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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.

 

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 know Mr. Kern says that, I know. I have a question mark hanging above my head. Perhaps I should ask him on his blog?

 

Thanks for the tip, because truthfully, it's not center front in my head right now and not something I'm willing to go fine tooth comb at this point.

 

Connections, you know, I have no idea how I'm going to go about this-I fell into backwards and trusted what I saw as the result. Now how to go about it purposely? Sigh. I'm using Angelicum Academy's study guides and Ignatius Press' Critical Editions which are edited by Joseph Pearce, who is a Shakespearean scholar.

 

To your other part about running the show-I read aloud a lot. A whole lot. They read by themselves for about an hour each day, the girls more because they love to go to bed early so they can read their fun books, but on top of that, I would say I real aloud to them from different books about an hour a day. Mine are of the age where I CAN do that, and don't have to worry about blowout diapers and toddlers and the chaos that ensues. If I had to go back and do it with the littlest hatchlings, I would probably be reading while nursing.

 

From there, we discuss a lot. We are a chatty family at the table, while we're sitting around and such. We talk a lot over lunch and dinner, and on hikes and stuff-today while gardening. As we go about life together. But No One talks in the morning. And no one had better. That is the time for sitting at the table quietly, reading the paper and doing the crossword (there's three of them that attack the puzzle, Dad, oldest and 12ds, and they all erase each others answers. It's quite fun to watch) and drinking coffee.

Edited by justamouse
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Oh, what serendipity to have stumbled across this thread at this time in my homeschooling journey. Such wonderful wisdom here. :)

 

In spite of being relatively new to homeschooling and doing more than my fair share of learning my way 'round (read: screwing up :lol:), from the very beginning I've intuitively leaned towards a philosophy of 'less is more'/quality not quantity, esp. in the younger years. That's not a very popular philosophy on this board ;) but I'm utterly thrilled to see that philosophy validated by wise, experienced HSing parents.

 

Literature is a food group in my house. My husband, son, and I are bottomless pits when it comes to literature- and I, too, have been soul-searching recently about WHY I feel the need to *limit* the time we spend on literature just so we can cram a bunch of other soul-less lessons/curricula into our learning. It makes no sense whatsoever when I think about one of the things that attracted me to classical education in the first place was its emphasis on 'the true, the good, and the beautiful.'

 

I've been toying with the idea of doing LLfLOTR with my son next year- having a LOTR year, in fact- and I think this thread may have pushed me into making that leap of faith. :)

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justamouse, which literature guides do you prefer?

 

I've ordered Angelicum Academy's study guides (this one is 4th grade-but the others are on the sidebar). Dr. James Taylor of Circe ( I have to get his book, too) authored them. BUT I'm not one to be a slave to a curriculum, so I don't feel bound to that list.

Edited by justamouse
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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.)

She says something about how one shouldn't depend on logic because one can be convinced of anything logically, versus knowing what's right/wrong, which will not make one susceptible to such. I found this to be .... interesting.

 

Finally, I believe that CM takes the parent-teacher a little too far out of the equation.

 

I also think her model for motherhood is the nanny, and I have problems with that.

 

I dislike her approach to language learning -- an hour or so a week doesn't seem sufficient-- and her anti-math attitude doesn't resonate with me either.

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She says something about how one shouldn't depend on logic because one can be convinced of anything logically, versus knowing what's right/wrong, which will not make one susceptible to such. I found this to be .... interesting.

 

 

I think that thought would line up with GK Chestertons "The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason." Reason without virtue, that kind of thing.

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I am bookmarking this thread. I have been going in this direction for the past two years, without really being able to verbalize it. And I am taking a big leap of faith next year and going completely non-traditional with 8th grade history, so everything said here is fascinating to me.

 

We made a move this school year to use textbooks for history (gasp! But really nice textbooks, at least) to have more time to process the ideas and to work with literature. I have not had the same success there as 8 is showing, but I am looking at some of the same ideas. To my surprise, it has been a very good year academically for all of us, and my kids are retaining the history content from the textbooks as well as working through the literature books. We never had enough time to really do that before.

 

I have not listened to the Circe stuff yet, but I am still not seeing the vision for practical application, especially for high school. I have looked at Angelicum, and we are currently looking at Kolbe high school plans. Are those in line, or is there something else I should be considering?

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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.

Hey, I was 21 when I first discovered Swallows and Amazons at a used book sale. I was as thrilled as any young child could be. :) The really great children's books have something to offer everyone.

 

There's much more to choose from than adventure stories and fairy tales, though. There's poetry, essays, biographies, drama -- and although many of these works were written for adults, the lighter ones have often been read by children in times past. It's only quite recently that we've had large quantities of affordable "children's books" and "children's libraries," such that young people can stay for years in the confines of a world where everything is specifically designed for them. Sometimes I think this isn't such a boon after all.

 

Before Victorian times (when most of Senior's "Good Books" were published), what did the great men and women of the English-speaking world read and listen to in childhood?

 

The Bible

Religious writings (Pilgrim's Progress, The Imitation of Christ, etc.)

Latin & Greek history and poetry at school

 

and.... ???

