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Your experience mirrors my own-the better the literature I read them, the better thinkers they become, the more connections they make, the greater their 'truth' meter goes up. It all starts to come together for them- The virtue, the character, the beautiful. They've started to embody what they are surrounded with and now that I've seen the effect of great literature on a child, I can't go back to a history centric approach.

 

There are so many thought provoking ideas in this thread, thank you all.

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Can we get a little less theory and a little more practical in how this works out day to day? Maybe I'm just slow on the uptake, but I'm a person who doesn't do very well on randomness. I'm a very sequential type person and am having trouble with nuts and bolts of this idea. It's like everyone else has a flashlight and I'm still roaming about in the dark. Part of it is that a lot of these talks are auditory and it's very hard for me to process auditory. Any help here?

Beth

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Are you familiar w/Sonlight? This thread http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=358108 has a lot of people describing how they go about putting together their own plans. These descriptions are very similar to how I have done things in the past.

 

Why am I rejecting that approach now? B/c wonderful children's classics like The Princess and the Goblin get overlooked and by-passed in order to make room for historical fiction. I have always read books like those for bedtime stories, but the number read is low compared to the high number of historical fiction we have read (or that I have assigned them to read). To what end? Yes, it creates an appreciation for the historical time period, but it is at the expense of the elevated language, vivid imagination conjured by the truly great books for children. It boils down to which is actually more important in the formation of a child's cognitive development?

 

Spending the last couple of yrs completely absorbed in great literature w/my younger kids has been enlightening. I have witnessed growth in vocabulary, searching for allusions, appreciation for literary techniques (pure enjoyment in how something is written, not necessarily analyzing the writing. This is a quote that my dd fell in love w/just from encountering the words on the page b/c of the images the evoked for her: I hied me away to the woods--away back into the sun-washed alleys carpeted with fallen gold and glades where the moss is green and vivid yet. THe woods are getting ready to sleep--they are not yet asleep but they are disrobing and are having all sorts of little bed-time conferences and whisperings and good-nights. That type of writing is not found in the majority of historical fiction. Setting/plot/dialogue are more the focus vs. the use of language. (If you have ever read any of Henty's books, my kids can't stand them. They say it is the same story w/different characters simply moved into a new setting.....:tongue_smilie: )

 

What I mean by #2 is that my literature selections from here on out are going to be selected by the merits of the piece of literature. For some works, like AGG, I can build history off of the literature. (actually an entire yrs worth of literature and history.) Annotated children's classics give background information that can lead down numerous paths from the allusions/references w/in the story itself. (Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass have more text for the annotations than for the stories themselves!!) In other cases, history and lit simply won't be interconnected in any deliberate way.

 

Does that help? (there are a lot of distractions around me, so I'm sorry if it isn't very coherent.)

 

Thank you so much for your response. I am currently finishing my first year of homeschooling and find myself wanting what you describe. Especially as I listen/read to people like Andrew Kern, James Taylor, Charlotte Mason, and others. Sometimes what people describe as Classical Education can have a "cold reason" feel to it (that's a term I've heard Kern use and it has stuck with me), and it's just not what I want. I really do appreciate the wisdom of the homeschool veterans out there like yourself.

 

I'm curious what this looks like in practice. I'm currently finishing up BF Early American History, which honestly is not bad. I do think Rea Berg has excellent taste in children's lit and she does seem to build her programs around literature for the most part. That being said, I'm trying to figure out where to go from here. Any advice is welcome.

 

Also, what's AGG?

 

Thanks!

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Have you found that it also feeds the household culture of education?

 

:lol: Yes. I am laughing b/c my dh will deliberately turn on John Boy and Billy Saturday mornings. :tongue_smilie::D

 

I love the ideas we discuss as a family (ignoring John Boy and Billy and listening to Red Solo Cup. :tongue_smilie:)

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Can we get a little less theory and a little more practical in how this works out day to day? Maybe I'm just slow on the uptake, but I'm a person who doesn't do very well on randomness. I'm a very sequential type person and am having trouble with nuts and bolts of this idea. It's like everyone else has a flashlight and I'm still roaming about in the dark. Part of it is that a lot of these talks are auditory and it's very hard for me to process auditory. Any help here?

Beth

 

It's not you, it's us. :D It's easier to talk like this when you've been doing it a while.

 

Well, first, start listening to the podcasts that are available-BUT sit with a pad and paper and take notes. I don't do well with straight auditory either, and that pad and pen help me ground myself.

 

Society for Classical Learning

 

Dr. James Taylor on teaching Literature

 

How to Teach Classically

 

Circe's Free Audio Library

 

Read the articles from Edocere

 

And I believe I previously linked On Fairy Tales and if you can Peter Kreeft's The Philosophy of Tolkien, it helped me put everything together.

 

Gotta run, but when I get back I'll tell you how I've been putting it all into action.

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LutheranGirl, I'm going to answer your question, too. :001_smile: It's not that history isn't going to be taught-it has to be taught. We need timeline pegs to hang our information on, but TWTM is a history centric method, of course! :001_smile: And, though character and virtue can be taught through history by reading historical fiction, there's better books out there for those ages, and those books get pushed aside for the historical fiction to fulfill the history obligation, which is wrapping the literature around history. In the past few months, I've been convinced by my own experiences that the great books have to come first. History can take the shape of a book of centuries, outlining, and papers, perhaps, but the bulk of reading is going to be spent on the best books for their age.

 

 

 

Please do! I have to admit that I did laugh when I read the book list after what "8FilltheHeart" said about Henty. Thank you so much for your insights. I do agree about Ambleside. I've been perusing charlottemasonhelp.com lately. It's basically modified Ambleside, but she has switched some of the books around to more age appropriate levels. I think there is some wisdom in that. Ambleside is great, but it does seem to begin some of the "great books" before dwelling on the "good books" a little longer. Something I'm starting to realize is important.

