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Where did ___ go wrong?

 

(Not an expert but) I asked the kids that last night after reading Traveling to Tondo (a picture book). Then I had them explain why. They actually came up with 2 good answers, one I hadn't considered. I also posed it to DS8 after he read the story of Cain and Abel.

 

Thank you! And I think that is wonderful to hear your example of how that worked so well for you! :)

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I find we're getting somewhere with these questions (used sparingly, as the thought occurs to me -- not repeated over and over):

 

Did you think that X was going to do Y? Why?

 

Do you think that X is a [insert virtue or habit] person? Why?

 

This brings them back to the text, and develops their powers of observation and reasoning, which will hopefully carry over into their writing skills. At this stage (early elementary), I'm not even asking them the "why," just asking it to myself and suggesting possible answers.

 

"Do you think that Tom is a kind boy?"

 

"Yes."

 

"Yes, I think he is, too. We saw him be friendly to that child that the others were teasing."

 

And once I've been modeling this, they sometimes start jumping in with the "why" on their own. :)

Wonderful! That breaks it down even more for me! :) THANK YOU!

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I actually think it is helpful to look at different curriculum and lesson plans. It's like gathering collective wisdom into different people's quests for the ideals of truth and beauty. I appreciate Andrew for taking the time to guide our considerations when choosing our materials and teaching approaches. At the same time, there is much to learn in studying pre-fab programs. For example, I, too, was inspired by Dr Taylor's talk on good books. I went in search for the definition and examples of good books. It was like Andrew Kern's illustration on the poetic knowledge of science. You can give a student a dissection of a frog but in the end, it is only a frog's body and not a frog. However, it was only when I read "Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination" did I found peace in my quest. The book has a finite booklist, abeit a very small one. But it is in the author's illustrations and explainations that has helped me recognize a good book when I see one. And this is the part where the broadness of the definition results in such large booklists. A good book has to meet the child at where he is, which brings me back to Dr Taylor's point. Not all books are able to awaken a child's perception of truth. It requires experience and expertise. In our household, we study fairy tales, Little House books, Narnia and Lord of the Rings. These are the core books in our literature program. That's a lot of repetition for me because I have a large family, but these are the books that have spoken to my children best. They are, in my family, the best of the good books. I am comfortable in letting the other good books speak quietly to my children. Not all good books are discussed formally here. Plenty are referred to in those eureka moments.

 

I admit to studying Highland Latin School curriculum after Andrew's endorsement of Memoria Press products. I wanted to know how they have gone about in the pursuit of truth and honestly, I am impressed. In my analysis, I can see why and how they do certain things through Andrew's lens. Take, for example, their flow in their classical studies chart. It makes sense to me that if you want student to appreciate Greek and Rome classics, you need to understand Greek and Roman history. But why Greek and Roman classics. You could use any of the Great Books to teach Truth and Beauty. And here lies Highland Latin's explanation .

 

"The classical civilization of Greece and Rome is the perfect civilization for the student to study and the teacher to teach. It has been thoroughly studied by many generations, and the lessons have been learned and are there for all to see. And we know the end of the story, and therefore we can see consequences and draw conclusions.

 

In addition, all of the issues that we struggle with in the modern world – economic, political, religious, and social – are present in the ancient world in their simplest form. In Greece and Rome, the perennial problems of the human condition can be seen at their beginning, while it is still possible to grasp them, to understand them, and to really see the heart of the matter."

 

Another enlightening moment was when I studied their workbooks. They are very simple, mainly memory and comprehension exercise. I appreciate this more because of Andrew's podcast on memory. Sometimes bringing attention to someone is enough to inspire contemplation and comparison. And Andrew and even Susan have given very simple questions to awaken contemplation. You don't need to have many thought-provoking questions. Sometimes, all it takes is one.

 

The same goes for studying their lesson plan layout. The proportion of the seven liberal arts relative to the sciences shows me an example of priorities according to Circe's recommendations on the order of learning. Of course, it doesn't capture poetic knowledge which is the foundation of a classical education prior to the liberal arts but it does show me one tangible example to guiding principle to " When should we begin the study of the sciences? ", again lifted from Circe website.

 

I've been known to follow closely what I am quietly deemed mentors on this board. But I think they, like pre-fab programs and lesson plans, can only be mentors if I ponder on their suggestions in a state of rest and not one of anxiety. We can never really capture everything in another person's homeschool or curriculum package. But in a state of rest, we can make small changes that can be fundamental in their outcomes.

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justamouse,

 

I wasn't really suggesting LToW as a writing curriculum, though it is that. Instead, I suggested it as a way for mothers to help their children think deeply about the books they read without lit guides, prescribed lists of questions, or trying to cobble together questions that may or may not be effective. If pre-fab curriculum and lessons plans aren't appealing, mothers won't find that with LToW. Also, the ideas discussed in the podcasts, etc. are inspiring, but many mothers struggle to understand how to actually do what Andrew describes, especially if they want select, write and discuss books that interest them and their children. Andrew's curriculum offers that. Since we have used LToW, I see the connections between his ideas and the "how" mentioned in other posts.

Edited by 1Togo
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Would one of you lovely ladies be willing to give "us" a simple list of things specifically to ask/suggest in our questions? I'm having such a hard time mentally pulling all the wonderful thoughts together right now (definitely a bad mental fog going for me at the moment) and it would be OOHHH so helpful. One of these days, I'm going to read some of these suggestions of books, too. I would love to move our homeschool this direction. I come from a very literary inspired family- my dad and I have always loved books. I want classics back into our homeschool so, so badly. But, really would like a few VERY CLEAR ideas to help me cement my thinking.

 

I've skimmed this thread over the past few days, so I'm not sure I have a full grasp on what it's all about. But this morning, after looking at the thread again, I pulled out my trusty WTM book and looked through the logic and rhetoric stage history/lit. sections and had a quick read. I'd just like to suggest that this book has some excellent food for thought about how to talk with our kids about their history and literature reading. The rhetoric section even talks about how history study switches to literature study as the centre, because if kids have followed history chronologically since they were little, they don't necessarily need another go-round of history at high school. Rather, they are ready to dig into literature as history more deeply (and concretely learning how to set lit. into historical context - instructions in WTM). SWB even has an audio CD addressing this.

 

Anyway, her sets of questions in WTM are very helpful to me with regards to talking more deeply about literature at the logic and rhetoric stage levels. The questions are starting points, and as you get used to using them, more questions pop into your mind during discussions. I'm just mentioning this, because some of the discussion questions I've seen pop up here could easily have sprung from these basic sets of questions. And I'm one of those Moms who needs the ideal translated into concrete activity. :D

 

Gotta run, probably won't be able to check in again til tomorrow.

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I've been known to follow closely what I am quietly deemed mentors on this board. But I think they, like pre-fab programs and lesson plans, can only be mentors if I ponder on their suggestions in a state of rest and not one of anxiety. We can never really capture everything in another person's homeschool or curriculum package. But in a state of rest, we can make small changes that can be fundamental in their outcomes.

 

:) I appreciated your whole quote, but really like your last sentences. I LOVE the curriculum we are using, Paths of Exploration. I already have the guides and most of the books for Paths of Settlement. However, after reading all this, my mind has turned, and I don't want it to be the "core" study for us (but still utilize it). How to do this, well, IS overwhelming but I like to pick apart curriculum anyways so maybe it won't be too bad anyways. I want to linger and dwell with my little brood in the magnificent literary garden God has provided my heart with. Despite my own significant mental difficulties due to depression and fibromyalgia, I see Him leading us down the road where I need to enter in quietly beside them, anchoring certain things within their hearts more than ever. I think I will be learning right alongside my children.

Edited by amyrjoy

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justamouse,

 

I wasn't really suggesting LToW as a writing curriculum, though it is that. Instead, I suggested it as a way for mothers to help their children think deeply about the books they read without lit guides, prescribed lists of questions, or trying to cobble together questions that may or may not be effective.

 

 

I'm sorry for misunderstanding you

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I actually think it is helpful to look at different curriculum and lesson plans. It's like gathering collective wisdom into different people's quests for the ideals of truth and beauty. I appreciate Andrew for taking the time to guide our considerations when choosing our materials and teaching approaches. At the same time, there is much to learn in studying pre-fab programs. For example, I, too, was inspired by Dr Taylor's talk on good books. I went in search for the definition and examples of good books. It was like Andrew Kern's illustration on the poetic knowledge of science. You can give a student a dissection of a frog but in the end, it is only a frog's body and not a frog. However, it was only when I read "Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination" did I found peace in my quest. The book has a finite booklist, abeit a very small one. But it is in the author's illustrations and explainations that has helped me recognize a good book when I see one. And this is the part where the broadness of the definition results in such large booklists. A good book has to meet the child at where he is, which brings me back to Dr Taylor's point. Not all books are able to awaken a child's perception of truth. It requires experience and expertise. In our household, we study fairy tales, Little House books, Narnia and Lord of the Rings. These are the core books in our literature program. That's a lot of repetition for me because I have a large family, but these are the books that have spoken to my children best. They are, in my family, the best of the good books. I am comfortable in letting the other good books speak quietly to my children. Not all good books are discussed formally here. Plenty are referred to in those eureka moments.

 

I admit to studying Highland Latin School curriculum after Andrew's endorsement of Memoria Press products. I wanted to know how they have gone about in the pursuit of truth and honestly, I am impressed. In my analysis, I can see why and how they do certain things through Andrew's lens. Take, for example, their flow in their classical studies chart. It makes sense to me that if you want student to appreciate Greek and Rome classics, you need to understand Greek and Roman history. But why Greek and Roman classics. You could use any of the Great Books to teach Truth and Beauty. And here lies Highland Latin's explanation .

 

"The classical civilization of Greece and Rome is the perfect civilization for the student to study and the teacher to teach. It has been thoroughly studied by many generations, and the lessons have been learned and are there for all to see. And we know the end of the story, and therefore we can see consequences and draw conclusions.

