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Go to the link 'Teacher's Notes' up thread. I have no idea what SWB's take on this is, and I am guessing no one feels comfortable sharing. I still haven't had that question answered despite having asked several times. Regardless, the Teacher's Notes link provided all the information I needed. May help you as well.

 

I googled SWB and OIS.  I didn't find what she had to say very coherent or convincing - it seemed to amount largely to it not being world history and not having a wholly modern attitude to things, though that wasn't really defined.  It seemed like "we prefer our own cultural blinkers and myths to those of 1900." 

 

 

I don't know why people think OIS is meant to be used as a world history spine.  It isn't - it is British and especially English history - which makes sense for North Americans and is a good place to hand more European and North American history, either at the same time or later.

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I really feel the need to say something more about the objections to this, especially with regard to including things like Brutus as historical visitors to the island, or interweaving myth.

 

1) All history includes a mythic omponent - just by looking at how it is structured, we can say things about how the people writing it think about themseslves, what they are studying, and the world.  This idea that we have that we can somehow just present the "facts" and that, barring some errors, they will tell the truth, represents a kind of commentary about reality and how we see our place in it to.. 

 

That view is one that CM rejected pretty explicitly, and I think a lot of people choose to homeschool because of the result they see of that in schools.  CM tells us that it is only within a narrative, be it one we construct or the narrative of nature, that facts have meaning, and that for the younger students it is very important to always keep "facts" within context.  Without context, not only are they meaningless, we are unable to evaluate them even with regards to their factuality.

 

2) I think we should remember too what Aristotle tells us - poetry is more true, and a better communicator of truth, than history is - because it is a distillation of the patterns of reality.  Myth is a kind of cultural poetry.  You will not understand a people without reference to their myths, and especially their myths about themselves. 

 

THis reminds me very much of a class I took in university, about Augustine's book, City of God.  Part of the book is a criticism of Rome, on its own terms.  In order to look at that more closely - we did not study Roman history.  We studied the Aeneid. - which tells us how Rome understood herself.  This interestingly comes right back to the question of Brutus appearance in the history of England - why is he there?  the answer, I think, is very closely linked to the question - why does this Roman myth have a Trojan prince as the founder of Rome?  They are questions not only of history, but the meaning given to it.

 

OIS is such a British book - it would be hard to come away from it without a sense of what it is like to be English.  The Romans didn't just beat Boadicea herself, they were very rude to her daughters.  Oh dear. 

 

3) I think we need to think really carefully about what we are expecting from the historical studies of Form 1 and even Form 2 students.  It is not some sort of critical historical method.  We are asking them to absorb a narrative, and we hope to remember some good portion of it.  We hope they will get a sense of the ambiance of the people and places they study.  We hope they will love history, and that it will give them a sense of structure for later historical studies. 

 

4) Arising from this - many historians, and other people like C.S. Lewis, have said how OIS inspired a love of history, or even inspired them to become historians.  Somehow, it did not stop them from realizing that probably Brutus the Trojan never came to England, or absorbing the details of how serious historians undertake historical research - on the contrary, it inspired them to dedicate their lives to learning and finding meaning in history.  IHow, I wonder, does this contradict the goals of educating our children or show this approach as ineffective?

 

 

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I really feel the need to say something more about the objections to this, especially with regard to including things like Brutus as historical visitors to the island, or interweaving myth.

 

1) All history includes a mythic omponent - just by looking at how it is structured, we can say things about how the people writing it think about themseslves, what they are studying, and the world. This idea that we have that we can somehow just present the "facts" and that, barring some errors, they will tell the truth, represents a kind of commentary about reality and how we see our place in it to..

 

That view is one that CM rejected pretty explicitly, and I think a lot of people choose to homeschool because of the result they see of that in schools. CM tells us that it is only within a narrative, be it one we construct or the narrative of nature, that facts have meaning, and that for the younger students it is very important to always keep "facts" within context. Without context, not only are they meaningless, we are unable to evaluate them even with regards to their factuality.

 

2) I think we should remember too what Aristotle tells us - poetry is more true, and a better communicator of truth, than history is - because it is a distillation of the patterns of reality. Myth is a kind of cultural poetry. You will not understand a people without reference to their myths, and especially their myths about themselves.

 

THis reminds me very much of a class I took in university, about Augustine's book, City of God. Part of the book is a criticism of Rome, on its own terms. In order to look at that more closely - we did not study Roman history. We studied the Aeneid. - which tells us how Rome understood herself. This interestingly comes right back to the question of Brutus appearance in the history of England - why is he there? the answer, I think, is very closely linked to the question - why does this Roman myth have a Trojan prince as the founder of Rome? They are questions not only of history, but the meaning given to it.

 

OIS is such a British book - it would be hard to come away from it without a sense of what it is like to be English. The Romans didn't just beat Boadicea herself, they were very rude to her daughters. Oh dear.

 

3) I think we need to think really carefully about what we are expecting from the historical studies of Form 1 and even Form 2 students. It is not some sort of critical historical method. We are asking them to absorb a narrative, and we hope to remember some good portion of it. We hope they will get a sense of the ambiance of the people and places they study. We hope they will love history, and that it will give them a sense of structure for later historical studies.

 

4) Arising from this - many historians, and other people like C.S. Lewis, have said how OIS inspired a love of history, or even inspired them to become historians. Somehow, it did not stop them from realizing that probably Brutus the Trojan never came to England, or absorbing the details of how serious historians undertake historical research - on the contrary, it inspired them to dedicate their lives to learning and finding meaning in history. IHow, I wonder, does this contradict the goals of educating our children or show this approach as ineffective?

Beautifully said. I agree.

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Interestingly, OIS is not one I hear a lot of people having issues with. I have, however, heard complaints about This Country of Ours, namely the references to native americans and other culturally sensitive issues. Is it wise to choose a book in which the parents will have to do some editing to make it acceptable? 

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Interestingly, OIS is not one I hear a lot of people having issues with. I have, however, heard complaints about This Country of Ours, namely the references to native americans and other culturally sensitive issues. Is it wise to choose a book in which the parents will have to do some editing to make it acceptable? 