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Must re-read this thread later when I can concentrate on it better. Thank you all. :bigear:

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It's not you, it's us. :D It's easier to talk like this when you've been doing it a while.

 

Well, first, start listening to the podcasts that are available-BUT sit with a pad and paper and take notes. I don't do well with straight auditory either, and that pad and pen help me ground myself.

 

Society for Classical Learning

 

Dr. James Taylor on teaching Literature

 

How to Teach Classically

 

Circe's Free Audio Library

 

Read the articles from Edocere

 

And I believe I previously linked On Fairy Tales and if you can Peter Kreeft's The Philosophy of Tolkien, it helped me put everything together.

 

Gotta run, but when I get back I'll tell you how I've been putting it all into action.

 

Wow. Thanks for these links! Now I have my "keep-my-mind-off-pregnancy project". I can let myself soak in this stuff for the next few months before the new baby puts everything on hold for awhile. :)

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It's not you, it's us. :D It's easier to talk like this when you've been doing it a while.

 

Well, first, start listening to the podcasts that are available-BUT sit with a pad and paper and take notes. I don't do well with straight auditory either, and that pad and pen help me ground myself.

 

Society for Classical Learning

 

Dr. James Taylor on teaching Literature

 

How to Teach Classically

 

Circe's Free Audio Library

 

Read the articles from Edocere

 

And I believe I previously linked On Fairy Tales and if you can Peter Kreeft's The Philosophy of Tolkien, it helped me put everything together.

 

Gotta run, but when I get back I'll tell you how I've been putting it all into action.

 

I :001_wub: you!

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A big thank you to everyone who's been recommending the Circe resources. The "Good to Great" lecture made me very happy, because it turned out that Dr. Taylor had no idea how to solve the specific problem I'm dealing with (namely, how to teach the "poetic stage" in the contemporary suburban wasteland). He is clearly very learned, so the fact that he was just as stumped as I am has given me a great deal more confidence. :lol: We're just going to have to work on these things in our own way as we move forward. Dominus providebit.

 

In the Q&A, Dr. Taylor did make an offhand remark about looking for curriculum that's as old as you can find, and then ignoring all references to grade levels. On another forum, he recommended Our Roman Roots for elementary Latin. And he's also involved with Angelicum/Great Books Academy, which combines a traditional prep school curriculum (Shurley, Saxon, Oxford Latin, Athenaze, etc.) with very laid-back literature guides, online Socratic classes, and Philosophy for Children. So there's clearly more than one way to go about this.

 

Justamouse, I think I steered you wrong in referring to Fr. McGucken in a past thread, though I'm glad you've found his book worthwhile. It turns out that the opening passage I was thinking of -- in which education is defined as the handing on of culture -- was in fact from Christopher Dawson's The Crisis of Western Education (which just experienced a renaissance of its own when I found it under the couch; full credit to The Crisis of Western Housekeeping). This book is very interesting, but its only concrete advice relates to the university curriculum. The author believes that changes in higher education will trickle down to the secondary and elementary schools. This does seem to be the way it usually goes, for better or worse. So those of us who are starting with younger students are in uncharted territory.

 

I wish we had an emoticon with an astrolabe. :)

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This is has been so interesting to read. I'm so relieved that I'm not the only one who thinks this way. (It really does make you wonder about yourself sometimes when no one else seems to think the way you do!:001_smile:)

 

I posted an entry on my blog recently about some very similar thoughts. I feel so strongly about literature and how very important it is to build readers from the beginning and to continue building throughout high school. There seems to be a lot of emphasis in other curriculas/approaches to get a child reading, and once this is accomplished then the idea is to load them up with a lot of historical fiction and call it done.

Reading the great books takes time and constant effort in foundational work before they can be truly appreciated and understood. It's the foundational work that is often negected.

I have been so discouraged to see that many families turn away from the CM approach because of the flaws of the curriculas that are supposed to be designed to make it more accessible. One of the flaws I've found with them is their neglect of reading literature that is not historical fiction. The emphasis is placed on history when the overwhelming books used to supplement the history spine is historical fiction. I think, for me, part of the problem is how easily a mostly fiction book can take the category title of historical fiction. Some historical fiction plays a role in a good outline of books for the year, but I would rather see carefully chosen historical fiction along with biographies, autobiographies and primary sources set up for history. Literature should remain its own separate category and should be filled with poetry, Shakespeare, essays, short stories, classic books, fables, fairy tales and myths. But, this is all my own humble opinion.

I hope this makes sense.

P.S. I was so excited to see Our Roman Roots mentioned...my older dd used this for Latin when she was younger and she really liked it. My younger dd, who is now doing Latina Christiana I, has decided she wants to add Our Roman Roots to her Latin study to add a little joy to it.

Edited by Kfamily
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You know, I have always believed in the power of literature (it was my major in college) and yet somehow I have let other things crowd it out with my children. I have been feeling like I should be reading more fairy tales, more poetry, more good books and worried because I "didn't have time." I am beginning to think I have wasted alot of time on secondary things.

:iagree: For the last few months, I've been trying to get into a routine of doing language arts exercises based on the books we're reading in our history studies. I've been having a hard time adjusting to this method. It just seems wrong, forced and kind of boring. I keep finding myself wanting to go back to the WWE workbooks, or even Seton, even though this way is supposed to be more meaningful.

 

Now I'm realizing that it's because the books we're reading for history, while good enough in themselves, are not truly first-class literature. (Giant light bulb goes off over head, then flickers and goes out. Need nap or coffee before I can get further with this.)

