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LAmom

Question for those that like Circe, etc.

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I have been reading a lot of Circe posts today, listened to a lecture by Andrew Kern, and read a lot of Amongst Lovely Things blog.  A lot of what I read has been refreshing and helpful!  I checked out some CAP articles, too.

 

BUT, I'm wondering if you have relaxed a bit on homeschooling and look to have the rest and not the anxiety, what does a day/week look like to you?  What do you use for history, lit, etc?  I haven't really grasped the whole Circe thing and maybe I am missing the point?  Teach Latin, teach the basics, do some history?  I guess the whole feel of it was freeing but yet felt like unschooling or something to me and I need a more:  do this (if it works for your child/you) and do that (if it works for your child/you).  I like the here is what we recommend list....  Like WTM offers.  That has been helpful to me as a starting point.  

 

I've been so stressed with different ideas, what will work best for my kids, etc., that the struggle to decide what I should do for history/lit has been consuming all my time and energy!  I know, relax lady.  I do the MFW/TOG/SOTW/plus other history debate every year.  

 

What I loved the most about Amongst Lovely Things blog is the encouragement to get back to reading aloud.  I have let myself stop because of being overwhelmed by little ones/noise that something that is so important to me is not happening in the home.

 

Now this whole avoid historical fiction thing....  

 

Anyways,  what would one use to have the Charlotte Mason/Classical/Circe style schooling in their home?  I think that is what my ramble is all about.  :)  

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I have very young kids, so keep that in mind. 

 

I focus hard on reading and math for both big kids.  I am focused on age-appropriate writing for both kids (i.e. copywork and dictation for the 7yo, handwriting for 5yo, plus oral narration and some written narration for 7yo). 

 

Each child has a read-aloud we are doing together.  Right now it's Horse and His Boy with 7yo and various fairy tales with 5yo.  I do this in the evenings.

 

We do "intensive" French-English grammar.  I don't use a program for this really.  I'm combining several resources.

 

We spend a lot of time outside, and our weekends often involve a science-themed "field trip".  We'll be fossil hunting this weekend, for example.  Last weekend, my DH took ds to a rock and mineral show.  We gathered and pressed flowers three weeks ago.  Etc.  I also try to do 1-2 BFSU lessons each month. 

 

Weekly violin lesson, daily practice for ds

 

7yo listens to SOTW audio CDs when he wants to, which is often.  He also listens to audio books of all sorts- D'Aulaire's Greek myths, Pyle's Robin Hood, Treasure Island, and King Arthur.  Some of these he has listened to multiple times over the last month or two!

 

During the day, I do a FIAR read-aloud with everyone, some related map work with the globe, etc.  If I have a history related read-aloud, I will do that as time permits as well. 

-------

 

According to the weather, my energy (pregnancy...) the kids, other things that come up, I start cutting things from the bottom of that list, and move my way up.  It is very rare that I cut out reading instruction, writing, or math, as they are in priority slot number 1.  If I do that, plus their read-alouds, I can sleep easy that night.  :-) 

 

As my kids get bigger, I assume some things will simply no longer be needed (reading instruction), some things will become more independent (math practice, violin), and some things will be added in, so the priorities will shift up.  The kids literature will be not only my read-alouds but also what they read silently, so discussion will become added in as a main component. 

 

The one area I would like to add is memory work, ranging from poetry to quotes to subject-area information.  That's on my list for this spring's planning sessions!!! 

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I'm not sure I can exactly answer your question bc I didn't alter my teaching style that much from the Circe thread. I already taught from "a state of rest." I more fine tuned personal goals and objectives that gave me greater leeway to enjoy the freedom that homeschooling offers.

 

One thing I think that is key to any of these conversations is that ultimately it boils down to having trust in yourself that you can provide the education you envision. I was at a homeschool meeting last night and most of the moms were new homeschoolers. The anxiety and overwhelmed emotions were high. It seemed the intensity of the feelings came from comparing themselves to schools and wanting similar to school output.

 

Teaching from your core educational values and meeting your objectives puts you in the drivers seat and controlling the direction vs. feeling like you are lost and constantly feeling like you need to find someone else's directions to make sure you aren't lost (or wrong by their definition.)

 

Believing in yourself and that you can forge a solid educational path for your kids and that schools do not have the answer or need to be replicated is the real starting place.

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Ok...I will jump in...nitty gritty time.

 

Philosophy aside, which is always nice to discuss but can put a novice homes school mom into a tailspin depression because she JUST CAN'T SEE IT.

 

What does my homeschool look like when I teach from a place of " rest"? Well, it is certainly NOT restful...LOL, but it IS GOOD.

 

Not restful: a stack of workbooks, exams with those workbooks, a certain # of pages which MUST GET DONE NOW!!!!

Fall behind, try to catch up, can't catch up, feeling like a failure, go into anxiety mode, put ridiculous expectations on everyone to try to " catch them up", have the kids shut down, rebel and start salivating at that beautiful yellow bus.

 

Restful:

We have chores that must get done in the morning. I can not be at rest with a pile of laundry next to me and a pile of poop in the cat box. 15 minutes can change the world!

I have 3 students this year. One is very resistant and can throw our entire day into bedlam. I don't let him.

Math and reading are non-negotiable. Each child has a book they read for an hour when they wake up. We are slow to rise, and I need a minute to drink my coffe and veg while my body kicks into gear.

 

Ok, history, music, poetry, art, geography, writing assignments, science, copy work/dictation, etc. are on a timeline for me. IOW, this year we studied from the early explorers thru the revolutionary war. Some of my kids were very focused on maps and how they changes, one on military weapons and strategy and how it changed from ancient times into modern times, we studied the scientific discoveries of the time period and also read biographies of scientists ( Galen, Galileo, Isaac Newton, Kepler, Copernicus, etc. ). We did some demonstrations and some models of what these scientists discovered. They are not experiments because we know what is supposed to happen.

 

We gather together after our table work. table work includes: Math, copy work/dictation, a writing assignment ( I am using a <gasp> workbook here because I can assign it and then check to make sure the lesson was done properly. ) Any assignments from our family school which were assigned as independent work....mainly for my high schooler. This time is usually 1 1/2 hours for my youngest who is 10, 2 1/2 for my 12 year old and 15 year old. The 15 year old also works independently in the evening)

 

Family school consists of: Bible reading. We read and discuss. Sometimes I assign memory verses. Sometimes we read from different versions etc. We are now reading from the book of John.

Story of the World. We read a section 3x a week. Discuss, find hooks, find reasons, discuss what ifs etc. what makes a good leader, Mehta makes a bad leader? Why was so and so successful, why did so and so fail? What would you have done if..., my kids will usually color...yes, even my teen and her pics are awesome. Flip color page over...write some things you remember in a list. We do most of the maps...if we have time. Teen DD has other resources to read and she writes one composition a week on some related topic of study.

 

Science Biography: we read a chapter from a science bio 3x a week....we make sure to watch some type of video documentary, listen to audio lectures etc. My kids are NOT STEM motivated. Nth is has been the only way I have found to introduce science topics to my kids in a way they don't run screaming from the room. Videos and experiment kits and biographies. We cover the topics. Thank God for documentaries, coursera and YouTube!

 

Literature: each child reads on their own for at least an hour in the morning. We also read aloud ( we do include historical fiction, but it has to fall within the category of literature as well. I will read a chapter or 2 or 6 aloud. We discuss. I point out literary terms. I have them listen for metaphors, similes, foreshadowing, etc. I ask, who is the protagonist? Why? Who is the antagonist? Why? We make story maps, or plots. We talk about how the story line matches such and such story in the Bible or Shakespeare. We talk about conflicts and resolutions. My little guy is quite adept at pulling themes and morals out of the most difficult stories. He adds to the conversation every bit as well as his older siblings. He has been part of this conversation since birth. He was born into a homeschooling house hold.

 

Now, these are just ideas, and some of how I do it. It will not work for everyone. I am comfortable doing what I do because I was naive enough when I was younger to trust I would provide my kids with a solid education if I just worked at it and made it part of their lives. My older kids couldn't wait to graduate from college so they could get back to their education and their studies! LOL! Yes, they have said that!

 

Do we have gaps?? Yes. Do I feel like I am missing the boat sometimes?? Yes. Do I get nervous and want to ship them out?? Some days for sure! My kids have not studied foreign languages .... I am sorrybfornthat, but the opportunity did not arise, and they were not really inclined. They studies music and art. Some studied sciences deeply, others gave it a precursory glance. They can all read well, write well, communicate clearly, work hard, moffer service to others, carry on intelligent conversation and support themselves. I am convinced their lives are richer for what was provided to them by teaching from a place of rest, interspersed with times of panic, and topped with lots of love and companionship. We grew up with each other. We are still learning with each other, albeit through text messages, Facebook and phone calls!

 

My younger kids have a different type of lifestyle than the orders did. Their mom works part time, their mom is older and a little less enthusiastic. Their mom needs naps more often! But, I keep coming back to the place where school ( or education) is a life and a lifestyle. We do not need to wrestle with anything but ideas! We do not need to test every little gain! What we do need to do is trust ourselves to provide the best, work hard to provide it and trust the process.

