to read great books, but to learn how to read great books. Or better, to learn how to perceive truth embodied in artifacts (books, paintings, music, etc.) and to learn how to embody truth in our own lives (through actions and artifacts).




By strengthening some absolutely core human faculties, the cultivation of which IS learning:

1. attentive perception
2. recollection (ie. a trained memory)
3. contemplation (the ability to note, recall, and compare - slowly)
4. Apprehension (the Eureka faculty - that God-given ability that knows when we have found the truth or how things fit together)
5. re-presentation (the ability to embody a truth we have learned in actions, words, or artifacts).

So what can you do right now with this third point?

Grab a note book and give it one page each for the five faculties above. Take one minute each day for the next while and describe how you will cultivate each faculty in your child, one faculty per day.


Thank you especially for this! I plan to get a notebook out today. :001_smile: As for the bolded part above...I think I may need to put it on my refrigerator...

#176 ladydusk

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:21 PM

Martin Cothran is on their blog, for example, and speaks at their conferences.


I think he's also on their Board of Directors (or was)

#177 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:23 PM

:::beatle fan screaming fit::: He's here, he's here! :w00t:

Hi Andrew, glad you've stopped by.. :)


:lol: My thoughts, too. ;)

Let's think about one of them, because I'm here to learn too. How do you teach math in a way that cultivates virtue?

Can some of you list one way that math can cultivate virtue?



In answer to Andrew's question, I think the answer is found here: (I love this talk too. Since we are math/science lovers, too, this is the classical math education version talk for me. :D)
http://mathprize.atf...ve/2009/rusczyk

Problem-solving seeks out the truth behind the answers and guides the mind toward searching out possibilities via understanding, not rote reply.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart, 20 March 2012 - 12:25 PM.


#178 Bang!Zoom!

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:24 PM

Ya, Aime, that's the thing about math. It's truth.

Exposing and teaching kids to what is truth is awesome. There's nothing there to untangle, sort, struggle with, make decisions on, argue with, fear. It's just learning and absorbing standards, levels of beautiful truths.

It sets a benchmark in the mind, it's habits after exploring form a place of thought all other things can be compared to, it's a methodology in recognizing brilliance that's pure truth.

There's something about the search for the pristine, finding it, and holding it dear. Math is also, I think somehow, a reflective tool one can overlay on so much.

How to estimate, see patterns in all other disciplines.

When a thing is sensible, it's like a key fitting in the proper lock. Once you've turned that lock a few times; it develops a need for more in a person I think.

#179 Connections

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:32 PM

Anyone else feeling the excitement over homeschooling resurfacing? The one that you seem to have lost somewhere along the way? The vision you once held coming back into sharp focus.

Thank you all.

#180 justamouse

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:38 PM

I just got lost what is the Edocere site?



Here you go, the direct link to all the articles.

#181 ladydusk

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:45 PM

Since we are math/science lovers, too, this is the classical math education version talk for me. :D)
http://mathprize.atf...ve/2009/rusczyk

Problem-solving seeks out the truth behind the answers and guides the mind toward searching out possibilities via understanding, not rote reply.


I like this talk by Linda Jankowski on Math: God's Invention, Man's Dicovery. I'm also very interested in the audio/video from Leigh Bortins' recent Toward the Quadrivium conference.

I like to think of math as ordering, unifying, and showing the Lord's general sustaining of creation.

#182 justamouse

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:56 PM

:::beatle fan screaming fit::: He's here, he's here! :w00t:

Hi Andrew, glad you've stopped by.. :)


Lol, :iagree:

Math-I have NO clue how to teach math with virtue, all I know is that I'm not doing a very good job of it at all, it's a black white thing to me. There are these facts and they need to be understood and here is how three plus two equal five and never six.

I can see that math holds truth. Because two plus three equal five and never six. And I know it's the way the universe is ordered.

Other than that, I've got 'nuthin.

#183 TracyP

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:06 PM

Well, my first post was more coherent, but there are my thoughts.

That was coherent and helpful. Thank you (twice;)).