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Kfamily and others -- while I like many of the practical things that Charlotte Mason suggests, I have some serious disagreements with her underlying theory of education. At least, I think I do. I haven't been able to find someone who's very well versed in her philosophy (i.e., not a dabbler like most of us) to answer some of my questions.

 

If you are fairly confident in your understanding of CM's writings and ideas, would you mind taking a look at this thread that justamouse started last fall? [ETA: Feel free to skip the first part. The relevant discussion starts about half way through.] It brings up a few of the issues that send up red flags for me.

Edited by Eleanor

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This has been another great thread! From a very young age I loved to sit quietly in the corner and listen to the adults converse well into the night. These threads make me feel like that curious little girl in the corner again. Thank you all for posting your thoughts (and all the great links!). I have SO much to learn...

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Thank you so much for your response. I am currently finishing my first year of homeschooling and find myself wanting what you describe. Especially as I listen/read to people like Andrew Kern, James Taylor, Charlotte Mason, and others. Sometimes what people describe as Classical Education can have a "cold reason" feel to it (that's a term I've heard Kern use and it has stuck with me), and it's just not what I want. I really do appreciate the wisdom of the homeschool veterans out there like yourself.

 

I'm curious what this looks like in practice. I'm currently finishing up BF Early American History, which honestly is not bad. I do think Rea Berg has excellent taste in children's lit and she does seem to build her programs around literature for the most part. That being said, I'm trying to figure out where to go from here. Any advice is welcome.

 

Also, what's AGG?

 

Thanks!

 

AGG is Anne of Green Gables. Earlier in this thread I posted a link to a partial list of what we have studied to accompany the bk. (it is partial b/c I have thought of titles since I posted that I didn't include.) That approach has been perfect. I cannot think of anything I would do differently this yr w/the exception if I had started thinking this through earlier in the yr I would have had her read Oliver Twist vs. simply watching it.

 

The how.....for me it is going to depend on the age and the child. For example, for my youngest 2, I bought the My Book House series and I am just going to read to them. I'm still thinking through how to approach my rising 5th grader. My rising 8th grader is going to go through LLfLOTR (and we'll read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Song of Roland, Norse mythology, and all the other wonderful references in the units.) but right now my mind is like a tornado and I am going to have to wait for my thoughts to start to settle before I can really have any clear vision of where I am going. Right now parts are clear and parts are utter chaos.)

 

Like the AGG study, I have done others during the last couple of yrs that have been equal in value. We spent last yr on the Chronicles of Narnia w/ my then 3rd and 6th graders. Another study I did that had the same sort of impact is one that I did w/my high schoolers. I created a study around the movie Inception. We got the script and watched the movie along with it multiple times. They also read The Allegory of the Cave from Plato's Republic, a book on philosophy called Labyrinth of Reason, a book on mythology about Ariadne, the minotaur, and the labryinth (in case you haven't seen the movie, it is basically a dream labyrinth and the architect's name is Ariadne.), Through the Looking Glass, Flatland, and Farhenheit 451. We spent a lot of time discussing perception, how works of literature impact other works (and even other media), allusions (that are missed if you aren't well-educated/well-read), etc. What I love about the AGG study and the Inception study is that they have been thought-provoking for my kids. They dwell in the literature making connections, etc.

 

I'm sure none of that makes any sense and I really don't have the mental alertness right now to figure out how to articulate it more clearly. Sorry.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
to add Flatland
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Hmm, I'm not sure I would be the most knowledgeable person about Charlotte Mason and Maria Montessori to speak well on these ideas, especially as they relate to their philosophy. I would want and need to do some serious reading before I could formulate any thoughtful ideas or statements.

Just as a side note, I actually taught at a Montessori private school before I had my older dd (and while she was very young). I was hired to teach and manage the class but not to teach the Montessori lessons until I had received training for it. I did start that training and I did observe the teaching of the lessons. In general, I do think that Montessori and Charlotte Mason are different from each other. While I don't feel prepared to compare their core philosophies, I do think that their methods and approaches are very different from each other. The school where I worked was one of very few schools that attempts to teach Montessori style past the early years. Our school had 4 main classroooms (3-6, 6-9, 9-12 and middle school with grades 7-8). Since our school only went up through 8th grade, the teachers in the 9-12 and the 13-15 year old classroom spent some time teaching subjects with traditional methods too. For example, while the students still received their Montessori-style math lessons they also used Saxon math for their core math work. The Saxon math books were only introduced in the 4th grade and were meant to prepare the students for the inevitable fact that they would be leaving the Montessori school behind for traditional public/private high school. It was necessary to prepare them for this.

Edited by Kfamily

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I have to chuckle, because if I were at the beginning of my homeschooling journey, my head would have been REELING having read this thread. I was so not there, and that's OK.

 

Wow. Thanks for these links! Now I have my "keep-my-mind-off-pregnancy project". I can let myself soak in this stuff for the next few months before the new baby puts everything on hold for awhile. :)

 

Ohh such good food for the last months of nesting! :grouphug: But I can't take the credit, onemom has been putting them up, too.

 

A big thank you to everyone who's been recommending the Circe resources. The "Good to Great" lecture made me very happy, because it turned out that Dr. Taylor had no idea how to solve the specific problem I'm dealing with (namely, how to teach the "poetic stage" in the contemporary suburban wasteland). He is clearly very learned, so the fact that he was just as stumped as I am has given me a great deal more confidence. :lol: We're just going to have to work on these things in our own way as we move forward. Dominus providebit.

 

In the Q&A, Dr. Taylor did make an offhand remark about looking for curriculum that's as old as you can find, and then ignoring all references to grade levels. On another forum, he recommended Our Roman Roots for elementary Latin. And he's also involved with Angelicum/Great Books Academy, which combines a traditional prep school curriculum (Shurley, Saxon, Oxford Latin, Athenaze, etc.) with very laid-back literature guides, online Socratic classes, and Philosophy for Children. So there's clearly more than one way to go about this.