 

Good luck! It is a long strange journey, but so worth the effort.

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I will try to come back later today and tell you how I am attempting to implement Circe/CMs ideas  but I wanted to say, though, that it is not  'what'  you are using that makes it a classical education but  'how' you are using it.   Have you listened to  Jenny Rallens'  audio on teaching liturgy? (It's on the Society for Classical Learning site.) That was the moment for me when things started coming together.    I can use anything I want to teach my children but it is how I teach them that material that makes the difference.   When I come back I will try to explain how I teach my kids.

 

Another thing I wanted to mention is that the reason Circe people (and those that follow them) are vague about what to use and what a classical education looks like is because Circe is based on principles.  They want you to take these principles  and apply them to your family the way that it would work for your family.  This means that it is going to look different for each and every family that follows these principles because we all have different children and different dynamics within our families.  What resonates with me is going to look very different from what resonates with you, therefore, our days,our curriculum is going to look different.  

 

I just want to say something about historical fiction.   If your kids enjoy it, then keep reading it.  This is another: if it works for your family then do it sort of thing.  A few families here on the board do not read it because it was taking time away from well-written literature.  Many families can do both, maybe you are one of them, in that case, keep on reading it if it works for you.  I am pretty sure that Andrew Kern did not say not to read historical fiction  (if I am wrong, I am sure someone will correct me.)   You do what works for your family.

 

 

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Another thing I wanted to mention is that the reason Circe people (and those that follow them) are vague about what to use and what a classical education looks like is because Circe is based on principles.  They want you to take these principles  and apply them to your family the way that it would work for your family.  This means that it is going to look different for each and every family that follows these principles because we all have different children and different dynamics within our families.  What resonates with me is going to look very different from what resonates with you, therefore, our days,our curriculum is going to look different.  

 

I just want to say something about historical fiction.   If your kids enjoy it, then keep reading it.  This is another: if it works for your family then do it sort of thing.  A few families here on the board do not read it because it was taking time away from well-written literature.  Many families can do both, maybe you are one of them, in that case, keep on reading it if it works for you.  I am pretty sure that Andrew Kern did not say not to read historical fiction  (if I am wrong, I am sure someone will correct me.)   You do what works for your family.

Oh the bolded, SO TRUE!!! 

 

And the second para, segues in perfectly with the first. If that's what you like, by all means do it. 

 

I have a bit of time, (whew!) so I'm jumping in sporadically. 

 

When I first started homeschooling, I had something to prove to my soon's father, and even to myself that this was worthy, that I could do this. Then I had to prove it to society, and the outsiders who were questioning me and my credibility. (I STILL get questions, but now I don't take them as attacks against my choices, and if they are I ignore that aspect). So, I had a lot of proving to do. What I did was took a methodology and implemented it precisely the way it was written out. What an epic failure. 

 

To be able to do this well, you not only have to be willing to be countercultural just in homeschooling alone, but then even more when you purposely chose to forge your own way within that small subculture. That is a LOT of pressure. 

 

How that looks -how that trust in yourself and your children and your decisions will play out differently in each house. That's why we stick to the misty philosophy areas. 

 

How that plays out in my house is that I use CM methods (read HER books) in the early years. I didn't ever follow AO, but I used their ideas of how to do it. I also used their copy work. My children learned to read when they learned to read. We spend a lot of time outside. I do read alouds almost every day when we're on schedule. I focus on not only personal habits, but family habits (which are a liturgy). I build occasions out of what I want to be important. I provide a strong educational and arts culture in our family (what strong culture you build will be personal!). 

 

How the rest of the day flows is different each day depending on what we are doing. 

 

Every morning my kids and I are up at 7am,  drink two pots of coffee and read for an hour. 

 

The girls-12- do their maths, and copy work, and the boys do some chores or schooling and at about 10 am, we break for breakfast. 

 

After breakfast, we do a bible reading, while they are gathered. 

 

From there, we break off. Some get showers, some need math help, some need to watch a video. I help the peanut with her work. Some load the dishwasher, some throw in a load of laundry. 

 

If I have time before lunch then I do a unified class with the three 11, 12, 12, with LA. For a while it was Poetry. 

 

Then we have lunch at about 1 am. 

 

After lunch we normally do Latin, and then history. 

 

When on a normal schedule, we end the day at 3 pm (we just cannot really work beyond that for some reason though the oldest may use the evening to tie up loose ends.)

 

At 3, we do tea and a snack, and I do a read aloud. 

 

Then it's anything they want but still no TV. So art, outside, instrument practice, what ever. If I'm working on a project, they eventually filter in there and start their own projects. Sometimes we go fishing. Sometimes we go hiking. We hit the park, we have state parks all around us and we use them to find stuff for nature studies. In the summer we're normally in the pool and spend the afternoon swimming and reading (we school all year long). Summer is when I review what we've done, and start gathering what I need for the new year and make plans. I gather tons of books and read a LOT. This is when I research. I bring a HUGE basket out to the pool with a notebook and pen and just start writing stuff out. 

 

My kids do not use the computer a lot. TV is not allowed on until after dinner. Music is always allowed, loud singing is encouraged. 

 

This year the kids had all kinds of instrument lessons and chorus and chorale lessons. Next year they are paring that down, but V3 is going to be starting private lessons, and the girls will stay in chorus. I'm sure there will be another play. 

 

So, you can see how individual tis is and how hard it is to pin down. There is no precise method, there are only principals. Not too much. LOTS of time to ponder. Lots of time for expression and creativity. Lots of time outside. Deep reading. No workbooks. Discussion every day. That is a part of our strong family culture. I learned it from my Italian Dh and his family and we purposely built it. So there must be time and relationship to foster those discussions. 

 

Before bed, they all go up at about 9 and just read until they fall asleep. 

 

 

 

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Another thing I wanted to mention is that the reason Circe people (and those that follow them) are vague about what to use and what a classical education looks like is because Circe is based on principles.  They want you to take these principles  and apply them to your family the way that it would work for your family.  This means that it is going to look different for each and every family that follows these principles because we all have different children and different dynamics within our families.  What resonates with me is going to look very different from what resonates with you, therefore, our days,our curriculum is going to look different.  

 

 

 But this is frustrating for me.  And that's why I got a little frustrated in the historical fiction thread. I can read about the philosophy on all the other threads.  If the OP is anything like me, she is starting this thread because after reading about the philosophy and thoughts behind it all, she would just like someone to give her examples of what it can look like.  I know that it will look different for every family.  

In fact, what would be most helpful to me is to hear 50 different descriptions of what it could look like.  Then I could get an idea of what would resonate with me.  I don't understand all of the vagueness.  That's why I am thankful for blogs like Amongst Lovely Things.  I've been reading her blog for quite some time.  At least she is someone who is willing to give a picture of what it looks like in their home.

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I don't mind sharing what things look like here, but keep in mind that my kids are all very young so I don't have tons of experience. On the other hand we have been doing things this way since the original Circe thread so it's been a couple years and I've had some time to think this through.

 

For content subjects we have a Morning Basket every day and we work through various subjects based on days of the week. Here's what that looks like:

 

Before breakfast everyone does chores and those taking piano lessons practice piano. Then:

 

Daily:

Morning prayers

Life of the saint for the day

Calendar

Bible reading (during advent and lent we have special daily readings, the rest of the year we just read through)

Memory work (includes scripture and poetry, I plan to add to this gradually)

Phonogram and spelling rules review for SWR (just a few each day)

Exercise - usually about 10-15 minutes at the end. It makes a nice break and they are more ready for seat work afterwards. When it's nice we just go play outside for about a half hour.

 

Rotating subjects:

Monday- geography (map work as laid out in Leigh Bortins' book The Core, plus read alouds like Holling C Holling books)

Tuesday- history. (currently doing an overview of world history using A Little History of the World) and also Shakespeare

Wednesday - nature study and read aloud from The Book of Virtues

Thursday - art/music including composer/artist study as well as drawing "lessons"

Friday - American history and a read aloud (currently Arabian Nights)

 

This all takes roughly 30-45 minutes. Then later in the morning we do SWR and math. In the afternoon we have silent reading time and then I read aloud while toddler is napping. We also do read alouds at bedtime.

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 But this is frustrating for me.  And that's why I got a little frustrated in the historical fiction thread. I can read about the philosophy on all the other threads.  If the OP is anything like me, she is starting this thread because after reading about the philosophy and thoughts behind it all, she would just like someone to give her examples of what it can look like.  I know that it will look different for every family.  

In fact, what would be most helpful to me is to hear 50 different descriptions of what it could look like.  Then I could get an idea of what would resonate with me.  I don't understand all of the vagueness.  That's why I am thankful for blogs like Amongst Lovely Things.  I've been reading her blog for quite some time.  At least she is someone who is willing to give a picture of what it looks like in their home.

 

The other side of that coin, though, is that someone will take what we are offering as an example and think that they Must Do it This Way. 

 

Which is totally the antithesis of what this is all about. 