 

Whatever they were, I think we shouldn't leave them out. Because these were the books that helped to form the people who wrote the Good Books. :):) :)

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I read LCC earlier this year and really agreed with it, particularly the multum non multa philosophy. My plans for next year have been based on this, but I continue to have this nagging feeling that something is missing. I have told my dh that what I really want is to read more books. Our best days/weeks have been when we put "good books" at the center of our day. This is usually by accident, when we are so caught up in a story that we must finish.

 

Taylor's lecture on good books to great books (thanks, 8) and this conversation are giving me a lot of food for thought, but I am still fuzzy on how to actually apply this. I wonder if some of this is more applicable with older kids. Is it best to "just read" with kids under a certain age? And how much time do you give to literature? Right now our read aloud gets skipped when we haven't finished everything else. Would it be reasonable to have a priority list such as: 1.Math 2.Latin 3.Good books? We would get to more subjects than this every day, but this would be our core.

 

I am bookmarking this so I can come back this summer to reread and explore some of these links. What a great conversation!

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I have not listened to the Circe stuff yet, but I am still not seeing the vision for practical application, especially for high school. I have looked at Angelicum, and we are currently looking at Kolbe high school plans. Are those in line, or is there something else I should be considering?

Circe is about getting people together to discuss the principles of classical and Christian education. Angelicum and Kolbe are examples of the practical application. :) They each have a different emphasis, because they were created by people with their own take on things, but my feeling is that either of them would be a good option. There are some benefits to customizing everything, but there are also great advantages to using ready-made programs if they save us time and energy. As teachers, we can use that time for our own study and personal formation. As parents, we can use it to improve the environment in our homes and build ties with our community.

 

(Liturgy is an important part of this, as justamouse helpfully reminded me. Circe has a mixed audience, so they tend not to dwell on this aspect of culture, but John Senior's own writings have much to say about it.)

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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.)

 

(...) 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.

Yes, this is part of what I was getting at. Charlotte Mason emphasizes that the mind should be fed on ideas. Lots and lots of ideas. And we get these ideas from books. Very good books. So her method involves a lot of reading (out loud or independently), to get the ideas from these books into the brains of the children. Then they narrate to make sure they remember what they've read. Then they are sent out back to play so the ideas can percolate and make connections in their brains.

 

It seems a bit... limited. Where is the dialogue? Where is the spontaneous curiosity? To me, it seems rather like the "bucket-filling" that so many people decry. :001_huh: And despite all the talk of her methods being gentle and developmentally appropriate, they are still very much adult-led (and book-led). While there is much to-do about doing things "for the children's sake," there does not seem to be much room for the individual child at all.

 

Apologies if I am completely off-base with my CM understanding.
Ditto. (I gave up on the other thread; nobody seems to have answers.)
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Yes, this is part of what I was getting at. Charlotte Mason emphasizes that the mind should be fed on ideas. Lots and lots of ideas. And we get these ideas from books. Very good books. So her method involves a lot of reading (out loud or independently), to get the ideas from these books into the brains of the children. Then they narrate to make sure they remember what they've read. Then they are sent out back to play so the ideas can percolate and make connections in their brains.

 

It seems a bit... limited. Where is the dialogue? Where is the spontaneous curiosity? To me, it seems rather like the "bucket-filling" that so many people decry. :001_huh: And despite all the talk of her methods being gentle and developmentally appropriate, they are still very much adult-led (and book-led).

I once got in an argument with a big CM advocate as she felt books -- the written word -- has some inherant superiority to learning directly from someone and from oral transmission. This goes against my beliefs in many ways. I don't see anything inherantly sacred or superior aboutbooks, and think it's bizarre to stay home if you have the chance to meet a scholar and talk/listen/learn in person.

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I once got in an argument with a big CM advocate as she felt books -- the written word -- has some inherant superiority to learning directly from someone and from oral transmission. This goes against my beliefs in many ways. I don't see anything inherantly sacred or superior aboutbooks, and think it's bizarre to stay home if you have the chance to meet a scholar and talk/listen/learn in person.

Wow, that is... interesting. Whatever it is, it's not classical. Oral teaching was the norm for most of history.

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You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear someone agrees with me on that! I should say that the woman with whom I argued is not a big advocate in the sense of being famous.

 

And i've also been amused that some people interpet "habit training" as CM endorsing some Pavlovian/Skinnerian behavior modification plans for their children. I've seen a fair amount of that chatter on some CM-themed boards. CM seems to be whatever you want it to be, for some people.

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Okay, I'm reading through this thread at a very high level, trying to absorb some of it. I have a lot of links to read. :)

 

I've ordered Angelicum Academy's study guides (this one is 4th grade-but the others are on the sidebar). Dr. James Taylor of Circe ( I have to get his book, too) authored them. BUT I'm not one to be a slave to a curriculum, so I don't feel bound to that list.

 

Wow, I love these guides! This is what I've been looking for... thanks for the suggestion. Just wondering... are there any samples on the website of what these lessons look like? I didn't see that they had previews anywhere... thanks!!

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I once got in an argument with a big CM advocate as she felt books -- the written word -- has some inherant superiority to learning directly from someone and from oral transmission. This goes against my beliefs in many ways. I don't see anything inherantly sacred or superior aboutbooks, and think it's bizarre to stay home if you have the chance to meet a scholar and talk/listen/learn in person.

