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Ella Frances Lynch thread #2


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#1 ElizaG

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 02:36 PM

After two years and almost 400 posts, it seemed about time for a new thread.  :001_smile:

 

Here's a link to the previous one:  Ella Frances Lynch

 

and for those who want to look back over the most recent topics, here's a link to the last page

 

Feel free to add lists of other EFL-related threads and resources; otherwise, I'll try to do so in the next few days.

 

 

Also, if you'd like to share something about your experience with her system -- advice, questions, anecdotes -- but don't want to post much information about your family, you're welcome to PM me so I can put them together and post an anonymized summary. 

 

Looking forward to more discussion of bookless lessons and book lessons, complete with prayers, poems, pebbles, and potatoes! 

 

 


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#2 LostCove

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 02:04 PM

Thanks for starting a fresh thread, ElizaG!

 

As I mentioned on the old thread, we've been reading and doing a poor mama's version of "erudition," and I was all set to leave any more formal grammar or discussion of style, etc, until later. But then I started my annual re-read of Bookless Lessons and found more of that then I had remembered in EFL's sample lessons in the chapter on "Language Culture in the Home." Around the same time, I was looking at Fr. Schwickerath's description of prelection, it just really struck me this time how EFL's language lessons aren't just the ideal preparation for this kind of later study, but are actually already exactly this simply translated to the primary level. Which I had kind of grasped before, but maybe not so concretely. 

 

So I decided we'd try doing a little more grammar. Just because I like to needlessly complicate things, I looked at Montessori's elementary grammar and composition work and got all excited about the idea of using her grammar color-coding scheme with some Longfellow. I printed out color-coded copies of "Hesperus," which did take a little bit of time to prepare. On our third day working on a stanza, I give the kids the color-coded stanza, but cut up (line by line for my almost-six-year old and word by word for the 8yo) for them to assemble in the right order. I also have this idea of having the 8yo do some composition from the words of the poem. We've also experimented some with using the Montessori grammar symbols to identify some parts of speech. I think that will probably be a simpler method to use if we continue in this direction. 

 

This is not EFL, of course, and probably unnecessary, but I will say that it's given me some useful and also enjoyable grammar review, which I needed but was not going to sit down and study a grammar textbook. I guess if all we get out of this is that I'm better prepared for our grammar studies further down the road - both by brushing up on my actual grammar knowledge and experimenting some with studying grammar in context - that's not a bad thing. And the Montessori elementary language album has been helpful for fleshing out my sense of what grammar concepts we could cover over the next two years, since EFL doesn't provide any kind of scope and sequence. 

 

I had also forgotten that EFL recommends some observation/object lessons be done in advance of certain literature (for example lessons on star, sky, sun, earth before "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"). So I think I am going to put a little more effort into planning out our "content" studies.

 

After putting thoughts of our future studies on the back burner for a while, I've been thinking about it some more again lately (sparked in part by finally reading The Idea of the University from the beginning - I would love to discuss this, not sure if there's an existing thread that would be appropriate or maybe I'll start one once I've finished the last few sections), and specifically what, if anything, else I need to be doing now to be ready in two years to start Latin, etc, with the current 8yo. More on this later - baby is up from his nap.  :001_smile: 


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#3 LostCove

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 08:16 PM

Ok, so following up - I have two years to get myself ready for our homemade grammar school. The three things I think I need to really prepare for, on the academic side of things are Latin, English grammar and composition (which includes deciding if we're even going to do this formally at all), and transitioning from EFL arithmetic to more conventional math studies. Mostly, I'm thinking in terms of stuff for me to do, since continuing with EFL's system should have my eldest quite adequately prepared for all this.

 

The last seems the simplest - pick a program, figure out if there are any prerequisites EFL doesn't cover that we'll need to address, and make a plan for addressing them. I will probably start a separate thread about this to see if any other "better late than early" types have advice. Saxon 54 seems like the traditional pick for the older child just starting with math textbooks, but I will confess to some lingering dislike of Saxon from my own misspent youth, probably totally unwarranted.

 

I want to work through Fr. Donnelly's texts just for my own edification and hope that process will clarify what to do for English.

 

Finally, Latin. I studied Latin through the intermediary college level, so first I just need to refresh my Latin knowledge. I have some old grammars from high school to use for this, but I'll probably also take it as an opportunity to poke around a bit and see what is out there. Then I'd really like to work on reading fluency, which I never really achieved thanks to standard grammar-translation Latin instructional methods. I'm going to start with Fr. Pavur's acceleration readers, but I need to do some more research on what else do to for this. Just read lots of Latin, I guess. We'll need better reference materials - my pocket Latin dictionary is not going to cut it.

 

ETA: I guess this addendum wasn't strictly EFL-related. Sorry for derailing the new thread already. :blushing:


Edited by LostCove, 07 October 2016 - 08:20 PM.


#4 ElizaG

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 09:56 PM

No, no, dear LostCove, that's fine!  There's a whole context of western educational history that goes along with EFL, and the Ratio is a big part of it.   And I think we're all trying to figure out what to do about the upper grades.

 

Thanks for the Fr. Pavur interview, too.  Maybe one of us should just write to him and ask for advice?  

 

Over here, I'm still trying to put wheels on this thing.   My first year of figuring out EFL was mostly about spiritual growth and getting a sense of her ideals for family culture.   The second year, my efforts were more intellectual -- going back and revisiting academic subjects, as well as theories of education, psychology, and social science, and seeing how they fit with her thinking.  Now, I think I've done the bulk of that... the computer stuff was really the final part.   Meanwhile, my children are older, and I'm getting older too.  (Apologies to Fleetwood Mac. :laugh:

 

So it seems that this is meant to be the year where our homeschool becomes less of a work in progress, and more reliably usable.  Maybe also something that can be partially shared with others.  I think this means that I kind of do have to develop a curriculum, at least for what used to be called the "English branches."  Possibly somewhat along the lines of TOG, or AOG.  But simpler, without all the fancy formatting and hand-holding -- which, I think, might have contributed to the high cost of one, and the unavailability of the other. 

 

I'm not aspiring to write down "EFL in canned format" -- which I think we all agree would be impossible.   Nor, I'm thinking, would it be structured as a buffet of options to choose from -- which mothers often find overwhelming.  

 

What I'm thinking of is more of a basic meal-starter consisting of classic literature and age-appropriate study aids, and then a blank part to be filled with ingredients that suit our current circumstances (practical work, reference books more literature, discussions, media, field trips, etc.).

 

I can see it now:  "Potatoes of Grace."  Add your own toppings and side dishes.   :laugh:


Edited by ElizaG, 07 October 2016 - 09:59 PM.

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#5 LostCove

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 02:26 PM

You know, I had actually been wondering if Fr. Pavur would respond if I emailed him for advice. Hmmm, if I did, is there anything you would particularly want me to ask about?

 

Ahh, Potatoes of Grace! Can't wait to see what you come up with!

 

The last thing I meant to mention is that, with the older two in a good rhythm for lessons, I don't want to get too ahead of myself planning for the future and neglect the littles, since (1) there will probably be more of them at some point and (2) I'd like to go deeper with EFL's suggestions for play and "sensorial" activities and the like than I managed with the older two. And I think we could all still get a lot more out of observations lessons.

 

Oh, actual last thing: I've started giving the 8yo a weekly assignment sheet. Right now it is broken down with specific assignments for each day in arithmetic, copywork, and piano practice, which he does pretty much independently, and then language lessons with me, and a reminder to do his chores. I'm sure the novelty will wear of sooner or later, but for now it is really working well and preventing that post-breakfast slipping off and getting engrossed in something that I then have to tear him away from.


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#6 ElizaG

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 11:34 AM

My main question would be:  what path would he suggest for beginners (child or adult), without a skilled Latin teacher, to get to the point where they can read the simplest texts on his site?

 

I was just looking through Fr. Schwickerath's book once more, and he recommends using a Latin reader in the first grammar year.  He says that this practice was introduced in the German province as early as 1830.  The older Jesuit documents all seem to have recommended starting right in with Cicero, though.  It seems that Fr. Donnelly favored that approach as well, but unfortunately for us, he didn't write much about grammar. 

 

 

Apparently I'm not entirely in "practical mode," because I'm back to thinking about the 20th century Catholic trend of medievalism, or pseudo-medievalism, and how it displaced existing traditions.    In the previous EFL thread, and the big Angelicum/GBA thread, we talked about this a bit as it related to literature and art in general.

 

There's an interesting thread here on sacred music. I had already run into the Solesmes controversy, as well as some of the other points Goldman mentions.   If you aren't familiar with Camille Saint-Saens' response to the 1903 Motu Proprio of Pius X, it goes right along with this.