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Also, to help with the literature study what I do is keep a binder with tabs to separate the years/grades and I have notes on everything they are going to read and what I want to make sure I hit/remember. 

Obviously for the younger years this isn't really needed, but middle school/high school it's invaluable. It also helps me keep precise track of what they've accomplished. 

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But this is frustrating for me. And that's why I got a little frustrated in the historical fiction thread. I can read about the philosophy on all the other threads. If the OP is anything like me, she is starting this thread because after reading about the philosophy and thoughts behind it all, she would just like someone to give her examples of what it can look like. I know that it will look different for every family.

 

In fact, what would be most helpful to me is to hear 50 different descriptions of what it could look like. Then I could get an idea of what would resonate with me. I don't understand all of the vagueness. That's why I am thankful for blogs like Amongst Lovely Things. I've been reading her blog for quite some time. At least she is someone who is willing to give a picture of what it looks like in their home.

I am also someone who likes examples, the more the better. I have no interest in trying to replicate another family's experience, but vague principles do not help people figure out what changes to make on Monday morning. Just like the reluctance to name exact book titles, I wonder if there is an element of not wanting to have to explain or defend choices as worthy.

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I am also someone who needs examples, the more the better. I have no interest in trying to replicate another family's experience, but vague principles do not help people figure out what changes to make on Monday morning. Just like the reluctance to name exact book titles, I wonder if there is an element of not wanting to have to explain or defend choices as worthy.

 

Not in the least, I feel no need to defend myself to anyone. 

 

Go to the 1000 good books list and start reading yourself. Then you pick what you like. 

 

 

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 But this is frustrating for me.  And that's why I got a little frustrated in the historical fiction thread. I can read about the philosophy on all the other threads.  If the OP is anything like me, she is starting this thread because after reading about the philosophy and thoughts behind it all, she would just like someone to give her examples of what it can look like.  I know that it will look different for every family.  

In fact, what would be most helpful to me is to hear 50 different descriptions of what it could look like.  Then I could get an idea of what would resonate with me.  I don't understand all of the vagueness.  That's why I am thankful for blogs like Amongst Lovely Things.  I've been reading her blog for quite some time.  At least she is someone who is willing to give a picture of what it looks like in their home.

well i've just started to plot out everything and figure out what our goals are and such.  I have ideas on how I'll be implementing things and once I do I'll give a description of what I want to do and then I'll give you an idea of how that plays out once we've done it for a while.

 

-Right now I've decided that with math we will be using Ray's Arithmetic with an array of math related board games, card games, living books, and cooking/baking in the kitchen(this will be part science as well.)   

 

-For history I plan to use Connecting with History (its like Sonlight but Catholic) as something to keep me grounded and on course.  If my ds chooses to slow down or is more interested in something else I will follow his lead.  I will not be picking literature based on the period of history we are studying.  The books that go with connecting with history will be for history enrichment and not a replacement for good literature.

 

-Science will be doing whatever my kids enjoy.  They enjoy helping me cook/bake and learning about nature.  I will probably introduce them to different concepts that fascinate me in order to share the things I love!  If they enjoy it we will continue with it, if they don't then we'll move on to something else.

 

-Literature/Language Art:  This is what I have not figured out yet.  I want to create something that will enable me to teach grammar, spelling, handwriting, writing, etc.  with the literature that I read to my children and have them read themselves.  I don't know what this will look like yet and still have a lot of research to do to determine if that is a good idea or not and how I would implement it.

 

What am I forgetting?

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 But this is frustrating for me.  And that's why I got a little frustrated in the historical fiction thread. I can read about the philosophy on all the other threads.  If the OP is anything like me, she is starting this thread because after reading about the philosophy and thoughts behind it all, she would just like someone to give her examples of what it can look like.  I know that it will look different for every family.  

In fact, what would be most helpful to me is to hear 50 different descriptions of what it could look like.  Then I could get an idea of what would resonate with me.  I don't understand all of the vagueness.  That's why I am thankful for blogs like Amongst Lovely Things.  I've been reading her blog for quite some time.  At least she is someone who is willing to give a picture of what it looks like in their home.

 

I have described my methods numerous times.   My general approach, like I wrote upthread, has not changed.

 

If you search for my posts on interest-led learning, writing, and maybe my posts on my Anne of Green Gables study, etc,  I describe in quite a bit of detail our methods.

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I have described my methods numerous times.   My general approach, like I wrote upthread, has not changed.

 

If you search for my posts on interest-led learning, writing, and maybe my posts on my Anne of Green Gables study, etc,  I describe in quite a bit of detail our methods.

That's what I feel, too, I've offered so many times what I use. 

 

It's the HOW I use them that threads like this are about. That is much harder to explain. 

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The other side of that coin, though, is that someone will take what we are offering as an example and think that they Must Do it This Way. 

 

Which is totally the antithesis of what this is all about. 

 

Exactly!    When we share, as we have done in the past,  people take this as arrogance and think that we are telling them how they must educate their children.  That recent thread on historical fiction is a perfect example.

 

In fact, what would be most helpful to me is to hear 50 different descriptions of what it could look like.  Then I could get an idea of what would resonate with me.  I don't understand all of the vagueness.  That's why I am thankful for blogs like Amongst Lovely Things.  I've been reading her blog for quite some time.  At least she is someone who is willing to give a picture of what it looks like in their home.

Well,  I see Amongst Lovely Things  as being vague as well.   She doesn't  tell you in great detail about how she carries out her day.  I know that she does Morning Time.  I know that she has started to read Shakespeare to her kids.  I know she teaches them latin.  I know that she is dealing with 6 kids, 3 of which are 2 and under.  I know that she is striving to teach from a place of rest.  I know a lot about her  but I don't know  how she teaches classically  using  the Circe principles.  I have been reading her blog  even before she  found Classical.       I am just saying all of this to argue that I think she is being just as vague as the rest of us are.

 

 

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Another thing I wanted to mention is that the reason Circe people (and those that follow them) are vague about what to use and what a classical education looks like is because Circe is based on principles.  They want you to take these principles  and apply them to your family the way that it would work for your family.  This means that it is going to look different for each and every family that follows these principles because we all have different children and different dynamics within our families.  What resonates with me is going to look very different from what resonates with you, therefore, our days,our curriculum is going to look different. 

 

Yes - it isn't about a book list. It is about you and your child. Are you pursueing the true, good and beautiful. Are you thinking and filling yourself with lovely things? I know it is hard - it literally turned my world upside down. And I didn't know what to do, just that I wanted something, but I didn't have it. I could feel it was missing. But keep looking. One of the books I am oh-so-slowly working through is "Leisure the Basis of Culture" and he NAILS our culture. We are all about ""doing"" something. Do this, do that, be "successful" in life. We need to do less and contemplate more.

 

Education is about forming a person (including yourself!). What kind of people do you want to form? Starting there, I knew I wanted kids that cared. I wanted them to be able to communicate well (within their ability). I wanted them to hold onto that sense of wonder. And I wanted them to be self-starters -- to go and find out if they didn't know, or if something needed done to go and do it.

 

Okay, I'll move to practical. First, I need to acknowledge my circumstances.

* I am working to get some of my writing published. DH and I just bought a lawn care business, so I am doing the paperwork and such for that. Together these mean I just don't have time to do a lot of planning. I'd love to immerse myself in books and have everyone reading challenging yet appropriate books about the middle ages, European geography and chemistry (or whatever). But I don't have time. I have to accept that.

* One of our goals is to spend the winters farther South, so we need to be portable. (So ebooks & PDFs help.)

* My eldest is likely dyslexic, and needs audio books. (I love librivox.)

* I can't just throw money at things.

* I need support and people who are in similar boats to talk to. DH is not a talker, so he doesn't even help much (other than to say that's fine, go ahead and do/buy that - lol).

 

Several of the above drew me to Ambleside Online. They have a forum now - I never liked email lists. There are a lot of ebooks and audio books. And I like CM's philosophy - I've been reading her original volumes and it resonates with me. So we jumped into AO late in the fall of 2012, partly just on faith. I knew the books were good overall so I trusted it. We had a good year. My then 10yo bloomed - he needed the literature, the stories! And he showed how good his comprehension was (despite the fact that he could hardly read at that time).

 

For skills, we want to play with things not dissect them. And I don't have time to piecemeal. So we use MEP for math. Grammar is my achillles heel, but I'm thinking a sentence a day (perhaps from KISS) and the Serl books. We do copywork (or commonplace book) and dictation. I'm going to try CM's word-playing with my youngest son, he can blend and knows the sounds, so we'll do our phonics lessons from Treadwell's reader. For Spanish we are doing videos, my older boys are using The Fun Spanish (sentence based) and I have Speaking Spanish that I need to get going on.  Latin I am using more than one book because I'm a Latin nut. We chose Visual Latin because it has a reading approach but back it up with Henle because mastery is also important (and makes fun easier).