 

Justamouse, I think I steered you wrong in referring to Fr. McGucken in a past thread, though I'm glad you've found his book worthwhile. It turns out that the opening passage I was thinking of -- in which education is defined as the handing on of culture -- was in fact from Christopher Dawson's The Crisis of Western Education (which just experienced a renaissance of its own when I found it under the couch; full credit to The Crisis of Western Housekeeping). This book is very interesting, but its only concrete advice relates to the university curriculum. The author believes that changes in higher education will trickle down to the secondary and elementary schools. This does seem to be the way it usually goes, for better or worse. So those of us who are starting with younger students are in uncharted territory.

 

I wish we had an emoticon with an astrolabe. :)

 

So many thoughts for you- Before you go on, listen to Andrew Kern's podcast on Mimetic Teaching and the Cultivation of Virtue

 

Blatantly Catholic chatting here, skip if you're not inclined ;-)

 

Adding in more thoughts-your contemporary suburban wasteland-that I've felt is excruciatingly important for me to get back to was *something* akin to a daily mass. Even if I just manage to get back into going to the Wed noon mass, *something*. I need to build my day around the liturgical year, and after that, literature. Church brings the culture and beauty where there may be none. I need to set aside the anxiety of "This needs to get done," of another subject, and hie my rear down to church. I've been constantly putting off that simple 1/2 hour mass for another *subject*. Why must I? Because though I'm building my own house (in the things that are beautiful) I'm not there yet, and they need to soak in the stained glass, the stations, the garden, the painting, the candles, the music.

 

The other thing that I've been ruminating with small ones and fairy tales, is that they see *beautiful* illustrations, that the quality of those books, those pictures, be the best that I can offer them. And, that the fairy tales not be so rewritten (authors ignorant of the Grimms intentions have omitted and/or added so much that they can only be *based* on Grimm) that the lessons within are not lost. That way they are seeing beauty, hearing truth and cultivating virtue all in one story.

 

Okay, do these wonderful literature ideas...where r u all getting them? Amble side?

 

The one I listed was from Angelicum Academy.

This is has been so interesting to read. I'm so relieved that I'm not the only one who thinks this way. (It really does make you wonder about yourself sometimes when no one else seems to think the way you do!:001_smile:)

 

This is where we congregate, lol. You all are the only people I can talk to like this.

 

 

I agree with you, and I agree with your thoughts on CM, too.

 

 

Kfamily and others -- while I like many of the practical things that Charlotte Mason suggests, I have some serious disagreements with her underlying theory of education. At least, I think I do. I haven't been able to find someone who's very well versed in her philosophy (i.e., not a dabbler like most of us) to answer some of my questions.

 

If you are fairly confident in your understanding of CM's writings and ideas, would you mind taking a look at this thread that justamouse started last fall? [ETA: Feel free to skip the first part. The relevant discussion starts about half way through.] It brings up a few of the issues that send up red flags for me.

 

Yes, see, this is my hesitation on buying Norms and Nobility, especially as I've seen AO give credit to the author. Though I tried AO for a time, and read CMs books, I've found myself in a fundamental disagreement with some of her ideas-and I realize that I'm not going to agree fully with any one school of thought, but there's something about her basic belief and understanding that I can't quite assent to. And the frustrating part is that I can't put my finger on it.

 

The Jesuits and Education by McGucken was eye opening, if only because I was able to know it was not fully where I wanted to go-so it wasn't good for me knowing how I wanted to build, but rather how I did not want to build. The Jesuits are far too ready to adapt their methods to new curricula for my taste. :D BUT their methods are still brilliant. Prelection, as 8fills has previously mentioned on other threads is a wonderful tool to have in the belt.

 

Another great article that added to my domino fall Will Rascals Defend Our Civilization and What Books Will they Read by William Fahey, president of St Thomas More College of Liberal Arts (where if I had it my way, ALL my kids would attend) and he also links to John Senior's work.

 

Another book that helped me was The Owl, the Raven, and the Dove; The Religious Meaning of the Grimms' Magic Fairy Tales by G. Ronald Murphy, SJ

Edited by justamouse
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This has been a fascinating thread for me. SO MANY interesting ideas and food for thought. I feel like this is the direction I've been WANTING to go, but haven't had the confidence for.

 

Justamouse, I often read your posts and reflect that I want to be you when I grow up. :lol: And 8FillstheHeart has consistently caused me to think and rethink my educational philosophy. Any chance you two ladies feel like making a booklist for your adoring fans on this thread? I would LOVE to see your fantastic, don't-miss-it children's literature suggestions...

:)

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Your experience mirrors my own-the better the literature I read them, the better thinkers they become, the more connections they make, the greater their 'truth' meter goes up. It all starts to come together for them- The virtue, the character, the beautiful. They've started to embody what they are surrounded with and now that I've seen the effect of great literature on a child, I can't go back to a history centric approach.

 

:iagree:

 

There is something inspiring about reading fairy tales, allegory and biographies of great men and women to our kids. Hearing them shout "Stop, theif!" in their best Mr. McGregor impression or having an impromptu Mad Hatter tea party is the stuff childhood is made of. My kids have loved Mary Poppins....mean as she is! and walked Pilgrim's journey, or sighed when Pinocchio made a bad decision AGAIN.

 

Historical fiction has a place, but center is not it.:D Introducing our kids to great ideas, imaginative places, beautiful language, deep spitiual insights and watching them blossom into thinking, culturally literate individuals is amazing!