I recently read this review on Amazon by a homeschooling mom talking about taking her kids through the act of learning to "read books better". You have to read it: http://www.amazon.co...DiscussionsNRPB

Wow! I will be putting that book on *my* reading list. How interesting!

#184 Andrew Kern

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:09 PM

Lol, :iagree:

Math-I have NO clue how to teach math with virtue, all I know is that I'm not doing a very good job of it at all, it's a black white thing to me. There are these facts and they need to be understood and here is how three plus two equal five and never six.

I can see that math holds truth. Because two plus three equal five and never six. And I know it's the way the universe is ordered.

Other than that, I've got 'nuthin.


That's a good start. Now direct your attention from the math (the tool) to the child and ask what goes on in his mind when he does math.

If you are uncomfortable with math, notice some things you said:

1. there are facts. What should your child do with those facts?
2. They need to be understood. This is a harder question, so we can come back to it, but: how does one come to understand facts?
3. Here is how 3+2=5 and never 6. Notice that you are talking about how to do something here, which requires an ability, while facts just have to be remembered. You've identified three different kinds of thing to teach.

Let's think about one of them at a time and start with facts. What does your child need to do to or with the math facts? Or put another way, what do the math facts demand of your child's mind?
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#185 stripe

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:16 PM

I also think we should consider what math is. Is it something we learn because we have to, and is useful in some universe that's not ours? Or is it something that has relevance to life because it is part of our world? ( of course not the only options)

On the primary level, I enjoy the activities in the Indian textbooks MathMagic, which you can access at their website (http://ncert.nic.in/...ok/textbook.htm ) or at http://ncertbooks.prashanthellina.com/ because they focus on how math is an integral part of our daily lives, for example in patterns in household objects (eg brickwork, fabric), art, crafts, cooking, in a way that does not diminish math by turning it into parlor tricks or merely arithmetic, but a way of understanding the world the child lives in. Understanding how the abstract becomes real.

It's so different an approach that I think it warrants consideration.

Edited by stripe, 20 March 2012 - 01:28 PM.


#186 justamouse

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:26 PM

That's a good start. Now direct your attention from the math (the tool) to the child and ask what goes on in his mind when he does math.

If you are uncomfortable with math, notice some things you said:

1. there are facts. What should your child do with those facts?
2. They need to be understood. This is a harder question, so we can come back to it, but: how does one come to understand facts?
3. Here is how 3+2=5 and never 6. Notice that you are talking about how to do something here, which requires an ability, while facts just have to be remembered. You've identified three different kinds of thing to teach.

Let's think about one of them at a time and start with facts. What does your child need to do to or with the math facts? Or put another way, what do the math facts demand of your child's mind?


I'm more than uncomfortable with math. We stare at each other wary eyed from across the room.

Hmm, I never thought about it being broken down before.

Facts need to be judged-not everyone's facts are the same, but math is math-this is where my black and white come in.

They come to understand facts from experience? Or they can accept what they are taught blindly and never question them--I don't want them to do that.

The children need to be able to understand that a number is a symbol and how to use those as tools?

I have to go let turtles go, I'll be back soon!

#187 mo2

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:31 PM

Andrew, your posts are very inspiring. I thoroughly enjoy every one of your posts on this board. Thank you for taking the time to help. I only hope that someday I will be able to halfway wrap my mind around this conversation.