This makes so much sense. I guess I felt that I agreed with CM on feeding children's minds with good books, but I never considered it was to the exclusion of any other method...if anything I sometimes feel we must settle for a book because a better alternative isn't available... (in my dream world I would invite an author of one of these great books over for lunch ;))...lots to think about...

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I used Hicks' booklist (aka the curriculum) from N&N for my dd's grade 7 this year. We had a wonderful time reading these books. They all had the theme of leadership in them. The trouble was that I didn't know what to do with them. I'm not a big discusser and It just felt foreign to me. I didn't know what to have dd write about, either. I felt lost.

 

So I decided to forgo Hicks for this coming year and do TOG. I figured that TOG would help guide me for the discussions as well as give me help as to the ideas that we would be discussing.

 

After looking through all of the TOG years (a friend graciously gave me all 4 years) I am second guessing myself. The TOG list is okay but it is not on the level of Hicks' list, at least not for the Gr. 8 year. I am so tired of second guessing myself. I wonder if I will ever get to that place of rest Andrew Kern talks about.

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This makes so much sense. I guess I felt that I agreed with CM on feeding children's minds with good books, but I never considered it was to the exclusion of any other method...if anything I sometimes feel we must settle for a book because a better alternative isn't available... (in my dream world I would invite an author of one of these great books over for lunch ;))...lots to think about...

 

:iagree: with the bolded. I really enjoy reading CMs works because I like the overall tone that's present in them- she truly believed that the souls of children were worth taking the time to nurture.

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I used Hicks' booklist (aka the curriculum) from N&N for my dd's grade 7 this year.

 

Sorry, I'm a little slow: Are you referring to Norms and Nobility? (I haven't read it, so I have no idea if there is a book list in there!)

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Before Victorian times (when most of Senior's "Good Books" were published), what did the great men and women of the English-speaking world read and listen to in childhood?

 

The Bible

Religious writings (Pilgrim's Progress, The Imitation of Christ, etc.)

Latin & Greek history and poetry at school

Longfellow

 

and.... ???

 

Whatever they were, I think we shouldn't leave them out. Because these were the books that helped to form the people who wrote the Good Books. :):):)

 

This is an excellent point. Thank you.

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I am bookmarking this thread. I have been going in this direction for the past two years, without really being able to verbalize it. And I am taking a big leap of faith next year and going completely non-traditional with 8th grade history, so everything said here is fascinating to me.

 

We made a move this school year to use textbooks for history (gasp! But really nice textbooks, at least) to have more time to process the ideas and to work with literature. I have not had the same success there as 8 is showing, but I am looking at some of the same ideas. To my surprise, it has been a very good year academically for all of us, and my kids are retaining the history content from the textbooks as well as working through the literature books. We never had enough time to really do that before.

 

I have not listened to the Circe stuff yet, but I am still not seeing the vision for practical application, especially for high school. I have looked at Angelicum, and we are currently looking at Kolbe high school plans. Are those in line, or is there something else I should be considering?

 

You know, if you had asked me about what I was using for next year a few months ago, I would have rattled off a list. I was so happy that THIS year, I wasn't varying and buying a ton of stuff.

 

I'm Still not buying a ton of stuff, but I am combing Kolbe ad Angelicum, writing out book lists, writing out grade scope and sequences and seeing what I want to go with.

 

Funnily enough in one of the podcasts, darn I forget which one, too, but Mr. Kern trounces Shurley, and Saxon. (Never been a Shurly fan myself) and I don't remember WHY, but it seemed a good reason. He said he uses Ray's Arithmetic and so I bought them-they came today and I've started to read them-my kids are finishing up what we've used this year, but for a minimal amount I figured I could check into it.

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I used Hicks' booklist (aka the curriculum) from N&N for my dd's grade 7 this year. We had a wonderful time reading these books. They all had the theme of leadership in them. The trouble was that I didn't know what to do with them. I'm not a big discusser and It just felt foreign to me. I didn't know what to have dd write about, either. I felt lost.

 

So I decided to forgo Hicks for this coming year and do TOG. I figured that TOG would help guide me for the discussions as well as give me help as to the ideas that we would be discussing.

 

After looking through all of the TOG years (a friend graciously gave me all 4 years) I am second guessing myself. The TOG list is okay but it is not on the level of Hicks' list, at least not for the Gr. 8 year. I am so tired of second guessing myself. I wonder if I will ever get to that place of rest Andrew Kern talks about.

 

Here's how I am working the TOG lit angle. I am taking the best of the historical lit (those with the most discussion and writing prompts), I am dropping a few in favor of some better lit choices and adding in a heftier read aloud component.

 

I hope that made some sense. I am not sure how long I will be using TOG, it is really going to depend on how good the notes, discussions, and writing aspects are. Also, I would have to become a much better planner in and of myself. :D

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I've been following the ideas of CM for many years now, but I've never been one to say that I think that every idea was perfect. CM's method is reflective of her times, and I've always felt that it must be made to fit within our times. This meant adapting it, to me. (And since we homeschool and one of these benefits is to consider our children's needs, or their nature, as the primary focus, then it makes sense to adapt any curriculua or method.)

