That sounds wonderful, LostCove! Good for you. :-)
It just occurred to me that we now have three who are in the "EFL black hole." This, not *just* flakiness, is probably most of the reason I'm still searching so much.
Speaking of which, Superintendent Search might turn out to be almost as big a discovery for our family as EFL. He's certainly vanished almost as completely. After his success in Pueblo, he moved to Los Angeles, and attempted to implement his system there, apparently with disastrous results. IDK if this was due to the scale effects you mentioned, or just that LA is messed up. Maybe some of both. Reminds me of Jamie Oliver's failure to reform their school lunches. :-D
His son Frederick became a famous cellist and composer -- one might even say a "prodigy," but one who earned the money for his first cello at age 10, by selling chickens. He ended up living in Carmel, and was the music director at the Del Monte Hotel, where so many of Kathleen Norris's characters met with near-disaster. ;-) Because of this family connection, there's a box of Preston W. Search's papers in -- of all unlikely places -- the music library at UC Berkeley. Maybe I can get a local contact to Search through it for us. (Sorry...)
Anyway, I've started reading "An Ideal School," and I do think EFL was influenced by his system. Her description of the math lessons is similar to his, even down to the language (e.g., "suggestions," "a piece of work"). Unlike her, though, he has a lot to say about adolescence. His thinking on that subject is generally in tune with G. Stanley Hall's, without all the over-the-top parts. I'm encouraged by the fact that his son turned out to be both a gifted adolescent and a functional adult.
Search refers to his ideal high school as the "gymnasium," not so much for the connection with classical education as for the emphasis on "expenditure of potential energy in kinetic exercises." (I'm envisioning this as including not just PE, but, say, Fr. Donnelly-style oral language work.)
"The studies and media of the gymnasium or high school are choices in the sciences, grammar, Latin (and possibly Greek), French, German, literature, history, algebra and geometry, design, creation, play, gymnastics, music, and art. (...)
Owing to the excessive growth during this period, the adolescent needs an abundance of wholesome food, omitting confections and pastries, nine hours of sleep with no overindulgence, well-directed occupation, the storage of the mind with good things, plenty of fresh air and exercise, and almost constant companionship."https://archive.org/...ge/n10/mode/2up
Argh, yes, the confections. :-P Easter candy did a number on all of us, but especially my older ones. Robinson was right about that.
This all seems compatible with EFL, and much of it also lines up with Montessori's tentative adolescent plan. The second link below has a chart that compares 0-12 "normalization" with 12-24 "valorization."http://liveandlearnf...-school-part-1/http://liveandlearnf...-school-part-2/
The "almost constant companionship" might be the hardest part for homeschoolers, though, especially with current trends. Siblings are sometimes the answer, but not always, especially for the eldest. And adult mentors are hard to find. Recently, I've thought seriously about enrolling a couple of my children in neo-classical co-ops or part-time schools. I might have done it -- despite my academic objections -- if there were a Catholic option that went through high school. But there aren't any around here, which seems to tip the balance for our family.
The common thread that stands out to me with Search, Montessori, and EFL, is that the adolescent needs to find his or her own meaningful work. Just like everyone else does, but even more so. And this work is tied to the needs of the family and community, which doesn't have to mean primarily farm work. Even a family farm, in itself, isn't likely to meet all of the adolescent's needs. (The Erdkinder programs have loads of specialized teachers and mentors.)
For our circumstances, it would make sense to encourage work that involves technology, or ecology, or helping others in various ways. Or some combination of the above. And we're sort of already leaning this way, though I haven't been viewing it as something central. Which it does seem to be. We just need to find more ways to make connections with other people nearby.
Of course, the children can also put real effort into religion and the arts, but those are more "schola" than work. At this age, while they're still figuring out their goals and abilities, they seem to need both.
So... I guess I'm getting a bit more of a sense of what we're supposed to be doing. Not a moment too soon. :-P
Edited by ElizaG, 30 April 2017 - 05:25 PM.