 

In addition, all of the issues that we struggle with in the modern world – economic, political, religious, and social – are present in the ancient world in their simplest form. In Greece and Rome, the perennial problems of the human condition can be seen at their beginning, while it is still possible to grasp them, to understand them, and to really see the heart of the matter."

 

Another enlightening moment was when I studied their workbooks. They are very simple, mainly memory and comprehension exercise. I appreciate this more because of Andrew's podcast on memory. Sometimes bringing attention to someone is enough to inspire contemplation and comparison. And Andrew and even Susan have given very simple questions to awaken contemplation. You don't need to have many thought-provoking questions. Sometimes, all it takes is one.

 

The same goes for studying their lesson plan layout. The proportion of the seven liberal arts relative to the sciences shows me an example of priorities according to Circe's recommendations on the order of learning. Of course, it doesn't capture poetic knowledge which is the foundation of a classical education prior to the liberal arts but it does show me one tangible example to guiding principle to " When should we begin the study of the sciences? ", again lifted from Circe website.

 

I've been known to follow closely what I am quietly deemed mentors on this board. But I think they, like pre-fab programs and lesson plans, can only be mentors if I ponder on their suggestions in a state of rest and not one of anxiety. We can never really capture everything in another person's homeschool or curriculum package. But in a state of rest, we can make small changes that can be fundamental in their outcomes.

 

Genevieve,

I hope I did not offend. My comments about pre-fab plans were not meant to be demeaning to the plans, but how I personally cop out on my responsibilities when I use plans. It is a character flaw of mine, not plans.

 

 

 

I think my contributions are starting to be counter-productive to the thread, and between listening to all those talks and reading this thread and responding, I have spent way too much time on the computer. I think I need a board break to process all of my thoughts and relish in some new books. ;)

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I have been very slowly reading through this discussion. Thank you so much to all who have posted--like others, I have found myself drawn to re-evaluate and re-commit to the values that led me to home education in the first place.

When I was trying to define an educational philosophy a couple of years ago, I came up with the concept of WISDOM education--not a methodology, but a definition of the traits and characteristics I wanted to focus on and develop through our home life and education. These were to be our compass in planning and implementing our homeschool efforts:

 

Work, because work and life are fundamentally intertwined. There is a temptation to seek the good fruits of life without personally laboring for them; when pursued in this way, the fruits that look so delicious prove in the end to be bitter, leading to great misery. True joy is found in the sweet fruits of our own diligent labors, and in the blessing of God that such labor calls down.

Integrity is the internal compass that holds us to our course. Integrity is a choice we make every day, every moment–but a choice that gets easier the more times we choose it. Our life is a process of becoming, and we must choose what to become. When we choose dishonesty, we become something warped, something undefinable, something not whole. Only by consistently choosing to be honest, to follow our internal compass, do we grow into what we should be.

Service is both our teacher and our refiner. Our lives have value in accordance with the service we give, the impact we have on the lives of others. Our own joy is increased as our lives are intertwined with those around us through service. Our hearts expand, our ability to love, as well as our ability to comprehend love, grows. When we focus only on ourselves our world grows small, and we lose the ability to see beyond a tiny, and lonely, personal sphere. When we serve God, we begin to see as He sees and to love as He loves. When we serve others, we find our own darkness brightened by expanding circles of love and hope.

Discernment is the attribute that allows us to choose what is good, true, just, beautiful, and sweet. We must learn to discern light from dark, good from bad, true from false, sweet from bitter. Much of modern society teaches that right and wrong, good and bad, are no more than illusion. Truth is relative, and anything that seems desirable is a worthy pursuit. God teaches us otherwise, and as we seek His guidance, and cultivate our sensitivity to truth, we will find ourselves increasingly able to discern with clarity the light from the shadows amid the complexity of our world.

Obedience bears the fruits of security and peace. We seek above all to obey God who is our Father in Heaven. His plan for us is perfect, His mind knows both the challenges of our life moment by moment and the clear path ahead of us. God never compels us to obedience; it is our own choice to submit our will to his, or to seek out our own path without his guidance.

Mastery is above all mastery of self, the choice to consistently make the difficult choice, do the hard work, make the personal sacrifice, to which duty calls us. Mastery of self allows us to turn from each false enticement, and to continue to walk in the strait path. In education, we should also seek for mastery of the knowledge and skills that lead us towards our goals. We are not working to pass a test, to check off a box, or to impress someone–rather, we desire to fully own what we learn, to make it a part of us, a tool we can use as we work and as we serve.

 

I am going back now to examine what we are doing in practice in light of this compass. I think I have some course corrections to make...

 

Something else came to mind as I read the many posts of literature. I love books and reading, and have collected quite a number over the years. Recently I have had the feeling that I need to drastically reduce the sheer number of books in our home, and keep on the "best of the best"--and that reading and re-reading these best books will be a better education than reading thousands of just OK books.

This quote comes to mind, it is from a British diplomat and Shakespeare scholar named Henry King, who was a mentor to both my parents in their college days:

I was brought up during the First World War in a very small country cottage with about a hundred books in it. I read most of those hundred books from the ages of seven to nine.
(He mentions elsewhere that this collection included all of Shakespeare and all of Dickens.)
They were nearly all of them good ones. I had nothing else to read (...) I was in an artificial situation of restriction. I had to read those books or be bored. And so I learned to read them and enjoy them, and that was the basis of my education, the most important part of it. How valuable it is to be circumscribed--how valuable it is not to have too much choice! (...) The point is this: when I was young, it never occurred to me to read anything vulgar because by the time I was ten my basic taste had been formed.

 

This quote struck me when I read it because I had a similar experience at age 9. My family moved temporarily to another state, and as we were only to be there a few months (it ended up being closer to a year) most of our household goods were put in storage and only a few things came with us. Among those things left behind were the majority of our children's books--but my parents did bring their entire collections of Dickens. That year I read Dickens, and those books had a powerful impact on me. But you know, I doubt I would ever have picked up Oliver Twist or David Copperfield, thick orange-backed books with small type and archaic language, if I had had shelves full of lighter and easier fare available to me.

 

Ah-yih, so much to think about!

 

--Sarah

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No. I don't think you are understanding me correctly. This yr has been one of its own ebb and flow. This yr dd is studying British and Canadian history. The Shakepeare study arose from Anne of Green Gables, not the British/Canadian history (b/c at the beginning of the yr we were in the late 1800s.) However, Anne quotes Shakespeare so much that we started incorporating the plays she was referencing. (It is pretty much impossible to ignore Cordelia. ;) ) Originally, we studied King Lear and Othello b/c of that. However, dd was enjoying Shakespeare so much that she wanted to study more plays. Ds was scheduled to study Shakespeare anyway (independent of dd), so I decided to have him join us and do a high school credit worthy study of Shakespeare. (In my opinion, there is a huge difference between what is 7th grade worthy and what is 10th grade worthy.)

 

FWIW, what she and I both got from the Lear/Othello study was significantly "less" than from Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing (the 2 we studied w/ds and the historical background). Context/perspective changed how we understood the plays. Not to mention, the connections it made for us b/c we are Catholic. (I had never learned anything about recusant Catholics in relation to Shakespeare before, so the allusions to Catholic beliefs were completely lost on me. Once I understood, goodness, there are many. ETA: For example, the lines in Othello, "Let her have your knees. Hail to thee lady! and the grace of heaven, Before, behind thee on every hand Enwheel the round!" Cassio's words understood w/in a Catholic context definitely brings up images of "Hail, full of grace!" and the rosary beads encircling the hand kneeling in prayer. In a historical context, one needs to place this scene w/in the understanding of Battle of Lepanto, Turks, and Our Lady of the Rosary. http://catholicradiodramas.com/articles/the-battle-of-lepanto-gilbert-k-chesterton/ All of that was missed by us when we originally studied Othello. But, knowing it and seeing the play now.....there is so much more meaning to Othello than originally encountered.)

 

Ds, otoh, he was in the middle of late Middle Ages/early Renaissance in history. So, whereas for dd the history we studied in conjunction w/the plays was history, for ds the history surrounding Shakespeare was actually his lit. Does that make any sense?

 

I can't imagine needing to do it like that again b/c they already know the history now. And, again, what age are we discussing? Reading Lamb and Garfield and watching Shakespeare w/elementary age kids has completely different objectives than a high school level course.

 

So it was more like a rabbit trail you followed from your AGG studies. That's very cool, especially since it turned into so much more. It actually reminds me of something I heard SWB say in her lecture on Great Books (which is $3.00 in the PHP store) that the point of studying history and literature is not so much to "cover it all", but to let kids dive deeper into history and lit especially when there is a person, book, event that they are especially interested in.

 

Thanks for the reminder that we all need to follow our own path. I think that'w what's been freeing about this conversation--the revelation that I don't have to follow someone else's curriculum, but that I can (and should) design my own and it will really be so much better. I often find myself in the trap of--should I follow this program or that program. Sometimes these decisions can be harder than I ever thought they would be. Now, I can rest (thank you Andrew Kern) in the idea that I can do what I want and I really don't have to worry about what this and that program say I should do.

 

 

As for my Shakespeare studies this week (and you are right, my Shakespeare studies look very different from your Shakespeare studies--but at least I now know where these things can go as my kids get older--that's what's fun about reading your account of what you've done with your kids), we read "A Winter's Tale". This is an interesting story with lots of twists and turns and surprises, especially at the end. And it could easily be read for those reasons alone. I first read this book to get some background information for myself (a book I picked up at an used book store that has been invaluable). I then made a story board similar to how this woman describes down below where it says in "In Our Home"--nothing fancy I literally used stick figures. This story led us in discussing the causes and effects of jealousy. But more important than that, in this play, is the question of whether or not one should always obey someone in authority, if what they are asking you to do is clearly wrong. He initially said that someone should always do what a king tells him to do. Then, I asked: "if Mommy told you to go hit your friend should you do it?" "No." I presented other scenarios, too. Then, I brought it back to the story: "Should Camillo have obeyed King Leontes (of Sicily) when he was told to poison the King of Bohemia?" "No." Which Camillo didn't do. He is clearly the hero of this story. Anyway, it is amazing what could be done with this one play.