 

I've found that many CM followers push the idea that a parent/teacher should not get between the child and the book. I see some truth to this warning, but only in the sense that I think it means more for me to allow my child to develop his/her own ideas about their readings rather than for me to fill his/her mind with my ideas/or others' ideas. If this is not what she meant, than I don't worry about it. This is how I choose to interpret it.

 

I also choose to become involved in our readings in an oral presentation sense. CM did use oral lessons, and truthfully, I think more than many realized. This is so often overlooked because of the many who point out her often quoted lines warning against oral lessons. But, I choose to think that she meant them as a warning to not, again, disrupt a child from having their own ideas. I think a Socratic method and other adaptations will help to ensure against too much of this (and really I think that some teacher involvement is necessary. At least, this true in my family).

 

I'm working on notes I create for each book that we use in our lessons. They are designed to be part of preparing the lesson and following the lesson. This is the oral presentation part. This is what makes sure that I allow the girls a chance to prepare for the books we read. This includes a discussion of the setting of the book, a study of the times in which in takes place or was written, and/or a study of vocabulary, literary terms and structure can be studied here, and a follow-up discussion including themes, etc. It is in the introduction of a new book that you can tie in any ideas that link to other books read. All of this holds true for history, science, art, etc. And the only reason I am creating them is because the overwhelming majority of them have no guide. I just spent some time yesterday trying to find anything about A Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge and Great Myths of the World by Padraic Colum. I was hoping to create some extensions with the literture we are beginning with my younger dd. This was an attempt to make our literature more at the forefront of our lessons. I couldn't find anything. This is why I have to do them myself. I happily use guides that we like when they are available. :001_smile:

 

Narrations are also meant to be adjusted as a student progresses. I'm using CW to help us get there. I just have too much on my plate right now to try and decipher the best way to do this in our family and follow CM only. So, I'm definitely not following all ideas perfectly.

 

I hope this makes sense. I really just wanted to share that I use what I know and make it work for me and my family. Sorry for the rambling...I'll refrain now...:blush:

 

I've felt so inpired reading this thread and listening to the lectures. Thanks to everyone here who contributed to it. I've learned so much and feel so renewed.

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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.

 

 

Unfortunately, I think a lot of misconceptions about CM come from many of her own advocates. When I first heard about CM from a friend of mine several years ago, it sounded like unschooling with books thrown in and there really wasn't anything that sounded that unique to me. I now understand her quite differently. But honestly, it took putting down the books about her and reading her own words to understand what she meant.

 

Here's an example: I had the exact same view of her narration prescription as you do--that what was supposed to happen was that I was supposed to read something to the child, he was to narrate it back to me and that was it. But this is what she actually says to do (this is my paraphrase, I will try to go find the actual chapter or article if you are interested):

 

Step 1: Pre-read: before the chapter is read, especially if there are a lot of characters, write down any proper names, important dates, or vocabulary you think that your student doesn't know. Go over these before the chapter/book is read. That way you are not stopping to define words mid-sentence.

 

Step 1a: If this is a book where you've already read previous chapters, the child is supposed to tell you what they remember from the last time it was read.

 

Step 2: Read the chapter/book/passage, etc.

 

Step 3: The child is then suppose to narrate back everything they remember and they can use the list you made before hand (especially proper names) to help them if they want (this is especially useful with things like history, Bible and Shakespeare, I think.)

 

Step 4: You are then supposed to discuss the passage, and yes ask questions.

 

 

The first time I did this was with our Bible story book and I cannot say enough good things about the results. We were doing the life of David and it was the first time my son truly fell in love with a biblical character. It does take a little work on my part, but I can usually do this, by scanning it a few minutes before we read. And this is especially helpful when reading Lamb's Shakespeare.

 

Now doesn't that sound a lot better than just narrate and move on. I agree, if that was it, it would just seem so dull. Especially since one of the points of reading great literature is the great discussion that can and should follow.

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You know, if you had asked me about what I was using for next year a few months ago, I would have rattled off a list. I was so happy that THIS year, I wasn't varying and buying a ton of stuff.

 

I'm Still not buying a ton of stuff, but I am combing Kolbe ad Angelicum, writing out book lists, writing out grade scope and sequences and seeing what I want to go with.

 

Funnily enough in one of the podcasts, darn I forget which one, too, but Mr. Kern trounces Shurley, and Saxon. (Never been a Shurly fan myself) and I don't remember WHY, but it seemed a good reason. He said he uses Ray's Arithmetic and so I bought them-they came today and I've started to read them-my kids are finishing up what we've used this year, but for a minimal amount I figured I could check into it.

 

I listened to that one too, I'm not sure which one it was either, but I did wonder how many people it made squirm. :tongue_smilie:

 

I did want to share that I personally don't really like Kolbe's materials for high school. THey seem to dwell far too much in the comprehension arena and don't seek deeper connections. I honestly have never found one that I really do like. I like Smarr's questions better b/c they do go a little deeper. That said, I'm not going that route next yr either.

 

As far as high school goes, this is the area where my brain is in a whirl. My ds is planning on majoring in astrophysics and attending a completely secular institution. I want to capitalize on the next couple of yrs and dwell in truth and beauty. I have a jumble of ideas, but no clear ones.