 

Faithe

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Wow. I am speechless. Everything I've wanted HS to look like...it's this. And yet, I've completely missed the mark. 100% off. I've fallen into the trap of many subjects, putting aside 'extra' literature in favor of fitting in more 'lessons'. I don't know what happened??? This has been wonderful to read, I've bookmarked it so that I can readit again and absorb all the wisdom here. I can't wait to listen to all of the great lectures posted.

Thank you all, once again, this board has absolutely revolutionalized our schooling.:grouphug:

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This has been a fascinating thread for me. SO MANY interesting ideas and food for thought. I feel like this is the direction I've been WANTING to go, but haven't had the confidence for.

 

Justamouse, I often read your posts and reflect that I want to be you when I grow up. :lol: And 8FillstheHeart has consistently caused me to think and rethink my educational philosophy. Any chance you two ladies feel like making a booklist for your adoring fans on this thread? I would LOVE to see your fantastic, don't-miss-it children's literature suggestions...

:)

 

Lol, I am so ridiculously inept at this whole thing. In all honesty, I truly feel that NOW, after 9 years of doing this thing called homeschooling, I could possibly manage to do a decent job of it. Now that I've been a parent for 21 years, I'm finally to the point where I could be a good mom. :001_smile:

 

In truth, this is so that MY kids can grow up and start where I've left off and not have to reinvent the wheel like I've had to.

 

 

There is something inspiring about reading fairy tales, allegory and biographies of great men and women to our kids. Hearing them shout "Stop, theif!" in their best Mr. McGregor impression or having an impromptu Mad Hatter tea party is the stuff childhood is made of. My kids have loved Mary Poppins....mean as she is! and walked Pilgrim's journey, or sighed when Pinocchio made a bad decision AGAIN.

 

Historical fiction has a place, but center is not it.:D Introducing our kids to great ideas, imaginative places, beautiful language, deep spitiual insights and watching them blossom into thinking, culturally literate individuals is amazing!

 

Faithe

 

Absolutely. I've been hoping you'd post over here. :001_smile:

 

My mother kept all of my own children's books, and though they were a hodge podge of not very good books, I realized that I REMEMBERED Them. Those pictures were like walking into the most familiar room you'd ever been in-your grandmother's kitchen, what have you. I *knew* those pictures, I knew those books-AND she didn't read them to me that often.

 

That's when I realized how powerful children's books were. And I started culling my shelves. I started buying beautiful books, and borrowing beautiful books (in story and art), I scour used books stores and library sales. I wish I had learned this when my kids were small, I really wish I had given my 21 year old that inheritance. What I'm doing now is reading them to all of my schoolers. Even the 12 year old. And I've often caught him sitting behind the couch reading them on his own.

 

That realization was the beginning of my shift.

Edited by justamouse
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Thank you all for this thread. I have immersed myself in Charlotte Mason recently. I am finally understanding that what I need is a philosophy, not a curriculum.

 

8filltheheart- I don't think we've ever had any direct interaction, but you have been a mentor from afar to me for several years. Thank you for sharing your wisdom here.

 

Justamouse and Halcyon- you two are also on my "watch list," so I want to say thank you as well.

Edited by Shannon831

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n/m......I really don't want to discus CM. :)

 

Oh, jeez. I'm dying to know the thoughts behind that statement! :lol:

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Justamouse and Halycon- you two are also on my "watch list," so I want to say thank you as well.

 

I am quite a novice compared to many here, but you're welcome! I also have found myself revitalized (something much needed in spring homeschooling, to be sure) by Charlotte Mason and the Circe lectures.

 

The concept of virtue and how to cultivate it in our children has been, I believe, one of the key missing ingredients in our homeschool. Don't get me wrong--my husband and I teach right from wrong, encourage ethical thinking, kindness and so on. But the lectures from Circe and the writings of CM are helping me conceptualize better my own philosophy and approach. For now, listening to and/or reading the classics is going to take up a greater portion of our homeschool day, shunt aside as it has been by an increasing workload of subjects. I have been on this path for a while: how do limit subjects (a la LCC) and encourage more depth, while at the same time feeling confident that my students have a broad enough base of knowledge to interact with the "regular" (ie. non-classical!) world. I am thinking here of, for example, state capitals, or knowing how to diagram a sentence, or understanding the players in the American Revolution.....there is such an overwhelming amount of sheer INFORMATION (not to say curricula!) out there, that I have found that our pursuit of beauty, virtue and wisdom (as opposed to knowledge) has tended to be pushed to the margins of our homeschool.

 

No longer.

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I am quite a novice compared to many here, but you're welcome! I also have found myself revitalized (something much needed in spring homeschooling, to be sure) by Charlotte Mason and the Circe lectures.

 

The concept of virtue and how to cultivate it in our children has been, I believe, one of the key missing ingredients in our homeschool. Don't get me wrong--my husband and I teach right from wrong, encourage ethical thinking, kindness and so on. But the lectures from Circe and the writings of CM are helping me conceptualize better my own philosophy and approach. For now, listening to and/or reading the classics is going to take up a greater portion of our homeschool day, shunt aside as it has been by an increasing workload of subjects. I have been on this path for a while: how do limit subjects (a la LCC) and encourage more depth, while at the same time feeling confident that my students have a broad enough base of knowledge to interact with the "regular" (ie. non-classical!) world. I am thinking here of, for example, state capitals, or knowing how to diagram a sentence, or understanding the players in the American Revolution.....there is such an overwhelming amount of sheer INFORMATION (not to say curricula!) out there, that I have found that our pursuit of beauty, virtue and wisdom (as opposed to knowledge) has tended to be pushed to the margins of our homeschool.

 

No longer.