#188 lovetobehome

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:32 PM

Andrew, thanks so much for joining the discussion!
It is a blessing to have this community, I wonder where we would be without a way to talk through this together. I know where *I* would be (collecting more curriculum, and worrying)
I came into this so lost, but through reading and praying and thinking, I have come to realize this is all just what I somehow knew once upon a time, and buried underneath my quest for the perfect curriculum tools to meet the goals established by the world. Though outwardly I would say I was rejecting their standards, in the back of my mind was always fear and anxiety that I would let my kids down if I didn't provide them with a 'standard' education like their counterparts in the schools. I wanted to improve on it, but I wasn't thinking drastically enough! But lately, more and more over the past year, I could not get away from this feeling that I needed to throw off all this 'education' stuff, and just live beautifully with my children....to coexist without nagging, pestering, hounding, snapping. My witness before them was not pretty....my energy was all on 'getting through our schoolwork'. And I was growing more and more uncomfortable with this. I was toying with the idea of throwing out all the schoolwork, and spending Lent praying together, reading the lives of the saints and those who have trod the path, enjoying nature, cooking, loving. I felt like I could EITHER do school well OR live life well.
The lightbulb for me here is that living life well IS school. That doesn't mean we won't do any work or lessons or that we become unschoolers, but that our focus is on wisdom, virtue, truth, beauty. In each other, in what we say and do, in what we read and write, in everything. If we approach lessons with that in mind, we become more human....it is holistic. We are not warring with ourselves, divided and broken. There is a greater purpose and unity in our efforts.
I feel this tremendous burden has lifted, this impossible task seems possible again. In fact, it seems like it is EXACTLY WHAT I (and we as a family) NEED to draw near to our Lord, and to approach what He means for us to be. I am beyond excited...I am ecstatic.
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#189 ElizabethB

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:43 PM

I am enjoying the thread and have thoughts to share later, but for the math question, a good book for Christian moms and upper high school students to read is:

Mathematics: Is God Silent?

http://www.amazon.co...32268616&sr=1-1

(Busy week and I think I have strep, waiting on a 72 hour culture because my AF clinic couldn't get along with the AF clinic that does the rapid strep test. They were surprised I was so understanding about the whole issue...I told them I used to work in the AF and I understood beaurocracy.)

#190 FO4UR

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:52 PM

[I have been drooling over Memoria Press packages...have pretty much decided...written out my tentative daily plans for gettin' 'er done...and now I have this thread inputting a check into my thoughts]

And why would MP *not* provide one possible answer to the question of how to put these ideas into actual practice? I've been wondering that throughout this thread. Aren't the principles behind their curricula very much in alignment with Circe's?



I am so drawn to Memoria Press materials b/c they are so very practical, practically applying Classical principles.


I think my "check" in my thoughts is due to (my own personal) desire for an "easy button." :blush: There is a danger (for me) to turn anything into a box-checking exercise rather than an education.


That said, I am at a point where I could use some hand-holding (lessons planned and yes....a box to check!).





...so we can't make this an abstract study for everybody, but a specific study for our own children.





This describes my "check." I cannot purchase any curriculum and let it teach itself. This education thing is a pouring out of myself into these kids.



Thanks for such a long and thoughtful post. I am re-reading and taking some notes. :001_smile:

#191 ElizaG

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:05 PM

I also think we should consider what math is. Is it something we learn because we have to, and is useful in some universe that's not ours? Or is it something that has relevance to life because it is part of our world? ( of course not the only options).

(...) they focus on how math is an integral part of our daily lives, for example in patterns in household objects (eg brickwork, fabric), art, crafts, cooking, in a way that does not diminish math by turning it into parlor tricks or merely arithmetic, but a way of understanding the world the child lives in. Understanding how the abstract becomes real.

I see what you mean about young children's experience. But if numbers are in some way a reflection of of the Divine, then they are relevant in that they help to prepare us for worship -- which is ultimately where all this culture of ours is leading. (It just doesn't seem like a proper mega-thread until someone mentions Josef Pieper ;), so here goes: Leisure, The Basis of Culture.)

I'm not sure if that's what you meant by parlor tricks. Certainly, it's often presented in that way, and some people never see much beyond that. But I don't think it's necessary. We've been doing some learning about the Renaissance over here, and have already had some interesting discussions about the Golden Ratio. Above all, I think this is a lesson in humility. "The world is charged with the grandeur of God."

#192 i.love.lucy

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:16 PM

Anyone else feeling the excitement over homeschooling resurfacing? The one that you seem to have lost somewhere along the way? The vision you once held coming back into sharp focus.

Thank you all.