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Thank you all very much for this thread. I have gleaned a lot of wisdom from it and am now listening to some of the talks linked here. These are just random thoughts that have come to mind over the course of reading this thread.

 

1. I picked up one of CM's volumes recently and began to read it...specifically the parts about teaching reading and spelling. It sounded like the textbook description of whole language unless I am misunderstanding her. I was totally caught off guard by her saying that reading aloud to children too much makes them lazy! I put the book down and haven't had time to pick it up since, but I remember thinking that I really disagreed with her much more than I thought and it solidified my decision to homeschool classically. I do agree about her method of narration in that it produced amazing results in my oldest at only 4 or 5 years old. I wish I had continued it with her and the rest of my children. I need to start it again. We have done some shorter narrations (via FLL) and they are pretty good at that, but it was amazing how much detail my oldest could give when she was practiced at this.

 

2. The idea that I should incorporate the classics in our reading list instead of historical fiction is resonating with me. I have been reading books from VP's self-paced lit this year and although I do think they have some great books in there most of them are not classics. The kids could easily read them on their own and I should be spending my read aloud/discussion time on the classics. I think I'm going to do the reading list in the back of Teaching the Classics and maybe Norms and Nobility but I don't own that one yet.

 

3. It is strange to me that Kern doesn't like Shirley b/c Denise Eide (Logic of English) spoke at the same conference and the grammar portion of her program is very much like Shirley. I know someone who is using Ray's and she doesn't like it so I don't know that I would use that as my main program. I like how thorough Saxon and Shirley are and I think that the academic rigor they provide are important as well in doing well at higher level math, writing, and especially other languages. I hope we are not moving away from great programs like that. Those provide tools of learning. I think reading the classics does not mean we should do that to the neglect of the academically rigorous programs.

 

4. What about VP literature? They have some classics in there but not all of them are. Is it ok for them to have a mix and then focus on the classics in read-aloud time? I think these guides can be helpful for reading comprehension and adding in fun recipes and activities that my daughter loves. That way the classics they read are on grade level and we can read more difficult ones together.

 

5. Last comment/question. Classical Conversations is going to be putting out some literature books. I think they are going to be doing Caldecott or Newberry books. I hope they will put out true classics. They are putting out the Bob Books which we own and use. But are those really classics? Are they really part of the true, the good, and the beautiful? We also use the Mcguffeys in our house and I do think these fall under that category.

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Yes, this is part of what I was getting at. Charlotte Mason emphasizes that the mind should be fed on ideas. Lots and lots of ideas. And we get these ideas from books. Very good books. So her method involves a lot of reading (out loud or independently), to get the ideas from these books into the brains of the children. Then they narrate to make sure they remember what they've read. Then they are sent out back to play so the ideas can percolate and make connections in their brains.

 

It seems a bit... limited. Where is the dialogue? Where is the spontaneous curiosity? To me, it seems rather like the "bucket-filling" that so many people decry. :001_huh: And despite all the talk of her methods being gentle and developmentally appropriate, they are still very much adult-led (and book-led). While there is much to-do about doing things "for the children's sake," there does not seem to be much room for the individual child at all.

 

Ditto. (I gave up on the other thread; nobody seems to have answers.)

 

Not getting into the CM side of the conversation, but I can address this point.

 

The bucket filling quote always bugs me, and I think it's a false dichotomy, and this hits on why. In order for a child to make the connections, have the dialogue, be creative, they must have material. Material to light the fire, material to rearrange, material to start with and work from... You can't squeeze water out of an empty sponge, as they say.

 

I'm going to respond to another poster in a second here, and it will talk about how this worked out for our family. I do want to say that many people put the cart before the horse (how many cliches can I work into one response :lol:?) They are trying to get creativity and deep discussion out of young children, but if you just fill, fill, fill for a season, you get better results, just later.

 

And the dialogue and the spontaneous curiosity happen as they should, in day to day interactions with the child and the world around you. It just doesn't have to be scripted into schooltime. :D

 

That said, I didn't do the narrating with most of the books my dc read, and we aren't CM, though I've read her work and found some useful ideas. I just wanted to address the idea of filling young minds with the ideas in books.

Edited by angela in ohio
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Okay, I'm reading through this thread at a very high level, trying to absorb some of it. I have a lot of links to read. :)

 

 

 

Wow, I love these guides! This is what I've been looking for... thanks for the suggestion. Just wondering... are there any samples on the website of what these lessons look like? I didn't see that they had previews anywhere... thanks!!

 

This is the closest thing to sample pages I could find. I'm really intrigued by these too:

 

http://www.greatbooksacademy.org/curriculum/good-books-program-literature-study-guides/

 

 

Justamouse: I am with you on beautiful books! I used to settle for the cheapest paperback I could find, but now, if I can, I try to find the most beautiful version I can find. This usually means scouring abebooks and ebay.

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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/

Those look awesome. Bookmarked to check out later.