 

A question about the bolded. How did you revitalize this part? What really spoke to you on this issue. I feel like I am trying to meld to very important worlds. Academics and Virtue. Not really sure I am doing a great job.

 

Anyone else, please feel free to answer as well! :D

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A question about the bolded. How did you revitalize this part? What really spoke to you on this issue. I feel like I am trying to meld to very important worlds. Academics and Virtue. Not really sure I am doing a great job.

 

Anyone else, please feel free to answer as well! :D

 

That's what I'm working on ;)

 

So far, listening to classics has been a boon. My husband is an art restorer, focusing primarily on Renaissance works and Italian paintings. His knowledge of the time period is astounding, and he often speaks about Michelangelo, Titian and Verocchio as though they were contemporaries...I don't know quite how this relates to your question, just musing aloud here..but for me my children's understanding of the broad swathe of history, artists, culture has encouraged (I believe) a lessened reliance on the values of our modern-day culture (and I mean this in a good way). By exposing them to beauty, struggle and culture from history and literature, I believe it deepens them as human beings, expands their souls, and provides much-needed perspective about the modern world. We have been reading Oliver Twist, and simply being exposed to the idea that children of their own age lived in such a horrid world will hopefully help them gauge more accurately their own petty suffering, and, in turn, make them more empathetic and virtuous citizens.

 

That's the hope, anyway. Again, this is something I have only recently begun to actively implement in our homeschool. It was always there in the background, but I hadn't recognized how important it is to me as the homeschool parent. I think, in a way, this is why I was drawn to classical education in the first place: partially as a means of supplanting or at least stemming the assault and mitigating the impact of modern day "culture".

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.....

 

I agree with you, and I agree with your thoughts on CM, too.

 

 

 

 

Yes, see, this is my hesitation on buying Norms and Nobility, especially as I've seen AO give credit to the author. Though I tried AO for a time, and read CMs books, I've found myself in a fundamental disagreement with some of her ideas-and I realize that I'm not going to agree fully with any one school of thought, but there's something about her basic belief and understanding that I can't quite assent to. And the frustrating part is that I can't put my finger on it.

 

.....

 

I would love to hear from you (and others!) about what part of CM you agree with and disagree with. As I read through this thread and thought about good children's literature, beauty, virtue, etc. ... the best we have done towards these ideals are the times I tried to follow AmblesideOnline. So, where do the goals/ideals discussed in this thread part ways with CM? :bigear: I'm not asking because I think I'll disagree with you, but rather selfishly so I can understand better where I agree/disagree, LOL.

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:iagree: For the last few months, I've been trying to get into a routine of doing language arts exercises based on the books we're reading in our history studies. I've been having a hard time adjusting to this method. It just seems wrong, forced and kind of boring. I keep finding myself wanting to go back to the WWE workbooks, or even Seton, even though this way is supposed to be more meaningful.

 

Now I'm realizing that it's because the books we're reading for history, while good enough in themselves, are not truly first-class literature. (Giant light bulb goes off over head, then flickers and goes out. Need nap or coffee before I can get further with this.)

:iagree:

Exactly!!! I hadn't (until now!) been able to figure out why all these supposed great books of historical fiction were so bad. I had foolishly not prioritized literature and instead tried to use historical fiction as lit. No more!!

This has been a fascinating thread for me. SO MANY interesting ideas and food for thought. I feel like this is the direction I've been WANTING to go, but haven't had the confidence for.

 

Justamouse, I often read your posts and reflect that I want to be you when I grow up. :lol: And 8FillstheHeart has consistently caused me to think and rethink my educational philosophy. Any chance you two ladies feel like making a booklist for your adoring fans on this thread? I would LOVE to see your fantastic, don't-miss-it children's literature suggestions...

:)

Yes please! I do own My Book House, and a lot of other great lit that's often on lists of great lit. I just never know where to start. My dd just decided that we are going to do a lit study of Narnia this spring, but she's reading those herself. I need awesome read alouds. My son is only 7 but I bet I can find some great stuff in the My Book House set that we can all enjoy.

 

Wow. I am speechless. Everything I've wanted HS to look like...it's this. And yet, I've completely missed the mark. 100% off. I've fallen into the trap of many subjects, putting aside 'extra' literature in favor of fitting in more 'lessons'. I don't know what happened??? This has been wonderful to read, I've bookmarked it so that I can readit again and absorb all the wisdom here. I can't wait to listen to all of the great lectures posted.

Thank you all, once again, this board has absolutely revolutionalized our schooling.:grouphug:

:iagree:Completely and totally.

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I would love to hear from you (and others!) about what part of CM you agree with and disagree with. As I read through this thread and thought about good children's literature, beauty, virtue, etc. ... the best we have done towards these ideals are the times I tried to follow AmblesideOnline. So, where do the goals/ideals discussed in this thread part ways with CM? :bigear: I'm not asking because I think I'll disagree with you, but rather selfishly so I can understand better where I agree/disagree, LOL.

 

It's hard for me to pinpoint-I haven't found it yet. As I've read through her writings, there is just something that I don't agree with. I'm not saying that I disagree with it all, like I said no one is going to fully agree with everything, but still take the good out and use that, you know?

 

What I've been thinking about for MY family concerning Ambleside, is that they still use too much historical fiction. They still wrap the literature around history, and as I went though years 7,8,9 I'd not use a majority of the books (many because of the different theological beliefs) but also because there's just too much wasted time in there on books that are living, and good, but not the best use of their time.

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Hmm, I'm not sure I would be the most knowledgeable person about Charlotte Mason and Maria Montessori to speak well on these ideas, especially as they relate to their philosophy. I would want and need to do some serious reading before I could formulate any thoughtful ideas or statements.