 

Anyway, I appreciated this line:  "The truly medieval way to do things is to make best out of the things at hand."    :001_smile:

 

 

Also found a copy of the Teacher's Monographs journal from 1915, with a set of plans for "language work."  I'm finding it interesting, because it clearly shows the amount and type of work that was expected for each grade.  The work suggested for the primary grades is similar to EFL's in many ways, but seems lighter, probably because the class has to be held back to the rate of the slower pupils (including those with limited English).   At home, each of these lessons, and probably more, can be taught in a few minutes a day.

 

The 3rd graders do "copying," and the 4th graders do "transcription."  I take it that the former means writing from a cursive copy set by the teacher, and the latter means writing from a book. 

 

By 5th grade, they're doing a little formal grammar (e.g. subject & predicate), and more exercises of the sort that you'd find in a workbook.   This fits with my sense that this is a suitable time to shift more towards book lessons. 

 

The major problem I'm having -- and one I'm hoping to solve by making a more set curriculum -- is that I can't figure out how to continue their individual face-to-face lessons, once they've started on "book lessons."   She doesn't explicitly say that we're supposed to do this, IIRC, but I feel as if I ought to, at least for the language work.   So right now, I'm fairly happy with the way things are going with the youngest and the oldest, but confused about the in-betweeners.  They're happy to get to work on their own assignments (just like the "big kids), and they're definitely learning, but it doesn't seem very EFL to me. 

 

I had thought of doing impromptu individual lessons based on their current book work, but that's proved impossible for me to keep up with, as the number of children and subjects has increased.   And when I try to do oral work that's not tied to their book lessons, it seems disjointed.  

 

My original plan was to come up with a tentative year-by-year curriculum for their individual skill work, and put the group thematic work on the side.   Sort of like the revised lectionary, with the OT and NT running on different cycles.  :laugh:  But that's apparently not going to work, without a team of mommy clones.  So I think the best I can do is to have loosely-planned thematic work, with the individual lessons drawn out from that, and plain old textbooks/workbooks on the side.  Which is basically KONOS.  :001_rolleyes:  And also basically what we were doing to start with.  But now enhanced, with EFL!

 

This gets back to the sketchiness of trying to restore some pure "tradition" from historical records.  I suppose it doesn't make sense for our family to dump the parts of our homeschool that were working for years, just because they don't seem to fit with her advice, when we don't even have her actual advice for this situation.  :001_rolleyes:  :001_rolleyes:  

 

I do hope you young'uns are able to do it more as written.  With or without access to the mysterious EFL scriptures, buried under the earth of upstate New York.   :laugh:

 

So anyway... I think step 1 of the project has to be a scope & sequence for a more traditional/Renaissance-ish/humanistic approach to literature and language work, from preschool through rhetoric.  This would be something that any educator could use and adapt, even if they had a different overall philosophy.   (Though I'd be tempted to program it to self-destruct if they tried to teach "university methods" before the 4th grade.  :willy_nilly:)

 

Step 2 involves putting together a list of resources, especially those in the public domain -- classic texts, study aids, exercises, precepts, works on pedagogy.  Again, this could be of wide interest. 

 

Step 3 involves making a plan for an EFL-ish homeschool that uses the above resources.  This is going to be more family-specific. 

 

I'm most likely going to be working on all of the above in parallel.  "While learning three Oriental languages," as Basil Fawlty would say.  I'll let you know when I'm at the point that collaboration seems worthwhile.    :001_smile:



#7 ElizaG

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 11:36 AM

Forgot the link to the Teachers' Monograph (Google books).


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#8 elizahelen

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 11:52 PM

I just want to say thank you, all previous contributors, for your hard work and contribution to our understanding of education at home. Thank you!

 

How I've been using EFL:

I made the letters with boxes we had around out of cardboard. Well, helped make letters. We used magazines and newspaper. Sometimes we line up our letters in an Alphabet and see what we are missing. Recently I made a spalding phonogram box to help us review. Today I handed my 6 1/2 year old first grader a newspaper headline and asked her to circle all the phonograms she saw.

 

I reread EFL's works --- really quickly, skimming a lot-- and started getting into finding obedience resources, which led me to other things. But what has been helping me with obedience and good work habit training is that I really have to be there training my oldest (the almost 7 year old), sometimes even holding her hand-- Yes, hand holding! It actually has such a good feeling to it. For instance I am teaching her to knit (because this seems EFL and a way to add work) and she says "This is boring," and I say, "Yes. Now wrap the yarn around the needle..." and it is so satisfying, teaching my daughter to work through her boredom. Strange. I never thought of that as homeschooling.

 

Also we are doing quite a lot (for us) of handwriting using RLTL workbook in cursive. This is also helpful because it is a physical activity, opposed to teaching reading, which I find frustrating, because how do you make a child read who doesn't want to read?

 

I am realizing when I rest (which has been happening a lot lately with a 2 month old), then I can't really ask her to do things, because I can't physically follow through and make sure they are done, which undercuts my authority.

 

I have to treat my word as solemn oaths.

 

Schoolwork here has to be first thing in the morning.

 

I am incorporating a lot of Katy Bowman philosophy with EFL--- aka nutritional movement--- and most days that I feel capable going to a park or outdoor activity, and walking a lot--- like for at least an hour, and if we are not moving and hanging with the toddler, then I am constantly moving, squatting, lunging, etc. I am also following a bulletproof diet plan (more to have a plan than anything) and cooking a lot of vegetables all the time. I guess I am including this because I think the investment in my personal health would be EFL approved. It also seems to have a beneficial aspect to the children. We are outside observing easily and naturally. They are helping to prepare food, if not eat it all the time! And they are eating more natural food than before.

 

The baby is crying so I have to write later. But thank you to all the experienced contributers who have written so much helpful information! Can't wait to read Fr Donnelly.


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#9 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 10:02 AM

The lesson I keep learning is that we need to read "real" poetry, not children's poetry. Poetry's been a bit of chore here recently and DD just told me that she hates poetry. This is after her announcement a few months earlier that she likes poetry. I re-read the Poetry chapters in ECaH and BL and found the answer; "real" poetry instead of children's poetry. I had found another nice booklist online with lovely children's poetry books that I found at the local library. 

 

We're going back to Hiawatha and then maybe followed by the Wreck of the Hesperus

 

But I've found that I have conflicted feelings about Hiawatha. Is it really the great American epic poem? I've spent some time in the past weeks looking for American epic poems. That was a fruitless search! So many different opinions. And now I better understand why poetry was minimized in my education. Too controversial. I'm reading more poetry and I think I'm beginning to develop a taste for it but I have come to truly despise the people who write about poetry. When you like something you will read that it's garbage. It's tempting to throw your hands up in the air and give up on the whole endeavor! Which could explain why no one reads poetry anymore. :)

 

I couldn't find an alternative to Hiawatha so we'll stick with it. 

 

The other thing that struck me upon my recent re-reading of EFL's poetry chapters was her insistence that children should not memorize poetry that they do not understand. I was inspired by some other mothers to work with DD to memorize Psalm 50 which is part of the Orthodox prayer rule. Big mistake because it has words and phrases my DD does not know, e.g. multitude. 

 

ETA that the other thing I keep needing to re-learn is that we can't let math take over. It's so easy for me to worry about math. It seems like everyone here is doing two curricula. If I let it, math would take over everything we do at home. It's never enough. There's always another resource we could use. Enough! Why isn't one decent math curriculum enough? 

 

 


Edited by Ordinary Shoes, 14 October 2016 - 11:02 AM.

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#10 ElizaG

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 11:03 AM

Hi, elizahelen!  I appreciated your perspective on nutrition and physical activity.  These are important to us, but I tend to see them as boxes to be checked, rather than as an integral part of our family/homeschool life (which of course they are).  Will have to look up Katy Bowman.

 

OrdinaryShoes, is it possible to teach the unfamiliar words in the psalm as you go along?   This is what she recommends with poetry, as I understand it.

 

According to EFL, children who were raised with her system will ask if they don't know what a word means.  My older ones don't always do this, though.  One, in particular, will end up with a very patchy understanding if I don't keep quizzing on the more difficult words.  I think this is a "work habit" issue, i.e., it's easier just to guess and keep going, than to stop and ask, and think.   But it might be an expectation that was created by conventional, too-simple work in the primary grades (in which case, your DD might do it as well).   Come to think of it, EFL might say that those two situations are pretty much the same. 

 

If anyone knows a cure for this, I'd be very happy to hear it.   :001_rolleyes:



#11 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 12:01 PM

Hi, elizahelen!  I appreciated your perspective on nutrition and physical activity.  These are important to us, but I tend to see them as boxes to be checked, rather than as an integral part of our family/homeschool life (which of course they are).  Will have to look up Katy Bowman.

 

OrdinaryShoes, is it possible to teach the unfamiliar words in the psalm as you go along?   This is what she recommends with poetry, as I understand it.