 

I think the problem in this case is simply with finding a good alternative for American history that is in narrative form and is well written.  So the option seems to be to accept something less well written, not in narrative form, or to edit the text.  It is a lot easier for many people to cut out some text than it is to elevate the language throughout the whole book, or create a narrative where none exists.

 

Now, if some parent wanted to write a book to cover the gap, that would probably be the ideal solution.

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I have not had a chance to look at this book much, but I found this at a book sale last summer:  http://www.amazon.com/America-History-Peter-Gerald-Johnson/dp/B002BSIYOI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1434406904&sr=8-2&keywords=america+is+born+a+history+for+peter

 

Please don't kill me if this is a horrible book.  :)  I actually think there are a few in this series.

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I have not had a chance to look at this book much, but I found this at a book sale last summer:  http://www.amazon.com/America-History-Peter-Gerald-Johnson/dp/B002BSIYOI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1434406904&sr=8-2&keywords=america+is+born+a+history+for+peter

 

Please don't kill me if this is a horrible book.   :)  I actually think there are a few in this series.

This book series is mentioned on the AO site...

 

Just throwing that info out there.  I don't have an opinion on the book, since I've never laid eyes on it. 

 

I have no problem with you loving or hating the book.  Your family, your homeschool. ;) 

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Interestingly, OIS is not one I hear a lot of people having issues with. I have, however, heard complaints about This Country of Ours, namely the references to native americans and other culturally sensitive issues. Is it wise to choose a book in which the parents will have to do some editing to make it acceptable?

I think that is something each parent has to decide individually. For some it is fine, for others not. I am fine with it for the reasons given a few posts before, and also because of the explanation provided in the Teacher's Notes link.

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I think that is something each parent has to decide individually. For some it is fine, for others not. I am fine with it for the reasons given a few posts before, and also because of the explanation provided in the Teacher's Notes link.

 

Personally I have a problem with "history" books that portray Native Americans as murderous drunken savages and blacks as niggers. I guess some are fine with it.

 

Bill

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Personally I have a problem with "history" books that portray Native Americans as murderous drunken savages and blacks as niggers. I guess some are fine with it.

 

Bill

I have yet to find a history text I am comfortable with in its entirety. As an example, I have never read a text which gave- in my opinion- adequate coverage of the horrid injustices suffered by the native population ( for decades. )Other topics that I find I must cover outside of a text would include the dust bowl, factory conditions, women 's lib, the depression, the civil rights movement, the Khmer Rouge. It seems hard to capture the human experience in a text. I seem to need photos , primary source docents, video footage. A text is simply a starting point.

 

Oh- Bill- did you have that list of inaccuracies from OIS?

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Every history book has bias, bigotry, and quite frankly mis-truths.  History cannot help but be wrong at some detail. Fantasy is more true than history b/c fantasy never pretends to be real.  Fantasy and mythology portray an image, were meant to portray an image, and so fantasy and mythology are actually better trusted as friends.

 

When we think we've got history right, hubris comes in for the kill.

 

 

 

 

Personally I have a problem with "history" books that portray Native Americans as murderous drunken savages and blacks as niggers. I guess some are fine with it.

 

Bill

 

 

Part of learning to be a historian is to learn how to read a book with the author and their bias in mind.  I'd rather my children know how to react to the word "savage" in a history book than to accept modern-day-politically-correct savagery without *THINKING* about the author, the bias, the context, the time, the place, and the image that the author wishes to portray. (History as mythology, indeed!) 

 

Simply meeting the word "savage" says a lot, and it then cues the student on to view the ideas with a healthy amount of skepticism.  I expose my kids to all sorts of books because I wish to nurture their ability to think, process, question, and accept or reject ideas based upon the measure of their own moral compass.  It is the mark of an educated person to be able to read a book without accepting everything in it...to accept or reject ideas at will.

 

I will go so far to say that if you are NOT introducing your children to books that conflict with your own values, you are teaching them to comply with everything in print.  Those kids are the ones at risk for being the most bigoted, violent, and closed-minded people. They will simply aim their bigotry with the loudest voices of the times.

 

 

Teaching a child to swim upstream requires the child having practice in swimming upstream.

 

 

 

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Every history book has bias, bigotry, and quite frankly mis-truths.  History cannot help but be wrong at some detail. Fantasy is more true than history b/c fantasy never pretends to be real.  Fantasy and mythology portray an image, were meant to portray an image, and so fantasy and mythology are actually better trusted as friends.

 

When we think we've got history right, hubris comes in for the kill.

 

 

Part of learning to be a historian is to learn how to read a book with the author and their bias in mind.  I'd rather my children know how to react to the word "savage" in a history book than to accept modern-day-politically-correct savagery without *THINKING* about the author, the bias, the context, the time, the place, and the image that the author wishes to portray. (History as mythology, indeed!) 

 

Simply meeting the word "savage" says a lot, and it then cues the student on to view the ideas with a healthy amount of skepticism.  I expose my kids to all sorts of books because I wish to nurture their ability to think, process, question, and accept or reject ideas based upon the measure of their own moral compass.  It is the mark of an educated person to be able to read a book without accepting everything in it...to accept or reject ideas at will.

 

I will go so far to say that if you are NOT introducing your children to books that conflict with your own values, you are teaching them to comply with everything in print.  Those kids are the ones at risk for being the most bigoted, violent, and closed-minded people. They will simply aim their bigotry with the loudest voices of the times.

 

 

Teaching a child to swim upstream requires the child having practice in swimming upstream.

 

:iagree:

 

1000 times.

 

And to be a little frank, I think the reason parents sometimes don't clue into this is that they are quite happy for a child to simply comply with a given interpretation or worldview - just so long as it is the one the parent happens to hold.  That set of beliefs and assumptions is taken for granted as true and good and free of the bias and misunderstanding and evil of earlier, less civilized ages - we've progressed to a true and free understanding!