No need to get into the Montessori side of the comparison. I just wanted to make sure that the things I had written about Charlotte Mason (paraphrased from a blogger who seemed well informed) were an accurate portrayal of her beliefs. I think I'm going to have to do more reading for myself.

 

I would love to hear from you (and others!) about what part of CM you agree with and disagree with. As I read through this thread and thought about good children's literature, beauty, virtue, etc. ... the best we have done towards these ideals are the times I tried to follow AmblesideOnline. So, where do the goals/ideals discussed in this thread part ways with CM? :bigear: I'm not asking because I think I'll disagree with you, but rather selfishly so I can understand better where I agree/disagree, LOL.

I don't think any of us has a very clear sense of this (or maybe the ones who are clear on it aren't talking ;)). For myself, I've already discussed this in the thread mentioned above, and would prefer to keep it there. To give a brief list, though -- if I'm understanding her writings correctly, I disagree with her views on the nature of the human person, child development, how we learn, the purpose of education... and other such trifling matters. :leaving:

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Oh my! I merely skimmed the thread so far and my brain is going to explode.

 

I found the Circe institute reading list http://circeinstitute.com/reading-lists/

it looks important but isn't easy to find on their site so I thought I'd share it.

 

Here's the link to classical-homeschooling where the student books are listed-funnily enough, I printed out those lists waaay back in my first months of homeschooling, and then ignored them. :glare:

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I don't think any of us has a very clear sense of this (or maybe the ones who are clear on it aren't talking ;)). For myself, I've already discussed this in the thread mentioned above, and would prefer to keep it there. To give a brief list, though -- if I'm understanding her writings correctly, I disagree with her views on the nature of the human person, child development, how we learn, the purpose of education... and other such trifling matters. :leaving:

 

:lol: yeah, that.

Edited by justamouse

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A question about the bolded. How did you revitalize this part? What really spoke to you on this issue. I feel like I am trying to meld to very important worlds. Academics and Virtue. Not really sure I am doing a great job.

 

Anyone else, please feel free to answer as well! :D

 

Listen to the podcast first, they help so much-

 

http://circeinstitute.com/free-audio/

 

Listen to the first listed, Mr. Kern's-A Contemplation of Nature, then his Mimetic Teaching and the Contemplation of Virtue, then Dr Taylor's Good to Great, Teaching Literature from Grammar to Rhetoric.

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:tongue_smilie: You know I blame you, right? How weird is it that I am scanning my shelves to see which of the books listed I already have and which I would need to find in order to try a home study version, right down to writing the papers.:001_huh:

 

Ya, I know.

 

But believe me, this is just a classic case (lol, pun) of carrying the coals to Newcastle.

 

You should see the reading list I first had and am still getting through, it's psychedelically amazing and really could mess a girl up.

 

I can't imagine trying to talk to the male in the house about it- I just mutter something about "hey, I need (not want..NEED) to order a book", he mumbles, sure..go ahead..and I'm dancing around like a four year old in seconds, pacing the floor till it arrives.

 

My latest was The Trivium, by Sister Miriam-I received it in the mail about two days ago and it's dying to read. Real life, however, isn't affording me any of this time luxury...

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Oh, jeez. I'm dying to know the thoughts behind that statement! :lol:

 

:lol: :iagree: I've not heard CM criticized much. I'm always interested in hearing the negative reviews on something.

 

This is a timely thread for me. I just realized recently, that even though our lit-based curriculum has a wealth of good books for teaching facts, it really doesn't include that many classics.

 

I'm not looking to bail on it here, just add in more classic lit. Keep those booklists coming!

 

:bigear:

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This is kind of an out-there suggestion, but I've been getting a lot of inspiration from The Home-maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher.

 

This book is part of a very small and didactic genre, the Montessori novel. :lol: It looks like some sort of early feminist treatise, but it's really more about education, self-education, how to have productive relationships with children and adults, and the importance of finding one's own purposeful work. Sort of like a grown-up version of her children's book, Understood Betsy.

 

The husband in the story is regarded as a failure in the business world, but he turns out to be a wonderful parent and teacher to his own children, getting to know them deeply and sharing his imagination and love of literature. In the end, The Home-maker is mostly about what happens when he grasps on to this straw:

 

teaching is the spontaneous overflow of the teacher's soul into the life of the child

 

I don't think there's a better straw out there, so we might as well grasp on to this one too (and we don't even have to go through all the dramatic plot twists the family endures in the book :)).

Edited by Eleanor
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I just listened to Kern's lecture on Contemplation of Nature and had listened to Taylor's Great Books lecture last week. It was very interesting!

 

I'm having trouble getting the lectures to load from the other site, so for now I'll have to wait to listen to the one on Analytical Learning.

 

 

Has anyone ever seen these...and if so, what do you think of them?

 

http://classicalhomeschooling.com/

Edited by Kfamily

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:001_huh: Well, this gives me more to research, contemplate,muse over and digest. I'm not sure how it fits in with my experience and what I present to my children. Oh, so much thinking to do. Thanks I think. :001_smile:

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It's hard for me to pinpoint-I haven't found it yet. As I've read through her writings, there is just something that I don't agree with. I'm not saying that I disagree with it all, like I said no one is going to fully agree with everything, but still take the good out and use that, you know?

 

What I've been thinking about for MY family concerning Ambleside, is that they still use too much historical fiction. They still wrap the literature around history, and as I went though years 7,8,9 I'd not use a majority of the books (many because of the different theological beliefs) but also because there's just too much wasted time in there on books that are living, and good, but not the best use of their time.

 

No need to get into the Montessori side of the comparison. I just wanted to make sure that the things I had written about Charlotte Mason (paraphrased from a blogger who seemed well informed) were an accurate portrayal of her beliefs. I think I'm going to have to do more reading for myself.