 

According to EFL, children who were raised with her system will ask if they don't know what a word means.  My older ones don't always do this, though.  One, in particular, will end up with a very patchy understanding if I don't keep quizzing on the more difficult words.  I think this is a "work habit" issue, i.e., it's easier just to guess and keep going, than to stop and ask, and think.   But it might be an expectation that was created by conventional, too-simple work in the primary grades (in which case, your DD might do it as well).   Come to think of it, EFL might say that those two situations are pretty much the same. 

 

If anyone knows a cure for this, I'd be very happy to hear it.   :001_rolleyes:

 I definitely do not have a cure but I see where I went wrong in the past. Like every modern parent, I've read to my DD too much. Being read to is a passive activity for my DD. It's not a process that encourages discussion about what the words mean. I've been thinking about how children learn language. Little children listen to the people around them speak as part of ordinary life. Being read to is not the same thing. Being to read it is being entertained. Listening to adults talk around you while your little brain soaks up language is learning. 

 

So I think you're right about it being a "work habit" issue. 

 

One of the changes I've made is that we stop our reading and discuss new words or words used differently. I think DD gets frustrated with it because it breaks up the entertainment and requires some work out of her. But I think she's getting used to it. And like everything in EFL, the one with the shortcomings here is not DD but me. It's easier to turn on the auto pilot and read to DD mindlessly. 

 

What I try to mindful of every day is that the ultimate is proficiency in the English language. Everything should be judged by how it advances that goal. 

 

While we were working on Psalm 50, we did stop and talk about the words but there was too much that was new to her. The translation was odd too as it often is in Orthodox prayer books. What would be better here is to include it in our daily prayers. I'll read it because I haven't memorized it either and DD will gain familiarity with it from hearing it recited every day just like she's come to know parts of our Liturgy. 



#12 Mrs. A

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 03:16 PM

I don't remember what EFL said (it's been awhile since I read her), but I don't think that being read to should necessarily be dismissed as pure entertainment with no educational value. It seems to me that many word meanings can be picked up through context without ever having to have the definition spelled out. I feel like breaking up the reading with explanations is more an exercise in frustration and diminishes one's attention span.

Those who know EFL better than I, what do you think?

Edited by Mrs. A, 14 October 2016 - 03:40 PM.


#13 ElizaG

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 05:01 PM

Hmm... I'm pretty sure I haven't read to my children too much.   We probably have too many books at an easy reading level, though.  Especially non-fiction aimed at middle schoolers, and "old-fashioned fiction" (really, mostly mid-20th century) such as the series from Bethlehem Books.   In these sorts of books, words that might be unfamiliar tend to be explained in the text, or surrounded by ample contextual clues, so that a reasonably bright child never has to ask for help (or look in a dictionary) to understand what's going on.  Another example of the "elevator."  I never thought of that.  :huh:

 

Argh.  This is definitely helping me figure out what to do about our home library, but now I'm old and tired and have a bunch of children to wrangle, and the actual work is looking daunting and kind of discouraging.  If only I'd just ignored all the voices recommending to stock up on baskets of children's "living books" (which wasn't even my personal inclination), and put 1/4 of that effort into finding suitable reference books.   Live and learn!

 

We talked a while back about geography books.  I have a bunch that were discarded by school and public libraries, but are still fairly current.  The children like them, but besides the clutter factor, I've found it necessary to edit out some of the content (e.g., a section about child trafficking, in a book aimed at 9-12 year olds -- let's just say that I disagree with that editorial decision).   Now, thinking that they might be causing lazy reading habits, I'm feeling even less favorably inclined toward them.  But we do need something, and there aren't any suitable grown-up books that I've seen.

 

I think I'm going to keep just enough of the best ones to have some coverage of each country, cut up just enough of the mediocre ones to have a good selection of pictures and maps, and give away the rest.  I'll keep the pictures in a "continent binder" (in lieu of Montessori "continent boxes," which seem to make little sense in our home), with a few favorites glued on to 8.5" x 11" card stock, and the others in an envelope at the back, so that the children can use them for projects.

 

We could print current facts about countries from the Internet and add them to the binder, which would reduce the need to keep books on hand.    Come to think of it, I have a set of reproducible activity books that I picked up at the teachers' store; I could copy the info pages and include those.   So that's one way to solve the reference book problem:  make our own!  :001_smile:

 

I guess this is the way to go.  I put together a family notebook, from resources that are at hand.  The children use this, and our discussions, and other resources, to put together their own individual notebooks, with some amount of guidance.  Sort of like the way old-time students made commonplace books, or those Colonial-era math notebooks that I posted about a while back.  Seems like a pretty solid approach, pedagogically speaking.  

 

My sense is that this is what "lapbooking" ought to be, but is not.  Though, even if it were, I'd object to it on the grounds that the name is annoying.  ;)   :leaving:



#14 ElizaG

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 05:22 PM

Mrs. A, I didn't see your post before replying.  I agree about explanations breaking up the reading.  To me, this is the difference between literature that's used for lessons (including memorization), and literature that's just read as a family activity.

 

EFL does talk about the value of reading aloud, though I can't find the reference now.   And listening to an oral storyteller or singer could also be considered "passive," but it's clearly been fundamental to the development of human culture, including classical literature.

 

I don't think it's bad to be passive, per se.  This actually goes along with a book I've just been reading, by David Schindler:

 

Heart of the World, Center of the Church:  Communio Ecclesiology, Liberalism, and Liberation

 

There's a chapter about how our modern culture, by putting the emphasis on "making" and "doing," fails to respect the importance of receptivity, which is linked with femininity.  Schindler says that the latter is more fundamental, since we can't act, without first having the acted-upon.  I haven't read much of the chapter yet, but I've been looking forward to seeing how it might apply to education.  This seems to be one example.   Without a listener, we can't have a storyteller.   :001_smile:


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#15 Mrs. A

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 05:43 PM


There's a chapter about how our modern culture, by putting the emphasis on "making" and "doing," fails to respect the importance of receptivity, which is linked with femininity. Schindler says that the latter is more fundamental, since we can't act, without first having the acted-upon. I haven't read much of the chapter yet, but I've been looking forward to seeing how it might apply to education. This seems to be one example. Without a listener, we can't have a storyteller. :001_smile:


That sounds just like the chapter I just finished in Pieper's "Leisure the Basis of Culture". The utilitarian emphasis on doing at the expense of being is something that is hard to counteract.
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#16 Whippoorwill

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 11:46 PM

 

 

I'm most likely going to be working on all of the above in parallel.  "While learning three Oriental languages," as Basil Fawlty would say.  I'll let you know when I'm at the point that collaboration seems worthwhile.    :001_smile:

 

"Que?"  :laugh: 

Love Fawlty Towers!


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#17 Whippoorwill

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 12:18 AM

I have been lurking about two weeks now, reading through the old thread . . . and really have had a moment of vindication.  Last May, I began planning for this year, and my DD8 was working through a Cyr Reader.  The second one has a lot of Longfellow in it.  I like Longfellow, and we had the Susan Jeffers' illustrated version around the house--I decided we were going to memorize Hiawatha's Childhood.  I printed it off in large font-3 copies- . . . and ended up ditching my original third-grade plans to buy Memoria Press. 

 

Now, I am not saying anything against MP; I like it a lot, actually, and I needed open-and-go as we put our house up for sale, moved, are planning to build, etc. but I am still somewhat restless in certain ways.  When I began reading the first EFL thread I was elated--"Hiawatha!"

 

I haven't read any of her actual works yet; I didn't even finish the posts--but I did pull out those copies of the poem and start my children on it.  I have 1st and 3rd going this year.  Sometimes I think I am making homeschool too hard. Maybe I could just go with my gut, instead of always searching out someone else's ideal situation?

 

 I am a bibliophile; I have so many books around.  Yes, I have surrounded us with "living books," but I haven't been able to stop myself from snatching up a set of Land and People, or Audobon Society Nature Encyclopedias.  I am starting to think that a few books ( well-read and oft-read) and a few reference books (oft-perused) might be a good start for independent learning.  I say that last part based on my own experiences growing up--while the library was open to me and I went a lot, we didn't own much beyond a set of encyclopedias and a few books my older sister had.  I was so bored I had to read encyclopedias.  Fluency probably came from repeated readings of my Beatrix Potter collection and my black-and-white checked copy of Mother Goose.  And later, a handful of novels. 

 

Recently, I mentioned something in passing to my fifteen-year-old niece about rereading a book, and she looked at me surprised and said she couldn't remember once rereading a book.  She is competent, an A student in PS--my sister has reared her well, but still--she doesn't LOVE reading like my sister and I--and I am wondering, did she have too many?  I am thinking of the tubs of books I have in a storage unit, the boxes I have in the garage here in our rent house, and the boxes I have in my bedroom behind the door, wondering, will my children be the same way?

 

Does EFL speak to that? I am wondering because of the discussion of reading too much at the expense of oral sharing, etc. 