Oh yes. Still a tad overwhelmed about which obstacles to wisdom and virtue to remove vs making sweeping changes. Although I suspect there will be both.

Andrew, thanks so much for joining the discussion!
It is a blessing to have this community, I wonder where we would be without a way to talk through this together. I know where *I* would be (collecting more curriculum, and worrying)
I came into this so lost, but through reading and praying and thinking, I have come to realize this is all just what I somehow knew once upon a time, and buried underneath my quest for the perfect curriculum tools to meet the goals established by the world. Though outwardly I would say I was rejecting their standards, in the back of my mind was always fear and anxiety that I would let my kids down if I didn't provide them with a 'standard' education like their counterparts in the schools. I wanted to improve on it, but I wasn't thinking drastically enough! But lately, more and more over the past year, I could not get away from this feeling that I needed to throw off all this 'education' stuff, and just live beautifully with my children....to coexist without nagging, pestering, hounding, snapping. My witness before them was not pretty....my energy was all on 'getting through our schoolwork'. And I was growing more and more uncomfortable with this. I was toying with the idea of throwing out all the schoolwork, and spending Lent praying together, reading the lives of the saints and those who have trod the path, enjoying nature, cooking, loving. I felt like I could EITHER do school well OR live life well.
The lightbulb for me here is that living life well IS school. That doesn't mean we won't do any work or lessons or that we become unschoolers, but that our focus is on wisdom, virtue, truth, beauty. In each other, in what we say and do, in what we read and write, in everything. If we approach lessons with that in mind, we become more human....it is holistic. We are not warring with ourselves, divided and broken. There is a greater purpose and unity in our efforts.
I feel this tremendous burden has lifted, this impossible task seems possible again. In fact, it seems like it is EXACTLY WHAT I (and we as a family) NEED to draw near to our Lord, and to approach what He means for us to be. I am beyond excited...I am ecstatic.

:iagree: This is a beautiful post.

#193 Enough

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:16 PM

:::beatle fan screaming fit::: He's here, he's here! :w00t:

Hi Andrew, glad you've stopped by.. :)


:iagree:

I was coming here to gush about how much I love Mr. Kern's lectures- he is the epitome of perfection when it comes to conference speakers: witty, comfortable, HUMBLE, and wicked smart. I have been positively *gorging* on the audio at Circe- and, well, "seeing" him here is just.too.darn.much.:hurray: I sincerely hope to hear one of your presentations in person one day. Mr. Kern!!

On the other hand, if you seek wisdom and virtue, the odds of securing these things [getting into a great college, impressing the neighbors, changing the world, or securing a fantastic job] in a fitting and just way are much better than if you seek them directly. But beware: they will always tempt you from the true path.


The part up above that I bolded- that went straight to my heart. Such truth there. Very humbling.

#194 bethben

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:29 PM

Here's my take on Math. I was a Math major in college. I see a good grounding in math as a means to train the mind how to think sequentially. It helps with Logic. If you treat it as such, it can also help with learning to observe details (just ask my son about how I'm constantly pointing out that he needs to learn to notice details). If you get into upper level maths such as Non-Euclidean Geometry you learn that there are really two ways to see the same problem (for example, parallel lines can intersect). That whole thing can be easily applied to worldview - that a person's worldview affects the way they see everything. Mostly though, it really trains attention to detail and how to think sequentially.

Beth

#195 4Kiddos

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:30 PM

This is such a wonderful thread. It had caused me to think so much as we are starting our homeschool journey. Thank you so much for the wonderful ideas and thoughts! I have so much to learn! sigh...

My reply below is Christian and is not meant to create an argument. Please skip if you wish:

Let's think about one of them, because I'm here to learn too. How do you teach math in a way that cultivates virtue?

Can some of you list one way that math can cultivate virtue?


I think math put on display God's glory. Everything in creation and the universe screams of a creator simply by the incredible mathematical and scientific principles that are involved. God is orderly. Scripture is chock full of illustrations of this. Some of these include- creation, Noah's ark, design of the tabernacle, numbering our days, etc.