 

Thank you so much for your insights!! You have really got me thinking.

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Genevieve,

I hope I did not offend. My comments about pre-fab plans were not meant to be demeaning to the plans, but how I personally cop out on my responsibilities when I use plans. It is a character flaw of mine, not plans.

 

 

 

I think my contributions are starting to be counter-productive to the thread, and between listening to all those talks and reading this thread and responding, I have spent way too much time on the computer. I think I need a board break to process all of my thoughts and relish in some new books. ;)

 

8,

 

I was never offended by your comments about plans. If anything, I am encouraged by them. I was thinking out loud elements of Memoria Press plans that I might want to incorporate into my existing plans. When I read your posts, I can see how you do have plans but they serve to educate you. When you have internalize the information, you tweak the existing purchased plans beyond recognition. You have always been very careful to remind us that curriculum and programs are not the magic pill. You can't just swallow it wholesale. Providing an education to our children is organic and unique. We, as teachers, need to educate ourselves and not just switch off our brains when we tick off the box. I understand completely about coping out because now the plans will do its magic. Excitement in learning alongside my children has kept me going. I never teach any grade the same way twice. I personally can't be excited about approaching the same subject in the same way. So don't feel like your comments are counter-productive to this thread or that your advice are as restrictive as pre-fab program. I don't think you bash up pre-fab programs, just the temptation to hand over the reins when you will do Grade X from School Y.

 

I hope this was somewhat clear. I'm desperately eager to read a few books and think through ideas. I think I need to pause all these illuminating thoughts till I process what I have. :001_smile:

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And Andrew and even Susan have given very simple questions to awaken contemplation. You don't need to have many thought-provoking questions. Sometimes, all it takes is one.

 

Ugh, I didn't even see this in your post, or I would have just said :iagree: instead of writing what I wrote earlier.

 

My comments about pre-fab plans were not meant to be demeaning to the plans, but how I personally cop out on my responsibilities when I use plans. It is a character flaw of mine, not plans.

 

 

 

I think my contributions are starting to be counter-productive to the thread,

 

Nope, they aren't. I always like reading about how you teach yourself so that you can be a better teacher to your kids.

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:iagree: It has been an incredibly thought-provoking conversation.

 

 

So here are my night-time thoughts before I crawl into bed: what I am about to post is blatantly Christian, so ignore if that offends.

 

One of the visions that has gone through my head during this thread is the scene in Screwtape Proposes a Toast where Screwtape discusses everyone being required to have the education "like everyone else." He is celebrating the destruction of classical education and the destruction of the deliberate formation of the individual as an individual. I decided to post this small part b/c maybe it might relieve some of the fear of not "being like everyone else." Seeking the truth, the good, the beautiful all targeted toward the formation and cultivation of wisdom is the anti-thesis of what Screwtape desires!

 

(Hopefully the quote will encourage you to throw off the feeling of the need to replicate institutionalized education resembling Screwtape's one described in glee.)

 

 

 

(If you have never read Screwtape Letters, well, I don't let my kids move out of our home w/o having read it. ;) Here is a link to just Proposes a Toast http://screwtapeblogs.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/screwtape-proposes-a-toast/

 

 

I recently began Screwtape Letters and I am in awe. I first downloaded it on my Kindle, but I wanted to make notes, so I ordered a hard copy.

 

With that said I did have a thought or two about this thread. It is a tremendous conversation. A conversation that was meant to happen. But with that said, I think there might also be a tendency to turn it into a fad, and then be shocked when it isn't what one expected. I know I am guilty of reading about "the latest and greatest" and chucking and buying what is recommended on a book list.

The only reason for mentioning this point is that I want to remember what was said many times and many ways. For each of us the implementation will and should look different. There are some common threads, but this isn't a recipe for how to teach truth, how to live with intention. For me that is something I need to live with for awhile. I have just stopped, stopped planning, stopped buying, and stopped rushing. I don't want to repeat my same previous mistake of trying to great your (you are one of my inspirations here) or someone else's experience. That would also be repeating the same idea of the conversation in the Screwtape letters. Patience, prayer, and patience is not my virtue. But I am trying to live in this experience and find my truth for my family.

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womenstudying.jpg

 

This should have been the first post! I have made it to page 30 and have been taking notes, bookmarking links and printing off posts. I don't think I have ever done that so much in any one thread since joing this forum

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Ok, I'm only on page 9 of this thread...and I feel like my head is exploding. THIS is what I've been struggling with! I used to read to the kids so much more and it's being pushed aside. How do I read all the classics to them, plus do everything else? And when can we do poetry? You mean, I don't have to make history the focus and wrap literature around the history? Really?? Whoo hoo!

 

I'm feeling a little dazzled. I'v never heard of Circe or Andew Kern, and I'm a little nervous to even open up that can of worms. But, I do want the beautiful things that I love (classical music, paintings, art, good literature) to surround the kids. I just don't know how to do it. Reality does not match up with the ideal in my head. My boys hate all schoolwork and drag their feet to do it. They do love listening to me read, though...but would choose a Berenstain Bears book over A Child's Garden of Verses. They would only want to watch TV if I let them. All sorts of ideas to ponder...thanks for this thread!!

 

ETA: I forgot to add...I have my grandfather's set of My Bookhouse 1-6, edited by Olive Beaupre Miller, published 1925. They are such beautiful books. I'm so surprised to see these mentioned upthread...at least I think they are the ones that were mentioned. So these are being recommended to read? For some reason I thought the hive was rather sneering toward anthologies like this. Do these qualify as "good" literature?

Edited by mommytime

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snipped

 

With that said I did have a thought or two about this thread. It is a tremendous conversation. A conversation that was meant to happen. But with that said, I think there might also be a tendency to turn it into a fad, and then be shocked when it isn't what one expected. I know I am guilty of reading about "the latest and greatest" and chucking and buying what is recommended on a book list.

The only reason for mentioning this point is that I want to remember what was said many times and many ways. For each of us the implementation will and should look different. There are some common threads, but this isn't a recipe for how to teach truth, how to live with intention. For me that is something I need to live with for awhile. I have just stopped, stopped planning, stopped buying, and stopped rushing. I don't want to repeat my same previous mistake of trying to great your (you are one of my inspirations here) or someone else's experience. That would also be repeating the same ideas.

 

Those are my thoughts. I need to slow down, digest, ponder and then make these ideas ours in our own unique way.

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Just wanted to comment on faddishness....( is that a word??)

 

Years ago, When I began homeschooling I read some booklets put out by a woman on Lifestyle of Learning ( no names). This was a philosophical spider web of ideas...which on the outside looked heady, and beautiful to this new homeschooler and new Christian. I neglected, in my immaturity, to realize that duplicating someone else's Journey and idea of education would be futile. I was NOT her, nor was my family like hers, nor were we supposed to be. We do not live on a farm, cut off from all society, with only a Bible, an 1828 dictionary, a principle approach guide, and some classic books.....

 

My family is modern....we have TV, computers in every room, gaming systems, dh leaves for work most days, we have activities, medical needs, etc. That pull us out of the house. I work ( from home, but it is still a job)every day of the week. My kids are regular kids, not geniuses destined to be high ranking officials:D, or overpaid executives, or scientists in labs. We are just regular people, and I am striving, sometimes against all odds to provide them with what I see as an exemplary education.

 

Don't get me wrong. I learned a lot from those books, once it all synthesized, and I was able to chew the meat and spit out the bones.....once I was able to read CM and realize I would never have a nanny for my kids and a nursery set up for my private tutor to come in and engage my children in chats about virtue and honor. That it would be ME who had to be all these things to my children, and their chef, chauffeur, on-call physician, maid, laundress etc. PLUS, I would still have to be my husbands wife and my children's mother.

 

It all sounded overwhelming...and it was....and I fell a bit into despair.

 

I kept reading that His yoke was easy and His burden is light...yet I fel my yoke was choking me and my burden too heavy to bear. Thus is the struggle of the homeschool Mom. I could not relate to Mom's who had been there, and done that, and tossed the books and let the kids " unschool". That would never work here. I knew my kids.....they would never unschool....they would just NOT school...lol, that was not my path, nor the path for my kids.

 

I also knew my family could never be the family that studies for 16 hours a day....every day. We do not have that kind of stamina. My kids need down time, alone time, non scheduled time.....I am digressing again.....

 

Anyway, I have been around homeschooling long enough to see fads come and go...and homeschool mom's jumping on bandwagon after bandwagon, And burning themselves and their kids out, spending fortunes that they don't have, convincing every other mom in the homeschool group that THIS curriculum in the BEST for every family...and it will make everything so much EASIER. It is planned, chewed and predigested. All you have to do is open and go....until the next great one comes out......Only, those curriculums are not used as intended by those families. Instead of being used as a tool and an aide, it is used as a crutch and a lasso. No wonder we are disheartened by week 4!!!

 

I fell into this trap repeatedly. Bought the curriculum. Used it for a few weeks, evaluated, tossed and went back to teaching MY kids, my way....and then continued to educate MYSELF. I can't give what I don't have....unless I hire someone to give what they have to my kids.

 

I won't be teaching Latin or French....I will be farming those out. I do not own it....I can not give it. I will also be hiring a tutor for upper level maths, or having my ds teach them to the youngers. My brain will not wrap around it right now.

 

Anyway, I think curriculums, lesson plans, writing lessons etc. Are a great thing. I think that having many resources available to me and curricula that others have put their blood, sweat and tears into are a blessing. I have learned SO much from them. I have gleaned ideas...I have had AHHA moments, but to fall hook, line and sinker into someone else's idea of what my homeschool, and my kids SHOULD be doing daily...every day....well, that does not work.....