 

I am looking forward to reading some of her work  Meanwhile, we are memorizing Hiawatha, and this weekend I picked up a second-hand copy of a book marked for Calvert 8th grade called Stories in Verse by Max T. Holm.  I am hoping to learn a lot of narrative poetry and share it with my family. Thanks for this discussion!


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#18 ElizaG

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 12:42 PM

I don't know if she mentions re-reading specifically, but I think it was a given in rural 19th century America, where even relatively well-educated families wouldn't have had access to many books.  

 

Father Donnelly -- who was a bit older, and lived in small-town Pennsylvania -- was a great re-reader.   In additon to standard classics, his family had a couple of anthologies of Irish literature in translation, which were treasured and read over and over again.   I think most good home libraries of any size are like this, with a selection of books that are likely to show up on standard book lists, and others that are more family-specific.  

 

EFL was open to the use of media other than print (such as photographs), and it seems to me that much the same thing can happen with those.  Among friends my age, many of us used to sit together with siblings or friends and listen to some old 45 RPM record, over and over, long past the point when we had it memorized.  If it had a narrative, sometimes we'd act it out.  Sort of like the "marble obsession" described in one of those old books on recreation.

 

My own children have developed pretty intense connections with a few vintage short films, from compilation DVDs that I found at a discount store. 

 

These are not examples of high culture, but they've.contributed to our "group traditions," and helped to make us the people we are (creative or weird... take your pick :laugh: ).



#19 LostCove

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 01:05 PM

Elizahelen, thanks for mentioning Katy Bowman - she had crossed my mind before on the old thread when we were discussing posture and sitting vs. lounging, and I think you're right that her ideas can really mesh well with EFL. We just returned from a trip to what passes for mountains around here during which we got out for a hike almost every day. It was so wonderful that the first night we were home, I made a list of all the decent hiking trails a not-too distant drive from our house. We'll see how often I actually get all the kids out there, but I think it would be really good for us. 

 

On the passive reading/work habit question - my kids will usually ask when they don't know a word, although now that I think about it, I guess I wouldn't know if there were words they didn't know that they weren't asking about.  :huh: Well, they do ask sometimes, at least. (ETA: I was mostly thinking about our recreational read alouds here - during language lessons, we discuss thoroughly enough that I know whether they understand all the words.) Honestly, I have pretty bad habits in this area, myself. In school, I always either read texts that were too easy so I could get away without having to study them very carefully or was able to rely on the teacher and/or gloss for the bare minimum of explanation to be able to get the gist. Even into grad school, it was all too easy to skate by on less rigorous readings. 

 

ElizaG, when I did a bunch of Pinterest-browsing a few months ago on notebooking, some Waldorf website described the main lesson books as "making your own textbook." That was helpful for me in imagining what we might be going for, although I think a personal reference book might differ from a "textbook" in certain ways. I'm really like the idea of mom making a family notebook for reference on certain topics - that both solves the problem of finding a decent reference books and also models notebooking for the children. 

 

And speaking of the continuing problem of finding appropriate reference books, I caved and ordered a copy of HNS. I think that if I use it as a reference for looking up things we've already seen and discussed rather than trying to plan lessons ahead of time, it could be really useful. And actually, just skimming through, I have found her suggested questions helpful for expanding my observation lesson repertoire. So we'll see how that works out.


Edited by LostCove, 18 October 2016 - 01:08 PM.

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#20 ElizaG

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 01:18 PM

Adding a few references, from the 1910s-30s, for those who might be thinking about how to help children learn to study.  

 

"Directed Study" - A. W. Burr

 

The Study Hall in Junior and Senior High Schools - Hannah Logasa

 

Directing Learning in the High School - Walter S. Monroe

 

These were aimed at public high schools, but many of the points are relevant to homeschoolers.  For instance, the author of the first article mentions the discouragement caused by the large number of subjects, which are often taught in different ways from one year to the next.  He also suggests that the usual styles of teaching in some subjects (e.g., a hands-on science class) can make the students less inclined to study independently from books in other subjects. 

 

I never thought of that, but it makes sense.   IDK where this leaves us, though.  I'm not inclined to go "full Robinson," but can see the advantage of having a consistent method. 

 

Up to now, I've been trying to find a balance between heavy and light requirements, and between independent study and more interactive lessons, within each child's curriculum as a whole.  Maybe this is actually counterproductive, and I should be going for this sort of balance within each subject, and consistency between subjects.  I mean, it seems obvious to me that, say, algebra should require a very different level and type of effort from history (which is basically an "extra" at this age), but maybe it's not so obvious to the children.   This would explain some "work habit" problems we've been having.

 

I must be totally reinventing the wheel here!  :laugh:


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#21 ElizaG

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 01:45 PM

You know, that would explain why families get so attached to their preferred model of homeschooling.  It becomes their inner model of what "school" looks like.    So they can put their efforts into the actual work, rather than having to keep adapting to new expectations. 

 

And we've had more success when sticking pretty closely to one model all year (even those I didn't particularly like), than when I've tried to optimize by using what seemed like ideal methods for each subject.

 

I used to think this was a sign that I was disorganized, and needed canned curriculum as a starting point.  But that can't be true, because we actually did well with the DIY unit studies. 

 

So maybe it's more that we naturally seek organization, of one sort or another, and don't want to have to keep re-organizing ourselves.  Which is a sort of repeated trauma (now I sound like Hunter again!). 


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#22 ElizaG

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Posted 21 October 2016 - 08:05 PM

Up to now, I've been thinking in terms of doing a significant chunk of our formal humanities and social science work after rhetoric, using university methods.   Now I'm thinking that's too much of a compromise with the modern system.  If our goal is to provide a liberal secondary education, why should we require our students to study (e.g.) history the way a historian does?  

 

Practically speaking, even if they choose to go into a research field, it's not as if they're going to be admitted straight into graduate school with a home-grown transcript anyway.  They'll have to do some sort of additional preparation, either independently or through standard coursework.   That seems like the right time to learn the conventions, i.e., "writing in the disciplines." 

 

And if we take that approach... there's no need for (what feels like) a rush to get through the classical studies by the middle of high school.  Age 15 or 16 might have been typical for rhetoric in the ancient world and Renaissance, but everything shifted forward in the colonial US, so that the average was more like the early 20s.  In Fr. Donnelly's time, the US Jesuits were teaching rhetoric in the sophomore year of university, around age 19 or 20.   In Britain and the Commonwealth, it seems to have been mainly taught as a university subject, when it was taught at all.   So I'm not sure there's even much a tradition of teaching English rhetoric to 15 year olds.  Looking at the models, I've been thinking that it would be hard to do some of them justice with such young students.   And they require a pretty substantial amount of erudition, on top of what's being done for the classical languages. 

 

I think, then, for our family, it would make sense to aim for rhetoric in the last year of high school -- which we'd be pushing forward to age 18-ish, to make room for both classics and the required modern subjects.  This would still be two years ahead of early 20th century US practice, which goes along with the widespread observation that there were two wasted years in the standard curriculum.   And I don't think lack of maturity would be a big problem, since two-year grade skips were fairly common. 

 

On the one hand, this is very freeing.  We can use the secondary years to study what seems worthwhile, in ways that seem worthwhile, without jumping through hoops unnecessarily.  On the other hand, it means that I can't pass the buck.  I'll have to find ways to get all of the humanities and social science material into rigorous, high-school-credit-worthy packages, without the modern style writing assignments that are usually the backbone of assessment.   And I was sort of counting on a final year of modern history, literature, and philosophy, using an outside curriculum.    To, you know, help my child transition out of the bubble.   ;)   But maybe it's more the case that we should be integrating those ideas, in age-appropriate ways, all the way along.   And in truth, I think that's what we've ended up doing anyway.

 

So... I feel kind of shaken up by this.  But it really does make a lot more sense in terms of our ideals, and it also helps with some immediate practical problems:  the time crunch for learning multiple languages, the difficulty of trying to divide the content subjects up into "for now" and "for later," and the (in hindsight) grave stupidity of trying to approximate a 200 year old plan of studies while relying heavily on 100 year old materials.

 

Natural science credits will have to be earned alongside the classical curriculum, not after it, but I can live with that.  And philosophy drops off the formal course of studies, but it was likely to be kind of sketchy anyway.  "Here, read these 1950s textbooks."   Or "watch these Ralph McInerny videos."  :rolleyes:  I think I'll take the energy that I might have put into planning that, and direct it toward my own philosophical education, so I can do a better job of discussing big questions as they come up. 

 

I guess now I have to go back and re-do that tentative plan I posted a while back. 

 

Those of you who only have young children, and have read all of this anyway, thank you for your patience.  :laugh:


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#23 ElizaG

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Posted 22 October 2016 - 12:23 PM

Well, now I'm down with a virus.  So either that insight did take a lot out of me, or it was an early sign of delirium. ;)   At any rate, macro-level planning is off the table for now. 

 

Meanwhile, I think I need to firm up my model lesson plans, for the language work with children who are reading. 