 

One thing I am (again) splurging on is Simply Charlotte Mason's organizer. You don't need to be CM to use it, btw. I love it because I don't get behind. If you miss a reading or a whole day, there is no chiding or shame when you have to manually bump things. It will be waiting for you on the next scheduled day. Now this means I'm only generally following AO's schedules, other than year 1 they are mostly regular or close to it. So I just have to match up a few stray history readings - not a big deal. Especially since the Circe thread and its fallout reminded me I don't have to make everything perfect.

 

I don't know if that helps, but I have to go. I'd post a schedule, but with trying to get the lawn business going we don't have one yet. We are routine people anyway.

 

Oh, I guess I'll note some things I change from AO. We do more memory work -- still the good, true & beautiful, not facts. I start Latin earlier and give it more time than many. We aren't following the Shakespeare or Plutarch rotations, we are doing our own. And the number one thing is I do not worry about the free reads. I think the historical fiction thing for many others is the free reads for me. They are fine, BUT I don't have kids that devour books. They'd rather be building forts all day. So I try to choose the best I can (a lot of good literature in those lists!), and enjoy them.

 

Have you read Cindy's posts at the ordo-amoris blog - especially her morning time series? Here are some of my favorite posts, I come back to them again and again. http://crossingthebrandywine.com/2013/10/these-are-a-few-of-my-favorite-things/ I think Cindy's blog is linked first. Okay, I really must go!

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I'm not sure I can exactly answer your question bc I didn't alter my teaching style that much from the Circe thread. I already taught from "a state of rest." I more fine tuned personal goals and objectives that gave me greater leeway to enjoy the freedom that homeschooling offers.

 

One thing I think that is key to any of these conversations is that ultimately it boils down to having trust in yourself that you can provide the education you envision. I was at a homeschool meeting last night and most of the moms were new homeschoolers. The anxiety and overwhelmed emotions were high. It seemed the intensity of the feelings came from comparing themselves to schools and wanting similar to school output.

 

Teaching from your core educational values and meeting your objectives puts you in the drivers seat and controlling the direction vs. feeling like you are lost and constantly feeling like you need to find someone else's directions to make sure you aren't lost (or wrong by their definition.)

 

Believing in yourself and that you can forge a solid educational path for your kids and that schools do not have the answer or need to be replicated is the real starting place.

 

Yes.

 

I am sorry that some of the younger moms are feeling that the elder are being vague and unhelpful, but there are only so many ways that we can say, "Work out your own convictions and live by them for that is the only way to have peace in how you homeschool your children. You will only believe in it enough to do it no matter what if you were the author of the vision."

 

We can say (and we have said), "Read these books and see if these philosophies take root in your heart."

 

We can say (and we have said), "These book publishers and classical ed speakers/mentors are seeking some of the same things so you might want to start with their lists and materials while you hone your vision."

 

We can say (and we have said), "It starts with believing that the answers are within yourself and not in some system designed by someone else."

 

But we can't really show you our day, because it's not a matter of marching the dc through stacks of curriculum and skills, not a matter of standardized test prep, not a matter of magic found in routines and schedules. We make pretty plans and lists but we depart from them as the spirit leads and what arises in their place is almost always better...and we don't even know how to show that in a forum post. We older moms are frustrated, too, because what we really want is to get off this computer and invite you over to our houses for the day so you can just watch us do what we do. And we can't.

 

Read the books. Buy books for your children and for yourself. Determine who you want to be as a parent and as your child's guide through his formative years and BE that person, no matter what anybody says, no matter if you get tired or lonely or start to doubt yourself. Be who you are called to be. Learn to see the human growth of the child standing in front of you, and to be honest with yourself about whether he is growing in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man. Does he lean toward beauty? Can he recognize truth and wisdom? Is he curious? Is he happy? Is he acquiring the kinds of useful skills upon which he can build more knowledge and skills? Whatever you believe education to be "for" are you seeing fruit of that pursuit in your home or do you need to make changes so that the entire family is living and growing again?

 

See, I can tell you the books my 17yo is reading this year, and I give you a few snapshots of our conversations. What I can't do is explain exactly how homeschooling in this highly relational way is superior to even the best private schools. Not really. It has something to do with that connection between parent and child. It has a lot to do with the continuity of one very attached teacher through their whole childhood. The power, the absolute power of being able to refer to lessons he learned at 4, 8, 12, as he goes on? To make those connections to pivotal moments in his education and upbringing as you encounter the same principles in his rhetoric level books? AMAZING growth, amazing love, amazing connection -- this is why homeschooling in this switched-on way is so effective. You were there for the whole thing. You were there to show him the world from birth. AND you were there to help him learn to express his reactions to all that he sees and thinks, through writing, speaking, drawing, painting, and living.

 

You will see your children live a life changed, shaped, and molded by virtuous things. Heroes, wisdom, beauty, truth, knowledge, skills, faith, wonder -- nobody spends their day seeking these things without being changed. You will be changed, too.

 

This type of transforming growth does not come by workbooks and canned curriculum. You can start with somebody's list, but if you aren't open to the spirit leading you and the rabbit trails being of greater worth than the plan, then this style might not be for you. If you can't listen to your child explain in wonder how a book has changed his life (with all the connections and lessons he's learned, just pouring out of him, as he becomes your teacher for the moment) and follow that by tossing your study guide out the window because the student has obviously learned all he needed to learn for now...then this style might not be for you. If you are not interested in spending your spare time reading and listening and thinking and learning and praying so that you have more to pour out in the unexpected moments, then this style might not be for you.

 

But if this style is for you, and you are ready to tell the world that college and career ready skills might be a by-product of your child's education but they will never be the goal, and you thumb your nose at the standardized tests and you no longer yearn to be rich enough to send your child to the "best" prep school, and you know that truth leads to more truth so you have time to figure it out and you have the diligence to pursue it...you will reap what you sow. Sow these things into your children and into your own heart and you will reap a beautiful and bountiful harvest.

 

After a very hard winter (literally and metaphorically) I am seeing the buds and shoots. Spring is here. The crop is promising and I have no regrets.

 

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I cannot love that post enough, Tibbie. 

I came back on to give a metaphor about how this is like teaching someone to bake bread, which, if you bake your own bread and are good at it, you understand how HARD it is to express in words what has taken years of what feeling and seeing and smelling dough is like. How when it is humid, you have to adjust and when it is dry you have to adjust and the countless expressions of yeast, flours and water. 

But you did it. And you sad it beautifully. I am so privileged to have you as a dear friend. 

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Before I start on how our day looks, I need to make some disclaimers.  We don't  do latin.  I know, I know.    We try every year.  Every year we get a little bit farther than the year before but we always ditch it halfway through the year.   My children  have learning difficulties so I don't  press latin on them too hard.  Once they hit a wall, we take a break.    Also,  my youngest has reading difficulties.  I am not sure if she is dyslexic but I am teaching her as if she is.

 

We are all up at 8:00.  I have breakfast ready for them and we take our breakfast into the living room to begin Morning Time.  Before we begin, I give each of them a morning blessing and then I begin Bible reading.  The kids then work on memory work for scripture verses  and poetry.  I read Shakespeare  daily.  Right now we are reading  Twelfth Night.  This is how it happens every day.  

 

Then Morning Time varies.  From this point, I do think differently.  I don't  have a schedule, I just mix it up according to my mood or the moods of my kids.  I recently read The Living Page  by Laurie Bestvater  on CMs  notebooks.  This book has inspired me to implement notebooks into our MT.   So one day we might do poetry notebooks;  I put all of our  poetry notebooks in the middle of the table and they find a poem that speaks to them and they copy it in their notebooks.  Another day we might read about what is happening in the world and they will write about something  that struck them into our current events  notebook.  We might  go on a nature walk and then sketch in our  books, something  that, again,  spoke to us.   We also write in our commonplace books--a quote from our readings.   We might play a game.  We might watch a DVD on a composer that we are studying--this week it was Tchaikovsky.  We might read a bio on that composer.  We might narrate a picture from an artist that we are studying.   I am also doing a poetry unit with them at this time.  I am using  Grammar of Poetry.  We only do that about twice a week.   I also want  to insert Grammar in there and do it as a group, but I haven't  gotten there yet.   Maybe I need to be more organized and scheduled.  :laugh:

 

Then we read a section from the Great Books that we are reading.  Some days  I will share some nugget of information that I found about the author,  character,  literary device, etc.  Sometimes  we just read, sometimes  we read and discuss.  It all depends on the day.

 

This ends MT. It takes us about  2 to 2 1/2 hrs.  MT  is the anchor, the glue  to our day.  I love our time  together. 

 

I then give them about half an hour to do what they wish as long as it is quiet , to give them time  to ponder the things  that went on during MT.

 

I then work with my youngest on her reading and math.  My ds does his reading.  He is currently reading  Penrod and Sam  and  Dorothy Mills'  Ancient Rome  book.  My oldest goes off on her own  and does her own work.

 

After lunch,  my youngest listens  to a history book and a literature book on audio.   I work  with my ds on his math and writing.  He also does his spelling.  I also work with my youngest again with her reading.  I also read to her on her own sometime  during the day--the time varies.

 

We are usually done  by 3:30. 

 

I should say  that we usually do history  in the mornings but it hasn't  happen for the last month because of some life bumps that we are experiencing now  I am hoping to get back to it  in a few weeks.

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I cannot love that post enough, Tibbie. 

 

I came back on to give a metaphor about how this is like teaching someone to bake bread, which, if you bake your own bread and are good at it, you understand how HARD it is to express in words what has taken years of what feeling and seeing and smelling dough is like. How when it is humid, you have to adjust and when it is dry you have to adjust and the countless expressions of yeast, flours and water. 

 

But you did it. And you sad it beautifully. I am so privileged to have you as a dear friend. 

 

But if someone asked me what tools I use (and I am pretty good at baking bread)  I have no problem telling them I use hard white wheat which I buy from Bread Beckers, and I grind it with my Nutrimill grain mill.  I don't mind explaining approximately how long it takes me and how often I bake it and at what temperature.  I don't feel the need to be vague.  even if they disagree with my choice.  even if the details might be a little hard to put into words.  

 

That is what the big CiRCE thread is for....the ambiguous, hard to put into words part.  This thread is about the flour and the grain mill. :)

 

eta: I'm thankful for those in this thread who have answered some of the specific questions.  I'm thankful for the rest of you too. :)  But this was a thread I was thinking of starting, but was worried that I would get "reprimanded" for asking for specifics, so I chickened out. :)

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Tibbie, that was beautifully said.

 

As one who has had a very difficult winter as well,  your words made me cry.  They were happy, thankful tears, though.

 

Thank you.

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Oh, KeriJ gets me.  :)  I am understanding (I think?!) the principles, etc.  I just can't figure out what that would look like.  I am getting the feel that it is not structured and I would need to figure out (for my family) how I would structure it.  Things like AO look nice, but will not work well for my family.  I school 3 and one day it will be 5.  I need a flow from year to year, feeling like we have accomplished something.  I would love to delve into areas that spike interest in the kids, but feel like I'd miss BIG things or be too scattered.  Does that make sense?  I spend my mornings with the kids just getting through the basics, barely, sloooowly doing math, grammer, phonics, etc.  I have yet to be able to add in Latin, because we don't have time.  History has been time consuming and not sure the path I want to go with that.  I know I could use something structured like TOG or MFW and then add in the philosophy from Circe, CM, etc., and see if that works?  I don't know.  I have just really enjoyed all the posts I've read but can't wrap my mind around how to apply all of this.  I have a terrible education and no confidence in knowing what I am doing!  Seeing what others' days look like, how they apply the philosophy is helpful.  I see reading as random, and feel like I would need a list to check.  Ya know?  

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Yes.

 

I am sorry that some of the younger moms are feeling that the elder are being vague and unhelpful, but there are only so many ways that we can say, "Work out your own convictions and live by them for that is the only way to have peace in how you homeschool your children. You will only believe in it enough to do it no matter what if you were the author of the vision."

 

We can say (and we have said), "Read these books and see if these philosophies take root in your heart."

 

We can say (and we have said), "These book publishers and classical ed speakers/mentors are seeking some of the same things so you might want to start with their lists and materials while you hone your vision."

 

We can say (and we have said), "It starts with believing that the answers are within yourself and not in some system designed by someone else."

 

But we can't really show you our day, because it's not a matter of marching the dc through stacks of curriculum and skills, not a matter of standardized test prep, not a matter of magic found in routines and schedules. We make pretty plans and lists but we depart from them as the spirit leads and what arises in their place is almost always better...and we don't even know how to show that in a forum post. We older moms are frustrated, too, because what we really want is to get off this computer and invite you over to our houses for the day so you can just watch us do what we do. And we can't.

 

Read the books. Buy books for your children and for yourself. Determine who you want to be as a parent and as your child's guide through his formative years and BE that person, no matter what anybody says, no matter if you get tired or lonely or start to doubt yourself. Be who you are called to be. Learn to see the human growth of the child standing in front of you, and to be honest with yourself about whether he is growing in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man. Does he lean toward beauty? Can he recognize truth and wisdom? Is he curious? Is he happy? Is he acquiring the kinds of useful skills upon which he can build more knowledge and skills? Whatever you believe education to be "for" are you seeing fruit of that pursuit in your home or do you need to make changes so that the entire family is living and growing again?

 

See, I can tell you the books my 17yo is reading this year, and I give you a few snapshots of our conversations. What I can't do is explain exactly how homeschooling in this highly relational way is superior to even the best private schools. Not really. It has something to do with that connection between parent and child. It has a lot to do with the continuity of one very attached teacher through their whole childhood. The power, the absolute power of being able to refer to lessons he learned at 4, 8, 12, as he goes on? To make those connections to pivotal moments in his education and upbringing as you encounter the same principles in his rhetoric level books? AMAZING growth, amazing love, amazing connection -- this is why homeschooling in this switched-on way is so effective. You were there for the whole thing. You were there to show him the world from birth. AND you were there to help him learn to express his reactions to all that he sees and thinks, through writing, speaking, drawing, painting, and living.

 

You will see your children live a life changed, shaped, and molded by virtuous things. Heroes, wisdom, beauty, truth, knowledge, skills, faith, wonder -- nobody spends their day seeking these things without being changed. You will be changed, too.

 

This type of transforming growth does not come by workbooks and canned curriculum. You can start with somebody's list, but if you aren't open to the spirit leading you and the rabbit trails being of greater worth than the plan, then this style might not be for you. If you can't listen to your child explain in wonder how a book has changed his life (with all the connections and lessons he's learned, just pouring out of him, as he becomes your teacher for the moment) and follow that by tossing your study guide out the window because the student has obviously learned all he needed to learn for now...then this style might not be for you. If you are not interested in spending your spare time reading and listening and thinking and learning and praying so that you have more to pour out in the unexpected moments, then this style might not be for you.

 

But if this style is for you, and you are ready to tell the world that college and career ready skills might be a by-product of your child's education but they will never be the goal, and you thumb your nose at the standardized tests and you no longer yearn to be rich enough to send your child to the "best" prep school, and you know that truth leads to more truth so you have time to figure it out and you have the diligence to pursue it...you will reap what you sow. Sow these things into your children and into your own heart and you will reap a beautiful and bountiful harvest.

 

After a very hard winter (literally and metaphorically) I am seeing the buds and shoots. Spring is here. The crop is promising and I have no regrets.

 

I don't know how to quote only a portion of a post.  Anyway, the bolded...is one of the most beautiful, inspirational things I've read.  It is more helpful than any booklist or curriculum suggestion and I will be printing that to put in my planner so I can refer back to it.  Thank you, Tibbie! 

 

Jennifer

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I will try to come back later today and tell you how I am attempting to implement Circe/CMs ideas  but I wanted to say, though, that it is not  'what'  you are using that makes it a classical education but  'how' you are using it.   Have you listened to  Jenny Rallens'  audio on teaching liturgy? (It's on the Society for Classical Learning site.) That was the moment for me when things started coming together.    I can use anything I want to teach my children but it is how I teach them that material that makes the difference.   When I come back I will try to explain how I teach my kids.

 

Another thing I wanted to mention is that the reason Circe people (and those that follow them) are vague about what to use and what a classical education looks like is because Circe is based on principles.  They want you to take these principles  and apply them to your family the way that it would work for your family.  This means that it is going to look different for each and every family that follows these principles because we all have different children and different dynamics within our families.  What resonates with me is going to look very different from what resonates with you, therefore, our days,our curriculum is going to look different.  

 

...

 

Could you also mention the principles you see as you speak to how you try to implement them?

 

I have read some on Circe, but have only dial-up which does not allow me to get the podcasts, so I am not sure I understand what the principles are...  teaching from a place of rest   ...  I think teaching liturgy had to do with establishing a rhythm  ...  teaching virtue, maybe as another principle. ...

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But if someone asked me what tools I use (and I am pretty good at baking bread)  I have no problem telling them I use hard white wheat which I buy from Bread Beckers, and I grind it with my Nutrimill grain mill.  I don't mind explaining approximately how long it takes me and how often I bake it and at what temperature.  I don't feel the need to be vague.  even if they disagree with my choice.  even if the details might be a little hard to put into words.  

 

That is what the big CiRCE thread is for....the ambiguous, hard to put into words part.  This thread is about the flour and the grain mill. :)

 

eta: I'm thankful for those in this thread who have answered some of the specific questions.  I'm thankful for the rest of you too. :)  But this was a thread I was thinking of starting, but was worried that I would get "reprimanded" for asking for specifics, so I chickened out. :)

 

But that has nothing to do with the actual baking of the bread. That's not how to get the feel of the gluten's elasticity and how elastic you want it for what kind of loaf, or how to know when you've fed your sourdough enough and what it should look like. It has nothing to do with the crack of the crust, or the water load. 

 

You can get a recipe anywhere. You can buy a book and get a recipe. That's NOT what you're asking us. 

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Oh, KeriJ gets me.   :)  I am understanding (I think?!) the principles, etc.  I just can't figure out what that would look like.  I am getting the feel that it is not structured and I would need to figure out (for my family) how I would structure it.  Things like AO look nice, but will not work well for my family.  I school 3 and one day it will be 5.  I need a flow from year to year, feeling like we have accomplished something.  I would love to delve into areas that spike interest in the kids, but feel like I'd miss BIG things or be too scattered.  Does that make sense?  I spend my mornings with the kids just getting through the basics, barely, sloooowly doing math, grammer, phonics, etc.  I have yet to be able to add in Latin, because we don't have time.  History has been time consuming and not sure the path I want to go with that.  I know I could use something structured like TOG or MFW and then add in the philosophy from Circe, CM, etc., and see if that works?  I don't know.  I have just really enjoyed all the posts I've read but can't wrap my mind around how to apply all of this.  I have a terrible education and no confidence in knowing what I am doing!  Seeing what others' days look like, how they apply the philosophy is helpful.  I see reading as random, and feel like I would need a list to check.  Ya know?  

 

This is why you need to figure out what works for you.   I am very structured in that what my kids have to do every single day in every subject.   But, my only guide as to what we do in K until high school subjects for everything other than math is me.   I don't worry about gaps.   I actually think worrying about gaps in things like science and history is rather laughable.    It is impossible to not have gaps even if you devote your lifetime to studying history or science.   I am sure if you asked Regentrude a techincal question about a part of physics that is not her area of expertise, even though she has a PhD in physics, she would say it was outside of her area of expertise.  ;)

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 But this is frustrating for me.  And that's why I got a little frustrated in the historical fiction thread. I can read about the philosophy on all the other threads.  If the OP is anything like me, she is starting this thread because after reading about the philosophy and thoughts behind it all, she would just like someone to give her examples of what it can look like.  I know that it will look different for every family.  

In fact, what would be most helpful to me is to hear 50 different descriptions of what it could look like.....

 

I wasn't going to post - mostly because I am probably doing it all wrong. :tongue_smilie: But I am very happy with our days and with the progress my kids are making - though they are young. I am teaching from a place of rest and having the best year I have had yet. Andrew Kern's post (eta: #171) on The Thread influences me more than anything. I am staying true to the goals of my family and I am living in our reality. Anyway, you have encouraged me to try to answer this. :)

 

I start my day early (5:45) because exercise and a shower are key to teaching from a state of rest for me. I also follow a fairly tight schedule for the same reason.

 

By 7:00 everybody is awake, so we eat breakfast and do morning chores. My job is to help the little kids get ready for their day. My 8yo and 10yo get dressed, clean the kitchen, and practice piano. They then have independent work written into their planner, so they get started on that.

 

Independent work -

8yo: Math Mammoth, Pentime cursive, reading: history(TOG), lit(TOG), science(interest led)

10yo: CLE math, Getting Started with Latin, writing, reading: history, science and lit(same as above)

 

This gives me the next hour (8-9:00) to work with my 5 and 6yo. We do phonics*, handwriting, math*, and a read aloud during this time.

 

*Explode the Code, All About Spelling, CLE, and Miquon

 

About the time we are finishing, my 8yo has completed his independent work. The littlest kids are content to play, and I spend the next hour working one on one with the 8yo.

 

1-1 with 8yo -

corrections and discussion of reading

McGuffey, English Lessons Through Literature: copywork, dictation and grammar, Beast Academy/Zaccaro

 

When we get done (roughly 10:00) we do our group subjects. Everyday we have a read aloud and our memory work, and then each day has its own subject: history, geography, science, art. We eat lunch and the 3yo goes down for her nap. The 5yo and 6yo each read to me from their bed and then they have "quiet time" for the next 1.5 hours. This is when I work one on one with my 10 yo.

 

1-1 with 10yo -

corrections and discussion of reading

McGuffey, writing: WWS using our own topics, Zaccaro

(I have floundered with grammar this year - I plan to use ELTL with her next year. I am really enjoying it with my 8yo)

 

We are done around 1:15 and the rest of the day is free. We are not the type of family that is happy to do school all day long. We like to get it done and move on. (We do have Tuesday Tea with poetry) The rest of the afternoon could be spent: reading, writing, playing outside, folding laundry, playing board games, and on and on. In the winter we watch documentaries or do family read alouds after supper, in the summer we are outside - most likely working on our small farm.

 

I don't know if that is "Circe" or not. I feel like I am peeling back an onion. I keep getting deeper all the time, but I do not in any way claim to have it figured out. I feel like we have always pursued the good, true and beautiful - not because it is part of our curriculum, but because it is part of who we are. I'm still never sure that I am doing it "right". So what spoke to me more than anything in the Circe thread was the message to trust yourself. That is getting back into the philosophical though... ;)

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My issue with the bread analogy is this: when I follow your instructions exactly and my bread comes out poorly, then what? What if my idea of a perfect loaf differs from yours? Do I find another recipe and try that, hoping for perfection? Or do I simply play with the recipe that looks best to me, tweaking and manipulating it, until I find MY perfect loaf? I have been around the block with homeschooling. I am finishing up my 13th year. I have five children. I have homeschooled in three different states. My philosophy has been molded and shaped and perfected and changed steadily over the years. I have learned the hard way that the philosophy and practical application that works beautifully for someone else will not work here, and vice-versa. 

 

As previously mentioned, the Circe thread freed me up to be the homeschooler that my particular children need me to be. Not that I was slave to a particular curriculum or philosophy prior to that, but that it gave me license to completely color outside the lines. I have been able to really dig into the concept of education: what does a well-educated human being look like? Just to be able to deeply contemplate that question; to read articles, books, roll it around in my head, discuss with my husband and other deep-thinkers in my life, read some more, pray, contemplate, etc...this has done so much for me and my approach to teaching my children. For me, the competitive-play-the-college-game-and-do-what-everyone-says-you-are-supposed-to concept of education has been exposed as the inferior approach. That approach, in many cases, produces someone who "looks good" on paper, but falls far short of a human being on his way to maximizing his potential.

For me, teaching from a state of rest means keeping that idea at the forefront of my mind at all times: We are in this to maximize human beings, not to check the boxes. Reading deeply, thinking, contemplating, discussing, seeking that which is true and good and beautiful, following through, persevering, thinking some more...These things will help us move toward that goal. 

What does that look like practically? Well, I can tell you what it looks like around here, but it will probably be different for everyone. Others may read my thoughts and think they're insane or asinine. But for us, this approach to schooling is the result of years of thinking, tweaking, educating myself, and getting to know my own kids.

 

Around here we begin our day with a big breakfast at 7:45am. I make waffles, eggs, vats of oatmeal with fresh fruit. We sit and talk about things...lots of things. Then we move into Bible time. We are currently reading through Training Hearts, Teaching Minds. We read the lesson and corresponding Scripture. We discuss. We read other Scriptures that come to mind. We debate different topics. We think. Next we move into our Scripture memory. In the last twenty months we, as a family, memorized the Book of James. All five chapters. It was HARD, but we persevered. I made a recording of myself reading it. We listened, repeated, recited, discussed, listened some more. I do not say this to boast, but to encourage everyone that big things are attainable. Where we expect much, much can be accomplished. This is VERY important to us. We consider it crucial in the development of human beings.

After Scripture memory we spend some time with poetry. My older kids are currently memorizing/reciting some selections of John Donne. My youngest two are doing IEW's poetry memorization (my oldest three completed this last year.) Then we move into our time of reading aloud. We read excellent literature selections. We do not read historical fiction during this time. So far this year, we have completed five volumes from My Book House and The Young Folks' Shelf of Books (The Junior Classics), The Burgess Bird Book for Children, Chesterton's The Ballad of the White Horse, Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop, Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, Hillaire Belloc's fantastic poetry, and Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales and Wonder Book. We read together, all ages, and discuss. We stop when people identify allusions to other works we've read or think of Scriptures that apply or are just reminded of different characters/plots. We read for at least 60 minutes. Reading all together is very important for me. Personally, having multiple read alouds going at once for different ages would drive me insane and take away from that restful feeling. I love that my family has built up its own cultural literacy. My 16 year old can make a reference to something we've read and my 7 year old can laugh about it! That's a wonderful thing.

 

We spend 90 minutes or so together as a family and then break up. My older kids begin their work, most of which is independent. One change I've made recently is to focus much more heavily on depth of learning, instead of quantity. My oldest two will complete 7 novels, two Shakespeare plays, two short stories, and selections from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales for Brit. Lit. this year. We take our time, contemplate, discuss, watch/listen to TC lectures or iTunes Univ. lectures, and contemplate. This has been SO refreshing. I no longer feel compelled to finish some HUGE list of selections that we have had no time to delve into. I have required 4 papers - and will require a comparison paper at the end of the year. I do not give them topics. They write about things they find interesting or want to learn more about. Mostly we discuss and THINK about what we read, since we now have the time to do so.

 

OK, we are off to piano (something everyone does in our home because music is necessary for music's sake around here. It makes for a better, richer human being!) I will try to come back to the conversation later this evening.

