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Reasons to NOT follow AO or a CM education?

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I just finished reading this book a few days ago. I loved it! It wasn't at all what I thought it would be by the title. Instead it was very helpful on HOW to teach.

I think "Why Don't Students Like School?" is a horrible title for this highly academic, brainy book. Too bad the author/publisher didn't choose something more descriptive of the contents. I have found this book to be a great confidence builder. It has helped me analyze the various homeschool philosophies and curricula to know what is effective and what is not. I wish more people on this forum will read this book as well as Hirsch's. I think it would lead to more productive discussions on methods and strategies in educating. It seems to me that most of the talk in homeschool circles is about what individuals think is good based on their personal opinions or based on the personal opinions of other homeschoolers rather than on objective studies.
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I NEED MORE!!!! Please post more of your rec.s. These links are PRICELESS!!!!!

Thanks Hunter!!! Pretty Please ...post more...or PM me.

 

I'm still tweaking my list every day. It's been almost a year now that I've been trying to get streamlined and "good enough", and actually USE what is on my list or take it off. As of TODAY this is my complete K-8 list. Just today I downloaded Hearing and Reading, Telling and Writing. :svengo: So, no promises on what tomorrow will look like. :toetap05:

 

 

Main Curriculum

ORIGINAL Doubleday hardback What Your _ Grader Needs to Know series grades 1-6. The covers are sponge painted and there are no children on them. There are not pre-school or kindergarten books in the original series and the 5-6 is advanced enough to stretch into 7-8.

How is My _ Grader Doing in School? series grades 1-6 has lots of great unschooling type ideas for the 3Rs.

 

All subjects are covered in the above 2 series, but I do supplement with the resources listed below.

 

Phonics and Handwriting

How to Tutor

Alpha-Phonics

First Readers Anthology published by Don Potter

Don Potter's free phonograms and Alpha-Phonics lesson plans

The Large Print American Heritage Dictionary (matches DP phonograms)

I’ve been using Simply Charlotte Mason Delightful Handwriting teacher's manual and WRTR 6th edition for handwriting instruction and the Phonics Made Plain flashcards, but I might streamline to Don Potter’s NEW cursive program and cursive phonogram flashcards. I think he is in the process of creating a free video. I prefer the rounder vertical WRTR hand, BUT, free and completely compatible is enticing, since the DP hand is as explicitly taught as WRTR.

 

Spelling, Grammar and Composition

Spelling Plus

Dictation Resource Book

Writer's Express

Write On! by Karen Newell

Writer's Toolbox by Nancy Loewen

 

Literature, Elocution, Comprehension and Vocabulary

McGuffey's Eclectic Readers (the blue and gold hardcovers). Books do not mean grades; 5-6 are high school.

McGuffey's Audios from audible.com or CBD

Reading and Thinking Book 1

Clutter-Free Classroom Genre Kit

 

Math

Simply Charlotte Mason Mathematics

Arithmetic Made Simple

How to Tutor workbooks and the main text mentioned above

Ray's Arithmetic

Strayer-Upton Practical Arithmetics

 

Geography, Art, Music

National Geographic Beginner's Atlas

R&S Homelands Around the World as a read aloud

Draw Write Now (especially the geography and figure drawing)

Using Color in Your Art adapted to Prang 64 crayons

Ed Emberley's Funprint Drawing Book (simple facial expressions)

Let's Draw Happy People

Jumbo Book of Music (low-income friendly)

French

Berlitz Self Teacher French

Say It Right in French

See it and Say it in French

 

Bible

GrapeVine Stick Figuring Through the Bible Level 1-2 TM (drawing lessons only)

NIrV Little Kid's Adventure Bible

NIrV Little Kid's audios

 

Yesterday's Classics ebooks

Heritage History ebooks

Free and $0.99 Whispersync audiobooks from audible.com

Magic School Bus videos

VanCleave's Science Project Workbook

Quality mechanical pencils

Prang 64 Crayons (I buy mine from Rainbow Resource)

School Smart Cursive Notebook Paper

Flexible Poly Binders (only shown in colors here, but I buy clear ones)

 

Teacher Training:

TWTM first edition 1999

Guide to American Christian Education

Hearing and Reading, Telling and Writing

Eclectic Manual of Methods

African Waldorf (Christian and low-income friendly)

Train Up a Child Amish education practices

 

The "best" curriculum uses parts that play nicely together. The whole is more important than trying to use the "best", but incompatible, parts.

 

KISS: keep it simple stupid. Less is more, and more is all too often less. More details and more rigor, often leads to less mastery of the basics.