 

Let's say my 10 year old is doing a longer poem in English.  I think this is more or less how it's supposed to go:

 

Recitation: Child recites lines learned up to now. 

Written work check:  Adult checks copywork done independently.

Prelection:  Adult recites more lines of poem (or reads aloud); explains vocabulary & erudition if needed; calls out any points of grammar or style

In-Class Exercise:  Child takes notes on vocabulary, grammar, etc., and recites lines after adult

    --> If using Montessori materials for grammar, metrics, etc., these would be brought in at this point

Assignment:  Child copies & memorizes the lines read in class. 

    ---> And works with M. materials, if used

 

For intensive reading of a short passage of English prose -- "Model English" style -- the lesson would be similar, but instead of memorization and copying, there would be exercises based on imitation. 

 

But what about extensive reading?   How do we teach this?  Do we teach this? 

 

This is how I've been going about it so far:

 

Recitation:  Child answers questions on the passage that was read independently.  (I might ask for oral reproduction of an incident in the story, or description of a character, or just answering some of the study questions in the textbook.)

Checking written work:  Adult checks vocabulary list in child's notebook, making sure all unfamiliar words in that passage were written down.

Prelection:  Adult gives brief introduction to the next passage.

In-Class Exercise:  Nothing really, unless there were notes to be written down about either the previous or new passage. 

Assignment:  Read the new passage; look up & write down unfamiliar words; look over study questions to make sure you understand it

 

IDK, my upper elementary children enjoy this, but it seems kind of lame.  Unless there are a lot of unfamiliar words or erudition, we're not really doing much with the passage.  But I guess that's the point of "extensive reading."   Our job is to assign the work, and to make sure they've read and understood it, so as to help form good reading habits and add to their general culture.   School teachers can't do this in person with each child, even briefly, so they have them do book reports or quizzes.  

 

I'm thinking that for high school level work, I might use make heavier use of a study guide, but rather than assigning selected questions and having the child write out the answers, I'd instruct the child to look over all the questions in the guide (assuming that I'd crossed out any irrelevant ones), and take notes, in point form, for the ones that seemed challenging.   They would also take notes on anything else of interest.  Then the child could refer to those notes when we met in person for discussion, and also when putting together whatever sort of project we end up deciding on for "output."

 

I feel as if this might be an appropriate balance between my own energies, the printed resources that are available, and the child's own initiative.   Even with my children who are avid readers and notebookers, when I just assign something and say "read this and take notes," it's deer in headlights time. 

 

If you have suggestions for study guides (for either classic literary works, or solid textbooks) that might work well with this approach, please share them.  I'm looking for questions that are less about specific writing assignments, projects, or additional erudition, and more about verifying the student's understanding of the material in the text.  

 



#24 ElizaG

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Posted 22 October 2016 - 01:25 PM

Also thinking that some of our work in "content subjects" could be done in a similar way to the group composition lesson described by EFL.  I was just reading this PDF transcript of a talk by Laura Berquist, and thinking that the Bible story book would lend itself to this approach.

 

1)  Choose one text at an upper elementary/junior high reading level.  In this example, it would be Fr. Schuster's Bible History.   The older children will read the whole text, and the younger children will listen to excerpts.

 

The curriculum could be also differentiated by using two texts at different levels, but it might be tricky to make the topics line up.  Besides, books written for younger children are often too simple.  If there isn't one book that would suit everyone (which is likely to be the case with topics that require some maturity), I think it would be better to choose a substantial text for the older children, and use one-off lessons for the whole group, as described below. 

 

2)  Make a list of the passages you'd like to use with everyone, and figure out a tentative schedule for them.  

 

3)  Have the older children start reading the book.  Have them think about the study questions and take notes, then discuss with you, as above.

 

4)  Once they've studied a passage that you've selected for group work, read it aloud to everyone. 

 

5)  Do the composition lesson as described on p. 86 of EtCaH, with the older children writing more on their own.

 

As usual, I'd make sure to have materials available for those who might want to read more, look at maps or diagrams, or illustrate their work.

 

The above could be done with longer books such history textbooks, biographies, or natural science (e.g. Fabre or Durrell type books).

 

It could also be done as a one-off lesson, e.g. with folk tales from other countries, saints' lives, narrative picture books, or excerpts from any longer books that aren't being used as main texts.

 

I think it would even work with some educational videos.  (This is the voice of sick mommy talking!  :laugh: )


Edited by ElizaG, 22 October 2016 - 01:30 PM.


#25 ElizaG

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Posted 22 October 2016 - 08:53 PM

I'm wondering anyone has found out more about how religion and humanities subjects -- other than literature -- were taught at the secondary level, before "university methods" and the Harkness/GB model took over.   

 

This would have been mostly in private girls' schools, I think, since boys didn't have much erudition outside of classical literature.  Although they did have catechism, and I think most schools had added history by the mid-1800s.

 

 

The following book didn't answer my question, but it's very interesting and quite helpful anyway.  Sort of an early Victorian "How to be a Supernanny."  :001_smile:   

 

The Guide to Service:  The Governess (1844)

 

For the younger ones, there's a lot of information on discipline, without being heavily dependent on corporal punishment.  The author has them transition from the "nursery" to the "schoolroom" at about age 9 or 10.   The advice on academic subjects starts on page 199, and much of it is still relevant.  "A judicious selection of books is a most important branch of the duty of the governess, and the judicious choice of abridgements is perhaps the most difficult part of this duty." 

 

I noticed the assumption that the governess would be having the children copy passages from current authors (such as Macaulay), rather than older ones.   I guess that reflects the fact that girls were being educated to take their place in contemporary social life, rather than being formed by the classical curriculum, or even the "vernacular classics" for that matter.  The girls did have a foundational education based on ancient texts and values, but it was religious, rather than secular.  So this is another example of how the different approaches to male and female education balanced each other out.  I'm still not sure how we're going to handle this.  I'm open to tailoring the combination to each child, but it will be tricky to find suitable material on the contemporary end.  

 

It would be interesting to look up the textbooks that are mentioned, as it's likely that many of them are available online, though I'm pretty sure some of the history books would have been anti-Catholic.

 

In 19th century England, there were quite a few schoolbooks written specifically for home instruction, or, as the lessons for the younger children were sometimes called, "nursery tuition."  If you come across one of these, it will often have a catalog of others in the back. 

 

Anyway, I liked the governess book so much that I've ordered a print-on-demand copy.  Will let you know how legible it turns out to be.  :001_smile:


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#26 ElizaG

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 11:54 AM

I found an article on the teaching of Church history that's pretty helpful for understanding the old-time American way of teaching humanities in general.

 

Not surprisingly, schools and colleges used the usual form of "recitation":  student reads the text independently, then repeats the material -- not always verbatim -- in response to questions from the teacher.  

 

By the beginning of the 20th century, the meaning of "recitation" had expanded to include all the new components of teacher-led lessons, including class projects and even field trips.  The basic type of exchange was called "oral reproduction."

 

Of course, this is also pretty much what today's homeschoolers call "narration," though I can't recall ever seeing that term used in old US books, or even in UK books other than CM's.    I'm not sure what it was called in England, though I think the same method was used.  There's an anecdote in the governess book about a girl who didn't "learn her lesson," and claimed that it was because her father was talking to her the whole time before breakfast -- which was normally a study period, both in schools and at home.

 

There's also this, from the 1840 Common School Journal.  It's translated from Wyttenbach, who, the Internet informs me, was "a German Swiss classical scholar."  It's an argument in favor of the study of primary sources -- for boys in their teens, at any rate -- and contrasts this with the schoolroom methods that were evidently in use at the time.

 

"R:  Pray, what books are those?

P:  Our Governess had two, written in French; one a small book, that we learn to recite; the other a large work, in several volumes, from which she sometimes reads to us."

 

So the same practices seem to have prevailed in Britain and continental Europe, at least among Protestants educated at home.   

 

For Catholic education, all of the detailed descriptions I've found are for large-group systems (the Jesuits, the Brothers of the Christian Schools, the various religious sisters).   Other than EFL, of course.  But even after reading her writings, I can't tell how much of a part the recitation method played in Catholic home education. 

 

Maybe we have to go back farther.  To Charlemagne?  :laugh:



#27 LostCove

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 02:19 PM

Not to totally change subjects (sorry, there's probably a better thread out there for this that I'm not remembering), but I've spend a lot of time on Fr. Pavur's site the past couple of weeks - although there's still more to read - but his approach is starting to make more sense to me. Or at least I think it is.  :laugh: Here's the most concise description of what he's up to, pedagogically, that I found (emphasis mine):

 

 

 

It may be time for us to rediscover the value of what might be called "primary rhetorica," that is, this easy communication.  It can precede or accompany the work of grammatica without substituting for it.  The key pedagogical strategy will be to make use of many short, simple sentences for a much longer time than we usually do.  Our leading pedagogical maxim ought to be "Practice comprehension!"  Following the implications of the humanist approach, we may find that there is a great pedagogical advantage in learning how to focus on phrase-length units that stand between the longer sentences of literary communications and the individual items in lists of essential vocabulary that almost all Latin textbooks highlight as some of the most important material to be learned.  It may even be helpful to move away from a single-word lexical approach almost completely, toward a consistently phrase-based one in which words and forms are always learned in some sort of verbal context, facilitating the students' mental acts of "direct" understanding.  Such an approach might be the best way to accelerate the process of establishing the imaginal and affective components of the vocabulary.  Somehow we must effect a correspondence not between Latin word and English word as much as between the Latin expressions and the sensuous basis of such expressions. 