 

Oh, I also remembered having subbed to a thread a long time ago where Lori D listed out a bunch of great books to prepare for the Great Books. I thought I would toss that in for those in this thread that were asking just what to read. I know I get intimidated by the 10000000000000 books type lists.;)

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Unfortunately, I think a lot of misconceptions about CM come from many of her own advocates. When I first heard about CM from a friend of mine several years ago, it sounded like unschooling with books thrown in

 

Same here. Only now am I actually READING CM's writings. :blush:

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This is the closest thing to sample pages I could find. I'm really intrigued by these too:

 

http://www.greatbooksacademy.org/curriculum/good-books-program-literature-study-guides/

 

 

Justamouse: I am with you on beautiful books! I used to settle for the cheapest paperback I could find, but now, if I can, I try to find the most beautiful version I can find. This usually means scouring abebooks and ebay.

 

 

Those are the same from Angelicum Academy. Same author, same booklist. I thought they looked familiar.

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Taylor's lecture on good books to great books (thanks, 8) and this conversation are giving me a lot of food for thought, but I am still fuzzy on how to actually apply this. I wonder if some of this is more applicable with older kids. Is it best to "just read" with kids under a certain age? And how much time do you give to literature? Right now our read aloud gets skipped when we haven't finished everything else. Would it be reasonable to have a priority list such as: 1.Math 2.Latin 3.Good books? We would get to more subjects than this every day, but this would be our core.

 

I wrote out a long response, and then the cat jumped on the keyboard and I lost it. I gave up, but then dh said he would pick up dd for me, so I had some free time, and I'm back to try again, sans kitty....

 

I really think just reading is great. We did do narration and discussion of some works, but it was to give them the vocabulary and methods for narrating and discussing literature. I looked ahead and read about what our literature discussion would be like in high school, and I worked some of it in naturally as they were growing up, so that the vocabulary and ideas wouldn't be foreign. I did much the same thing with logic. It really wasn't about making sure they had swallowed the books, though.

 

I listened to Dr. Taylor's talk many years ago, and others like it, and it helped to reaffirm the way I had approached reading. Here is what it has looked like in our home:

 

I focused on just the 3Rs early on, streamlining so that there was time for much literature. I taught math every day, and Latin many days. I also taught phonics and handwriting PreK-2 and then grammar, spelling, and writing from 3rd on. This allowed plenty of time, even though we did those very, very thoroughly.

 

Because they didn't watch TV or play video games, and because I limited mindless toys severely, my dc had to either be creative or read. So the literature didn't interfere with their other lessons, as it was what they did all day in their free time. I stocked a large library of classics in the home from library book sales, used book sales, and gifts, and they have read them all. I do have a few we "study" each year, as I said above, but most they have retained because they have read them over a few times, some many, many times. I've had to re-buy many a book because it was loved to death. :D

 

Like Dr. Taylor discusses, my dc brought an understanding to the books they were reading from real life. When they read about the War of 1812, they had been to the battlefields, so they could picture the scenes. When we read about nature, they had so many nature center camps and long walks to draw on. In this way, they had comprehension without me beating the book to death with comprehension questions or worksheets. Dh studied remediating reading comprehension in grad school, and he found many studies saying that the life experience a student brings to a piece of writing matters more than reading speed, fluency, and the like. I kept this and Dr. Taylor's words as my guide. I tried to build a "bank" of life experiences that would allow them to understand what they read.

 

We read a lot of non-fiction, but they also read every children's classic on list after list. I created my own list to start from, and then we hunted down more titles from favorite authors. My dd hit the ground running with her great books list and can truly read and comprehend anything, and I think it's from years and years spend reading classics. Both dds have vocabularies off the charts, and their sentence structure in their writing is amazing. I am not of the "just read and everything else will come" camp (think Robinson, unschooling, etc.,) but I do think it is the only way to start.

 

But the best result, and the one that I think applies to this conversation, is that when we discuss ideas, my dc have something to talk about. We can discuss the "big ideas" (truth, beauty, salvation, honesty, etc.,) and we have connections to make. We have people to discuss, examples to use. I've written on the HS board about the SAT writing study file my dc use, and this is similar. They keep a storehouse, both mentally and now literally for high school, of examples that relate to things like heroes, truth, success, and can readily draw on specific details to defend what they argue. It all comes together: the literature, the logic, the rhetoric, and I get to help them make the connections, argue to test them, and see them grow. Life is good. :001_wub: But I had to read the books, learn the methods of teaching, and put the work into myself. It didn't come in a curriculum.

 

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

Edited by angela in ohio
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Oh, I also remembered having subbed to a thread a long time ago where Lori D listed out a bunch of great books to prepare for the Great Books. I thought I would toss that in for those in this thread that were asking just what to read. I know I get intimidated by the 10000000000000 books type lists.;)

 

 

 

:iagree:

 

Lori D's lists are awesome in general, and I actually printed her post on that thread so I could refer back to it easily.

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Funnily enough in one of the podcasts, darn I forget which one, too, but Mr. Kern trounces Shurley, and Saxon. (Never been a Shurly fan myself) and I don't remember WHY, but it seemed a good reason. He said he uses Ray's Arithmetic and so I bought them-they came today and I've started to read them-my kids are finishing up what we've used this year, but for a minimal amount I figured I could check into it.