 

A true understanding of historical and scientific and other assumptions as always being up for internal criticism is not, in the end, what is really being taught, because that would actually be dangerous to the parental worldview. 

 

History as a discipline then has its greatest power - that is the ability to take us out of the parochial limitations of our own moment in time - neutered.  Score one for indoctrination and unthinking obedience.

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:iagree:

 

1000 times.

 

And to be a little frank, I think the reason parents sometimes don't clue into this is that they are quite happy for a child to simply comply with a given interpretation or worldview - just so long as it is the one the parent happens to hold.  That set of beliefs and assumptions is taken for granted as true and good and free of the bias and misunderstanding and evil of earlier, less civilized ages - we've progressed to a true and free understanding!

 

A true understanding of historical and scientific and other assumptions as always being up for internal criticism is not, in the end, what is really being taught, because that would actually be dangerous to the parental worldview. 

 

History as a discipline then has its greatest power - that is the ability to take us out of the parochial limitations of our own moment in time - neutered.  Score one for indoctrination and unthinking obedience.

 

 

Exactly!

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Marshall's US book is bigoted toward so many groups - blacks, Native Americans, Catholics... And it's inaccurate - not just historical interpretation inaccurate, but factually. I do not shield my kids from hearing other viewpoints. I am sympathetic to the fact that there isn't a great US history text for elementary schoolers that makes a lovely read aloud like SOTW. I tried to introduce my kids to the ideas in Bluegoat's post - history is a narrative, it's a changing narrative, interpretations change, etc. However, overall, they're kids. I don't expect them to hear something and be able to pick it apart and understand the layers of bigotry and hatred involved in what's being said. Instead, I'm sure they would internalize them. It's astounding to me that people keep defending using some of these vintage US history texts wholesale as spines. That's the overarching view you want your kids to read? Trying to engage an 8 yo into a discussion about the shifting interpretations of history is not going to mitigate that. 

 

To be fair, I don't know enough about OIS to say if it's offensive in the same way as Marshall's US book. All the reviews I've seen of it imply otherwise. I think using it would probably not be something I would speak stridently against the way I would for the US books.

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I understand that many have issues with using the books by H. E. Marshall. I've created an entire CM/Classical Curriculum which completely removed the offensive This Country of Ours. I've rearranged the books such that OIS is used only in the very early elementary years and books by Maestro, Foster and Boorsin are used in the upper elementary years for American/World history instead of TCOO. I've been able to eliminate the book without straying from history books which are narrative in style. My book notes for OIS include teaching notes and I also offer replacements for those who wish to use the curriculum who are Catholic and/or who wish to remove all use of Marshall's books. I'm also currently awaiting a new book that I've ordered to see if it will work as a replacement for OIS. The post that I've linked below discusses this and offers links for replacements.

 

 

http://www.amindinthelight.blogspot.com/search/label/H.%20E.%20Marshall

 

 

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Our Island Story is problematic if you don't know your English history well enough to be sure you are guiding your child toward a very firm grasp on myth v. truth. I think a reasonable approach for those who really love it would be to sprinkle a few chapters here and there to supplement a firm and factual spine.

 

This Country of Ours really means "Ours." Not the Mormon's country, nor the Catholic's country, nor the Native American's country, nor that of former or freed slaves or latter immigrants, but clearly the property of the early conquerors and encroachers. How that is appropriate for a child of 2015 I cannot fathom.

 

When we read books to our children, or assign books for school reading, we are saying, "Sit at the feet of this person and learn from them. I authorize this voice for your ears; I authorize this level of intellect, love, wisdom, and understanding for your consumption because I know that what you read shapes you for life."

 

If we want the lesson to be about bigotry, yellow journalism, racism, bias, or any other negative thing, when it comes to teaching children these concepts we must be extremely overt about it. Great big posters in the classroom. Culling out specific paragraphs and phrases and writing them on the board in order to deconstruct them for underlying meanings. Discussing through comparison and contrast the difference between biased and just reporting of historical events.

 

It does not happen casually!!! Eight-year-olds don't say, "Well, I've read Joy Hakim on The Battle of Wounded Knee, and I've read Marshall, and I thoroughly understand the differences in the accounts and why these two authors from two different times (and perspectives) presented the lesson to me in these ways." No. If you want your third grader to understand that, in the first place he's too young. He's not an abstract thinker yet, so no matter how you couch this he's going to hear "this author tells the truth, and this author is a liar," without much more nuance than that. In the second, when he is ready for this level of analysis, you will have to actively teach it.

 

So. Place factual material into the hands of grammar and logic stage students. Understand that lessons in justice are not secondary to the knowledge of the historical account -- you are not just preparing a child for Jeopardy's history categories but rather you are shaping a mortal soul. If he is to love truth and justice, you must model a love for truth and justice as his parent and as his teacher.

 

Begin to teach analysis in the latter end of the logic stage, but continue to keep facts foremost. Do not conduct daily lessons in confusion by drilling young children in lessons with which you do not agree.

 

 

 

 

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I'm not saying that discussions concerning bias never come up, or that they must be avoided, before the logic stage. If you've ever taken a child to a history museum or living history museum you've been forced to have these conversations already. If you've ever read historical fiction or watched a movie based on a historical event, you're having these conversations. That's appropriate and good. I'm just saying not to call their formal schoolwork truth when it's not. Don't set up lessons just to detect bias for children who are too young for that daily distraction, and who should be able to trust their history books that are provided by their parents and teachers.

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Marshall's US book is bigoted toward so many groups - blacks, Native Americans, Catholics... And it's inaccurate - not just historical interpretation inaccurate, but factually. I do not shield my kids from hearing other viewpoints. I am sympathetic to the fact that there isn't a great US history text for elementary schoolers that makes a lovely read aloud like SOTW. I tried to introduce my kids to the ideas in Bluegoat's post - history is a narrative, it's a changing narrative, interpretations change, etc. However, overall, they're kids. I don't expect them to hear something and be able to pick it apart and understand the layers of bigotry and hatred involved in what's being said. Instead, I'm sure they would internalize them. It's astounding to me that people keep defending using some of these vintage US history texts wholesale as spines. That's the overarching view you want your kids to read? Trying to engage an 8 yo into a discussion about the shifting interpretations of history is not going to mitigate that. 

 

To be fair, I don't know enough about OIS to say if it's offensive in the same way as Marshall's US book. All the reviews I've seen of it imply otherwise. I think using it would probably not be something I would speak stridently against the way I would for the US books.

 

I've never even looked at TCOO, so I don't have an opinion on whether it is salvageable - from what I have heard using it would mean actually cutting things out rather than just chalking it up to being an older text.  OIS is not, IMO, comparable at all to that kind of thing.

 

That being said, I don't think it is actually necessary to try and give elementary school kids an understanding of the nature of subjective narrative in an explicit way.  In fact, I think that they will not be able to get to a real understanding of that until they are in high school, at least, and really many adults never figure it out.

 

I think it is actually something that happens over time as children or adults are exposed to many different kinds of texts.  They read them, maybe they notice or are told that some things we now know were errors, or it comes out that the parent or child does not agree with a particular interpretation of events.  Soon enough they will come to take the step of realizing that no book has the final word on the facts.  In due time they will realize that the ideas the author has will affect their understanding of facts, and then eventually that a book their parent wrote, or they wrote themselves, would be just like the books written in the past.

 

Children IMO actually don't understand history, and probably don't have the mental maturity and ability to abstract, that will make them realize this when they start.  But it is like other subjects, it is building up layers and experiences over years.

 

I think actually this goes some way to explaining why history is treated just like stories in the very early years of CM, without too much emphasis on the difference between a story character or a historical character, or a made up story about a historical character.  We don't expect 7 year olds to understand all the chemical and physical processes behind photosynthesis, or really even to think about the fact that there are such processes. Their knowledge is really a kind of approximation.  Kids not understanding history fully is to be expected, so their understanding of that, even of the facts, is also in many ways going to be approximate.

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I've never even looked at TCOO, so I don't have an opinion on whether it is salvageable - from what I have heard using it would mean actually cutting things out rather than just chalking it up to being an older text.  OIS is not, IMO, comparable at all to that kind of thing.

 

That being said, I don't think it is actually necessary to try and give elementary school kids an understanding of the nature of subjective narrative in an explicit way.  In fact, I think that they will not be able to get to a real understanding of that until they are in high school, at least, and really many adults never figure it out.

 

I think it is actually something that happens over time as children or adults are exposed to many different kinds of texts.  They read them, maybe they notice or are told that some things we now know were errors, or it comes out that the parent or child does not agree with a particular interpretation of events.  Soon enough they will come to take the step of realizing that no book has the final word on the facts.  In due time they will realize that the ideas the author has will affect their understanding of facts, and then eventually that a book their parent wrote, or they wrote themselves, would be just like the books written in the past.

 

Children IMO actually don't understand history, and probably don't have the mental maturity and ability to abstract, that will make them realize this when they start.  But it is like other subjects, it is building up layers and experiences over years.

 

I think actually this goes some way to explaining why history is treated just like stories in the very early years of CM, without too much emphasis on the difference between a story character or a historical character, or a made up story about a historical character.  We don't expect 7 year olds to understand all the chemical and physical processes behind photosynthesis, or really even to think about the fact that there are such processes. Their knowledge is really a kind of approximation.  Kids not understanding history fully is to be expected, so their understanding of that, even of the facts, is also in many ways going to be approximate.

 

I understand and agree with what you're saying. On a basic level, I don't disagree.

 

Except that is exactly why racist narratives need to be avoided - because kids internalize those narratives. If stories are what make our viewpoints, that's all the more reason to avoid them. And saying that kids will eventually understand that the narrative of their parents and of their own perspective are all going to be shifting comes very close to complete moral relativism when you're talking about downplaying whether reading racist lies to kids is okay or not.

 

I'm not even totally sure what's being discussed here. I don't feel like I know OIS well enough to say so much about it, but when I saw This Country of Ours brought up, I felt like all of this talk of the importance of stories and so forth just boils down to an excuse to not facing up to racism and bias. And there is no excuse in this day and age for using that as a text.

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I understand and agree with what you're saying. On a basic level, I don't disagree.

 

Except that is exactly why racist narratives need to be avoided - because kids internalize those narratives. If stories are what make our viewpoints, that's all the more reason to avoid them. And saying that kids will eventually understand that the narrative of their parents and of their own perspective are all going to be shifting comes very close to complete moral relativism when you're talking about downplaying whether reading racist lies to kids is okay or not.

 

I'm not even totally sure what's being discussed here. I don't feel like I know OIS well enough to say so much about it, but when I saw This Country of Ours brought up, I felt like all of this talk of the importance of stories and so forth just boils down to an excuse to not facing up to racism and bias. And there is no excuse in this day and age for using that as a text.

 

I've never really heard of anyone using TCOO without heavy editing, so I guess to me just presenting it isn't even on the table.  I agree, sometimes that will be required, in particular for small children.  They can internalize it, although I don't know that always or even usually means they will take it on if it is alien to their family culture.  I think though it can be stressful for them and they aren't yet equipped for that emotionally.  I think by later elementary though, most could probably handle it if there were other good reasons to use the text. 

 

As far as I can see, it really is mostly a problem of finding a good narrative text.  I think my solution personally would not be to use a single American history text at all and instead go for various stories - maybe the text that SCM uses plus biographies and such - and not do a connected history until later.  I've done something similar with Canadian history, next year for grade 5 is the first year we are doing a connected, narrative, history. 

 

I don't think that realizing that all narrative have a subjective quality is going to lead to relativism.  Not unless the person also thinks there is no objective narrative, or we have no access to it.  Most people don't believe that, even people who think they do tend to have definite views when you really get down to it..

 

OIS is really more old fashioned than anything else, but I think it is actually quite self-conscious that its own patriotism is little different than that of every other person who loves his homeland.  In some ways it is quite amenable to modern sensibilities in that it says quite explicitly that the English people are made up of all kinds of people and ethnicity who originally were not English at all and were in fact bitter enemies - the bad guys in the story keep changing into the good guys..

 

 

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Unless the parent is editing? That's what I do and I feel comfortable with it. I would not just hand the text to a child to read. Sonlight sees some of SOTW as inaccurate, and some of the Hakim books as politically unbalanced, so they provide editing notes for parents. I guess I just assumed we all do this to some extent . I edit YEC science to reflect an old- earth view point, for example. It seems kids ultimately take the perspective of their family of origin despite what a school text may impart. Just kind of thinking out loud here.

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I'm sorry, but loading up a child's education with the worst sort of racist historical fiction and history texts that abound with "Christian" white supremacism as a way to raise well-thing young people is absolute folly.

 

 

 

 

Egads.

 

 

 

Bill

I am still hoping you will share a list of inaccuracies from the remainder of the OIS text.

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I've never really heard of anyone using TCOO without heavy editing, so I guess to me just presenting it isn't even on the table. 

 

Since it's still on the schedule for AO, at least the last I heard, I'm sure some people are using it in an unedited version or an insufficiently edited version (I'm not even sure that there could be a sufficiently edited version of this particular book). The thread that appalled me the worst by far about AO was one where a Catholic mother on this board reported that she had objected to some of the text and asked the AO people to respond. Their response, which she posted, was that they stood by the depiction of Catholics in TCOO. Previous to that thread, I had always thought of AO as being - not for me, but okay, even if the book choices were misguided, they were mostly chosen for a good reason - to provide a very inexpensive education accessible to all - and with the bias that comes in CM circles that older books are better. But they're not misguided. They're purposefully chosen to convey a certain view. A bigoted one.

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Since it's still on the schedule for AO, at least the last I heard, I'm sure some people are using it in an unedited version or an insufficiently edited version (I'm not even sure that there could be a sufficiently edited version of this particular book). The thread that appalled me the worst by far about AO was one where a Catholic mother on this board reported that she had objected to some of the text and asked the AO people to respond. Their response, which she posted, was that they stood by the depiction of Catholics in TCOO. Previous to that thread, I had always thought of AO as being - not for me, but okay, even if the book choices were misguided, they were mostly chosen for a good reason - to provide a very inexpensive education accessible to all - and with the bias that comes in CM circles that older books are better. But they're not misguided. They're purposefully chosen to convey a certain view. A bigoted one.

 

Well, AO does include books that they know will be used partially and edited for use, so I don't think including it means they think everything in it is ok.  There are discussions on the site specifically about that kind of thing.

 

I also don't think CM really has a bias to older books - it just doesn't see new as necessarily better, and restricting reading to new books only or even mainly is probably a bad idea - Lewis advice on that is probably to the point.  There are some 3000 years of literature available to us - why would 90% of what we read come from the second half of the 20th century.  AO of course like books that are no longer under copyright.

 

All this being said, I find the people at AO to be infelxible in a way that is very anti-CM, and their religious views are actually not much in line with Charlotte Mason's either, which were a heck of a lot closer to Catholicism than their brand of congregational calvinism.  The seem to think that if you substitute out books, you are dooming their system.  Not just in terms of their ideas about specific religious points either, but a lot of CM's ideas about teaching come out of her views about the unity of spirit and matter, and God being the natural end of human desire.  I'm not convinced they really get that, and you can see it to some extent in the discussions they have about things like why she had no problem with evolution, or why it is ok to read Greek myths or fairy tales.

 

I'm not sure why they don't just get rid of TCOO, or maybe recommend specific chapters.

 

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All this being said, I find the people at AO to be infelxible in a way that is very anti-CM, and their religious views are actually not much in line with Charlotte Mason's either, which were a heck of a lot closer to Catholicism than their brand of congregational calvinism.  The seem to think that if you substitute out books, you are dooming their system.  Not just in terms of their ideas about specific religious points either, but a lot of CM's ideas about teaching come out of her views about the unity of spirit and matter, and God being the natural end of human desire.  I'm not convinced they really get that, and you can see it to some extent in the discussions they have about things like why she had no problem with evolution, or why it is ok to read Greek myths or fairy tales.

 

 

 

Yes, I agree. You expressed this very well.

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How on the world anyone could sufficiently "edit" all the inherent racism and bigotry out of TCoO is beyond me.

 

Marshall's odious views infuse the work from stem-to-stern.

 

I'm way past believing the AO book list is "accidental" in embracing clearly racist writers.

 

It seems clearly designed to promote a neo-post-Victorian White Anglo Saxon Protestant form of race/religious chauvinism as a worldview.

 

When I see AO, I think "Aryans Online."

 

Bill

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AO does use a lot of public domain titles, but over the years of listening, it doesn't appear to me that their public domain choices of texts are primarily to keep costs down.

 

I don't doubt that those ladies are smart and knowledgeable, and it seems to me that if cost were the primary concern, then the curriculum would be quite a bit cheaper.

 

When asking about subbing a hardcopy book for a free eBook, the questions are not tolerated well, unless the asking person is presenting as being in a particularly pathetic situation. It's not good enough to just want to bring costs down a bit, even when just discussing a grade 1 literature book. I mean, really, first grade literature just isn't that critical.

 

I believe the choices of the history spines are based on factors other than cost. The terms "living" and "narrative" are used a lot.

 

I have NO problem whatsoever using older texts to keep costs down. Life is HARD. Hard not just for the people portrayed negatively in these tests, but for many modern families that are struggling to exist now. I'm prioritizing those in my FACE that are struggling NOW and struggling HERE.

 

Humans as a whole are pretty nasty. I can't hide all the nastiness from students. We live in sludge every day. Humans are selfish, suspicious, hateful and so many other things. The flavors used to display these sins changes over times, but the hearts are the same–mean.

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I'm not sure why they don't just get rid of TCOO, or maybe recommend specific chapters.

 

 

Well, according to the response that I read, because they have thought it through and agree with it. Like Bill said, I'm beyond thinking their book choices are accidental at this point. They want children to have a narrowminded, bigoted view of the world and have pretty much said so.

 

I don't think that CM had a bias toward old books. I think that the current CM community does. I do think it makes sense that most of our books in the early grades come from the last several decades. These books reflect the values that most parents actually want to impart to kids, they speak the language kids actually speak, and, realistically, the whole concept of literature just for children is so recent that they represent by far the largest body of work for children, tailored specifically for their needs.

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Well, according to the response that I read, because they have thought it through and agree with it. Like Bill said, I'm beyond thinking their book choices are accidental at this point. They want children to have a narrowminded, bigoted view of the world and have pretty much said so.

 

I don't think that CM had a bias toward old books. I think that the current CM community does. I do think it makes sense that most of our books in the early grades come from the last several decades. These books reflect the values that most parents actually want to impart to kids, they speak the language kids actually speak, and, realistically, the whole concept of literature just for children is so recent that they represent by far the largest body of work for children, tailored specifically for their needs.

 

That was with regard to Catholicism though.  I don't think you could expand that to say they think everything controversial in the book is something they support.  There is something of a difference between promoting a view that says that, say, black people ought to be treated as less equal citizens or are biologically inferior, and that a particular worldview - like Catholicism - is in some way inferior or even deeply immoral.  One is a comment about human nature, and the other is about the possibility for a worldview to be very wrong - which absolutely is something that can happen.

 

 They are absolutely narrow in their understanding of Christianity and religion in  general - they seem to be quite typical for the kinds of churches they belong to, they really know very little other than a particular slant on post-reformation history, and I don't consider any of the religious resources they use reliable.  I wouldn't call that bigotry though so much as a particular sort of parochialism.  They think that that view of the history and beliefs of Catholicism is accurate, so it doesn't bring up any flags for them when they read it.  It always seems odd to me that people can maintain those kind of factual errors in the face of doing so much serious reading, but that doesn't seem uncommon. 

 

Lots of CM people and programs use many newer books, so I'm not sure how it could be said that they are against them.  I would say the biggest problem is that a very large proportion of newer books are really poorly written, and most of the better ones are fiction.  For whatever reason, non-fiction books for children seem to be really poorly written.  Even SOTW isn't great in this area - I've been reading SOTW 3 to get it scheduled for next year, and I just want to scream about the multiple exclamation points on each page.  I ended up choosing it only because all of the options were poor. 

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AO does use a lot of public domain titles, but over the years of listening, it doesn't appear to me that their public domain choices of texts are primarily to keep costs down.

 

I don't doubt that those ladies are smart and knowledgeable, and it seems to me that if cost were the primary concern, then the curriculum would be quite a bit cheaper.

 

When asking about subbing a hardcopy book for a free eBook, the questions are not tolerated well, unless the asking person is presenting as being in a particularly pathetic situation. It's not good enough to just want to bring costs down a bit, even when just discussing a grade 1 literature book. I mean, really, first grade literature just isn't that critical.

 

I believe the choices of the history spines are based on factors other than cost. The terms "living" and "narrative" are used a lot.

 

I have NO problem whatsoever using older texts to keep costs down. Life is HARD. Hard not just for the people portrayed negatively in these tests, but for many modern families that are struggling to exist now. I'm prioritizing those in my FACE that are struggling NOW and struggling HERE.

 

Humans as a whole are pretty nasty. I can't hide all the nastiness from students. We live in sludge every day. Humans are selfish, suspicious, hateful and so many other things. The flavors used to display these sins changes over times, but the hearts are the same–mean.

 

I wonder if they aren't keen on ebooks more in relation to questions about whether they give the same reading experience?  I would be sympathetic with that - I would actually prefer to substitute a different book than use an ebook in many cases.

 

But they are incredibly inflexible about the idea of using other books.  I don't know how they reconcile this with the fact that CM's schools actually changed books quite often - clearly she did not think one specific reading list is actually that important to students becoming educated and it was possible to offer different things at different times.  And with other things too, like insisting that every book read be narrated every time.  You could tell them that your child was reading and narrating all morning and afternoon and so you would like to take some reading out, or only do one or two narrations a day, and you would think you were dooming your child from their response- never mind that the child now has no time for all the other things that are considered important in Charlotte's programs.  Actually, I got blocked from their Facebook page for saying that while I thought AO was a good program it was not right for everyone as written, and parents asking questions should be allowed to hear a number of possible solutions that might work for their child.

 

I sometimes think that the main reason it is a strong program is just that they have tried to stick so closely to what the PNEU schools actually did.  But I can't read CM and see her as inflexible in that way, and I actually know a lady at my church who attended PNEU schools for her whole education, and her descriptions aren't like that either.

 

 

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In this day and age, it's so nice when a curriculum uses titles that come in as many formats as possible–hardcopy, various formats of eBook, audio. Because many AO titles are old, many of them DO come in a lot of formats.  But it appears to me that even though many users are drawn to the curriculum because of that feature, the the advisory has never made that a goal.

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Since it's still on the schedule for AO, at least the last I heard, I'm sure some people are using it in an unedited version or an insufficiently edited version (I'm not even sure that there could be a sufficiently edited version of this particular book). The thread that appalled me the worst by far about AO was one where a Catholic mother on this board reported that she had objected to some of the text and asked the AO people to respond. Their response, which she posted, was that they stood by the depiction of Catholics in TCOO. Previous to that thread, I had always thought of AO as being - not for me, but okay, even if the book choices were misguided, they were mostly chosen for a good reason - to provide a very inexpensive education accessible to all - and with the bias that comes in CM circles that older books are better. But they're not misguided. They're purposefully chosen to convey a certain view. A bigoted one.

Wow. Thank you for sharing.

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We will not be using Trial and Triumph because our faith is Orthodox Christian.  When we cover these church histories we will read from one of our hagiographies instead of this title.  I would also like to hear what you, hivemind, think of Viking Tales.  I do think we will read OIS.  I like that myth is included because this does tell a lot about what a culture thinks of themselves.  I will, of course, preread each section before I present it.  I also read the notes that were posted on Mater Amabilis. I do like Fifty Famous Tales.  We are currently reading the title in Kathy Jo's reading plan Fifty Famous People.  I think these are good.  I know I am currently only looking at Year 1, but I do not see much I disagree with, yet.  

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I wonder if they aren't keen on ebooks more in relation to questions about whether they give the same reading experience? I would be sympathetic with that - I would actually prefer to substitute a different book than use an ebook in many cases.

 

But they are incredibly inflexible about the idea of using other books. I don't know how they reconcile this with the fact that CM's schools actually changed books quite often - clearly she did not think one specific reading list is actually that important to students becoming educated and it was possible to offer different things at different times. And with other things too, like insisting that every book read be narrated every time. You could tell them that your child was reading and narrating all morning and afternoon and so you would like to take some reading out, or only do one or two narrations a day, and you would think you were dooming your child from their response- never mind that the child now has no time for all the other things that are considered important in Charlotte's programs. Actually, I got blocked from their Facebook page for saying that while I thought AO was a good program it was not right for everyone as written, and parents asking questions should be allowed to hear a number of possible solutions that might work for their child.

 

I sometimes think that the main reason it is a strong program is just that they have tried to stick so closely to what the PNEU schools actually did. But I can't read CM and see her as inflexible in that way, and I actually know a lady at my church who attended PNEU schools for her whole education, and her descriptions aren't like that either.

 

 

Well, this is just my take on it and why I don't want to be involved in the AO forum.

I find the culture that has been created by the AO leadership to be dysfunctional. To me, the

Forum environment is sort of cult- like. It seems they almost worship their definition of a CM education, which, to me , seems counter to what Charlotte was trying to promote.

That is just my opinion, but it was helpful for me to figure that out in deciding whether and how I was going to use AO.

 

This is simply a personal issue for me. Once I figured all that out for myself I knew it wouldn't be healthy or profitable( to use the forum to implement the program).

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Since it's still on the schedule for AO, at least the last I heard, I'm sure some people are using it in an unedited version or an insufficiently edited version (I'm not even sure that there could be a sufficiently edited version of this particular book). The thread that appalled me the worst by far about AO was one where a Catholic mother on this board reported that she had objected to some of the text and asked the AO people to respond. Their response, which she posted, was that they stood by the depiction of Catholics in TCOO. Previous to that thread, I had always thought of AO as being - not for me, but okay, even if the book choices were misguided, they were mostly chosen for a good reason - to provide a very inexpensive education accessible to all - and with the bias that comes in CM circles that older books are better. But they're not misguided. They're purposefully chosen to convey a certain view. A bigoted one.

 

I haven't read the thread by the Catholic mom or much of TCOO, but I do know that the big Catholic Charlotte Mason online curriculum, Mater Amabilis, uses TCOO.  According to their notes it isn't anti-Catholic, but if you use it you will need to add in some Catholic things because there are not a lot in the book.

 

http://materamabilis.org/ma/teachers-notes-2/this-country-of-ours-by-h-e-marshall/

 

They  have a note about  ch. 9, which they say is true, but presents Catholics in a bad light, so you may want to edit with young children.  If this is what the mom was complaining about ( part of the text that was historically true, but made Catholics look bad ) I can understand the Advisory of a Protestant Curriculum standing by that.

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We will not be using Trial and Triumph because our faith is Orthodox Christian.  When we cover these church histories we will read from one of our hagiographies instead of this title.  I would also like to hear what you, hivemind, think of Viking Tales.  I do think we will read OIS.  I like that myth is included because this does tell a lot about what a culture thinks of themselves.  I will, of course, preread each section before I present it.  I also read the notes that were posted on Mater Amabilis. I do like Fifty Famous Tales.  We are currently reading the title in Kathy Jo's reading plan Fifty Famous People.  I think these are good.  I know I am currently only looking at Year 1, but I do not see much I disagree with, yet.  

 

One difference you might find between a hagiography and Trial and Triumph is that T&T is much broader and includes biographies of people who were important through the history of the Christian west.  That is, a lot of the people they cover, whatever you think of their religious views, are actually important in understanding our history and culture.  So it isn't necessarily just for the religious component of education, it functions as a history text in a more direct way.

 

I really like Viking Tales.  They can be rather violent - they aren't modern creations, they are essentially just retelling of Viking stories, so you are seeing things through their eyes and values. 

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I like OIS

 

TCOO does have 1 chapter that is extremely Anti-Mormon - and yes, the Advisory has said they fell it is an accurate representation of Mormons and the LDS church.  I left AO for over a year over that issue - their response included many links to anti-mormon sites (which they did eventually remove).   They even refused to not schedule the one chapter or to put a warning note.

 

That said, there are Mormons that use AO (I am one) who either skip the chapter (or read it with the kids saying this is what some people feel about the church).   As I live in Canada, I don't use TCOO at all as I replace it with Canadian history.

 

 

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Well, this is just my take on it and why I don't want to be involved in the AO forum.

I find the culture that has been created by the AO leadership to be dysfunctional. To me, the

Forum environment is sort of cult- like. It seems they almost worship their definition of a CM education, which, to me , seems counter to what Charlotte was trying to promote.

That is just my opinion, but it was helpful for me to figure that out in deciding whether and how I was going to use AO.

 

This is simply a personal issue for me. Once I figured all that out for myself I knew it wouldn't be healthy or profitable( to use the forum to implement the program).

 

I've found the forums helpful at times, but I think many of the people take a broader view than the Advisory.  I find myself wondering how they came to that place with what is, as you say, a dysfunctional culture.

 

I think that this is one of the things I most appreciate about SCM, even though I don't use their method of organization or a lot of their recommended texts.  It just seems much more in the spirit of the development of the child as a person.  I saw Sonya Schaffer speak last weekend, and she is really lovely and someone who seems to be able to see the forest for the trees, as well as being extremely knowledgeable about the things CM wrote and did in her classes.