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I think "Why Don't Students Like School?" is a horrible title for this highly academic, brainy book. Too bad the author/publisher didn't choose something more descriptive of the contents. I have found this book to be a great confidence builder. It has helped me analyze the various homeschool philosophies and curricula to know what is effective and what is not. I wish more people on this forum will read this book as well as Hirsch's. I think it would lead to more productive discussions on methods and strategies in educating. It seems to me that most of the talk in homeschool circles is about what individuals think is good based on their personal opinions or based on the personal opinions of other homeschoolers rather than on objective studies.

 

I agree about the title being horrible. It is a book I would like to recommend to everyone but as soon as I say the title, I can see their eyes glaze over.

It has helped me to analyze activities to determine whether they will focus the attention or distract from the topic. And it definitely supported the classical theories of memorization.

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The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge is interesting; it's more about the brain in general than education in particular, but does discuss why some traditional/classical methods may have helped students who were struggling or had various deficits.

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The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge is interesting; it's more about the brain in general than education in particular, but does discuss why some traditional/classical methods may have helped students who were struggling or had various deficits.

 

I just checked and my library has this one. I'm requesting it. :001_smile:

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I'm not sure you're asking yourself the right questions about what you want...

AO is just a booklist. 'Charlotte Mason' is an actual educational philosophy, regardless of the books.

 

WTM is an educational philosophy, that just happens to have a suggested booklist (that you do not have to follow.)

 

You can follow all the AO's booklist suggestion and NOT have a CM education, and you use all the books suggested in the WTM and NOT have a Classical education. What you need is to implement the philosophy with whatever booklist that works for you. Ask yourself, do you want a CM education or a Classical education?

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I like Our Island Story in the same way that I like D'Aulaires Myths (Greek and Norse). It's less a reflection of what was than of what was believed to have been, but it's good for that purpose.

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I like Our Island Story in the same way that I like D'Aulaires Myths (Greek and Norse). It's less a reflection of what was than of what was believed to have been, but it's good for that purpose.

 

This is what we use it as, a glimpse into a different culture by looking at the stories they tell about themselves, and the way they describe themselves and their history. We don't always agree with the perspective, but it is the best way to get to know a culture.

 

To the OP, I combine CM and classical, I think that they are very compatible, though many CMers and Classical educators would probably pick me apart for saying that. I honestly saw so much overlap as I was trying to formulate my own philosophy that I just took what I thought worked from both approaches.

 

I think that CM herself was much more classical in her approach than many CM users today would like to admit. You really do need to read CM's writings to get a solid understanding of her approach to reading, language arts, narration, etc and be able to compare and contrast it with a classical approach like WTM.

 

One aspect that is different with AO and CM in general from other approaches I've been drawn to is the concept of reading a wide variety of books at the same time slowly, very slowly. The AO schedule is very deliberate in the way it schedules the books and the way the different readings are connected, that is the connections between subjects are there, but they are not all laid out every week, the student must make their own connections over the course of the entire year. The connections are not always obvious, and this spurs more critical thinking on the part of the student. I don't use all the AO books, but this is something I have gleaned from their approach when making my own book selections. I also try to apply this type of reading with fewer selections, as in combining a multum non multa approach with a CM reading philosophy. Some may think the two are mutually exclusive, but it works for us.

 

I adapt the AO booklist along with other CM resources to supplement the classical methods we are using. We are also Catholic, so we use a lot of history suggestions and religion suggestions along with literature from MODG and Mater Amabilis. I use MP for latin and language arts, we do more of a classical approach to phonics and spelling. MP also has some great booklists as well, there is a lot of overlap, though the books are read at different levels.

 

I do enjoy AO's fine arts rotation, their poetry selections and artist and composer schedules are a great help.

 

One of the reasons we use the older AO literature selections, and one of the reasons AO specifically chose older books (besides being free and available to everyone) is that the students are preparing to read a large amount of classic literature in the high school years. The high school book lists are quite extensive, and include many of the "Great Books." The history in high school includes reading a lot of historical documents, essays, and first hand accounts. This is challenging, and the robust vocabulary and "vintage" sentence structures found in the public domain literature choices in the first 6 years are intended to help prepare the students to read these older classics more or less independently later on. Since I have always been drawn to a "Great Books" type approach in higher ed, this appeals to me. There are plenty of other programs out there geared preparing for a "Great Books" program, Angelicum Academy's "Good Books" program comes to mind. But, as I am a tweaker, I don't like to pay tuition for a program I am going to adapt anyway, so I like using free resources, such as AO, and adapting them for my own purposes.

 

For the record, AO does stress that the booklist alone is not a CM education, the methods and philosophy must be applied to the booklist. Most AO users I know make substitutions and change the books and the schedules and adapt the curriculum to their own families, but keep the methods.

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Are you baiting me? :D

 

Bill (who is getting ready to break out a harpoon)

Yes. With kale on the hook

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As a fellow Catholic who follows CM, I cannot recommend enough the 4real forums. Here is a link. This is a great place to plan booklists!!!! This is a great blog to spend some time on, but especially this post about the Considered Booklist. She has a list of books for each grade somewhere, but I couldn't find it right away.