 

Faddishness is so desirable because we are all looking for an answer...we are all looking to educate our kids to the best of our abilities, but the clock is ticking. Our kids are getting older, they will not wait for us to gain the education we should have had when we were their age, they need to be educated NOW and that is the conundrum! How do we educate them...when we need to educate ourselves too?? And how does a mother of many young ones, or even one young one, or a mom or dad who is striving to keep food on the table and a roof over heads, or parents who are trying with all their might to provide what they not only do not have, but what is not offered anywhere else, provide those things to their family.

 

I want to provide beauty, truth, virtue, integrity, to my children. I want them to walk with God and the saints who went before them. I want them to engage in the Great Conversation. I want them to be comfortable engaging in deep conversations and to seek after beauty, Truth, and Wisdom all of their lives...this is the headiness. In the practical, I want them to be able to care for themselves and their families. I want them to serve with their hearts. I want them to do hard things. I want them to reach heights I have only dreamed about...or those I could not even fathom.

 

Somewhere in here, I need to be practical. I need to get these kids into college...we need to work on the math books, we need to memorize our facts....somewhere in all this , the rubber has to meet the road, and the kid has to learn to put his thoughts on paper and has to work through that phonics program, or vocabulary book:D

 

In the meantime, I continue educating myself. I listen to lectures, read books, try stuff out on my guinea pigs:D, get excited about my garden or new project, tramp through the woods or watch a movie with my kids.

 

In the meantime, I continue educating my kids to the best of my ability, pick up some fads, try some tried and true golden oldies, bang my head on the wall a few times, smack my forehead....and move forward...ever forward....hopefully further up and further in.

 

Faithe

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But see, what is so inspiring about this thread is that it isn't about a "fad" at all! It isn't about this or that curriculum, or emulating this or that person's homeschool. It's about rediscovering and regaining the principles behind what we do that may have been lost along the way. And there is NOTHING faddish about classical education at all--the very opposite!

 

Like others here, I too had lost my way. All the grand ideals with which I began 8 years ago had been laid aside when confronted with the hard reality that my children didn't seem to be anything like those eager, inquisitive, quick learners which populate other families; and lacking the background and talent of those gifted teachers that seem to be able to teach anyone anything, I concluded that the acquisition of wisdom and virtue was simply out of our reach. But I couldn't send them to school, because there aren't any within our reach that teach the things I want them to learn. I did at least see the truth of the idea that sitting around at home reading books all day would be better than a "wrong education," so I kept them home, even though I completely doubted both my ability to teach and their ability to learn. Would that we had only "read books all day"! We'd have been much better off. Instead, I too succumbed to the insidious cultural pressure to teach them at least some of what their peers are learning in school, lest they be left behind (or taken away from me by some well-meaning family member), so we settled down to the drudgery of "getting through school" for the sake of getting through, and we've all been thoroughly miserable.

 

But this thread, and digging into Circe and listening to some of the talks, has reignited that fire. And there ARE practical applications amidst all the theorizing--and Andrew Kern is right that is really ISN'T all that hard. You just have to know what you're about, and don't let your past failures, or lack of education, or children's imperfections (which are so very human!) paralyze you into inaction.

 

I tried out a few of these principles this past week on my 12yo son, a resistant learner if there ever was one. At least, that is what I had always labled him. I was reading him a book about the building of the Parthenon. I had glanced over the chapter and thought surely this would not engage him--he's not interested in architecture, I know nothing about it, what could there be to talk about? Formerly I would have just read it without comment and put it away, and neither of us would have learned anything. This time I read it with enthusiasm, figuring we might as well learn something about this together, stopping along the way to make comments, ask questions, look at the pictures, make comparisons, and was shocked to discover he was actually somewhat interested, and had comments and comparisons of his own to add. I remembered the "Should_____have done___?" question, and used it, and it worked! Should Pericles have spent public money building the Parthenon? I didn't know the answer off the top of my head before I asked the question, but we thought about it and explored it together. We were *thinking* about and engaging a question, an idea. And the course of our conversation led to other things.

 

I made a shocking discovery. My son is not resistant to learning--he was only resistant to those mind-numbing texbooks and workbooks I've been making him labor over. They did not engage him. But conversation does--which I should have known, because he has always enjoyed me reading aloud to him, but I just never took it to the next level of discussing what we were reading in meaningful ways--and even if I don't know what I'm talking about half the time, we can explore ideas together.

 

That is what I am taking away from all this that is going to be so revolutionary for us, even though there's nothing revolutionary about it at all!

 

One last thing: I would encourage everyone who has hung on thus far to listen to Andrew Kern's talk "A Contemplation of Nature" (it's free! Here: http://circeinstitute.com/free-audio/).

 

If that doesn't put the fire in your belly, nothing will!

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By the way, this doesn't mean I'm going to toss out all the workbooks. I like Memoria Press materials very much, and they will be helpful to us. But I'm not going to say "We're doing Memoria Press"; they are not teaching my children, I am, judiciously using their books as tools. That's what Andrew Kern means, I think, when he says the particular curriculum doesn't matter all that much. (Why did it take me this long to figure all this out?)

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By the way, this doesn't mean I'm going to toss out all the workbooks. I like Memoria Press materials very much, and they will be helpful to us. But I'm not going to say "We're doing Memoria Press"; they are not teaching my children, I am, judiciously using their books as tools. That's what Andrew Kern means, I think, when he says the particular curriculum doesn't matter all that much. (Why did it take me this long to figure all this out?)

 

I think you are correct. Use materials as tools...not taskmasters. I like MP's tools too:D....

Faithe

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One more thing by way of encouragement, and then I'll go quietly back into the shadows again:

 

Andrew Kern might as well have been speaking directly to me in his talks, because all the things he said *not* to do I have done:

 

*Don't copy what modern educators are doing in your school. Check.

*Don't say "Knowledge is power." (Makes knowledge utilitarian instead of virtuous.) Check.

*Don't tell your child "You are smart." (That is a burden to them; better to say "Well done.") Check.

*Don't undercut a child's faculty for virtue (if you do so, you are doing the work of Satan). Check.

 

I have made *all* of the mistakes, these and many more. But thank God we are redeemable, and we don't have to remain in our errors forever.

 

"The soul that perceives truth is transformed by the truth it perceives." --Guess Who

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I agree - its not really a curriculum. It just re-affirms what I believe deep down and then takes it further. But I didn't buy anything. I looked at my books and they are good. I've determined that I need to change myself - modify the way I teach and QUIT being so stressed out. We need to have more fun: enough time for the skills, a lot of time for reading good books, and a lot of time enjoying nature.

 

I need to relax - I am not near peace right now. So I am *shutting down* my computer until tonight, eating some breakfast, reading a Psalm aloud to the kids, and then going to clean the house working WITH my kids instead of against them.

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Anyway, I have been around homeschooling long enough to see fads come and go...and homeschool mom's jumping on bandwagon after bandwagon, And burning themselves and their kids out, spending fortunes that they don't have, convincing every other mom in the homeschool group that THIS curriculum in the BEST for every family...and it will make everything so much EASIER. It is planned, chewed and predigested. All you have to do is open and go....until the next great one comes out......Only, those curriculums are not used as intended by those families. Instead of being used as a tool and an aide, it is used as a crutch and a lasso. No wonder we are disheartened by week 4!!!

 

I fell into this trap repeatedly. Bought the curriculum. Used it for a few weeks, evaluated, tossed and went back to teaching MY kids, my way....and then continued to educate MYSELF. I can't give what I don't have....unless I hire someone to give what they have to my kids.

 

 

 

Faithe

 

I love everything you wrote, I had the same experiences, but with the part I left, yes quadrupled. Plain old time and experience has shown me (repeatedly) that every year something new, shiney and awesome will come out. Everyone will proclaim This Is the Answer! And it never is. It's why I ignore 99% of the New curriculum threads, they only create pressure and lure me into thinking that my kids have gaps because I didn't do it this new way.

 

We buy into that because this job is really hard. Really, really, hard. We, as parents, are being squeezed (which makes us better, but it hurts!). And it changes because kids grow and each one of them is different. Fads do not make it easier, they make it harder. So though there are great curriculum tools linked in this thread-they're not going to fix it for you completely. They can help, they can be the first step, but this is not something open and go-it's never been and it never will be. It's hard because you as a parent have to constantly be learning, and you're going to always be searching for answers. It just is. You have to constantly be perceptive of what your children need today. There is no curriculum for that.

 

NO ONE's homeschool will be the same as the other. I love 8's ideas, but I can't implement them in my house-I can only use them as ideas to perhaps point me to greater truth in how my own teaching has to change-in ways that are different from hers! Faith has great ideas, but I can't copy them, because my house is different! And they can never copy what I do exactly-a book hint, a link to learn from, but how those flowers bloom is going to be different because our family is different.

 

Mt. Cougar is right, it's not the curriculum, it's us. Which goes to what Magistra said, that there is nothing faddish about a classical education. Truth, virtue and beauty aren't fads.

Edited by justamouse

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Would ya'll laugh if I told you I have the Nature CD and haven't listened to it yet?

 

I went over this morning and started the online version, my rom drive is a little sticky.

 

Sat here this morning with a extremely large cup of coffee the strength of espresso. House was quiet, everyone was sleeping in.

 

I try not to take notes the first time I listen to anything (or read) as I'm trying to apply techniques I learned in WEM. The first run at anything is just the survey process, taking in the grand view, jumping out the plane and floating down before I can study the root systems of the plants below...

 

This talk is going to probably take me a week to get through. I fail every single time I try to do the above. It's a real chain around my neck. But I do try.

 

I didn't write anything down, but I did think and hit pause.

 

He says here in the "con" talk (Contemplation of Nature, lol)

 

contemplation is replaced by production

 

I'm sorry, but that up there, who can press on without reflection and the pause button? I can't.

 

You remember that game we all played in kindergarten, "Duck Duck Goose?"

 

Experiencing his talks is a lot like that game..those five words were like being hit with the word GOOSE on the top of my head...lol.

 

I'm done listening for the day, I really want to chew on that idea...let it sit, become something and let it grow, come back and visit it again maybe tomorrow and see what my subconscious has done with it.

 

So ya, I hit pause, drank my coffee and listened to Charles Atlas song: Photosphere while browsing a huge collection of her childhood photographs stored in the hard drive.

 

Man, I feel so small sometimes.

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Just wanted to comment on faddishness....( is that a word??)

 

Years ago, When I began homeschooling I read some booklets put out by a woman on Lifestyle of Learning ( no names). This was a philosophical spider web of ideas...which on the outside looked heady, and beautiful to this new homeschooler and new Christian. I neglected, in my immaturity, to realize that duplicating someone else's Journey and idea of education would be futile. I was NOT her, nor was my family like hers, nor were we supposed to be. We do not live on a farm, cut off from all society, with only a Bible, an 1828 dictionary, a principle approach guide, and some classic books.....

 

My family is modern....we have TV, computers in every room, gaming systems, dh leaves for work most days, we have activities, medical needs, etc. That pull us out of the house. I work ( from home, but it is still a job)every day of the week. My kids are regular kids, not geniuses destined to be high ranking officials:D, or overpaid executives, or scientists in labs. We are just regular people, and I am striving, sometimes against all odds to provide them with what I see as an exemplary education.

 

Don't get me wrong. I learned a lot from those books, once it all synthesized, and I was able to chew the meat and spit out the bones.....once I was able to read CM and realize I would never have a nanny for my kids and a nursery set up for my private tutor to come in and engage my children in chats about virtue and honor. That it would be ME who had to be all these things to my children, and their chef, chauffeur, on-call physician, maid, laundress etc. PLUS, I would still have to be my husbands wife and my children's mother.

 

It all sounded overwhelming...and it was....and I fell a bit into despair.

 

I kept reading that His yoke was easy and His burden is light...yet I fel my yoke was choking me and my burden too heavy to bear. Thus is the struggle of the homeschool Mom. I could not relate to Mom's who had been there, and done that, and tossed the books and let the kids " unschool". That would never work here. I knew my kids.....they would never unschool....they would just NOT school...lol, that was not my path, nor the path for my kids.

 

I also knew my family could never be the family that studies for 16 hours a day....every day. We do not have that kind of stamina. My kids need down time, alone time, non scheduled time.....I am digressing again.....

 

Anyway, I have been around homeschooling long enough to see fads come and go...and homeschool mom's jumping on bandwagon after bandwagon, And burning themselves and their kids out, spending fortunes that they don't have, convincing every other mom in the homeschool group that THIS curriculum in the BEST for every family...and it will make everything so much EASIER. It is planned, chewed and predigested. All you have to do is open and go....until the next great one comes out......Only, those curriculums are not used as intended by those families. Instead of being used as a tool and an aide, it is used as a crutch and a lasso. No wonder we are disheartened by week 4!!!

 

I fell into this trap repeatedly. Bought the curriculum. Used it for a few weeks, evaluated, tossed and went back to teaching MY kids, my way....and then continued to educate MYSELF. I can't give what I don't have....unless I hire someone to give what they have to my kids.

 

I won't be teaching Latin or French....I will be farming those out. I do not own it....I can not give it. I will also be hiring a tutor for upper level maths, or having my ds teach them to the youngers. My brain will not wrap around it right now.

 

Anyway, I think curriculums, lesson plans, writing lessons etc. Are a great thing. I think that having many resources available to me and curricula that others have put their blood, sweat and tears into are a blessing. I have learned SO much from them. I have gleaned ideas...I have had AHHA moments, but to fall hook, line and sinker into someone else's idea of what my homeschool, and my kids SHOULD be doing daily...every day....well, that does not work.....

 

Faddishness is so desirable because we are all looking for an answer...we are all looking to educate our kids to the best of our abilities, but the clock is ticking. Our kids are getting older, they will not wait for us to gain the education we should have had when we were their age, they need to be educated NOW and that is the conundrum! How do we educate them...when we need to educate ourselves too?? And how does a mother of many young ones, or even one young one, or a mom or dad who is striving to keep food on the table and a roof over heads, or parents who are trying with all their might to provide what they not only do not have, but what is not offered anywhere else, provide those things to their family.

 

I want to provide beauty, truth, virtue, integrity, to my children. I want them to walk with God and the saints who went before them. I want them to engage in the Great Conversation. I want them to be comfortable engaging in deep conversations and to seek after beauty, Truth, and Wisdom all of their lives...this is the headiness. In the practical, I want them to be able to care for themselves and their families. I want them to serve with their hearts. I want them to do hard things. I want them to reach heights I have only dreamed about...or those I could not even fathom.

 

Somewhere in here, I need to be practical. I need to get these kids into college...we need to work on the math books, we need to memorize our facts....somewhere in all this , the rubber has to meet the road, and the kid has to learn to put his thoughts on paper and has to work through that phonics program, or vocabulary book:D

 

In the meantime, I continue educating myself. I listen to lectures, read books, try stuff out on my guinea pigs:D, get excited about my garden or new project, tramp through the woods or watch a movie with my kids.

 

In the meantime, I continue educating my kids to the best of my ability, pick up some fads, try some tried and true golden oldies, bang my head on the wall a few times, smack my forehead....and move forward...ever forward....hopefully further up and further in.

 

Faithe

 

 

Can I just *like* this post? :)

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But see, what is so inspiring about this thread is that it isn't about a "fad" at all! It isn't about this or that curriculum, or emulating this or that person's homeschool. It's about rediscovering and regaining the principles behind what we do that may have been lost along the way. And there is NOTHING faddish about classical education at all--the very opposite!

 

Like others here, I too had lost my way. All the grand ideals with which I began 8 years ago had been laid aside when confronted with the hard reality that my children didn't seem to be anything like those eager, inquisitive, quick learners which populate other families; and lacking the background and talent of those gifted teachers that seem to be able to teach anyone anything, I concluded that the acquisition of wisdom and virtue was simply out of our reach. But I couldn't send them to school, because there aren't any within our reach that teach the things I want them to learn. I did at least see the truth of the idea that sitting around at home reading books all day would be better than a "wrong education," so I kept them home, even though I completely doubted both my ability to teach and their ability to learn. Would that we had only "read books all day"! We'd have been much better off. Instead, I too succumbed to the insidious cultural pressure to teach them at least some of what their peers are learning in school, lest they be left behind (or taken away from me by some well-meaning family member), so we settled down to the drudgery of "getting through school" for the sake of getting through, and we've all been thoroughly miserable.

 

But this thread, and digging into Circe and listening to some of the talks, has reignited that fire. And there ARE practical applications amidst all the theorizing--and Andrew Kern is right that is really ISN'T all that hard. You just have to know what you're about, and don't let your past failures, or lack of education, or children's imperfections (which are so very human!) paralyze you into inaction.

 

I tried out a few of these principles this past week on my 12yo son, a resistant learner if there ever was one. At least, that is what I had always labled him. I was reading him a book about the building of the Parthenon. I had glanced over the chapter and thought surely this would not engage him--he's not interested in architecture, I know nothing about it, what could there be to talk about? Formerly I would have just read it without comment and put it away, and neither of us would have learned anything. This time I read it with enthusiasm, figuring we might as well learn something about this together, stopping along the way to make comments, ask questions, look at the pictures, make comparisons, and was shocked to discover he was actually somewhat interested, and had comments and comparisons of his own to add. I remembered the "Should_____have done___?" question, and used it, and it worked! Should Pericles have spent public money building the Parthenon? I didn't know the answer off the top of my head before I asked the question, but we thought about it and explored it together. We were *thinking* about and engaging a question, an idea. And the course of our conversation led to other things.

 

I made a shocking discovery. My son is not resistant to learning--he was only resistant to those mind-numbing texbooks and workbooks I've been making him labor over. They did not engage him. But conversation does--which I should have known, because he has always enjoyed me reading aloud to him, but I just never took it to the next level of discussing what we were reading in meaningful ways--and even if I don't know what I'm talking about half the time, we can explore ideas together.

 

That is what I am taking away from all this that is going to be so revolutionary for us, even though there's nothing revolutionary about it at all!

 

One last thing: I would encourage everyone who has hung on thus far to listen to Andrew Kern's talk "A Contemplation of Nature" (it's free! Here: http://circeinstitute.com/free-audio/).

 

If that doesn't put the fire in your belly, nothing will!

 

:iagree:

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Just wanted to comment on faddishness....( is that a word??)

 

Years ago, When I began homeschooling I read some booklets put out by a woman on Lifestyle of Learning ( no names). This was a philosophical spider web of ideas...which on the outside looked heady, and beautiful to this new homeschooler and new Christian. I neglected, in my immaturity, to realize that duplicating someone else's Journey and idea of education would be futile. I was NOT her, nor was my family like hers, nor were we supposed to be. We do not live on a farm, cut off from all society, with only a Bible, an 1828 dictionary, a principle approach guide, and some classic books.....

 

My family is modern....we have TV, computers in every room, gaming systems, dh leaves for work most days, we have activities, medical needs, etc. That pull us out of the house. I work ( from home, but it is still a job)every day of the week. My kids are regular kids, not geniuses destined to be high ranking officials:D, or overpaid executives, or scientists in labs. We are just regular people, and I am striving, sometimes against all odds to provide them with what I see as an exemplary education.

 

Don't get me wrong. I learned a lot from those books, once it all synthesized, and I was able to chew the meat and spit out the bones.....once I was able to read CM and realize I would never have a nanny for my kids and a nursery set up for my private tutor to come in and engage my children in chats about virtue and honor. That it would be ME who had to be all these things to my children, and their chef, chauffeur, on-call physician, maid, laundress etc. PLUS, I would still have to be my husbands wife and my children's mother.