 

 

This document seems to contain the best brief summary of the specifics of his proposed pedagogical methods - it immediately reminded me of someone who described, on a long-ago thread, how children are taught Hebrew through reading the Torah - little chunks of text read and translated bit by bit. The ebooks Fr. Pavur has created - both from "canned" Latin and "authentic texts" - that have pari-passu interlinear translations can be used as a kind of substitute for that experience. So I wonder if his answer to your question, ElizaG, about what grammar program he would recommend to prepare a student for these texts would be that his intention is for them to be used from the very beginning alongside whatever grammar program you choose. And he honestly just doesn't seem that concerned about the specifics of the grammar program, certainly compared to the folks over at MP. 

 

So here's my plan that I'm going to test-drive on myself:

 

1) Study Fr. Pavur's ebooks, starting with his suggestion, Epitome Historiae Sacrae (some audio available here).

2) Simultaneously, work through Moreland and Fleischer (which is just what I happen to own already from college), BUT

3) supplement M&F with the coordinating grammar exercises from Fr. Pavur's LatinPraxis (note that he has already coordinated these with Wheelock) and Verbal Brilliance in Latin, which support his pedagogical methods.

4) Listen through Evan der Millner's audio resources, starting with his London Latin Course

 

(This is not a sequence that would work for a 10-year-old, but I'm hoping it gets me to some degree of reading fluency by the time I have a 10-year-old, at which point I may have a better idea for how to integrate these methods and materials with a more age-appropriate grammar program.) 

 

I did also sent Fr. Pavur an email and will update if/when I hear from him. 

 

Hope you are feeling better, ElizaG - as always, thanks for the many interesting thoughts and links! 


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#28 ElizaG

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 03:03 PM

Thanks, LostCove, that is very helpful.

 

The emphasis on the "phrase-based approach" reminded me of these two resources I've been planning to start using for French:

 

Petites Causeries - one of those 19th century UK homeschool textbooks

Kloo - a card game where you make simple sentences

 

I wonder if EFL's mysterious Latin booklet instructs the parent to do the noun lessons that way, as well?  So that, instead of just showing the item and saying the noun, you'd say, "This is a [noun]," or "Give me the [noun]."  It does seem like the more natural approach, and I think I'll make a point of doing that in future with our primary lessons (such as they are). 

 



#29 elizahelen

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 11:50 PM

I don't know how to post a link but I have been boning up on what a greats at Oxford studies, which led to Plutarch and his attributed essay - the education of children. There are so many similarities for me to EFL. A few: "for drops of water make hollows in rocks," "character is habit long continued," "above all, the memory of children should be trained and exercised, for this is as it were a storehouse of learning."
He rails against bad teaching, bad companions, and nursemaids too.
http://penelope.uchi...educandis*.html

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#30 elizahelen

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 12:00 AM

I am editing this post because I have no idea what I am talking about; my plans are far from well considered; i hope to learn from the more experienced folks, sit quietly, and take notes!

I am rereading bookless lessons, or maybe I never read it. What are you alls approach to her discipline, obedience and habit training? Do you follow her approach, deviate, or a mix?

Edited by elizahelen, 28 October 2016 - 04:26 PM.


#31 ElizaG

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 01:44 AM

YMMV, of course, but I wouldn't save "Hiawatha's Childhood" for a US history year, any more than I'd save Aesop's fables for an ancient history year.  EFL's poetry recommendations for younger children seem to be one of the most time-tested parts of her system.  I intend to keep using them, along with other similar works, for the bulk of the primary and early elementary literature lessons.

 

The challenging part, for me, starts about age 10-12.   There's less basic skill work needed, and a wider range of literature to choose from, and her advice also gets a lot less specific.  We started out the year with my older ones using vintage school anthologies, but then they were each doing their own thing, and I felt pulled in different directions.   The thematic approach makes it simpler, and also gives us the opportunity to use what we have -- both regular books and anthologies.   They'll have to go back to graded selections by the time they get to rhetoric, though.   

 

I guess we might be looking at a sandwich curriculum with EFL on one end, Fr. Donnelly's textbooks on the other, and homemade literature salad in the middle.    :laugh:


Edited by ElizaG, 26 October 2016 - 01:45 AM.

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#32 LostCove

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 07:26 PM

I heard from Fr. Pavur:

 

 

I tell you up front that I am no longer in the classroom, nor have I ever taught Latin to students younger than college years. Yet I do have some sense of what I might try to do at an earlier stage. Unfortunately the right materials are still not so abundant.
 
I myself would shore up in the youngest minds basic vocabulary: the most important 300 verbs, say, and so on with some selection for nouns and adjectives, and also the incredibly important particle words.
 
I like *Smart Latin* [link] as a way to go, though some may say it has "confessional material" that they don't want. It goes from two-word sentences to three, to four, to more.
 
I also like L'Homond's *Epitome of Sacred History* [link] as laid out in my ereader. How simple can prose be?
 
There is a need for concreteness at an early age. They have to name things and actions they can observe and experience. Look into the work of Comenius for children.
 
I must end there now, but let me say that memorizing paradigms may not be all that important at the early stage. Repeatedly making the acts of comprehension with little units is far more important in the long run.
 
What about matching with the various verb-forms and their translations? This is something simple, short and easy, if there are only 6 or 10  possibilities. But you may have to draw up such material on your own.
 
Be creative and look for a certain result. Perhaps you will find the right path that has eluded the rest of the teaching profession.
 

 

Soooo, hmm. As always seems to be the case, the answer is apparently more work for us!  :laugh: Ack, we really need to figure out a way to get a hold of Orbis Vivus. This seems to suggest the CUA archivists will help out off-site researchers if it will only take them 20 minutes, so maybe I will give them a a call.

 

ETA: Evan der Millner has recorded the textbooks of Comenius, and he notes that Orbis Pictus was written for 6 and 7 year olds and, speaking of re-reading, suggests it will be necessary to go through the book seven or eight times to master the contents.


Edited by LostCove, 28 October 2016 - 07:53 PM.

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#33 ElizaG

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Posted 29 October 2016 - 12:06 AM

Thanks for sharing this, LostCove!   I'm glad you heard back; it was kind of him to reply. 

 

The first reader for Artes Latinae is made up of sayings like the ones in Smart Latin.  I ended up giving my eldest the teacher's key with the translations, so in theory, the effect should be similar.  The sententiae in AL are a bit more complex, though.  Even the earliest ones are mostly three words long.  I guess we'll keep reading them together from time to time during our recitation periods, but my Latin is so weak that I'm not sure I'll be any help. 

 

Our Roman Roots also uses sayings, and was recommended for elementary by James S. Taylor.  We have it around somewhere, and I've been thinking about using it with the younger ones this year.  (This happens almost every year, but maybe this time I'l get beyond the "thinking about it" stage.  ;) )

 

The Bolchazy-Carducci readers are another resource that might fit with Fr. Pavur's idea of "little units." 

 

What does he mean by "matching with the various verb forms and their translations?"



#34 LostCove

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 02:42 PM

What does he mean by "matching with the various verb forms and their translations?"

 

I assumed he meant something potentially as simple as a work sheet with one column of verb forms which the child matches to another column of their translations in random order. I supposed you could get more "fun" by making it a memory game or something like that. Thanks for the suggestions of other resources in this style!
 

I've made some progress in figuring out our math path, no thanks to this other thread I started a few days ago. :laugh: As far as I can tell, the main thing "missing" from EFL's plan that gets covered in contemporary K-4 math is place value, so we'll probably finish up with EFL's program in the next year or so, cover place value, run through the standard algorithms, and then... Well, I'm still not sure what then. But I have to pause from working on that because...

