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What is your philosophy on education?

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I'm not sure if I have ever really sat down to summarize my philosophy on education. I think I know what I believe is important, but I want to write this down and keep it a little closer in mind. Please share your philosophy on education since this will help me see how to define mine. And please share some details such as how your choices in curricula, books, teaching methods, etc express this.



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I blogged about this last year.


I wrote my philosophy out during our first year homeschooling at it never really changed. It is a part unschool and part classical in that I do believe that learning is lifelong, and can happen anywhere at any time. Yet I also believe there must be some discipline in education for mastering skills.


How have my choices reflected this? Well, I followed the interests of my children as much as possible, letting them go as deeply as they wanted into whatever interested them. I found that by doing this they learned so much more than just about their interests. They'd also learn about history, math, literature, economics and geography or science which then gave context and a deeper meaning to regular assigned school work. Attending plays, going to museums, travel, even just listening to the news in the car always counted as school.


I didn't do lots of grammar, for better or worse, but math was a slow and steady part of homeschool as was writing, but no writing program, just following SWB's general guidelines. I had them do logic, too. We didn't do formal science text book-driven courses until high school as they learned so much through their own interests and explorations over the years.


I never worried about gaps, either, as I felt I was producing kids capable of looking up what they don't know, and more importantly who care about looking things up and learning more. It seems to have worked.

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I'm in the process of defining mine. I've decided on the phrase Adapted Classical. I like the idea of the core subjects as in LCC, which we will continue to do. I also have a child that needs to know the whys of everything. Logic/Rhetoric/Philosophy will be part of his core subjects as well.


Beyond that I'm allowing for his interests to dictate some of our subjects each year. After some contemplation this summer I've decided that modern culture is relevant to a classical education. Not "Are you team Edward or Team Jacob", but the technology, music, art, ethics,culture, & sustainability of our modern world.


I have not congealed all these thoughts into a nice mission statement yet. I'll probably include several statements from LCC. I blogged briefly about this when I did my own homeschool conference.


This statement from Homer will probably be a part of our philosophy. It's seeped into many areas of my life lately and helps me think long term about education and life.


"As in the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity. The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning. So one generation of men will grow while another dies."

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It was initially a joke but I think it proved to be true: A Monty Python Education. My son studied classic literature, French, catapults--all things that clarified Monty Python. This included a month long tramp around Britain. Add some Latin, lots of science, a sense of social responsibility, board games and cooking lessons.


Result: one well rounded and equanimous young lad. (She notes with pride.)

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The author of LCC and I were on the same email list when he was writing his book and I was just finishing up homeschooling my youngest child, and we were both coming to the same conclusions, at the same time. I didn't really embrace a classical education until I was able to make it more skills centered, rather than knowledge centered.


I believe an education must be skills centered.


Gaps in knowledge are inevitable and a student must be taught how to fill in gaps themselves as needed, rather than trying to prevent them.


Literature is an art, not a core/skill. To be human is to be an artist/creator. To be a whole and healthy human we need the arts. So literature is very important, but not more than the visual arts, music etc.


Skills are critical to becoming productive. Arts are critical to mental health. Being culturally literate requires a certain knowledge base.


So I guess when reality hits and push comes to shove, it's skills first, then claiming our birthright to embrace our creativity, and lastly concentrating on cultural literacy/knowledge.

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I see two major educational goals:


1. I want my children to feel at home in a world they can understand.

For this, it is necessary to have

- the language skills to communicate with other humans

- the scientific background of how things work (physical laws, biological organisms, chemical reactions)

- the historical background to put things into perspective and to understand how we arrived at the point we are today, why different cultures differ, how the past shapes the present.

- the cultural knowledge to not feel out of place : to know the myths and stories that shape our culture, to understand literature, art, music in order to feel part of human creativity.

- to know at least some languages to be able to explore at least a few other cultures in detail to become less self-centered, more tolerant.


2. Education is the prerequisite to making choices.

I want my children to have the skills and knowledge that will enable them to choose a profession they want to follow, to choose a lifestyle, to make educated and deliberate decisions about food, health, finances, politics.


For all this, they need to possess both a foundation of knowledge, the skills to learn independently, and the desire to keep learning throughout life. My goal for their education is to help them with these three things.

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Hmm. I don't think I've ever sat down to summarize my philosophy. We joke that our homeschool's motto is "Or would you rather be a mule?" which I think probably sums things up for us. (Terry Pratchett once said that he felt that was the best motto for an educational establishment, and it kind of stuck with us.)


Ultimately, our philosophy is an extension of our natural parenting approach which is geared towards encouraging respect for self and others, developing self-discipline and an appreciation of the value of intellectual inquiry. I want my kids to enjoy learning for learning's sake, and not just do things because I tell them they have to. I don't strive to make every assignment fun, because sometimes the hardest things we do give us the greatest satisfaction in the end.


My goal is to be a facilitator in their learning experiences, rather than a teacher. I meet with them regularly to get their feedback on what's working and what's not, and I choose curriculum with their input, though ultimately the decision is mine. If I assign something, they do it. I want them to take ownership of their education, and be able to think critically about how they learn and what works best for them.

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Yeah! What all of them said - really.


I want to turn out Renaissance men.


I think that's sort of like making gumbo, red beans and rice, or any sort of recipe that is complex in its flavors because it contains many ingredients.


It takes good, solid basic skills that will allow them to function effortlessly in doing more complex tasks as adults. Things like the basics of good English grammar, basics of other languages, some work in logic, solid math skills, a sound basis in history, science, and geography.


It takes skills that feed the soul because those are the spice of life. Things like art, music, religion, literature, poetry, drama and other experiences that embrace beauty....


And it takes a roux. Always a roux. The real life skills that will help them see how to function in the world, how to use common sense, how to relate to others, how to do useful work..... This may be very different for different children.


Some basics I can think of off the top of my head that mine will learn include how to take care of their basic needs regarding buying things for themselves; cleaning their space and things (clothes, dishes, etc.); managing money, being thrifty; driving skills; safety skills; basic navigational skills; good hygeine and health skills; helping other individuals or the community through volunteerism; how to work with others in a work environment, whether volunteer or for pay; and then whatever area of work they are interested in pursuing.


For my older son, this has been pursuing and maintaining the certifications necessary to be a lifeguard and he may seek other related certifications in future. He's also talking about moving into supervision with that job. Additionally, he has played music with a band and/or other individuals in various venues over the course of the past couple of years and plans on continuing with that.


Mix it all together and (in this case) you get a classical studies major who loves all things Greek and Roman, as well as Shakespeare. You may see him playing mellow acoustic pieces one night and rock and roll screamo the next; he might be supervising area pools next summer, or he might be on an archeological dig in Greece or Turkey. Or maybe he'll join with a great band who has already asked him to come in with them, if he has time to practice around his first responder classes.... The outcome is still uncertain; we'll have to see how the ingredients stew together in the pot. And the next batch will be different, of course, as will yours....

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My philosophy of education is in my sig line: Education is the transmission of culture.

How we do that: reading, field trips, study, chores, discussion, discipline, assignments, fun, exploration, physical challenges, math, Bible study, theological discussion, prayer, meditation,committment, debates, etc.etc

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Thank you all so much for sharing this with me. If you haven't been told yet today, you ladies (and gentlemen) are wonderful! :001_smile:


It has been a busy weekend and I haven't had a lot of time to think about my replies. I want to read all of these over again (and again) and think about this along with my own thoughts on education.


Thank you!:grouphug:

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