 

As far as CM goes, I think it is a wonderful way to educate. I also think that the earlier you start the better. It is easier to teach kids to narrate when they are young. It just becomes a part of their life and leads to such better attention. I would definitely call CM rigorous and I would also consider it to be a classical education. CM taught Latin in all of her schools and they were very proficient in Latin. Also, look at some of the sample exams!!! I also don't think that science is light in CM because we do a lot of science. My kids are very good at observing nature and we read a lot of living science books. We have really enjoyed using this for science as well. I think it is good for K-2. I do think that CM is more akin to the classical education of late and is farther from the WTM way which is think is neo-classical in nature.

 

As far as history cycles, I spent way too long stressing over that. I don't know if you saw the CiRCE thread from last year, but I have really let it go and have been schooling from a place of rest ever since! I decided to start with American history. We are doing the D'Aulaire's biographies supplemented with picture books. This year, we did Leif Erickson, Columbus, Pocahontas and Jamestown settlement, and we are now on Ben Franklin. Next year (2nd and K), I plan to add in some "Classical studies" where we will start learning about myths and a little bit of ancient history (using Ancient Rome Modern Rhymes About Ancient Times and Ancient Greece Modern Rhymes About Ancient Times). I plan to do American history and world history simultaneously for early elementary (kind of like HUFI, but I can't follow anything exactly). I can see why people do the three cycles of 4 years, but I want to spend more time on each cycle and spend more time on American history. I think learning American history first is wonderful since we live here! I don't think we need to stress as much about this as we do.

 

I don't know if you use a Morning Basket time, but that is the best addition to my homeschool. This is when we do our reading: history, science, literature, poetry, composer study, picture study, memorization, etc. Then we do our seatwork (math, phonics, reading, etc). It is good way to mesh CM and WTM if you really want to do that.

 

Best of luck!

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I just finished reading this book a few days ago. I loved it! It wasn't at all what I thought it would be by the title. Instead it was very helpful on HOW to teach.

 

Yes, Why Students Don't like School? (Willingham) is an amazing book. It's one of the few real scientific and evidence based teaching book I've read. Peg Tyre's book The Good School is another but less applicable to homeschooling. I would take books like this over any particular homeschool philosophy any day. To me there is a real danger in assuming that one particular person has all of the answers, especially if that person lived in a very different time and place.

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I recently bought SCM's Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education, even though I don't use SCM, and I'm finding it to be an excellent planning tool no matter what approach I'm taking in different subjects. It has enormously simplified the process. So much so that I can't overstate it. It's making it easy to pull from different lists and sources. Might be worth trying.

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The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge is interesting; it's more about the brain in general than education in particular, but does discuss why some traditional/classical methods may have helped students who were struggling or had various deficits.

 

Thanks for posting this!! My rabbit trail for the afternoon (my dh had brain surgery last year...)

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Thank you for this thread. It is really a thought provoking thread as I start planning 5th Grade for next year!!! After homeschooling for 5 yrs, I am actaully in the exact same spot I was when starting Kindy with ds, just like the OP is feeling now!

 

My library has the Why do Students Hate School and I am going to read it. I feel more inspired from this thread than I have been feeling lately, trying to figure out middle school and all!

 

You really do change things as you realize what works for you and your children, year by year.

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I typed a long response to this thread last night that ended up a bit convoluted because of the biases of my own experience. I have been reflecting on it since then. The thing is that I agree with both OhE and Farrar.

 

OP, I felt much as you did before I began homeschooling my kids. I wanted to choose a path, one guiding philosophy, and stick with it. I wanted to feel like I had all my ducks in a row. At the time, CM seemed like the best fit, so I proclaimed myself a CM homeschooler, and I mostly was in the beginning. Still, there were many things about CM philosophy that didn't work for me (weak science, sight reading instead of a focus on phonics, a skewed ratio of antiquated books, for starters). But whatever, I was mostly CM and called myself CM. But why? LOL I mean, I also loved WTM and started down that path a bit more, combining CM and WTM and calling myself a CM/WTM homeschooler. But why? Again, LOL. That wasn't right either.

 

I still did science differently from both. I didn't even use a phonics program at all (just taught the kids phonics through books). I didn't follow WTM's history sequence. (Instead I did/do 2 years American, 4 years world, then repeat.) I do science all my own way, no CM or WTM there at all. I tweaked the math. And LA. We use living books, but you know what? That's WTM as much as CM. I actually think that many of the book choices in WTM are more age-appropriate and just plain interesting than the book selections in AO, and that's saying something, because we have read some great, challenging stuff! Of course, we have also read some great stuff that I found completely on my own.