 

...we just learned we are expecting baby #5 next July! I'm already feeling a little queasy and figure I have about 5-7 days to get some systems in place/stock the freezer before I feel too exhausted and gross to think straight. :ack2: Eldest should be able to handle continuing copywork and arithmetic just fine on his own, if I prepare a few a suggestions/general assignments. I will reserve my limited energy to conducting poetry lessons and reading with the six-year-old, I think. I'm wondering about covering the "content subjects" while I'm not up to coordinating readings and activities - maybe a playlist of educational documentaries? Or just some fresh library books on novel topics and assign the 8yo to read some to the 6yo? I'm also trying to see this as an opportunity to push through our current chores plateau and get the children regularly taking responsibility for a few meals and clean-up. I feel like we've talked about this before, maybe, but anyone have any other EFL-ish ideas for times when mom is not functioning at full capacity? There's a ten-pound bag of potatoes in the pantry, so we are set on that front. :laugh:


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#35 ElizaG

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 08:06 PM

What exciting news!  Will be praying for the LostCove family's well-being, on all fronts.   :001_smile:

 

 I will reserve my limited energy to conducting poetry lessons and reading with the six-year-old, I think. I'm wondering about covering the "content subjects" while I'm not up to coordinating readings and activities - maybe a playlist of educational documentaries? Or just some fresh library books on novel topics and assign the 8yo to read some to the 6yo? I'm also trying to see this as an opportunity to push through our current chores plateau and get the children regularly taking responsibility for a few meals and clean-up. I feel like we've talked about this before, maybe, but anyone have any other EFL-ish ideas for times when mom is not functioning at full capacity? There's a ten-pound bag of potatoes in the pantry, so we are set on that front. :laugh:

 

My elementary aged children are regularly doing a lot of chores with little or no help, but below age 10 or so, I'm still finding it necessary to be in the same room with them, to make sure they stay on task.   And they nearly always need reminders to do the chore in the first place.  

 

The middle schoolers can usually be relied on to take care of their special individual responsibilities (such as recycling duty and pet care), but still tend to flake out on the generic ones such as clearing the table, putting outdoor gear in the shed, and keeping their rooms clean. 

 

School responsibilities are also uneven.  There are days, and even weeks, when their independent or semi-independent work goes very well.  But we've also had some backsliding with all ages, especially when I'm not well, or our routine gets disrupted for some other reason.  

 

I don't suppose this is inevitable, but I don't know any families IRL whose children are doing any better, and some of the mothers are a lot more no-nonsense than I am.   So, just a word of caution about expectations.   It definitely helps to have a "system," but the system is still going to be more of an art than a mechanism.  

 

My suggestions for what to prioritize, then, would focus less on getting the children to more independence, and more about your own well-being and ease of supervision, e.g.:

 

- Having a couch/comfy chair, and access to some sort of media player, in every area where work has to be done.

 

- Making those areas as free as possible from clutter, hazards, and attractive nuisances. 

 

- Stocking them with basic supplies.  Very basic supplies.  For schoolwork, this would include pencils and notebooks, colored pencils and paper, brown modeling clay, and generic workbooks (if you do workbooks).  Children can always benefit from more time to use their creativity, and to work on very basic skills.  

 

In my experience, this is not the time to get some fancy educational game or kit that has complicated parts, requires adult guidance, and will make you feel bad if you don't get much use out of it.   BTDT.  Those things can be fun, but they take a lot more energy than just being with the children. Because you still have to just be with the children anyway.  Plus you have the kit to deal with. 

 

Interesting objects, art books, and audiovisual media can be helpful starting points for lessons.   I was just going to post about media -- will do that soon.  :001_smile:


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#36 ElizaG

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 08:30 PM

When we listen to an audio recording, look at a picture, or watch a video, the media artifact is the basis of the lesson --  just as, with literature, the text is the basis of the lesson.  I don't feel the need to come up with "activities" to go with these media, any more than I would for a poem.

 

Here's how we usually follow up on an educational video, for example.  (We've just been doing this for geography, and were able to keep going, even through illness of multiple family members.) 

 

Independent learning:  Have one or more related books available, in a convenient place (e.g. a small bookcase, an easel, or a magazine rack on the wall). 

 

Independent recitation:  Provide space and materials for modeling, drawing, or writing.  Children above preschool age will usually choose to base their work on what they've been watching.

 

Guided learning:  As your energy permits, answer their questions about the subject.  (If you're not available, suggest that they write their questions in a notebook.)   Have any sort of discussions you'd like, about the material in the lesson, or family stories relating to the subject, or about the medium itself.  For instance, you could talk about what sort of work went into making the movie, discuss the particular slant that it gave to the topic, or critique the narrator's annoying habits, LOL.   

 

Guided recitation:  Have them tell DH what they learned.  They are usually very eager to do this! 


Edited by ElizaG, 30 October 2016 - 08:32 PM.

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#37 ElizaG

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Posted 31 October 2016 - 01:56 AM

The other type of lesson that comes to mind is "music class" or "exercise class," which is a music/movement sort of thing.   There's nothing like this in EFL, as far as I've seen, but it's a mainstay of early childhood programs -- or at least it was, throughout the 20th century.  I suspect that she might have recommended it as a rainy day activity if music recordings had been widely available in her time. 

 

For this, you need:

 

- Floor space

- Suitable music selections & some way to play them

- Rhythm instruments for the children (older children can make the shakers)

- A few objects for passing, tossing, or rolling -- e.g., bean bags, a small ball, or a small soft toy

 

Then you can either lead the children in a orderly way, or just demonstrate a bit and let them go free until they get too rowdy.   Music has to be chosen carefully, so as not to over- or under-stimulate.  We tend to do a mix of recorded songs, songs sung out loud, recorded instrumental music, rhythm sticks, and silent activities.   If you end on just the right sort of energy, then -- much as with the videos -- they will often keep it going for a surprisingly long time on their own. 

 

Speaking of which, I need to go back and re-read what McLuhan said about "balancing the sensorium."  I'm starting to get an intuitive sense of what sort of media environment to turn to, if the children have had too much of environment X, and are starting to act in way Y.   But it's taken hard-won experience, and I still have trouble remembering this (not to mention that my own sensory balance gets thrown off, too).  In theory, we should be able to come up with a cheat sheet.

 

There's a lot of overlap with Sensory Integration ideas, but media ecology is supposed to be able to explain the causes for the problems, rather than just labeling them.



#38 LostCove

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Posted 31 October 2016 - 01:18 PM

So, maybe I was panicking slightly. Sheesh, I don't even believe in systems! :001_rolleyes: I think the kids being older, feeling like we're in a hard-won groove that is about to get blown up, and also DH's job situation being very different/more stressful than my last pregnancy are all freaking me out a bit. Thanks for the reality check, ideas, and especially the prayers, ElizaG.  :001_smile:


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#39 ElizaG

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 09:49 AM

A couple of new babies ago, we lost the groove that we'd had since my older ones' primary years.   We never did get it back, even in a modified version; we ended up forming an entirely new groove.  But just in the last couple of days, I've realized that my younger ones are in pretty much the same groove that the older ones used to be in.   :001_smile:   (EFL's writings have changed me a lot, but apparently they haven't ended up changing what worked in our homeschool.)

 

So I guess nothing is permanent.  But at the same time, nothing ever changes.  Not sure if I can deal with paradoxes so early in the morning, but there it is.  :laugh:

 

Also wanted to mention that Journeyman Pictures has some very good geography videos on Youtube.  If you're up to watching people cooking and eating, the "Savouring Europe"  series has some lovely depictions of "slow food" cultures.  

 

I've been previewing these sorts of videos myself in the evening (while doing my own work, or just relaxing), then showing selections to the children the next day.  I have them sit at a table, with pencils and paper in case they want to draw.  Since I've already seen the shows, I can be in and out of the room while they're watching.   It's worked out very well for our recent spate of low-energy days. 

 

I feel all right about the moderate use of recorded media, even if it's not what EFL would have done (I really have no idea about that).  This book I've been attempting to read documents the way that, in mid-20th century Britain, traditional "work songs" were replaced by factory-wide piped-in music on the radio.   At least technology is letting us retrieve the ability to choose our own selections, share them with a small group of people nearby, and turn them off when we've had enough.  And we can use our creativity to re-express and expand on them.  

 

We still do sing while working, when possible, but it gets a bit trying with small children whose enthusiasm greatly exceeds their abilities.  They especially love to sing songs in other languages (liturgical chants, folk songs, a bit of ethnic pop music), and tend to get the cadences right, but completely mangle the words.  Left to their own devices, they do this over and over.  I'm pretty sure this is not an EFL approved activity.   It is certainly not "tired mommy approved!"  :laugh:


Edited by ElizaG, 01 November 2016 - 09:52 AM.

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#40 ElizaG

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 05:42 PM

What are your thoughts about classical literature in translation?  

 

Last time we studied ancient history, I read them The Children's Homer.  This time, I'm planning on doing that again, and adding children's versions of Plutarch's Lives and the Anabasis.

 

These adaptations seem adequate for reading aloud, but I know the eldest would also be capable of reading regular (expurgated) translations of some classical works, and some of the others might enjoy doing so as well. 

 

Should I encourage them to do that, by displaying the translated texts prominently, and maybe using excerpts for copywork -- or even having them read longer passages for discussion (e.g., with the Angelicum guides)?