 

It all sounded overwhelming...and it was....and I fell a bit into despair.

 

I kept reading that His yoke was easy and His burden is light...yet I fel my yoke was choking me and my burden too heavy to bear. Thus is the struggle of the homeschool Mom. I could not relate to Mom's who had been there, and done that, and tossed the books and let the kids " unschool". That would never work here. I knew my kids.....they would never unschool....they would just NOT school...lol, that was not my path, nor the path for my kids.

 

I also knew my family could never be the family that studies for 16 hours a day....every day. We do not have that kind of stamina. My kids need down time, alone time, non scheduled time.....I am digressing again.....

 

Anyway, I have been around homeschooling long enough to see fads come and go...and homeschool mom's jumping on bandwagon after bandwagon, And burning themselves and their kids out, spending fortunes that they don't have, convincing every other mom in the homeschool group that THIS curriculum in the BEST for every family...and it will make everything so much EASIER. It is planned, chewed and predigested. All you have to do is open and go....until the next great one comes out......Only, those curriculums are not used as intended by those families. Instead of being used as a tool and an aide, it is used as a crutch and a lasso. No wonder we are disheartened by week 4!!!

 

I fell into this trap repeatedly. Bought the curriculum. Used it for a few weeks, evaluated, tossed and went back to teaching MY kids, my way....and then continued to educate MYSELF. I can't give what I don't have....unless I hire someone to give what they have to my kids.

 

I won't be teaching Latin or French....I will be farming those out. I do not own it....I can not give it. I will also be hiring a tutor for upper level maths, or having my ds teach them to the youngers. My brain will not wrap around it right now.

 

Anyway, I think curriculums, lesson plans, writing lessons etc. Are a great thing. I think that having many resources available to me and curricula that others have put their blood, sweat and tears into are a blessing. I have learned SO much from them. I have gleaned ideas...I have had AHHA moments, but to fall hook, line and sinker into someone else's idea of what my homeschool, and my kids SHOULD be doing daily...every day....well, that does not work.....

 

Faddishness is so desirable because we are all looking for an answer...we are all looking to educate our kids to the best of our abilities, but the clock is ticking. Our kids are getting older, they will not wait for us to gain the education we should have had when we were their age, they need to be educated NOW and that is the conundrum! How do we educate them...when we need to educate ourselves too?? And how does a mother of many young ones, or even one young one, or a mom or dad who is striving to keep food on the table and a roof over heads, or parents who are trying with all their might to provide what they not only do not have, but what is not offered anywhere else, provide those things to their family.

 

I want to provide beauty, truth, virtue, integrity, to my children. I want them to walk with God and the saints who went before them. I want them to engage in the Great Conversation. I want them to be comfortable engaging in deep conversations and to seek after beauty, Truth, and Wisdom all of their lives...this is the headiness. In the practical, I want them to be able to care for themselves and their families. I want them to serve with their hearts. I want them to do hard things. I want them to reach heights I have only dreamed about...or those I could not even fathom.

 

Somewhere in here, I need to be practical. I need to get these kids into college...we need to work on the math books, we need to memorize our facts....somewhere in all this , the rubber has to meet the road, and the kid has to learn to put his thoughts on paper and has to work through that phonics program, or vocabulary book:D

 

In the meantime, I continue educating myself. I listen to lectures, read books, try stuff out on my guinea pigs:D, get excited about my garden or new project, tramp through the woods or watch a movie with my kids.

 

In the meantime, I continue educating my kids to the best of my ability, pick up some fads, try some tried and true golden oldies, bang my head on the wall a few times, smack my forehead....and move forward...ever forward....hopefully further up and further in.

 

Faithe

 

Thank you for this post!!!

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Would ya'll laugh if I told you I have the Nature CD and haven't listened to it yet?

 

I went over this morning and started the online version, my rom drive is a little sticky.

 

Sat here this morning with a extremely large cup of coffee the strength of espresso. House was quiet, everyone was sleeping in.

 

I try not to take notes the first time I listen to anything (or read) as I'm trying to apply techniques I learned in WEM. The first run at anything is just the survey process, taking in the grand view, jumping out the plane and floating down before I can study the root systems of the plants below...

 

This talk is going to probably take me a week to get through. I fail every single time I try to do the above. It's a real chain around my neck. But I do try.

 

I didn't write anything down, but I did think and hit pause.

 

He says here in the "con" talk (Contemplation of Nature, lol)

 

contemplation is replaced by production

 

I'm sorry, but that up there, who can press on without reflection and the pause button? I can't.

 

You remember that game we all played in kindergarten, "Duck Duck Goose?"

 

Experiencing his talks is a lot like that game..those five words were like being hit with the word GOOSE on the top of my head...lol.

 

I'm done listening for the day, I really want to chew on that idea...let it sit, become something and let it grow, come back and visit it again maybe tomorrow and see what my subconscious has done with it.

 

I listened to that talk again, last night and took notes. I know I'm going to have to listen to it over and over, because every time I've landed on another Must Write Down portion (thankfully you can rewind!).

 

Another unbelievable fascinating one is Andrew Pudwea's on Memorization and repetition. He's actually really funny, too, so it's even harder because some of his best bits are making you laugh and you forget to jot them down (his talk on Boys, too, is excellent).

 

It is true, you have to let your subconscious take it in and that takes time.

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One more thing by way of encouragement, and then I'll go quietly back into the shadows again:

 

Andrew Kern might as well have been speaking directly to me in his talks, because all the things he said *not* to do I have done:

 

*Don't copy what modern educators are doing in your school. Check.

*Don't say "Knowledge is power." (Makes knowledge utilitarian instead of virtuous.) Check.

*Don't tell your child "You are smart." (That is a burden to them; better to say "Well done.") Check.

*Don't undercut a child's faculty for virtue (if you do so, you are doing the work of Satan). Check.

 

I have made *all* of the mistakes, these and many more. But thank God we are redeemable, and we don't have to remain in our errors forever.

 

"The soul that perceives truth is transformed by the truth it perceives." --Guess Who

 

Oh, don't go back into the shadows!! Stay and play...please:D

 

And OOOOF.....I have made all those mistakes....and then some.....sigh...

 

Queing up the next Andrew Kern lecture.....hoping to bang some sense into my head....:D

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Faddishness is so desirable because we are all looking for an answer...we are all looking to educate our kids to the best of our abilities, but the clock is ticking. Our kids are getting older, they will not wait for us to gain the education we should have had when we were their age, they need to be educated NOW and that is the conundrum! How do we educate them...when we need to educate ourselves too?? And how does a mother of many young ones, or even one young one, or a mom or dad who is striving to keep food on the table and a roof over heads, or parents who are trying with all their might to provide what they not only do not have, but what is not offered anywhere else, provide those things to their family.

 

I think this hits it right on the head for me. You've stated exactly what's been pressing on me. I can feel rather frantic when contemplating this. Thanks for sharing the wisdom you've gained! It's such a comfort!

Edited by Knittinfarmgirl
grammar

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8,

 

I was never offended by your comments about plans. If anything, I am encouraged by them.

 

I'm so relieved to hear that! :001_smile:

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I wanted to post this in case any of these ideas might help someone else.

 

In my un-quiet thoughts, I have tried to pick up multiple books to read, absorb, ponder. I haven't been able to concentrate on any of them, and thus, I keep picking up a different one to see if it will quiet my thoughts. Unfortunately, not one of the ones I had in front of me managed to turn from print to penetrating words. So, I went and picked back up a book I had already been reading by an author that never fails to ground me while simultaneously growing my understanding (Kreeft) and I started back at the beginning. I needed "repeat" information instead of something new. I am so glad that I did b/c my take-away from the words are quieting my thoughts b/c they are helping clarifying my "whats."

 

Kreeft spends many pages discussing metaphysics and the connection between Platonism and Symbolism. Then he turns to Lewis and quotes, "All visible things exist just in so far as they succeed in imitating the Forms……[A Platonic myth] reminds you of something you can't quite place. I think the something is 'the whole quality of life as we actually experience it.'"

 

Kreeft then continues, "The most striking example of this Platonic symbolism in Lewis's own writings, I think, comes at the end of the Last Battle, when the whole world of Narnia dies and is swallowed up into its Heavenly Platonic archetype:

"Listen, Peter. When Aslan said you could never go back to Narnia, he meant the Narnia you were thinking of. But that was not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end. It was only a shadow or a copy of the real Narnia which has always been here and always will be here: just as our world, England and all, is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan's real world. …. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream." His voice stirred everyone like a trumpet as he spoke these words: but when he added under his breath "It's all in Plato, all in Plato: bless me, what do they teach them at these schools!" the older ones laughed. It was so exactly like the sort of thing they had heard him say long ago in that other world where his beard was grey instead of golden. …

 

It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling….

"I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this."

 

Notice how the Platonic Ideas in Lewis's concrete literary example moved you more than my abstract philosophical explanations of Plato's Ideas. This is the strategy of the storyteller: to creep past the "watchful dragons" that guard the conscious reason that excludes these things as unbelievable; to open that back door of the heart when the front door of the mind is locked; to appeal to the wiser, deeper, unconscious mind…..A great mythmaker awakens the longing for the Platonic archetypes, which are buried deep in the human knowledge, through using a magic language: the language of myth. (from The Philosopy of Tolkien, pgs. 48-49)

 

The highlighted portion really spoke to me; it clarified what is calling me toward this path.

 

Hope Kreeft helps someone. (he almost always helps me. ;) )

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Still loving this thread.

 

Mommyfaithe, Thank you for your outstanding post - I began with so many lofty goals and would have driven my family nuts pursuing them, but alas we are TV watchers, video game players too, etc. Unschooling would never work here either. But still I strive to bring beauty and excellence into our lives and hope to balance out the twaddle they desire.

 

8fillthe heart, I am always helped/inspired/challenged by your posts as well. Keep 'em coming!

 

And many others I didn't mention by name!

 

......

*Don't undercut a child's faculty for virtue (if you do so, you are doing the work of Satan). Check.

 

I have made *all* of the mistakes, these and many more. But thank God we are redeemable, and we don't have to remain in our errors forever.

 

"The soul that perceives truth is transformed by the truth it perceives." --Guess Who

 

Question - what does this last one mean? "don't undercut a child's faculty for virtue" ?

 

ETA: I think I get it now - I was understanding the word "for" incorrectly. I was reading it as: "Don't undercut a child's faculty for the benefit of his virtue" instead of "Don't undercut a child's understanding OF virtue." Feel free to correct me if I missed something. Still - examples of how we do this (and maybe don't realize it?) Thx.

Edited by Another Lynn

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Just wanted to comment on faddishness....( is that a word??)

-snip-

My family is modern....we have TV, computers in every room, gaming systems, dh leaves for work most days, we have activities, medical needs, etc. That pull us out of the house. I work ( from home, but it is still a job)every day of the week. My kids are regular kids, not geniuses destined to be high ranking officials:D, or overpaid executives, or scientists in labs. We are just regular people, and I am striving, sometimes against all odds to provide them with what I see as an exemplary education.

 

Don't get me wrong. I learned a lot from those books, once it all synthesized, and I was able to chew the meat and spit out the bones.....once I was able to read CM and realize I would never have a nanny for my kids and a nursery set up for my private tutor to come in and engage my children in chats about virtue and honor. That it would be ME who had to be all these things to my children, and their chef, chauffeur, on-call physician, maid, laundress etc. PLUS, I would still have to be my husbands wife and my children's mother.

 

It all sounded overwhelming...and it was....and I fell a bit into despair.

 

I kept reading that His yoke was easy and His burden is light...yet I fel my yoke was choking me and my burden too heavy to bear. Thus is the struggle of the homeschool Mom. I could not relate to Mom's who had been there, and done that, and tossed the books and let the kids " unschool". That would never work here. I knew my kids.....they would never unschool....they would just NOT school...lol, that was not my path, nor the path for my kids.

 

I also knew my family could never be the family that studies for 16 hours a day....every day. We do not have that kind of stamina. My kids need down time, alone time, non scheduled time.....I am digressing again.....

 

-snip-

 

I fell into this trap repeatedly. Bought the curriculum. Used it for a few weeks, evaluated, tossed and went back to teaching MY kids, my way....and then continued to educate MYSELF. I can't give what I don't have....unless I hire someone to give what they have to my kids.

 

I won't be teaching Latin or French....I will be farming those out. I do not own it....I can not give it. I will also be hiring a tutor for upper level maths, or having my ds teach them to the youngers. My brain will not wrap around it right now.

 

Anyway, I think curriculums, lesson plans, writing lessons etc. Are a great thing. I think that having many resources available to me and curricula that others have put their blood, sweat and tears into are a blessing. I have learned SO much from them. I have gleaned ideas...I have had AHHA moments, but to fall hook, line and sinker into someone else's idea of what my homeschool, and my kids SHOULD be doing daily...every day....well, that does not work.....

 

Faddishness is so desirable because we are all looking for an answer...we are all looking to educate our kids to the best of our abilities, but the clock is ticking. Our kids are getting older, they will not wait for us to gain the education we should have had when we were their age, they need to be educated NOW and that is the conundrum! How do we educate them...when we need to educate ourselves too?? And how does a mother of many young ones, or even one young one, or a mom or dad who is striving to keep food on the table and a roof over heads, or parents who are trying with all their might to provide what they not only do not have, but what is not offered anywhere else, provide those things to their family.

 

I want to provide beauty, truth, virtue, integrity, to my children. I want them to walk with God and the saints who went before them. I want them to engage in the Great Conversation. I want them to be comfortable engaging in deep conversations and to seek after beauty, Truth, and Wisdom all of their lives...this is the headiness. In the practical, I want them to be able to care for themselves and their families. I want them to serve with their hearts. I want them to do hard things. I want them to reach heights I have only dreamed about...or those I could not even fathom.

 

Somewhere in here, I need to be practical. I need to get these kids into college...we need to work on the math books, we need to memorize our facts....somewhere in all this , the rubber has to meet the road, and the kid has to learn to put his thoughts on paper and has to work through that phonics program, or vocabulary book:D

 

In the meantime, I continue educating myself. I listen to lectures, read books, try stuff out on my guinea pigs:D, get excited about my garden or new project, tramp through the woods or watch a movie with my kids.

 

In the meantime, I continue educating my kids to the best of my ability, pick up some fads, try some tried and true golden oldies, bang my head on the wall a few times, smack my forehead....and move forward...ever forward....hopefully further up and further in.

 

Faithe

I had to snip this quote because it was too long, but I just loved every. single. word. so much. We're just good ol' regular over here in my house too, and that's why I get intimidated by these threads. I listened today to Pudewa's lecture on nurturing competent communicators and talking about reading aloud as a means for exposing them to sophisticated language patterns. And I remember why it's all so important, even for regular people to do all of this.

 

Thank you for being so real. You inspire me!

 

I have been very slowly reading through this discussion. Thank you so much to all who have posted--like others, I have found myself drawn to re-evaluate and re-commit to the values that led me to home education in the first place.

When I was trying to define an educational philosophy a couple of years ago, I came up with the concept of WISDOM education--not a methodology, but a definition of the traits and characteristics I wanted to focus on and develop through our home life and education. These were to be our compass in planning and implementing our homeschool efforts:

 

Work, because work and life are fundamentally intertwined. There is a temptation to seek the good fruits of life without personally laboring for them; when pursued in this way, the fruits that look so delicious prove in the end to be bitter, leading to great misery. True joy is found in the sweet fruits of our own diligent labors, and in the blessing of God that such labor calls down.

Integrity is the internal compass that holds us to our course. Integrity is a choice we make every day, every moment–but a choice that gets easier the more times we choose it. Our life is a process of becoming, and we must choose what to become. When we choose dishonesty, we become something warped, something undefinable, something not whole. Only by consistently choosing to be honest, to follow our internal compass, do we grow into what we should be.

Service is both our teacher and our refiner. Our lives have value in accordance with the service we give, the impact we have on the lives of others. Our own joy is increased as our lives are intertwined with those around us through service. Our hearts expand, our ability to love, as well as our ability to comprehend love, grows. When we focus only on ourselves our world grows small, and we lose the ability to see beyond a tiny, and lonely, personal sphere. When we serve God, we begin to see as He sees and to love as He loves. When we serve others, we find our own darkness brightened by expanding circles of love and hope.

Discernment is the attribute that allows us to choose what is good, true, just, beautiful, and sweet. We must learn to discern light from dark, good from bad, true from false, sweet from bitter. Much of modern society teaches that right and wrong, good and bad, are no more than illusion. Truth is relative, and anything that seems desirable is a worthy pursuit. God teaches us otherwise, and as we seek His guidance, and cultivate our sensitivity to truth, we will find ourselves increasingly able to discern with clarity the light from the shadows amid the complexity of our world.

Obedience bears the fruits of security and peace. We seek above all to obey God who is our Father in Heaven. His plan for us is perfect, His mind knows both the challenges of our life moment by moment and the clear path ahead of us. God never compels us to obedience; it is our own choice to submit our will to his, or to seek out our own path without his guidance.

Mastery is above all mastery of self, the choice to consistently make the difficult choice, do the hard work, make the personal sacrifice, to which duty calls us. Mastery of self allows us to turn from each false enticement, and to continue to walk in the strait path. In education, we should also seek for mastery of the knowledge and skills that lead us towards our goals. We are not working to pass a test, to check off a box, or to impress someone–rather, we desire to fully own what we learn, to make it a part of us, a tool we can use as we work and as we serve.

Sarah, this was really beautiful too. Thank you for sharing these thoughts.

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Notice how the Platonic Ideas in Lewis's concrete literary example moved you more than my abstract philosophical explanations of Plato's Ideas. This is the strategy of the storyteller: to creep past the "watchful dragons" that guard the conscious reason that excludes these things as unbelievable; to open that back door of the heart when the front door of the mind is locked; to appeal to the wiser, deeper, unconscious mind…..A great mythmaker awakens the longing for the Platonic archetypes, which are buried deep in the human knowledge, through using a magic language: the language of myth. (from The Philosopy of Tolkien, pgs. 48-49)

 

The highlighted portion really spoke to me; it clarified what is calling me toward this path.

 

Hope Kreeft helps someone. (he almost always helps me. ;) )

 

You're right. That highlighted portion is key. Have you listened to the Linda Dey- "Reading the Right Books" talk yet. I just listened to it last night and it totally resonates with what you posted here. And she spends most of the talk citing Lewis!

 

Also, I wanted to let you know that I was asking you a lot of questions not because I was planning to go and recreate what you've done. You are right that it would be counter-productive, if that were the goal. I was actually very inspired by what you've done, and wanted to understand what you are doing so I can better understand how to create my own studies with similar principles. One thing I've learned so far as a homeschooler is that I spend a lot of time reading and listening to the ideas of others and glean "the good" as much as I can. In the end, I'm sure it looks quite different from each of those that have inspired me, even though the principles are the same. The most freeing part of this conversation for me has been that it is totally okay for me to design my own curriculum and I do not need to be a slave to someone else's plans.

 

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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Question - what does this last one mean? "don't undercut a child's faculty for virtue" ?

 

ETA: I think I get it now - I was understanding the word "for" incorrectly. I was reading it as: "Don't undercut a child's faculty for the benefit of his virtue" instead of "Don't undercut a child's understanding OF virtue." Feel free to correct me if I missed something. Still - examples of how we do this (and maybe don't realize it?) Thx.

 

This was from Andrew's "Mimetic Teaching and the Cultivation of Virtue" talk.

 

Some notes from my notes, and I hope I'm stating these things correctly (you'll just have to listen for yourself to make sure that I am :001_smile:):

 

He said virtue is a cultivated faculty, or power I guess would be another way to say it. He equates virtue with blessedness, which is the "full realization of who you are," and says that education is meant to cultivate this state. One does this by cultivating the faculties of attentiveness, memory, and contemplation--and *then* creativity--all of which together are what he calls mimesis, imitation. You do this in three steps: 1) Embody truth in particulars. Present types. 2) Compare the types. 3) Student expresses the truth in his own words. End goal: Freedom to bring their own souls into harmony and an increased capacity to know and enjoy God.

 

Who wouldn't want *that*?

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One last thing: I would encourage everyone who has hung on thus far to listen to Andrew Kern's talk "A Contemplation of Nature" (it's free! Here: http://circeinstitute.com/free-audio/).

 

If that doesn't put the fire in your belly, nothing will!

 

May I humbly recommend purchasing the Part II download of this talk from the 2009 conference? I've listened to these two talks back to back many times trying to wash the ideas through my brain. Actually, it's time to do so again.

 

Anyway, the Part two talks about many of the practicalities to providing this sort of education. One idea that I particularly like from CiRCE is that each lesson is a microcosm of the Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric -- the student should learn the basics and copy, compare and contrast them, then produce their own artifact relying on what they learned. He also discusses assessment and how we consider each part of the lesson. Oh, and so much more! He asks what kind of lesson it is, what they're expected to learn - not the specifics, but how you as an instructor should be thinking about the lessons you are planning.

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May I humbly recommend purchasing the Part II download of this talk from the 2009 conference? I've listened to these two talks back to back many times trying to wash the ideas through my brain. Actually, it's time to do so again.

 

Anyway, the Part two talks about many of the practicalities to providing this sort of education. One idea that I particularly like from CiRCE is that each lesson is a microcosm of the Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric -- the student should learn the basics and copy, compare and contrast them, then produce their own artifact relying on what they learned. He also discusses assessment and how we consider each part of the lesson. Oh, and so much more! He asks what kind of lesson it is, what they're expected to learn - not the specifics, but how you as an instructor should be thinking about the lessons you are planning.

 

Oooh...I didn't know there was a Part II! Thank you!

 

(Now busily plotting and planning how I can possibly scrape together the funds and the time to attend this year's conference....)

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i've read some of the posts, but there are almost 50 pages and it's 2:30 in the morning where i am. i'm going to re-read the posts and try to make sense of it all...

 

i love everything i am reading in theory and we do some of these things, but how do you implement this sort of philosophy with a child that is more science and math oriented? how do you balance all of this in your own homeschooling experiences?

 

seema

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This was from Andrew's "Mimetic Teaching and the Cultivation of Virtue" talk.

 

Some notes from my notes, and I hope I'm stating these things correctly (you'll just have to listen for yourself to make sure that I am :001_smile:):

 

He said virtue is a cultivated faculty, or power I guess would be another way to say it. He equates virtue with blessedness, which is the "full realization of who you are," and says that education is meant to cultivate this state. One does this by cultivating the faculties of attentiveness, memory, and contemplation--and *then* creativity--all of which together are what he calls mimesis, imitation. You do this in three steps: 1) Embody truth in particulars. Present types. 2) Compare the types. 3) Student expresses the truth in his own words. End goal: Freedom to bring their own souls into harmony and an increased capacity to know and enjoy God.

 

Who wouldn't want *that*?

 

Yes, Thank you for sharing your notes!

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May I humbly recommend purchasing the Part II download of this talk from the 2009 conference? I've listened to these two talks back to back many times trying to wash the ideas through my brain. Actually, it's time to do so again.

 

Anyway, the Part two talks about many of the practicalities to providing this sort of education. One idea that I particularly like from CiRCE is that each lesson is a microcosm of the Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric -- the student should learn the basics and copy, compare and contrast them, then produce their own artifact relying on what they learned. He also discusses assessment and how we consider each part of the lesson. Oh, and so much more! He asks what kind of lesson it is, what they're expected to learn - not the specifics, but how you as an instructor should be thinking about the lessons you are planning.

 

 

Can someone link the Part II, please?

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I have no idea where in/which one I pulled a definition of faculties out..but on one of my notepads I have written:

 

Faculties which are cultivated become virtues.

 

I vaguely recall a bit about throwing around seeds on the hard ground, nothing growing, due to the soil underneath those seeds never having been "cultivated" or prepared for growth.

 

Dead soil so to speak. Nothing can grow there.

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I just wanted to say thank you to all of the ladies (and Mr.Kern) for all the great information. These kind of threads are very refreshing to read on here, when often instead there are massive threads about the latest and greatest have to have it curriculum. This thread defines the primary goals both dh and I had in hs'ing. Only 3 yrs in and I've found myself pulled this way and that and constantly trying to pull back towards those goals. For myself I'm using LCC to center us as of now. 30-1hr Math, 30-1hr LA and 1 hr of reading the great/good books a day- for our 1st grade year. We are starting Latin next year but the basic schedule will be the same. Constant discussion, working together and looking for things to explore.

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I can't believe how incredibly prophetic and true this is. And I've read Screwtape, too, but don't even remember it.

 

It's dawned on me that the modern classical education movement has in large part been a response to the dismal history instruction that is going on in schools today, but that maybe they've gone to the other extreme of making everything about history. Maybe the point is that we need to let history be history and let literature be literature. Maybe it's even an abuse of a good or great book to read it purely for it's historical value or relevance. I'm starting to think that maybe this relates to what Kern is talking about in his talk on The Contemplation of Nature that this falls under the category of misunderstanding the nature of a thing.

 

This is a great and brilliant insight! It's exactly my point.

 

Literature is literature. That is why we humans so cleverly came up with a name for it.

 

History is history. That is why... well, you get the point.

 

They are two very similar and very different things. They are similar because they are both about human beings who do things and explore why whether and how things should have been done.

 

Should Washington have crossed the Deleware is a historical question.

Should Scout have crawled under the neighbor's fence is a literature question.

 

Both are human questions, and thus rooted in our personhood, our nature, and our relationship to each other and to reality. They are what David Hicks calls "normative" questions, as opposed to analytical questions.

 

However, history and literature are also very different. History is Greek for "inquiry" and has to do with what actually happened and whether it was wise or foolish. Literature is from the Latin for "letters" (Greek: grammatike) and has to do with what could or even ought to happen in given situations.

 

History is bound by what happened, and thus has to establish what happened before it can successfully determine what ought to have been done.

 

Literature is not bound by anything but the author's imagination, skills, and training, so it can be used by the author to explore what might have been. You might even say it is an experiment in what he wishes for or fears.

 

Because history is bound to historical facts, it cultivates a set of tools that the historian or student of history must master to become good at doing history.

 

Because literature is an imaginative exploration and representation of reality (or falsehood), it cultivates a set of tools that the student or writer of literature (i.e. the attentive reader and the careful reader) must master to become good at doing literature.

 

These tools are common to both history and literature in grammar, logic, and rhetoric so you can use either history or literature texts to study those arts. Then, once the child has mastered those tools, the two diverge into more specialized studies.

 

Be careful to note that I'm referring in this case to the arts and not the stages of the trivium.

 

Does this help you see the value of thinking about things by their natures and to see the right relationship between the arts, literature, and history?

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I can't believe how incredibly prophetic and true this is. And I've read Screwtape, too, but don't even remember it.

 

It's dawned on me that the modern classical education movement has in large part been a response to the dismal history instruction that is going on in schools today, but that maybe they've gone to the other extreme of making everything about history. Maybe the point is that we need to let history be history and let literature be literature. Maybe it's even an abuse of a good or great book to read it purely for it's historical value or relevance. I'm starting to think that maybe this relates to what Kern is talking about in his talk on The Contemplation of Nature that this falls under the category of misunderstanding the nature of a thing. [ENDQUOTE=LutheranGirl;3744345]

 

This is a great and brilliant insight! It's exactly the point about the nature of things. Let me try to explain a little further.

 

Literature is literature. That is why we humans so cleverly came up with a name for it.

 

History is history. That is why... well, you get the point.

 

They are two very similar and very different things. They are similar because they are both about human beings who do things and explore why whether and how things should have been done.

 

Should Washington have crossed the Deleware is a historical question.

Should Scout have crawled under the neighbor's fence is a literature question.

 

Both are human questions, and thus rooted in our personhood, our nature, and our relationship to each other and to reality. They are what David Hicks calls "normative" questions, as opposed to analytical questions.

 

However, history and literature are also very different. History is Greek for "inquiry" and has to do with what actually happened and whether it was wise or foolish. Literature is from the Latin for "letters" (Greek: grammatike) and has to do with what could or even ought to happen in given situations.

 

History is bound by what happened, and thus has to establish what happened before it can successfully determine what ought to have been done.

 

Literature is not bound by anything but the author's imagination, skills, and training, so it can be used by the author to explore what might have been. You might even say it is an experiment in what he wishes for or fears.

 

Because history is bound to historical facts, it cultivates a set of tools that the historian or student of history must master to become good at doing history.

 

Because literature is an imaginative exploration and representation of reality (or falsehood), it cultivates a set of tools that the student or writer of literature (i.e. the attentive reader and the careful reader) must master to become good at doing literature.

 

These tools are common to both history and literature in grammar, logic, and rhetoric so you can use either history or literature texts to study those arts. Then, once the child has mastered those tools, the two diverge into more specialized studies.

 

Be careful to note that I'm referring in this case to the arts and not the stages of the trivium.

 

Does this help you see the value of thinking about things by their natures and to see the right relationship between the arts, literature, and history?

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I do. Definitely!

 

I noted last night after reading this that your name gets to be right beside his in the list of tags. You must feel very honored. Or perhaps Kern should feel very honored. :D

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Imagine out loud. What should we use?

 

Just for a minute there I briefly pondered what a Circe forum would contain for section headers...

 

Can you imagine the categories?

 

The mind reels.:willy_nilly:

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