 

I also use many of the suggestions in WTM, but in a very CM way...and most of the time, just in my own way. I use WWE but I choose our own selections. I use Voyages in English, a PS style textbook/workbook combo, but then I tie it into our writing workshop and we play with the grammar. I read for history, science, etc. and half the time I ask the kids what three most important things they can tell me (SWB style) and half the time I ask them to tell me as much as they can remember (CM style). I find value in both skills. I can't even say I mesh CM or WTM anymore though, really. I take what I like from everything I read and leave the rest. I incorporate some Waldorfy stuff, some "teacher books" meant for PS teachers, some unschooling, some unit studies, some project-based learning...

 

I said this in another thread a while back, but I will copy it here too because I have been exactly where you are (and I do mean exactly, struggling between CM/AO and WTM before my oldest's first grade year): I became truly happy as a homeschooler only when I rejected the need to pick a philosophy. I simply teach in a way that resonates with me and works for my kids. Yes, I use a little of this and a little of that, but I wouldn't call it eclectic so much as thoughtfully interwoven. The beauty of this is that if I need to shift, to adjust a little, I no longer have a full-on crisis of confidence. Now, the opposite is true; I can be unshaken and confident in adjusting because my homeschool philosophy is based on meeting my own family's needs, which will naturally grow and change.

 

Someone else already asked, but have you read When Children Love to Learn? It is the CM book that brought her methods to modern times for me. It was the book (and I have them all) that made me feel like CM could be made fresh for today. It is not mired in antiquity. CM herself sought out great new books every year and the book made me feel that it was not only OK for me to do the same, but that it was actually incumbent on me as a teacher to do so, you know? CM was not stale but, IMHO, AO is.

 

I will say this: if you are struggling so much to choose between these two methods, it's probably because neither feels like a perfect fit. Don't start this process by fighting yourself. Pick a guiding philosophy (if you feel you must), but do not marry it. :tongue_smilie: I had a sort of homeschool philosophical crisis after DS10's first grade year, basically because I forgot who I was and was kind of inadvertently ignoring who he was. Doesn't matter what looks good in a book or your imagination, as you picture perfectly lovely school days. Does not do you one ounce of good to pick something that is not in line with your actual nature. Whatever you do (seriously!)... Whatever you do, do not ignore your true nature or the nature of your kids. Your philosophy should reflect who you are, not who you wish you were...and certainly not who you wish your kids were. At 6, you are only seeing glimpses of your oldest. You may have to adjust. So my best advice is to date who you want philosophically, but don't marry anyone...really, ever. :tongue_smilie:

 

If I don't read anything else all day today, I'm glad I read this. :)

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For our family, CM is what works for us, but AO, although it was what gave me the outline I needed until I felt I had enough of my own philosophy developed, did not work for us. I do thank the ladies there who gave so much of their time and effort to create the site, because without it I'm not sure how well known CM's ideas would be today.

 

I posted this a long time ago, but it still summarizes how I feel about what resonates with me, as the teacher, and my two dds, the students. We've created our own version of a CM/Classical philosophy that fits our family's core ideas and nurtures our spirits. The road to finding these ideas can be very short for some (lucky them! :)) and much longer for others (ME!!).

 

Here is that post:

 

I hope no one minds if I share a few thoughts about Charlotte Mason and how her philosophy/methods have had such a positive influence on our family.

 

Here are some things that I see in both of my dds that I love:

 

1. They love to read!

 

2. They have a discerning taste in quality since CM's ideas advocate quality in every way. There is quality in art work, music, choices of literature, choices in history, science and geography. Every book is selected because it offers either a beauty in its words or its lesson or in some way has some value in its words.

 

3. They look for beauty in everything. And since they know what to look for, they usually find it. There is beauty in the art, in the music, in what they write, in the poetry they read, in the books they read, in the nature they explore, examine and record in detail. The nature study is also about finding the beauty in the world in which we live. The sketchbooks are about taking the time to find the details and record them. It is to recreate them in our own words or drawings. This is so we can leave a record of how and in what way we see its beauty.

 

4. Narration, nature study, foreign language study (Latin and at least one modern language) dictation and copywork are all in place to foster habits such as concentration and attention to detail.

 

5. Narration and reading books independently are reminders to us to let the children find their own thoughts about big ideas. I don't leave mine alone as much as some who follow her method do, but I understand the point and I do try to use this as my reminder to let them have their own points.

 

6. They love to learn. This may be the most important influence and I don't give all of the credit to CM and her ideas. (I like to think I have a role in this...) All of this joy they find in the books they read, the art they admire, the music they make and listen to and the world they explore all contributes to this love.

 

I know this is not for everyone...and that is definitely okay! I just wanted to share a day when why we homeschool and why we follow Charlotte Mason and her ideas really made me happy. And my girls are so happy too.

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I think "Why Don't Students Like School?" is a horrible title for this highly academic, brainy book. Too bad the author/publisher didn't choose something more descriptive of the contents. I have found this book to be a great confidence builder. It has helped me analyze the various homeschool philosophies and curricula to know what is effective and what is not. I wish more people on this forum will read this book as well as Hirsch's. I think it would lead to more productive discussions on methods and strategies in educating. It seems to me that most of the talk in homeschool circles is about what individuals think is good based on their personal opinions or based on the personal opinions of other homeschoolers rather than on objective studies.

 

 

 

Our library district has this book and I just put it on hold. I'm looking forward to reading it!

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We are more cm than wtm but many of the history programs available can be skewed either way. I dont like the cm way of reading so i leave that and i dont like the wtm early focus on grammar or latin so we just bypass that too. I really despise the science in both. Take what you like from the different methods and make them work for your family.

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I think "Why Don't Students Like School?" is a horrible title for this highly academic, brainy book. Too bad the author/publisher didn't choose something more descriptive of the contents. I have found this book to be a great confidence builder. It has helped me analyze the various homeschool philosophies and curricula to know what is effective and what is not. I wish more people on this forum will read this book as well as Hirsch's. I think it would lead to more productive discussions on methods and strategies in educating. It seems to me that most of the talk in homeschool circles is about what individuals think is good based on their personal opinions or based on the personal opinions of other homeschoolers rather than on objective studies.

Our library district has this book and I just put it on hold. I'm looking forward to reading it!

 

I picked mine up from the library the day before yesterday. Now I just need to plant butt in chair and READ it.

 

And I just wanted to say that 5 days later, my list is still exactly the same. :lol: We'll see how much longer that lasts. :glare:

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Alte Veste Academy, on 23 April 2013 - 09:44 AM, said:

 

I typed a long response to this thread last night that ended up a bit convoluted because of the biases of my own experience. I have been reflecting on it since then. The thing is that I agree with both OhE and Farrar.

 

...

... . I simply teach in a way that resonates with me and works for my kids. Yes, I use a little of this and a little of that, but I wouldn't call it eclectic so much as thoughtfully interwoven. The beauty of this is that if I need to shift, to adjust a little, I no longer have a full-on crisis of confidence. Now, the opposite is true; I can be unshaken and confident in adjusting because my homeschool philosophy is based on meeting my own family's needs, which will naturally grow and change.

 

...

 

 

This. :iagree:

 

I do use the word "eclectic"--but the above description fits.

 

 

 

I also learned by trial and error...and came to some aspects that might be a philosophy that way.

 

I want my son to have a broad education, in character and lifeskill areas as well as academics, and yet also time to play and be a kid. I want him to become an adult whom I want as a friend, and who is capable and content with his paths in life. So my philosophy is that I want what will help achieve those goals.

 

I discovered that my son learns best when it is self-propelled learning, so as much as possible I try to get things that fit that, and by and large CM type methods do not seem to do so. However, I also learned that I am not comfortable with, nor is he suited for unschooling. I learned that he most likes to follow things through deeply as he is interested in them, so, for example, if he were reading James Herriot, he would want to read just that till he had read it all, or moved to another interest, and so a system like AO which gives a bit of this and a bit of that does not work well. I learned that he likes his history and his language arts coordinated--but backwards from WTM--he prefers the literature to be the guiding force and then to delve deeper via history and other study areas, rather than to read fiction based on the history being studied.

 

I learned that things change over time and what was the perfect curriculum one year may not be the next. I learned that if something gets left out at a certain point, all is not lost, sometimes it is even more appreciated later on (we just recently read The Little Engine That Could when I realized he never had it as a little one). I learned that sometimes a certain thing is almost perfect for him (SOTW when we did it), and other times nothing seems to be (cannot find an excellent fit for US History for his current stage). I learned that interests change, and favorite subjects change, in homeschool just as they might in B&M school. And sometimes they change back, and sometimes that seems to be curriculum related, and sometimes not.

 

I learned that sometimes what I want to give may not be right for him and what he wants to get at a particular time. For example, he had an opportunity to go to a symphony recently but preferred to just go and play, and I had to decide whether I was going to push him to go to the symphony or let him play, and decided on the latter. He can go to a symphony when he is 16, or 60 and perhaps appreciate it more then, if he is alive and they still exist, but is fortunate to have a group of nice friends now in walking distance (special since we are in an isolated rural area) and lovely springtime weather, and swinging on rope swings and hide-and-seek and tunneling through bramble patches will soon be things of the past.

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I picked mine up from the library the day before yesterday. Now I just need to plant butt in chair and READ it.

 

 

 

I thought it was an interesting read and went rather quickly for that type of book.

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I picked mine up from the library the day before yesterday. Now I just need to plant butt in chair and READ it.