 

Or should I keep the focus on English literature, and the study of the various languages, and save these texts in the hopes that they'll eventually be able to make some attempt at reading them in the original?

 

Do we have any clues as to how EFL might have handled this?


Edited by ElizaG, 04 November 2016 - 05:44 PM.

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#41 LostCove

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 06:51 PM

I don't know what EFL would say on the question specifically, but she does recommend the Gould adaptation of Plutarch. I've thought about this a bit, and right now my idea is that I wouldn't use translations for language lessons, but would certainly include them for content subjects/extensive reading. This does prevent certain efficiencies, though, so I guess we'll see if I stick with it. I definitely wouldn't feel like you have to save them for future study - even if you do get around to tackling them in the original, some previous exposure should only help


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#42 ElizaG

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Posted 07 November 2016 - 05:56 PM

Thank you.  I will put the question of translations on the "not a big deal" list.  :001_smile:

 

So my main issue now (as mentioned in the thread on large family advice) is that I can't work on lessons or projects with my older ones, without the little ones getting into trouble.  The toddler is still at the containable stage.  Most of it is due to the preschool and early primary mischief-makers.  And the slightly older children who don't usually start the trouble, but stand around watching and don't do anything about it.   

 

There are two aspects of this that I want to address immediately:

 

1)  Practical solutions to keep our homeschool on track.  This will probably have to involve keeping them all in one room during the older ones' lessons.   I need something quiet for them to do, though, and we've had enough TV shows for the time being.   And all our puzzles and games have missing pieces (from the aforementioned mischief).   And the art supplies are in a different room, which isn't big enough for everyone.  I dread what might happen if I put the crayons next to the literature area.  :leaving:

 

2)  Changing whatever is causing the behavior.   I'm mainly concerned about the upper elementary children, who must know -- on some level -- that something dangerous or destructive is going on, but don't say anything to anyone about it.  Did I create this situation, by discouraging "tattling?"   Or are they becoming peer-oriented (with siblings as their main peers), rather than adult-oriented?   If the latter, how do I change that without cloning myself?  :001_huh:

 

I feel as if I'm missing a lot of unwritten rules about how things work in larger and more traditional families.  One of the shows we watched for geography was about an Austrian family with 11 children, living in the Alps.  We were supposed to be looking at the mountains and flowers, but I was much more interested in trying to figure out how the parents managed everything.  :laugh:    For instance, the oldest child in each bedroom was the "room monitor," who was in charge of the other children during sleep time.   I wouldn't even begin to know how to pull off that sort of arrangement. 

 

There was a book that I read years ago -- The Large Family, published by Ignatius Press -- that sort of got at the same idea, but didn't go into a lot of details.   The author just said that most of the published advice on raising children was designed for smaller families, and would not be helpful.  I think he actually mentioned tattling as a specific example, but didn't say how we should handle it instead.  Well, okay then. 

 

I think this is why parents seek out advice from people like the Maxwells and the woodshed lady.   But the fact that someone has devoted their life to writing about "The Formula for Having a Perfect Family, Just Like Ours," seems like a warning sign that their outlook might be unbalanced.  :huh:

 

So, IDK what to do.  We are muddling along right now.  Emphasis on muddle. 


Edited by ElizaG, 07 November 2016 - 05:57 PM.


#43 ElizaG

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Posted 16 November 2016 - 01:52 PM

Well, I now have a copy of the Gyan Books reprint of the governess guide.  The binding seems good, and the paper and print quality are adequate.  A few pages are a bit smudged, but I haven't seen any illegible sections.

 

Would anyone be interested in comparing GS's advice to EFL's?   There are several areas where they agree strongly, especially on what they consider to be the core essentials.  These are often the parts of her advice that I've found most challenging, and sometimes decided to shelve for now, so as to focus on other parts that were either easier to implement, or fit more readily with contemporary norms.  .  

 

At first, I felt reassured by the similarities between the two books.  This does seem to verify the claims of EFL and her supporters that her system is firmly in line with the Western tradition of home education, before brick & mortar schools became the standard. 

 

Then I felt bad, because if those really are the most important parts of homeschooling, I'm evidently not much good at it.   

 

Now, on a second reading of the governess book, I've come around to a different thought:  

 

Maybe the fact that both GS and EFL chose to emphasize these issues, means that they've been a huge challenge for all parents and home educators?  And maybe most people would have struggled a great deal with them, at any time in history? 

 

This really does seem to be the the case.  In Victorian times, the usual expert advice was that governesses were unnecessary, as the mothers of those families could and should be doing this themselves.  The great majority of mothers chose to hire someone, though, and GS suggested that this wasn't necessarily out of laziness, but could also be out of awareness of their own weaknesses, and a sense of inadequacy at such a task.  So, in a panic, they would pass off this most important role to someone else, who was likely no better prepared than they were.  

 

On the GB thread a while back, I commented on homeschool mothers' susceptibility to this remarkably common, yet "logic-free" line of thinking.   I guess maybe it's timeless!  :huh:


Edited by ElizaG, 16 November 2016 - 01:56 PM.


#44 elizahelen

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Posted 16 November 2016 - 02:32 PM

I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts. If you picked a few topics in particular to talk about i would gather my thoughts and write a bit from my own paltry experience!

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#45 ElizaG

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Posted 16 November 2016 - 07:42 PM

I'd mainly like to discuss the similarities and differences in the advice given in these two books, and just try to understand them better in the context of their time.

 

There's the importance given to the very earliest lessons in handwriting, for example.  GS's advice on this is on pp. 147-149, in the section for the "nursery governess" who has charge of the younger children.  EFL's is in Educating the Child at Home, and maybe elsewhere. 

 

Also, GS emphasizes the importance of aiming for "not making errors," rather than for excellence.  And the same goes for the spiritual side of the child's education.

 

IDK, I agree with this in principle, but I'm finding it very hard to apply.   Even if I were to stick more firmly to the basics, I feel as if we'd just keep making plenty of errors, KWIM?  But maybe this isn't the case.

 

Sorry this is a bit incoherent.   I've probably reached another one of those stages where I have to let things sit and percolate for a while. :001_smile:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#46 ltlmrs

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 11:25 AM

Deleting personal info.


Edited by ltlmrs, 21 November 2016 - 11:34 AM.

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#47 ElizaG

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 11:55 AM

Hi, ltlmrs!   What a time you've had.  So glad everything has been working out.  :001_smile:

 

 



#48 ltlmrs

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 12:09 PM

Hi, ltlmrs!   What a time you've had.  So glad everything has been working out.  :001_smile:

 

Thanks ElizaG!  I'm looking forward to reading that governess book, thanks for sharing the link.


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#49 ElizaG

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 10:23 PM

Hope you and your families are all doing well.  Here's a slightly Thanksgiving-related link: 

 

The Mother's Book (1831) by Lydia Maria Child, better known as the author of "Over the River and Through the Wood" 

 

This is another popular guide to homeschooling, in a time when it was an aspect of ordinary family life, and thus wasn't called anything in particular.  I guess there must be a lot of these works online, but the lack of any special term makes it hard to search for them! 

 

In the meantime, I'm going to have a go at comparing all three authors' advice on certain topics.  Will report back if anything interesting turns up.

 

 


Edited by ElizaG, 24 November 2016 - 11:46 PM.


#50 ElizaG

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 12:37 PM

Well, I've spent some more time looking through the books linked above, and some others I'll post later.  And the results, while remarkably consistent, are not what I wanted to hear. 

 

Basically, I think I am doing this right, when I'm able to.  But I'm quite deep in a hole, due to years of bad habits in dealing with myself and the children.  And -- in what I'm coming to think might be a more powerful factor -- other adults around me, even the most devout and ostensibly "traditional," are not supportive of this whole approach to family life.  Even if they show some interest, they immediately try to push it into a modern paradigm, rather than approaching it on its own terms.  I might as well be commuting from another planet, where these old books live.  

 

As a result, it takes nearly all of my "psychic energy" just to pull off what these authors all agree is step 1:  remain calm in the face of difficulty.  Because going against the flow, both internal and external, makes for quite a series of difficulties.  Add in the essential domestic chores, and there's not much of me left over even for "Hiawatha." 

 

IDK if this is an extended phase, or if it's just the way things will be, given our circumstances.   Either way, the inexorable sense I'm getting is that -- for now, at least -- I'll have to drop any specific goals beyond the 1914 EFL basics, focus on educating the under-8s, and hope the older ones will keep learning on their own.  All evidence suggests that they will do this, but still, the prospect is rather hair-raising. 

 

This is reminding me, once again, of Hunter's "generations to dig out of this mess" thread.   And also of the time, after the CiRCE thread, when I realized that the historical figure I could most relate to was the wife of Clovis I.   If only someone would start a wider discussion of the "Merovingian Option."

 

On the up side, perhaps I'm finally well shot of self-absorbed promethean neopelagian tendencies.    :laugh: