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LAmom

Anyone give up on the Classical Style of homeschooling?

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"Teaching from a state of rest....sounds so nice but it is not happening here. Here, do English, do math, do reading...bare minimum basics and that is school. No joy, no love of learning. What's the point of me trying to find the "best" curriculum and keep them home so I can be their role model, if I'm just failing. I have the house in order. The kids and I just struggle with school!"

 

 

Stop trying to strive for the bolded right now and just strive for basic educational requirements for each child. It doesn't have to be fun, it doesn't have to thrill them or create some epiphany of how great learning something new is right now.  It just needs to get done so that you and your children can move onto things that do bring you joy - baking, crafting, traveling, gardening, games, shopping, worship, community service, couponing, bird watching, watching the grass grow...whatever.  It sounds to me like you've allowed your homeschooling to become a master in your life. Don't be a slave to it...you are a mom first and foremost and your children need their mom far more than they need a teacher. It's not going to hurt ANY of your children to just do basics for awhile so you can all reconnect and find the joy in each other again. 

 

Also, stop trying to find the best...it doesn't exist. The best for YOU is the one that your children will do fairly willingly and the one that you feel comfortable with. Keep it simple.  As I mentioned in my pp, the simple, get it done programs are more effective for my children than the super rigorous, teacher intensive ones were because they are s.i.m.p.l.e and my kids can do quick, effective lessons without me having to stand on my head to teach the lesson. If a lesson last longer than 20 minutes for my younger dc they don't retain a thing. And as I said above, just focus on basics for awhile...maybe until after Christmas and then slowly add in an easy open and go history for those that want it (maybe even get the SOTW audios and just let them listen and illustrate - the older could just write a summary), then a science if you feel you can fit it in (check into Aha! Science - it's $15 for the year), and so on. Remember not to let the programs control you though. As your children learn how to do school in a relaxed, no pressure way they will possibly find that love for learning everyone strives for, but if they don't please don't feel that it is a failure on your part.  Some children are not academics and will never love learning about x, y, or z. They may however learn that they love something else that's not academic if you have the time and patience to help them find it. :)

 

Everyone's homeschooling reasons are different but my family doesn't homeschool strictly for academic reasons, in fact that isn't even number two on my list.  I truly believe that academics are not THE most important thing in any children's lives. In fact, the longer I do this the more I realize that in the elementary stage it is pretty far down there on the list.  Middle school it bumps up a bit, and then high school even more so, but still academics do not take up the majority of our lives.  I have goals I want my dc to reach by the end of 5th or 6th, different goals to reach by the end of 8th or 9th and then a final set of goals for the end of 12th (and these goals are completely different based on each child).  I do not set yearly goals anymore...it's too stressful. Setting longer term goals has helped me to see where our focus needs to be and helped me realize that even with taking a relaxed approach we will easily meet these goals.  Honestly, now that I've taught all grades up through 10th - some of them several times - I know what we need to spend time on and what can be put off until they are older so that the material or skills can be learned so much faster. What a child struggles with or has no attention for in 2nd grade will be picked up in a fraction of the time in 4th grade.  Why struggle, push and prod?  For example - we do science and history in the lower grades now ONLY because my dc enjoy them, we can fit them in easily (because we alternate them and only do them for a short amount of time), and my dc do them willingly.  If for any reason it didn't work I wouldn't bat an eye about putting them aside until high school where they are a requirement and where they are going to start from square one anyway. 

 

I hope some of this helps you. I can hear the desperation in your voice and I recognize it. It can get better...you just need to let go of your pre-concieved ideas of what your homeschool is supposed to look like and structure it around the way that it needs to be for your family. 

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No joy, no love of learning.

 

… Stop trying to strive for the bolded right now and just strive for basic educational requirements for each child. It doesn't have to be fun, it doesn't have to thrill them or create some epiphany of how great learning something new is right now.  It just needs to get done so that you and your children can move onto things that do bring you joy ...

 

...It sounds to me like you've allowed your homeschooling to become a master in your life. Don't be a slave to it...you are a mom first and foremost and your children need their mom far more than they need a teacher. It's not going to hurt ANY of your children to just do basics for awhile so you can all reconnect and find the joy in each other again. 

 

...Also, stop trying to find the best...it doesn't exist. The best for YOU is the one that your children will do fairly willingly and the one that you feel comfortable with. Keep it simple...

 

...Everyone's homeschooling reasons are different but my family doesn't homeschool strictly for academic reasons…  I truly believe that academics are not THE most important thing in any children's lives….

 

...Setting longer term goals has helped me to see where our focus needs to be and helped me realize that even with taking a relaxed approach we will easily meet these goals.

 

Wonderful, sound, REALISTIC approach and overview! Thanks for sharing this! :)

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I've never given it up. I have adapted it and streamlined it, though. I've made it fit our family and our needs, but no, I love it too much to give it up. 

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I know we would still have the same struggles with math, English, getting those basics done.  [snip]

 

Maybe I am trying too hard to make science and history work as a family but really can't figure it out. 

 

Any suggestions?  

 

:grouphug: Could you find a way to simplify History and Science (and all the "extras") for a while?

 

Some ideas for History:

  • Listen to SOTW, Great Hall, Your Story Hour, Diana Waring, MOH, or other history-related audiobooks.
  • Watch Liberty's Kids or other history-related videos.
  • Stock a bookshelf or basket with history-related books, and assign "History Bookshelf" for 10-20 minutes a few times a week. Just let them read and spend time in the history books.
  • Eliminate all paper crafts, pockets, projects, notebooks, and time-consuming aspects to history study.

Some ideas for Science:

  • Listen to Lyrical Science, Flying Creatures, or other science-related CDs or audiobooks.
  • Watch science-related videos or subscribe to The Happy Scientist. Let your older students take charge of what they learn from these resources.
  • Stock a bookshelf or basket with science-related books, and assign "Science Center" for 10-20 minutes a few times a week. Just let them read and spend time in the science books.
  • Eliminate all paper crafts, pockets, projects, notebooks, and time-consuming aspects to science study.

We're keeping History on the lighter side this year for 2nd, 2nd, and 4th. They're going to simply read from the History Bookshelf and write a short weekly report on their chosen topic/resource (30x). Reports will be filed in a notebook. Same for Science -- choose an activity, resource, or topic; read or do it; write a report on what you read or did; file it.

 

Instead of a Big Mega-History or Super Huge Science "package," we're focusing on (1) The Basics, (2) Outside Activities (choir, grandparents, church midweek), (3) Physical Fitness/Health/Medical, and (4) simple Science.

 

Up to a point, we can cut back in order to keep going. I have to do this, because I want the year to feel less "full," but I don't want to entirely unschool. I think if I focus most of my teaching energy on Math, Grammar, Latin/Roots, Writing, and Literature Book Club (as a group), this will give the best return-on-investment. They can handle their own exposure to content -- "Go do your Science work" or "Go do your History work" -- and decide what to investigate and report on. They can handle their own practice of some basic skills -- math facts, spelling, instrument practice, choir homework (mostly), memory work (mostly). They all have chores to do.

 

There's enough to fill up a day, without all that pressure to do a teacher-managed Big History or Big Science. Can you let that go for a year, and just put the resources out in a way that invites your children to engage with those resources (while not destroying them)? I realize you have to toddler-proof things! :)

 

I think there are times when a full plate is a good thing, but every day doesn't have to be an all-you-can-eat buffet. Not even for a homeschooled child.

 

 

 

 

 

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I should add, my frustration right now is trying to add more for my 6th grader, who can handle it and loves reading/history/art, etc., while trying to give some to the youngers. My 4th grader needs history, too, but doesn't remember anything I read to him nor is he interested. I thought TOG would help this balance, and it just might if we didn't peter out by the time it was history time. Could I start with history and get them motivated?

Well, I have a lot to think about. Maybe I should look into CC Challenge for my older dd for next year. I know the boards are mixed but she may get more than I can give.

Thanks for listening.

I am taking notes myself so not coming with the years of wisdom that others have!

 

It is hard to tell your DD's age since your siggy says 10 but I thought I saw you post elsewhere that she is 11. I just wanted to make sure you are aware that CC will not allow students under 12 to enroll (regardless of grade level/acceleration).

 

We are doing TOG for the first time this year, and I feel a little overwhelmed myself. If you love the idea of TOG, see what you can do to make it still work, including paring it down (just lit and history, primary but not in-depth)- you and I both are probably trying to do too much. Also, if you are trying to do Dialectic with your DD, consider bumping back to UG while you both acclimatize to the program. That should give you more overlap with students in the same level/books? My DD could do the Dialectic level, academically/cognitively but not necessarily with the independence it is intended to cultivate, so we are starting with UG and will transition to D.....Whenever.... ;)

 

IDK if that's helpful but thought I'd share...

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I dont know if you are still following this post but I have gone back and forth between CM and Classical.  So, instead of kicking myself every time I'm not fitting in the classical box, I have had to -stop- and evaluate my goals for my kids.  My husband thinks I'm crazy, but I have spent a lot of time researching books, books, and more books.  I just come back to the understanding that it's okay to do what I need to do.  Use what works, even if that means that it steps away from what I think is more academic.  I have found for our family that using a mix of CM & classical works best for us (more leaning on the CM side of the spectrum) simply because if I move more over to the classical side of the fence I get overwhelmed.  In my opinion, CM is an excellent middle of the road for us.  I despise boxed curriculum because A. it's expensive and B. there is no freedom.  I found amblesideonline.com and simplycharlottemason.com which seriously simplified, explained and put together excellent book lists for me.  I am very excited about the quality of literature that they both suggest, the ease of use (especially for multiple ages) and affordability.  I even found yesterdaysclassics.com ebooks which can be used for any type of homeschool family that desires excellent literature that has stood the test of time.  

I suggest finding a different co-op other than CC.  CC can be a huge help (my sister loves it), but it can also be too demanding of your kids if the classical approach does not click with them as an individual.  Again, for me it's a freedom thing and I like my freedom.  My co-op goes term to term so if we dont want to participate because we need a break, we can and we dont feel that we have been left behind.  CC does not allow for breaks like that.  

With that said SCM has a great curriculum planner on the website that can be a great help in helping you schedule your day especially if you have more than one child.

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Also, stop trying to find the best...it doesn't exist. The best for YOU is the one that your children will do fairly willingly and the one that you feel comfortable with. Keep it simple.

I found that this thread came up again and l like this quote because it is so true. I have been so frustrated this year because of having to give up the four year history cycle with my boys because it became so teacher intensive for me. I had taken History Odyssey and tweaked it and it was a really good program. Interesting. Lots of biographies, primary sources, in-depth stuff. It was good. But the boys hated it. Because it was a lot of work for them. Timelines and maps, etc. And I had other kids to teach. So, we did just what TWTM said not to do.... Bought a text book. And I wouldn't say they are overly thrilled, but they do it. And finally, it just has to be ok. Because what else can it be? They're learning history.

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*shrug*

I liked the majority of my history and science textbooks.  

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Maybe you should consider using a couple of technological "teaching assistants." You can get a couple of educational apps and everyone gets a set amount of time (maybe in proportion to their age). I have a couple of math fact practice games on my iphone for my son (Math Ninja and Zeus vs the Monsters). He plays 10 minutes on the skill I tell him to (add, subtract, etc...) while I read a story to my littles and then get out an activity for them to play (playdoh, blocks, cars, or legos). This eliminates one math worksheet and he gets a good warm up for the day and never complains. When my toddler goes down for a nap, I make sure my preschooler has gone potty and has had a snack. She then plays a phonics app on my Kindle by 22Learn. I'll eventually let her try out Starfall.com on the computer when she's a little older. This is when I teach my son his math lesson. If my preschooler tries to interrupt with something other than an emergency, I hold up a hand and say "this is C's turn, your turn will be next. You can play your game or play with your toys." When she interrupts again, I say the exact same sentence with no variation. I call it the broken record method. It took about a week or heavy interrupting while she tried to break me down but she gets it now. She usually only interrupts once then is off to play.

 

We have a system for who gets their educational screen time and when. I also have a plan on what I will be teaching to the others during the other's screen time. I also don't let the TV or DS get turned on unless it is 30 minutes before lunch or an hour before dinner so I can use sharp knives and hot stoves without being bombarded by kids.

 

I turn on classical music during handwriting and math worksheet time, which are our roughest parts of the day. Oddly, it keeps my son's mind from wandering once he finally settles down. My younger kids can draw or practice letters during this time if they want to be in the dining room. Otherwise, they can "help" with laundry or unloading the silverware from the dishwasher or continue playing.

 

I also take a break from one or two language arts subjets each month or so. The world won't fall apart if I don't do spelling and grammar and a formal writing curriculum and vocabulary and handwriting each and every month. 

 

I do try and include something interesting from history, science, and/or literature each day. Education is boring if it's only the basics.

 

Lots of outside breaks are important for us. We do science outside when the weather is nice too so when the experiment is done the littles can wander off and play while the rest of us do the writing part of the lesson.

 

This isn't a perfect set up. I still get interrupted. There are still accidents. The house is still a mess. Life happens. But I get a little time to focus on each kid and progress a little every day.

 

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Hugs. You've got lots of great advice, and there are definitely many ways to do this! 

 

I've got the same family a year younger, so I hear you. 

 

I've done the opposite of what many others suggest--I combine like mad and really focus on the basics. But everyone finds something different that works.

 

So we read together in the am (bible then read aloud). I tend to do books out of the Arrow. I'll read aloud, someone will narrate, and then we'll talk about the book, or literary tools, and such. I'll get my 6 year old to narrate a bit, then discuss with the 8 and 10 year old, but bring the 10 year old into a bit more depth. We're doing House at Pooh Corner now, which everyone enjoys, but I'm doing Call it Courage next, and I may let the 6 year old run away for that one, and read him something more age appropriate later. 

 

My littles tend to hang out while we do school. I have toys and drawing stuff in the school room, and my older kids will play with the 4 year old when they aren't doing school. It's sometimes noisy and distracting (and I'm afraid the baby may swallow an eraser) but it works.

 

History and poetry get done at afternoon snack, same way. And not all the time. 

Science we do nature study when outdoors and chat about things scientific. Bring home beautiful library books. 

 

Then, for "seat work" I try to have a set of priorities for each kid-so for my 10 year old, I'm working on math and Latin this year, so those are my focus. He melted down with his grammar today, and I was busy-no problem. We'll fix it tomorrow. My 8 year old is having academic challenges right now, so she gets the bulk of my time most mornings. That will change again, but she needs my time now. I was planning to start formal grammar with her, but other things are more important. Next year. We'll work on it informally now. My 6 year old is way ahead in math, so we're focussed on reading. The math gets done, but if something has to give, I cut a sheet or two. They whine, and I remind them that they can do school with me for an hour or two (we only count seat work) or go their old public school for 6. And get up early. In the snow.....:-}

 

I guess my philosophy is if you can't do everything (and none of us can) figure out what's most important and really, really do that.

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