 

And I just wanted to say that 5 days later, my list is still exactly the same. :lol: We'll see how much longer that lasts. :glare:

 

I would like to start a thread soon on how people are applying "Why Don't Students Like School?" to their homeschool methods and curricula. I have been making some adjustments after reading this book as well as "The Knowledge Deficit" by Hirsch. I would like to hear others' opinions, and especially yours, Hunter, because I know you use Hirsch's materials. Hirsch and Willingham cover many of the same things.
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I think it's worth looking at other programs, such as those mentioned and linked to, to get IDEAS of how others have interpreted CM using modern books.

 

I'd also look at Childlight's magazine like thing called the Review. There are some interesting things there and on their blog.

http://www.childlightusa.org/review.php

http://childlightusa.wordpress.com/

 

If you like AO, you can certainly try it without spending big bucks because virtually everything they use is out of copyright or otherwise free.

 

I think it's incredibly important to separate CM from Victoriana. The woman herself liked the Boy Scout Handbook, for goodness' sake. You don't have to dress your kid like Little Lord Fauntleroy to use her ideas.

 

I do not use AO, but have tried to glean useful ideas from CM. I like some old books, but I like living in the modern age. It's also entirely possible to use AO suggested books for a totally not CM program.

 

 

 

I'm seriously cracking up picturing little homeschooled kids walking around in little lord Fauntleroy outfits.

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I would like to start a thread soon on how people are applying "Why Don't Students Like School?" to their homeschool methods and curricula. I have been making some adjustments after reading this book as well as "The Knowledge Deficit" by Hirsch. I would like to hear others' opinions, and especially yours, Hunter, because I know you use Hirsch's materials. Hirsch and Willingham cover many of the same things.

 

I got Why Don't Students LIke School from the library over a week ago (I think?) and still haven't done more than skim a few pages. As for What Your _ Grader Needs to Know ORIGINAL, I am still in :001_tt1: and still am just as unimpressed with the revised series though. So I don't know if I'm a Hirsch fan or not. :confused1: I can't figure out how he could be so one way, and then switch up so much. :confused1: And continually drifting farther and farther away from big chunks of the original vision.

 

Mrs Twain, start a thread of you want one.

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I would like to start a thread soon on how people are applying "Why Don't Students Like School?" to their homeschool methods and curricula. ...

 

I'd like that! Have you done it? Where is it?

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Are you baiting me? :D

 

Bill (who is getting ready to break out a harpoon)

 

 

HARPOON FIGHT!!!!! (Am I the only one who wants to see Bill fight with a harpoon? Who's with me?) :thumbup:

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I don't use AO for a variety of reasons, among them that it is too religious for me/my family; some of the books used are, to me, questionable; and, my kids like more science. But, I would say that overall we follow CM more than anything else. I read the original CM series, as well as various "take-offs" (Levison, etc.), and the methods behind the learning just really suit our family well... living books, handicrafts, getting outside a lot, short lessons, etc.

 

I do tend to put together my own book lists, using more modern books alongside good vintage ones. For example, in history, we're using K12's Human Odyssey, and then to deepen it, we use a lot of Landmark/World Landmark titles, biographies, and some good historical lit. And while we do make good efforts to study and enjoy nature, we bring in other sciences more as well, and earlier than in AO. And of course, we're not strictly CM, just more that than any other particular "style" or "philosophy".

 

That is, to me, one of the beauties of homeschooling - we can pick and choose, take what suits us and discard what doesn't. We don't have to tie ourselves down to any one particular method or approach. I call what we do not CM, but "hodgepodge", because in all honesty, that is how we approach homeschooling!

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I'd like that! Have you done it? Where is it?

 

I just started a thread on the General Education Board about Willingham's book. It took me a while to think about what to write! I hope others will contribute their thoughts, too.

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I just want to say thankyou to the people (in particular: Alte Veste Academy, Michelle My Bel, Kfamily, Serendipitous journey, VeritasMama, Michelle My Bell, kristinannie, Tohru twoxcell) who shared their views on why they follow the philosophies of TWTM &/or CM. Your posts have really helped me to clearly define and articulate what my philosophy is which has always been Christian and classical since I first began home educating my children. Within that, I finally feel free to 'thoughtfully interweave" TWTM with CM, rather than having to chose one over the other. And most importantly, in place of a long standing crises, I have a strengthened confidence and quietness of spirit to continue building upon the foundation of my educational philosophy I started out with years ago. Thankyou.

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CM is too genteel for me. Waldorf is too artsy. The Principle Approach is too American. TWTM is too accelerated. I don't like the book list for The Robinson Curriculum. The Amish books are too farmy. But I apply all these vintage METHODS to the original Doubleday hardback What Your _ Grader Needs to Know series.

 

You can apply CM methods to any booklist. I only have the math and handwriting pdfs from Simply Charlotte Mason, but I really like them.