When we learn mathematics, it is an attempt to discover more of who God is. It is an attempt to "think God's thoughts after him". We learn it not to get into college but to discover the beauty of the ordered world around us and thus discover more of who God is. It inspires us to copy this loveliness and order in our own lives. Organization, design, and neatness are some personal virtues that come to mind as a result of this.

Well, I don't know how coherent this is. But, I am very grateful for this thread.

Lauren

Edited by Mommyof3boys, 20 March 2012 - 02:35 PM.


#196 prairiegirl

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:32 PM

Above all, I entreat you to note the fourth point: we must teach from a state of rest, not anxiety. if we are anxious, we will pass our anxiety on to our children. Anxiety does not lead to sound decisions or careful thinking.

Shuck off the failed expectations and theories of the world you home school to escape. Obey the laws with joy, but don't let the establishment intimidate you. Even more, don't worry about the neighbors and their children or especially about this awful average quasi-child, non-existent child who you are supposed to use as your standard to assess your own child.

Take your time.
Rest.
Don't even try to catch up.

Identify the core skills you want your children to learn and find the best way to teach them And keep it simple!



Mr. Kern, your post brought tears to my eyes. The part of your post that I have quoted has struck my heart deeply. My youngest child is 9 years old and has severe dyslexia. Teaching her has brought me to many points of frustration and deep levels of anxiety. I have second-guessed myself too many times to count. But we keep pushing on.

I have said to myself many times that I need to rest in the knowledge that God knows my dd's story, He will bring it to fruition and I am just along for the ride. Your words quoted above will be added to my mantra--'Take your time. Rest. Don't even try to catch up.'

I have been reading your Circe blog for many years and have listened to the conference tapes for a few years now, but these have always been accompanied by fog. God has very graciously lifted the fog this week and I am starting to 'get it.' I am jumping up and down in my heart right now. I think I need to get the conference tapes out now and re-listen to them. Maybe I will understand more of them now. :001_smile:

#197 cbmrj777

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:37 PM

Anyone else feeling the excitement over homeschooling resurfacing? The one that you seem to have lost somewhere along the way? The vision you once held coming back into sharp focus.

Thank you all.


:iagree:

#198 oraetstudia

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:44 PM

Here you go, the direct link to all the articles.


I haven't read through their whole site, so I can't say if I disagree with their articles, but I would issue of word of caution. If you look closely at their information, you will see that Edocere is not an authentically, loyal to the Magisterium, Catholic website. It is the website of the SSPX, an illicit, splinter group that believes among other things that only the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to be valid. Anything they have to say I would take with a big grain of salt.
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#199 magistra

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 03:00 PM

I haven't read through their whole site, so I can't say if I disagree with their articles, but I would issue of word of caution. If you look closely at their information, you will see that Edocere is not an authentically, loyal to the Magisterium, Catholic website. It is the website of the SSPX, an illicit, splinter group that believes among other things that only the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to be valid. Anything they have to say I would take with a big grain of salt.


Whoa. This is hardly the place for that. Should I as a Catholic not look at any Protestant websites concerning education because they are not "an authentically, loyal to the Magisterium, Catholic website"?

Just asking.

#200 *Jessica*

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 03:01 PM

Though outwardly I would say I was rejecting their standards, in the back of my mind was always fear and anxiety that I would let my kids down if I didn't provide them with a 'standard' education like their counterparts in the schools. I wanted to improve on it, but I wasn't thinking drastically enough! But lately, more and more over the past year, I could not get away from this feeling that I needed to throw off all this 'education' stuff, and just live beautifully with my children....to coexist without nagging, pestering, hounding, snapping.

This, this, this, this, this!

I have read this thread with growing excitement. This is how I envisioned our homeschooling! I think I'm failing miserably. My biggest obstacle is living in NY. I have all of these hoops to jump through, making it ever more difficult to let go of my box checking predilection.

I'm off to listen to some of the linked podcasts and to grow even more excited about this amazing journey we are embarking on.

I love this forum!



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