 

It was in "Andrew Kern – Mimetic Teaching and the Cultivation of Virtue". I love his paradigm - " Attention, memory and contemplation leads to creativity" His disapproval of Shurley, Saxon and any grade-school science textbooks was because they don't encourage contemplation with the information. They do quite well with the attention and memory aspect but without actively engaging with the material, there is no ownership and manifestion of these ideas. This last part speaks to the creativity part of the process.

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From the Classical Homeschooling site ( on the right there are a lot of articles).

 

Simka, Dr. James Taylor, the head of Angelicum, and who is also a part of Circe, has a great interview up I think might help you, based on his book.

 

Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education.

 

And in another article on John Senior and the Good Books Program.

 

This is not to disparage contemporary artists, any more than the tradition itself disparages contemporary experiment – quite the contrary, one of the fruits of such a course should be the encouragement of good writing and drawing. The good work of the past is a standard, not a straight-jacket. Book illustration reached its perfection in the nineteenth century in the work of Randolph Caldecott, Kate Greenaway, Walter Crane, Gustav Dore, George Cruikshank, “Phiz,†Gordon Browne, Beatrix Potter, Sir John Tenniel, Arthur Rackham, Howard Pyle, N. C. Wyeth, and many others. The rule of thumb is to find a nineteenth-century edition or one of the facsimiles which (though not as sharp in printing) are currently available at moderate prices.
Edited by justamouse
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Wow Angela, such wisdom there.

 

Sometimes I feel like it's too late for my dd. :confused: She was in ps through 3rd, and has been hs'd 4-6th so far, and I have not done a good job wrapping my brain around these concepts and getting her to fall in love with classic books. She is going to Challenge A next year in CC and won't really have time at that point, but all I can do is try.

 

I think for my ds, who is just in 1st, I still have time. I guess it starts with me though, right? !

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It was in "Andrew Kern – Mimetic Teaching and the Cultivation of Virtue". I love his paradigm - " Attention, memory and contemplation leads to creativity" His disapproval of Shurley, Saxon and any grade-school science textbooks was because they don't encourage contemplation with the information. They do quite well with the attention and memory aspect but without actively engaging with the material, there is no ownership and manifestion of these ideas. This last part speaks to the creativity part of the process.

 

Thank you!

 

I have to say, reading the teacher's guide for Rays today and it is quite enlightening.

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From the Classical Homeschooling site ( on the right there are a lot of articles).

 

Simka, Dr. James Taylor, the head of Angelicum, and who is also a part of Circe, has a great interview up I think might help you, based on his book.

 

Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education.

 

And in another article on John Senior and the Good Books Program.

 

I just read The Recovery of Education and have tears streaming down my face. I cannot explain it, but it tugs at something I thought I was gone.

 

Thank you, Bri!

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1- I am no longer going to incorporate historical fiction. My boys, especially, b/c they were not avid readers, wasted so much precious time reading historical fiction that could have been spent reading great children's literature.

 

 

I've been pondering on this for a long time. Just to be clear, I realized our literature selections have been classic children books regardless of time period we are in. History are mainly biographies and non-fiction books that traces the development of different aspects of human culture like weaponary, food, agriculture and diseases. Historical fiction have unintentionally, yet naturally been moved to "light" and free reading. However, this evolution of our book selections have been made due to time constraints. We just can't read all those books and I'm protective of their free time. Another reason is my own familiarity with classic literature. I was schooled in Asia and read a lot of classic children books. I want to introduce my children to books that have not only survived through time but are also international in their appeal - Grimm Brothers and Robert Louis Stevenson are authors a well-read child in Asia, Europe and America would be familiar with. Madeleine Takes Command, as fascinating as it was, not so much. :001_smile:

 

 

Can a historical fiction be a good book too? I wonder whether I am missing a point on what makes a good book. I looked at Angelicum's literature list and they do include a few historical fiction though I won't consider GA Henty's books equal to their other selections. The ClassicalHomeschool and AO booklists linked by Circe contain plenty of historical fiction. WTM's literature section list historical novels in the supplementary section. I love John Senior's and the other Circe talks but when I read their recommended reading list, I find a disparity. Perhaps I misunderstood the underlying philosophy. Or is it I misunderstand the purpose of their recommendations?

 

Hope someone can help untangle this mess in my head. :bigear:

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Simka, Dr. James Taylor, the head of Angelicum, and who is also a part of Circe, has a great interview up I think might help you, based on his book.

 

Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education.

 

 

I'm currently reading Dr. Taylor's Poetic Knowledge and thoroughly enjoying it. It reminds me of what I love so deeply about G.K. Chesterton's writing; he integrates poetic knowledge, often even starts with it, in his work. The suprise at the sun rising each day or the wonder at the beauty of green grass (and that it is green everyday!) are all the essential starting points of his arguments. To have poetic knowledge deeply integrated into an argument, along with the other modes, brings such a fresh exuberance and a real gut-level truth to a work. If anyone wants to see the kind of thinking and writing that comes out of a mind steeped in poetic knowledge, read some Chesterton.

 

 

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

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I do want to say that many people put the cart before the horse (how many cliches can I work into one response :lol:?) They are trying to get creativity and deep discussion out of young children, but if you just fill, fill, fill for a season, you get better results, just later.