 

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I can give a rough outline of what we do, but we are just now getting resettled in our area and the girls are just now getting outside lessons started, so this outline will probably change over the next month or two. In general, we do tend to follow this routine because it has been created based on what works best for our family. For example, we always do math first in the morning. This evolved over time as I came to realize that this was best for my older daughter who needed it this way. (And for my sanity too! ;))

 

I should start with their assignment sheet:

Each daughter is given one at the beginning of the new week (Monday) and all assignments, with only a few exceptions, are due by the end of the school day on Friday. This gives them all week to work out how much they want to do and when they want to do it. (Keep in mind, though, that I expect them to be working during specific parts of the day, so it's not as if they could save everything until Thursday night.)

 

Roughly their sheets might have these types of assignments:

 

  • Reading from their set of books to be read independently
  • 1-2 entries into their copybook or commonplace book
  • Narration or essay assignment work
  • work with French or Latin (and this is often where due dates are different...if we are having a quiz on Wednesday than they obviously need to study for it before Friday)
  • map work or other assignment work in history
  • watch lectures for art history and take notes (older daughter only)

 

There are a few other things that I will be adding to their list as soon as I get more of this better organized and probably a few other examples that I'm forgetting to mention.

 

 

Mornings (after breakfast)

I roughly rotate between each one of my daughters as to who goes first with me in math. While I'm working with one, the other is working from their assignment sheet.

After both girls have completed math, we move to French and Latin (if we're running behind we'll do one language and be sure to cover the other the next day first). I also try to fit some English work in this time period too.

 

Afternoons (after lunch)

This is our heavy content area and when we will have most of our reading aloud. Although on some crazy days, I sometimes move our group read-aloud to the morning after math and languages. I move between both girls again. Often I will work with one and send her off with work to accomplish with those subjects and the always available work on the assignment sheet. While I've been working with one, the other can be working on their assignment sheet until I get to her. We read together as a group for some books too. (Usually these books include ones that I prefer to read with them and a Shakespeare. Right now we are reading Romeo and Juliet and are about to start Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. We've just recently finished Beowulf and Julius Caesar.) My dh and I used to read with them as a family unit at night, but our schedule and lifestyle over the last few years made this very hard. We've just recently agreed to start Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution as a family read-aloud.)

 

We've neglected our nature study, our artist study and opera study for too long now. I'm planning on starting these up again very soon. We watch movies after dinner based on classics and documentaries together as a family too.

 

This is a rough outline of what we do.

 

My younger daughter's independent reading list:

My Bookhouse Volume #7

Celtic Fairy Tales

Bleak House

Jane Eyre

 

My younger daughter's list with me:

D'Auaire's Greek Myths

Anne of Green Gables

Evangeline and the Acadians

Evangeline by Longfellow

Assorted poems inspired by Anne of Green Gables

Parallel Worlds

Paddle to the Sea

 

My older daughter's independent list:

The Birth of Britain

The Glorious Adventure

English Literature for Boys and Girls

Age of Fable

The Book of the Ancient Greeks

Art History for Young People

 

My older daughter's list with me:

The Iliad (and we watch the Vandiver lectures together too)

Poetry Study (Donne, Milton, Keats, Wordsworth, Tennyson, etc.)

The Story of Philosophy

The Discoverers

 

Both girls together with me:

Science Matters

Romeo and Juliet

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

 

 

 

 

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Oh, KeriJ gets me.   :)  I am understanding (I think?!) the principles, etc.  I just can't figure out what that would look like.  I am getting the feel that it is not structured and I would need to figure out (for my family) how I would structure it.  Things like AO look nice, but will not work well for my family.  I school 3 and one day it will be 5.  I need a flow from year to year, feeling like we have accomplished something.  I would love to delve into areas that spike interest in the kids, but feel like I'd miss BIG things or be too scattered.  Does that make sense?  I spend my mornings with the kids just getting through the basics, barely, sloooowly doing math, grammer, phonics, etc.  I have yet to be able to add in Latin, because we don't have time.  History has been time consuming and not sure the path I want to go with that.  I know I could use something structured like TOG or MFW and then add in the philosophy from Circe, CM, etc., and see if that works?  I don't know.  I have just really enjoyed all the posts I've read but can't wrap my mind around how to apply all of this.  I have a terrible education and no confidence in knowing what I am doing!  Seeing what others' days look like, how they apply the philosophy is helpful.  I see reading as random, and feel like I would need a list to check.  Ya know?  

 

We do math, LA, reading, history, and Latin every day. We don't have a set timed schedule, but they get done. School doesn't end UNTIL they are done. My kids are VERY good and getting stuff done. Science is about twice a week. V3 did a semester of Traditional Logic this past semester. We make time to add in something they like or something I think they should do. 

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I really appreciate all the helpful responses.  I still am finding that I am confused.  I am getting a feel that this whole idea involves being a very creative mom.  I AM NOT.  LOL.  Don't take that comment too far.  But, I see a lot of creativity in what people are posting.  I would struggle with that, I think, at least where I am at in life right now.  I have this image in my mind that you all are sitting around with cheerful, love to learn children reading a great story and all smiles.  I want to rip my hair out when I try to read aloud to ALL the kids.  I have to split them up or have one child watch the 2yo so I can read in quiet.  It is tedious for me to just get math, grammar, spelling, etc., done where I have little energy to do the "fun" stuff that would encourage a love of learning.  

 

I know I have rambled a bit, and I am still pondering things that have been said here and some posts that were linked.  I just want that rest already!  I know it is on me, alone, to find it and make it happen.  

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We do math, LA, reading, history, and Latin every day. We don't have a set timed schedule, but they get done. School doesn't end UNTIL they are done. My kids are VERY good and getting stuff done. Science is about twice a week. V3 did a semester of Traditional Logic this past semester. We make time to add in something they like or something I think they should do. 

 

 

How did you train your kids to be VERY good at getting stuff done.  My dd, who loves reading/history/lit glazes over during math and grammar.  I ruins our whole morning....she is SO SLOW.  While my almost 9yo ds rushes through his basics so fast that today I realized he isn't really mastering anything.  He just gets it done without the learning part.  :/

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Not in the least, I feel no need to defend myself to anyone.

 

Go to the 1000 good books list and start reading yourself. Then you pick what you like.

I was speaking in general terms, not of you or anyone else specifically. I also feel no need to defend my choices to anyone, but I have posted in threads and been grossly misunderstood, which I find frustrating to the point that I find myself holding back many times now. It's not that I need to defend myself, more that I do not like to let misinterpretation or misconceptions stand. And it's just exhausting to have people be snotty to you sometimes when you were just trying to be helpful.

 

I'm good on books and in a good groove as far as what works well for us here, thanks. And anyway, picking some good books from a list and reading them is certainly not all there is to having a successful homeschool. You know that, of course.

 

That is the point here, for many, I think. It is not just about picking and reading good books. There is more art to it. And people need help with that, some mentorship, some examples. All I meant by my post is that I love (love, love, LOVE, as in my favorite thing is) to listen to posters talk about their kids, their families, and what works well for their particular circumstances. If you hear enough of that—enough stories of how people are working with what they've got to produce some magic—it is inspirational. It helps you to see nuance and how you might look at what you've got differently, specifically looking at strengths/weaknesses within you, your kids, your family to produce your own magic. I know the more stories I hear like that, the more free I feel, the better I get—not more like other people, more true to myself. There are posters I always make sure to read here (have been seeking out and reading their posts for years) specifically because they do what works for them. I don't do what works for them, of course. But reading about it is like a breath of fresh air, helping me to realize the potential of breaking away.

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If I could pick 1 resource that simplified everything for me it would be Simply Charlotte Mason.  I don't use everything she suggests, and I don't do it exactly the way she lays it out.  But her blog posts on the specific subjects have been really helpful to me.  And her curriculum guide gives me just enough structure with the flexibility to make it fit our family.  She is all about simplicity (hence the name) and streamlining and making things work in a big family setting.  I use her thoughts and guide as a jumping off point and then add or tweak according to our family's needs and desires.  

 

The CiRCE thread, for me, gave me peace about what we were already doing.  So specifically, I would say that I use parts from SCM, TWTM and HOD.  SCM is my framework.  TWTM adds a few details.  HOD gives me an idea of possible assignments.  I'm really not that creative. :)  I pull book ideas from all 3, and I feel confidence that school in our family doesn't have to look like anyone else's family.  That's the short version anyway. :)

 

eta: AND, the whole conversation helped me solidify NOT to do Latin.  It was the CiRCE principles that gave me the confidence to make that choice for our family.

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I was speaking in general terms, not of you or anyone else specifically. I also feel no need to defend my choices to anyone, but I have posted in threads and been grossly misunderstood, which I find frustrating to the point that I find myself holding back many times now. It's not that I need to defend myself, more that I do not like to let misinterpretation or misconceptions stand. And it's just exhausting to have people be snotty to you sometimes when you were just trying to be helpful.

 

I'm good on books and in a good groove as far as what works well for us here, thanks. And anyway, picking some good books from a list and reading them is certainly not all there is to having a successful homeschool. You know that, of course.