 

But again in answer to your question, CM is just too genteel for me. I'm a hiking boot wearing gal, with OCD tendencies. I'm no fuss and minimalist to the extreme. Sometimes CM stuff makes me want to barf. :ack2:

 

 

Don't hold back, Hunter. Tell us what you really think! :lol:

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Love this thread! So many great links to follow and things to think about. Thank you to all who contributed!

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The notion of reading "living books" is all well and good, unless the book list contains books with very bad values. Unfortunately this is the case with far too many of the book selections in AO.

 

People tend to have overly romantic feelings about the attutudes on race, gender, and religion that are prevalent in the Victorian and post-Victorian era books that dominate the AO lists.

 

The US History book they use, This Country of Ours, is hair-curling in its pervasive racism and bigotry, but this problem is far wider than just one book.

 

Bill

 

What's interesting is that Charlotte Mason updated books all the time.  I wonder where people are getting their book lists from from a woman who didn't list any

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CM is too genteel for me. Waldorf is too artsy. The Principle Approach is too American. TWTM is too accelerated. I don't like the book list for The Robinson Curriculum. The Amish books are too farmy. But I apply all these vintage METHODS to the original Doubleday hardback What Your _ Grader Needs to Know series.

 

You can apply CM methods to any booklist. I only have the math and handwriting pdfs from Simply Charlotte Mason, but I really like them.

 

But again in answer to your question, CM is just too genteel for me. I'm a hiking boot wearing gal, with OCD tendencies. I'm no fuss and minimalist to the extreme. Sometimes CM stuff makes me want to barf. http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/public/style_emoticons/#EMO_DIR#/ack2.gif

Happy beach bum- This is a very old thread. But I'm so glad you resurrected it. :D

 

Hunter- you summed it up so nicely! :wub:

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A lot of old threads are being resurrected the past couple days. I laugh to read posts that are years old and to see what is still the same and what has changed in how I think.

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I haven't read the other comments yet.

 

I am very much a CM educator, and probably not so much a classical?TWTM educator, but I would probably not use AO if it meant just following their plan.

 

The very best thing about AO IMO is that it brings together a lot of historical information and writing by and about CM, so you can see what she wrote, and what she did in her classes.  There are also some really great books that people may not have heard of, and links to plenty of free resources.  I also think they are right when they say that a lot of the more modern books for kids, especially non-fiction, are poorly written and choppy, and that it is a good thing for kids (and adults) to read older books as well as newer ones.

 

However - I really don't think the AO people understand CM at all.  They seem to think there is some very delicate progression that has to be followed or else your child will somehow miss out on being educated properly.  I find it wholly at odds with the way CM wrote about the process of being educated, what it means to be educated, trust in  God and in children's abilities, and with what happened in her classes with books often being changed out or substituted.  They are very rigid. 

 

Their book selections are also, IMO, not well chosen for the age they recommend them.  I've had serious struggles with choices I based on their advice, as have others, and their response always seems to be to persevere, whenever anyone asks.  However, when I have come back to the same texts a few years later they are often just so much more appropriate and the kids get so much more out of them.  From a practical POV this would be my biggest hesitation with using their program as written.  To be fair, they do often say that their "years" are not all that closely related to grade levels, but I think that makes it much less user friendly. 

 

The amount of work they pile on is also really considerable, and they seem to be totally deaf to the idea that younger kids in particular are meant to be spending a lot of time on things other than academic work - they don't seem to take it at all seriously when they are told their reading schedules are taking kids full days to complete.

 

Their advice on things like narration is good for younger kids but doesn't really show that well how older kids progress in their writing.

 

I've also had some issues with their religious component, which may or may not apply to others.  I'm actually a traditional Anglican much like Mason herself was, and my theology is very much in line with hers.  The AO people are not from the same tradition and their religious recommendations for texts have generally not been appropriate for us at all.  I've wondered actually if this difference actually accounts for some of their lack of understanding of her educational ideas as well, as they seem to have some parallel differences.

 

As for TWTM - I have reservations in particular about the validity of the way they understand the Trivium, and I think they really introduce some things, like formal grammar, at too early an age, and perhaps Latin as well is given too much weight too early.  I haven't always had great luck with their published products (WWE, SOTW.)  I really don't think it has the foundational depth that CM does.  But I think it's overall a more realistic and balanced program.

 

If I were going to use a CM program as written, for a younger age group, I would probably look more at something like SCM or Mater Amabilis, or even Charotte Mason Help.  None are perfect of course but I don't think they will run people into the same problems as AO seems to.

Edited by Bluegoat
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Guys, this has been super helpful. Really. And thank you for mentioning the importance of knowing what philosophy you are operating from before marching forward. That's what I'm trying to do:)

 

I looked at Beautiful Feet and I really like a lot of the choices. I think at this point I need to combine some book lists from various places and put them together. I was hoping to just use one list "as is" but I have some unknown aversion to the AO Year 1 list...I have a gut feeling my DD won't be enamored, and I don't want to do it just because others have decided those are simply "the best" books available for a 6 year old.