 

 

I don't think any of us has a very clear sense of this (or maybe the ones who are clear on it aren't talking ;)). For myself, I've already discussed this in the thread mentioned above, and would prefer to keep it there. To give a brief list, though -- if I'm understanding her writings correctly, I disagree with her views on the nature of the human person, child development, how we learn, the purpose of education... and other such trifling matters. :leaving:

 

Thank you both for your response. Lots to read, research and process.... so little time, LOL.

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Question on the My Book House set, what ages would you say these are for?

Also, I bought the Yesterday's Classics set of 225 ebooks last year, for $100. Thoughts on those?

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I have always been sort of philosophically opposed to coinciding literature with history in the elementary and even most of middle cycle. I think that is the stage for synchrony - reading many diverse things which are not organized by a chronological principle - while high school was the ideal diachrony stage (the chronological approach in literature, art history, philosophy, loosely coordinated with history). Never did biographies, and never did premeditated historical fiction around history either (if my children read those, it was accidental / free reading).

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I know I've heard Andrew Kern say that Charlotte Mason should be read, and that she should be read slowly.

 

I am not a full-blown Mason person, but I have read quite a bit of her because I have a lot of friends around me who are and I do think she does have some interesting ideas. I've learned to glean the good and leave the bad. I used to think that her phrase "a child is a person" was a little obvious until I read Oliver Twist and then I realized why, in her day, she had to say that. There is a context in which she was writing. In Andrew Kern's lecture on the Contemplation of Nature, he shows how most modern day educational systems go against a child's nature, which is another way of looking at it.

 

The things I like from her are her ideas of using living books and high quality literature. I like her idea of "dwelling" with a book for a while and not rushing through it in order to move on to the next one (something you see reflected in programs out there like Ambleside)--and I think this seems to be something that people seem to be doing in this conversation, at least from what I can gather. I've used her "pre-reading" technique as well as her technique for teaching poetry with much success. I also like her idea of keeping lessons short in the early years. And exposing kids to great works of art and music--my kids love this! And I think her ideas on narration are awesome!

 

That being said, I literally laughed out loud when I read her method for teaching spelling and reading. And I'm not sure I agree with her overarching philosophy either. A friend of mine, who has read all 6 volumes of her writings, told me that if you read one of her volumes it's is volume 6 because it is at that point that her philosophy is the most developed.

 

 

 

I just listened to Kern's lecture on Contemplation of Nature and had listened to Taylor's Great Books lecture last week. It was very interesting!

 

I'm having trouble getting the lectures to load from the other site, so for now I'll have to wait to listen to the one on Analytical Learning.

 

 

Has anyone ever seen these...and if so, what do you think of them?

 

http://classicalhomeschooling.com/

 

This looks great!

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Question on the My Book House set, what ages would you say these are for?

Also, I bought the Yesterday's Classics set of 225 ebooks last year, for $100. Thoughts on those?

 

I have numbers 1, 7, and 12 of My Book House. Book one starts with nursery rhymes and short poems, so I'd say Pre-k. Book 12 (I believe it is the last one) consists of short biographical sketches of famous writers (Dante, Chaucer, Goethe, Alcott, Shakespeare and 30 others) Each is told in a story like manner (living book style) and I'd say is early middle school level.

 

ETA: Book 7 is full of fairy tales, folk tales, Bible stories, poems (eg. Casey at Bat) and Shakespeare adaptations (the Lambs Tales from Shakespeare) and seems to be intended as a read aloud.

Edited by urpedonmommy

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This is exactly how I USED to homeschool. When they were younger we would read and read and discuss and look things up, etc. We LOVED reading the classics together (and one DS loved reading them on his own- still does).

 

Then, I had a baby... and the boys were getting older...and I lost my footing and grabbed for curriculum.

 

(Of course, we also covered Math and other subjects, but literature and the liturgical year were the backbone- they were what "had" to be done each day).

 

My DS are finishing 4th and 5th grade and I am confident I still have time to go back to literature and the liturgical year as our backbone- right? Anyone?

 

What I have never done, what I feel I need to do, is to plan all of this out so that they can be independent learners coming together to discuss the literature. Because when I run the show without independence on their part, we miss a lot of work on days when Mom is distracted by other things and by little people! That REALLY makes me panic.

 

I would love to hear more about how much you plan this type of study in advance and how you go about it. Pretty please.

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It's hard for me to pinpoint-I haven't found it yet. As I've read through her writings, there is just something that I don't agree with. I'm not saying that I disagree with it all, like I said no one is going to fully agree with everything, but still take the good out and use that, you know?

 

What I've been thinking about for MY family concerning Ambleside, is that they still use too much historical fiction. They still wrap the literature around history, and as I went though years 7,8,9 I'd not use a majority of the books (many because of the different theological beliefs) but also because there's just too much wasted time in there on books that are living, and good, but not the best use of their time.

 

One thing about CM that I can articulate that does not resonate with me is the emphasis on narration and the apparent lack of higher level thinking. Now, I may have misread her writing but I did not see the intellectual rigor in her approach that I wanted for my family. (I believe that narration is helpful for writing skills, but she seemed to use narration for much more than that.)

 

Also, I fell into reading all of the current "CM" curriculum choices and was not impressed with slow reading of the books that were selected. Slow reading of the classics- with vibrant discussions and research into allusions, history, etc. makes a lot more sense to me.

 

Finally, I believe that CM takes the parent-teacher a little too far out of the equation. Not getting between the child and the book, to me, often loses a lot of benefits that discussion with a parent-teacher can provide. I think there is a balance there that might be lost if one simply follows the "assign books to be read slowly, ask for narrations (oral or written depending on the age of the child) and move on" approach.

 

Apologies if I am completely off-base with my CM understanding.

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