 

That is the point here, for many, I think. It is not just about picking and reading good books. There is more art to it. And people need help with that, some mentorship, some examples. All I meant by my post is that I love (love, love, LOVE, as in my favorite thing is) to listen to posters talk about their kids, their families, and what works well for their particular circumstances. If you hear enough of that—enough stories of how people are working with what they've got to produce some magic—it is inspirational. It helps you to see nuance and how you might look at what you've got differently, specifically looking at strengths/weaknesses within you, your kids, your family to produce your own magic. I know the more stories I hear like that, the more free I feel, the better I get—not more like other people, more true to myself. There are posters I always make sure to read here (have been seeking out and reading their posts for years) specifically because they do what works for them. I don't do what works for them, of course. But reading about it is like a breath of fresh air, helping me to realize the potential of breaking away.

 

Exactly.  and the more stories and examples that I hear, the more I realize that there are a million different ways to do it.  And that brings me peace that we will be just fine.  More stories actually give me a better sense of teaching from a state of rest.

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So KeriJ, you see the Simply Charlotte Mason ideas as able to work with the ages of your kids?  I think that is where I struggle.  To be able to teach multiple ages, etc. Does SCM talk about more than one kid and how that would look? 

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Also, I just wanted to add that the work (guides, schedules, Book Notes, etc.) I create for my daughters also becomes work that I share on my blog (A Mind in the Light). I've written guides and Book Notes for many books and they all can be freely downloaded and printed. I've offered them to share with anyone who would like to use them or even to use parts of them. These will give you a lot of detail as to how and in what way I strive to do this. I should emphasize the word strive,(:)) because, as we all know, life is messy and never exactly what we want it to be. I just keep striving to do my best to help us achieve as much as we can as best as we can.

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I read the Latin-Centered Curriculum, and it helped me pare down what I was doing so that we focused on doing a few things well, instead of skimming the surface of a multitude of subjects.  My important subjects are Latin (MP products), Grammar (R&S), math (use what works for each child), spelling (use whatever works for as long as needed), writing (use whatever works, the goal is to have a competent communicator), and literature.  Those are done daily.  Literature comes from selections recommended in LCC and other places, and discussions are done according to the audio "Teaching Literature Without Killing the Book or Student" (here, under 2012 conference).  Science is interest-led, using whatever the student likes, done several times a week (my kids usually read a book on a scientific topic daily, though).  For history I like SOTW for early elementary, then follow the MP progression through 6th grade (reading and discussing is the important part, not the workbooks).  MP keeps history to only once or twice a week, which I like.  After that my plan is to use Kfamily's Book Notes for the Dorothy Mills books, since she has similar goals to mine.  We are a musical family, so instrument lessons and choir are not a part of school, but a part of life.

 

My older two kids have planners, and my oldest even has scheduled weekly discussion times with me, so they start their independent work in the morning while I teach the youngest.  We have always homeschooled, so they know that after breakfast and chores comes schoolwork.

 

I don't read aloud much.  We don't memorize much (unless the words to all the songs and dialogue in Frozen count :blush: ).  We all enjoy reading, though, and at any time outside of school hours at least one of my kids are curled up somewhere with a book.  And the kids probably spend 2-4 hours a day outdoors (yes, they even splash around in muddy ditches :tongue_smilie: ).

 

  

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I will add more later but what to explain the phonics related portion of what I teach since I have 20 years of experience in that area and I can write out it quickly.

 

First: children are not bread!! The goal is the same but was approached differently with each child, the goal is to get them to reading at a 12th grade level and able to read on their own as soon as possible so they can read anything. Also, when they were young I worked with both of them from the white board.

 

My daughter could blend at 3 1/2 and wanted to learn to read, I did gently phonics games and 5 minutes at a time from some of my phonics books with larger print like Alphhonics and Phonics Pathways when she requested it. Then, words on the white board from some of my phonics books with smaller print. When she was K age, I started formal lessons of Webster's Speller with her, 5 to 10 minutes a day, reading about 20 words for every one I had her spell because she liked reading better than spelling. She finished by the end of K and could read anything, although she needed occasional pronunciation help with larger words for the next few years. I also reviewed phonics and spelling with her for the next few years during the first week of school.

 

My son could blend at age 5, I have his Webster Speller lessons in K in a thread here somewhere. I did a lot more spelling than reading with him because he likes spelling better than reading, and it teaches the phonics to a higher level to be able to spell and read the words than to just read them. The 2 syllable words became too hard for him quickly and he needed to have more repetition of the basics, so I switched to other programs, but still from the white board and more spelling than reading. He would guess at sentences until the beginning of 2nd grade, so I used only words and word lists until that time. At the end of second grade, I added in the old Open Court readers, their stories are a lovely collection of fairy tales and folk tales and are well written. By the end of first grade, he could read directly out of the phonics books. My daughter did not need readers because she could read good quality books on her own, so I did not use them with her. He has cycled through a few phonics programs and the 2 syllable words in Webster and is now reading above grade level but still needs a bit of phonics work. We will also keep working through the readers because he loves the stories.

 

So, with my daughter it was all efficiency, short lessons, media that worked for her age, them she went on to read quality books in her area of interest.

 

With my son, the actual phonics lessons are as short and efficient as possible but I also added in some quality readers for practice because he was not yet able to read anything on his own and most early readers are poorly written and uninteresting.

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My issue with the bread analogy is this: when I follow your instructions exactly and my bread comes out poorly, then what? What if my idea of a perfect loaf differs from yours? Do I find another recipe and try that, hoping for perfection? Or do I simply play with the recipe that looks best to me, tweaking and manipulating it, until I find MY perfect loaf? I have been around the block with homeschooling. I am finishing up my 13th year. I have five children. I have homeschooled in three different states. My philosophy has been molded and shaped and perfected and changed steadily over the years. I have learned the hard way that the philosophy and practical application that works beautifully for someone else will not work here, and vice-versa. 

 

 

 

Which was *precisely* my point. There are so many variables it's all of no use to tell you how to do it. 

 

I can give you a list of books but it's of no use because it's how we use those books that is what the CiRCE thread was about. 

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I was speaking in general terms, not of you or anyone else specifically. I also feel no need to defend my choices to anyone, but I have posted in threads and been grossly misunderstood, which I find frustrating to the point that I find myself holding back many times now. It's not that I need to defend myself, more that I do not like to let misinterpretation or misconceptions stand. And it's just exhausting to have people be snotty to you sometimes when you were just trying to be helpful.

 

I'm good on books and in a good groove as far as what works well for us here, thanks. And anyway, picking some good books from a list and reading them is certainly not all there is to having a successful homeschool. You know that, of course.

 

That is the point here, for many, I think. It is not just about picking and reading good books. There is more art to it. And people need help with that, some mentorship, some examples. All I meant by my post is that I love (love, love, LOVE, as in my favorite thing is) to listen to posters talk about their kids, their families, and what works well for their particular circumstances. If you hear enough of that—enough stories of how people are working with what they've got to produce some magic—it is inspirational. It helps you to see nuance and how you might look at what you've got differently, specifically looking at strengths/weaknesses within you, your kids, your family to produce your own magic. I know the more stories I hear like that, the more free I feel, the better I get—not more like other people, more true to myself. There are posters I always make sure to read here (have been seeking out and reading their posts for years) specifically because they do what works for them. I don't do what works for them, of course. But reading about it is like a breath of fresh air, helping me to realize the potential of breaking away.

 

I understand, truly, I do,  but did 8 come on one day and just write all of it out? No, it's taken her years of writing it all out here. You can't give a prescription for an art, which is the bread analogy, not that CHILDREN are bread, but teaching is. 

 

When we get pressed for more, and more is when we get upset because we can't hand it over in a present. Find the threads. We will still be here. Ask *precise* questions. 

 

What you are sometimes asking is what we do organically, without realizing it and figuring out how to communicate something that we've never even thought about as a process is hard. 

 

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Tibbie, your post is lovely, thank you!

Justamouse, loud singing is encouraged here too! :)

 

The Circe threads, both the big 2012 one and the recent one, have helped me to regain a vision for what home education is all about. Restoration of balance. Renewed sense of purpose with greater clarity and depth than before. No change in curriculum at all. Small changes in schedule. Large changes in my attitude and everyday thought patterns and priorities.

 

In the last year or so somehow I lost the big picture and my heart and mind were not in a good place. Definitely not teaching from a place of rest! The tyranny of the checklist was ruining our days. The Circe threads are helping me and my kids to recover the joy and the sense of wholeness that characterized our first few years of homeschooling.

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Also, I think what Tibbie said about educating the person and nurturing the heart is at the heart of it but how do you quantify it? How do you divide the line between parenting and schooling, it is so blurred as home educator. 

 

I believe (nearly) every parent has those aims in mind with their children but how does that play out in day to day life? Is it the focus? I spend a lot of time thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of my children and myself. What a blessing we have as hs mothers to have the time and ability to put such focus on these things.

 

Fwiw AVA I think you already have the spirit of Circe in your hs already, at least from what I've read of your descriptions. I think a lot of what us younger moms need is just more time, time to educate, grow and mature, just as our children need. 

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