 

Also, as a Catholic family, we were already going to have to make some changes to the AO list anyway;)

 

At this point, my big question is about following a history cycle. I want it to be logical. I want it to be clear. Does it make sense to begin with American history, as BF does, for example, or begin with Ancients?

 

Angela

 

There really isn't one way to do history.  Lots of kids love ancient history, so that can be a lot of fun.  Lots of people also do two streams of history.  I've even used three with my history loving 4th grader - Canadian, World, and British (though world and British were somewhat integrated.)

 

However - in my experience, it is not until about grade 3 that the chronological approach starts to pay real dividends and work well - before that, it is almost more useful for the parent.  And contrary to what the grammar stage stuff sometimes seems to imply, younger kids are often NOT remembering details like names and dates.  It is more like impressions and ambience.

 

I do, however, actually like what CM did in her classes, which is a bit different to what I did with my eldest as I didn't know about it then.  They dis not really do "world history" until later.  They started with their local history (British generally) and then shortly after that  they added the history of a second nation (generally French.)  My experience in trying to really teach world history is that it is actually too broad to get a sense of it as any kind of narrative unity.  With something like British history, OTOH, you can actually get a real sense of what happened, how it fit together.  And by adding the second history stream a bit later, it offers another cohesive history but broadens perspective.  After that, you can keep adding others, or start with something like classical history, and later even maybe modern world history.

 

I did the typical ancients first progression with my eldest, and while my kids liked it, I was surprised at how choppy it seemed - even when I concentrated on the west more than world history.  When I taught Canadian and British history, it was far more coherent and I think it was more enjoyable as well.  (I would tend, as a North American, to teach something like history of an Old World country for the second stream, ideally one that has some connection to where you live in North America, or your family history.) 

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The main thing I dislike about CM is the clearly articulated assumption that one has a nanny, and even more, that the mother should model herself after a nanny. I have gotten this feeling many times when reading her original works, and probably posted about it, but this I reject utterly.

 

I am in complete agreement with serendipitous journey about math. I think I find guidance from the overarching ideas and values, and less in her specifics. I ignore lots of her details, many of which seem weird to me or irrelevant (airing out the bedding, wearing wool, or even that funny quote I found in the PNEU Review about the benefits of various amusing foods).

 

But even AO and other CM people who tell us we must follow everything she says, part ways with her. For example, she believed in evolution. There are postings that if she knew what we know now, she wouldn't believe that, but I think this is rather offensive. Childlight USA has an article somewhere in one of their Review publications, which apparently caused some controversy, but they seemed fine with evolution, it's just one example.

 

 

I figured as much. Still, might be worth reading.

 

Geraldine McCaughrean's Britannia has lots of interesting stories.

 

I think with math, you really have to consider how math was being taught in more traditional schools to see where she was coming from. 

 

However, I actually found the SCM book on her math teaching methods really enlightening - much more so than I expected.  To a large extent, she didn't comment all that specifically on math because she felt a lot of good, new educational material was already coming out and that is what she was using in her schools.

 

But what it described about her approach for early teaching I found really interesting, and while it was arithmetic based in some ways, I wouldn't say that description really does it justice - it was for the first while very much based on problems that were real and interesting to students, and almost exclusively oral.  But what I found most intriguing was the focus on money problems - the SCM book offers translations of all of these into US currency, but of course they are in the old British currency, which means they were not decimal based. (And of course imperial measures weren't either.)  So the children were expected to work fluently in several different systems.  I find that whole idea really quite intriguing as a basis for thinking about numbers.

 

I found the bit about not believing in evolution if she was alive today not only rather offensive, but really quite incredible.

 

ETA - With OIS, I think it is probably the best children's history book I have ever seen, which actually manages to convey to children a sense of what history is - something I have seen very rarely in children's texts.  There are quite a lot of well-known professional historians who say that it was the book that made them love history.

Edited by Bluegoat
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Oh, bugger, this is an old discussion.

Well, I'm glad you didn't notice. Lol. I enjoyed hearing your view point. My own thinking about AO is rather jumbled. I like how you sorted the various components. :) I've struggled with separating the good, which there definitely is, from the bad.

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Oh, bugger, this is an old discussion.

 

It has been good to read your replies to these old threads! :grouphug:

 

It is interesting to see the threads that influenced what I think now. Some threads that were uncomfortable at the time, show me when and why I think like I do. Because of my memory loss issues, sometimes I don't remember the details of how I got from point A to point B.

 

Some things I am so settled into now, that it hard for me to imagine having thought differently or just budding into those thoughts. To read my own words when I was different is interesting.

 

I'm starting to check dates before I reply.

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