Hmm. I've never tried to get those things out of my children. They just happen, and have since my eldest was a preschooler. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? (I say that facetiously, but sometimes these sorts of generalizations about what "young children" are like make me feel like I'm raising a bunch of freaks. :001_huh:)

 

And the dialogue and the spontaneous curiosity happen as they should, in day to day interactions with the child and the world around you. It just doesn't have to be scripted into schooltime. :D

We don't script teacher/student dialogue (how would you do that without a time machine? ;)), but we certainly do engage in it during lessons. I like this page from Circe:

 

What is Socratic Dialogue?

 

Sometimes it goes like that, and sometimes it's just a bunch of talking.

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I've been pondering on this for a long time. Just to be clear, I realized our literature selections have been classic children books regardless of time period we are in. History are mainly biographies and non-fiction books that traces the development of different aspects of human culture like weaponary, food, agriculture and diseases. Historical fiction have unintentionally, yet naturally been moved to "light" and free reading. However, this evolution of our book selections have been made due to time constraints. We just can't read all those books and I'm protective of their free time. Another reason is my own familiarity with classic literature. I was schooled in Asia and read a lot of classic children books. I want to introduce my children to books that have not only survived through time but are also international in their appeal - Grimm Brothers and Robert Louis Stevenson are authors a well-read child in Asia, Europe and America would be familiar with. Madeleine Takes Command, as fascinating as it was, not so much. :001_smile:

 

 

Can a historical fiction be a good book too? I wonder whether I am missing a point on what makes a good book. I looked at Angelicum's literature list and they do include a few historical fiction though I won't consider GA Henty's books equal to their other selections. The ClassicalHomeschool and AO booklists linked by Circe contain plenty of historical fiction. WTM's literature section list historical novels in the supplementary section. I love John Senior's and the other Circe talks but when I read their recommended reading list, I find a disparity. Perhaps I misunderstood the underlying philosophy. Or is it I misunderstand the purpose of their recommendations?

 

Hope someone can help untangle this mess in my head. :bigear:

 

No, you aren't alone. I am scratching my head, too. Many of the books that they have listed are the very books I want to avoid. :tongue_smilie: Some of the books they have listed I am keeping, but not b/c of their literary quality, but simply b/c of their content. (many of the non-fiction books they have listed are Landmark authors and they are wonderful history books.) I hadn't spent much time looking at lists until this thread and we have read many of the books on the lists.......but the lists and their talks do seem slightly, um, discrepant. (for example, we have never read the original Pinocchio and my kids are quite curious about the fact that poor ole Cricket meets his end w/a mallet. :lol:)

 

But, as oft I end up doing, I will more than likely go this alone and find my own way. I am almost always happier when I do. :tongue_smilie:

 

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

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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I'm currently reading Dr. Taylor's Poetic Knowledge and thoroughly enjoying it. It reminds me of what I love so deeply about G.K. Chesterton's writing; he integrates poetic knowledge, often even starts with it, in his work. The suprise at the sun rising each day or the wonder at the beauty of green grass (and that it is green everyday!) are all the essential starting points of his arguments. To have poetic knowledge deeply integrated into an argument, along with the other modes, brings such a fresh exuberance and a real gut-level truth to a work. If anyone wants to see the kind of thinking and writing that comes out of a mind steeped in poetic knowledge, read some Chesterton.

 

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

Thank you for sharing this. It's a lovely thought. :)

 

Have you read Hugh Kenner's Paradox in Chesterton? If not, it would be worth seeking out. The author relates this use of the analogical or poetic mode to the thinking of St. Thomas Aquinas. As a bonus, the introduction was written by the media theorist Marshall McLuhan, who was not yet famous. One bit is almost a nutshell version of his incredibly dense PhD thesis on the trivium as a structure that underlies Western intellectual history.

 

(McLuhan's work on media and the senses is in some ways an even bigger influence on my homeschooling than John Senior et al. But his theories raise many difficult questions, and provide just about nothing in the way of practical advice. I can't recommend going down that road unless your curiosity is much stronger than your desire for intellectual calm. ;))

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

 

The Private Eye: Looking/Thinking by Analogy

 

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

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Thank you for sharing this. It's a lovely thought. :)

 

Have you read Hugh Kenner's Paradox in Chesterton? If not, it would be worth seeking out. The author relates this use of the analogical or poetic mode to the thinking of St. Thomas Aquinas. As a bonus, the introduction was written by the media theorist Marshall McLuhan, who was not yet famous. One bit is almost a nutshell version of his incredibly dense PhD thesis on the trivium as a structure that underlies Western intellectual history.

 

(McLuhan's work on media and the senses is in some ways an even bigger influence on my homeschooling than John Senior et al. But his theories raise many difficult questions, and provide just about nothing in the way of practical advice. I can't recommend going down that road unless your curiosity is much stronger than your desire for intellectual calm. ;))

 

Thank you for the rec. I have not read Kenner's book, but that seems right up my alley.

I remember you mentioning McLuhan's work on the trivium in another thread and was intrigued enough to read the reviews. :tongue_smilie: I'm hoping to read some of him at some point, but am not quite sure where I'm going to get the time!

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

 

The Private Eye: Looking/Thinking by Analogy

 

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

I have that book and lloovvee it. We love using it. Love.

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