 

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One difference you might find between a hagiography and Trial and Triumph is that T&T is much broader and includes biographies of people who were important through the history of the Christian west.  That is, a lot of the people they cover, whatever you think of their religious views, are actually important in understanding our history and culture.  So it isn't necessarily just for the religious component of education, it functions as a history text in a more direct way.

 

I really like Viking Tales.  They can be rather violent - they aren't modern creations, they are essentially just retelling of Viking stories, so you are seeing things through their eyes and values. 

 

 

I will make sure my husband gets to see it.  He is my theology/history man.  Anyways, they only cover the first nine chapters in Y1.  This is all pre-schism of East and West.  

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I am willing to bet CM would have loved the opportunity to update her recommended reading lists as and when great new books came out :)

 

Having said that, OIS isn't too bad. It's just a rousing adventure tale, really, an introduction to the stories of English history.

 

She did update her list, as it happens.  Their book selections changed from year to year as things became available, or something didn't work, or whatever. 

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She did update her list, as it happens.  Their book selections changed from year to year as things became available, or something didn't work, or whatever. 

 

 

:iagree:  She chose fresh material every year.  She didn't write a curriculum and then feel done.  In true CM spirit, we can do the same.  

 

 

She died before SOTW came out. :lol:

 

:lol:

 

I'm not sure she would choose SOTW though. (I do love SOTW.  We are finishing the last chapters of SOTW 4 now.)  There are too many chapters that are about events from a bird's eye view rather than a narrative that captures the stories of people.  Like the difference between a picture of a NYC skyline or a picture of a crowded street...a skyline view brings some interest, but we could stare all day at a photo capturing many people going about life and still find new things to think about when we look again.  People fascinate children.

 

I think CM would giggle with glee over the new-found photos of Vivian Maier.  Looking at those photos explains everything I mean.  A good history narrative reads like those pictures.

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I googled SWB and OIS.  I didn't find what she had to say very coherent or convincing - it seemed to amount largely to it not being world history and not having a wholly modern attitude to things, though that wasn't really defined.  It seemed like "we prefer our own cultural blinkers and myths to those of 1900." 

 

Exactly. I love how we all sit here, thinking that our *modern* books have no bias.

 

 

But they are incredibly inflexible about the idea of using other books.  I don't know how they reconcile this with the fact that CM's schools actually changed books quite often - clearly she did not think one specific reading list is actually that important to students becoming educated and it was possible to offer different things at different times.  And with other things too, like insisting that every book read be narrated every time.  You could tell them that your child was reading and narrating all morning and afternoon and so you would like to take some reading out, or only do one or two narrations a day, and you would think you were dooming your child from their response- never mind that the child now has no time for all the other things that are considered important in Charlotte's programs.  Actually, I got blocked from their Facebook page for saying that while I thought AO was a good program it was not right for everyone as written, and parents asking questions should be allowed to hear a number of possible solutions that might work for their child.

 

 AFAIK the PNEU programs that CM wrote were not free. AO is. It is run by busy people who have lives to attend to. You can not seriously expect them to update the curriculum to new books every year when they make no money, can you??

 

You seem to be against narrating every book every time (or perhaps I misread)? CM actually included the importance of narration (telling back) in her 20 principles:

 

14. As knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced, children should 'tell back' after a single reading or hearing: or should write on some part of what they have read.

 

AO's Facebook page is very specific as to its purpose: it is for discussing AO. I've been on other lists/groups that also limited themselves, and I don't have a problem with that. If it is their group, and they only feel they can handle certain issues, that is fine. I appreciate when such groups are upfront about their restrictions. There are more general CM Facebook groups as well, if that would suit you better. :)

 

Oh, and I hand(ed) TCOO to my kids to read. We talk when they narrate. I want them to know that what is popular can be dead wrong. I'm not arrogant enough to assume our generation has all the answers, I want them to think. And when I hand them a book, I am NOT saying "here, swallow this hook, line, and sinker; please, don't think about it". NO! I'll ask them "what do you think of X" or "should they have done Y". Perhaps that is a fundamental difference between us. I'm not in the "children are boxes to hold information" camp. If you think you have to fill a child with information, then yes, I guess you should be very careful what you shove into the box.

 

If I wanted to sub TCOO by the way, I'd consider the Guerber books. :) Memoria Press uses a shortened version, and I believe Milestones Academy does as well, so I imagine the books are good quality. AO uses Guerber's books on Greece and Rome.

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Exactly. I love how we all sit here, thinking that our *modern* books have no bias.

 

 

 AFAIK the PNEU programs that CM wrote were not free. AO is. It is run by busy people who have lives to attend to. You can not seriously expect them to update the curriculum to new books every year when they make no money, can you??

 

You seem to be against narrating every book every time (or perhaps I misread)? CM actually included the importance of narration (telling back) in her 20 principles:

 

 

AO's Facebook page is very specific as to its purpose: it is for discussing AO. I've been on other lists/groups that also limited themselves, and I don't have a problem with that. If it is their group, and they only feel they can handle certain issues, that is fine. I appreciate when such groups are upfront about their restrictions. There are more general CM Facebook groups as well, if that would suit you better. :)

 

Oh, and I hand(ed) TCOO to my kids to read. We talk when they narrate. I want them to know that what is popular can be dead wrong. I'm not arrogant enough to assume our generation has all the answers, I want them to think. And when I hand them a book, I am NOT saying "here, swallow this hook, line, and sinker; please, don't think about it". NO! I'll ask them "what do you think of X" or "should they have done Y". Perhaps that is a fundamental difference between us. I'm not in the "children are boxes to hold information" camp. If you think you have to fill a child with information, then yes, I guess you should be very careful what you shove into the box.

 

If I wanted to sub TCOO by the way, I'd consider the Guerber books. :) Memoria Press uses a shortened version, and I believe Milestones Academy does as well, so I imagine the books are good quality. AO uses Guerber's books on Greece and Rome.

 

I don't expect the AO people to change their offered curricula all the time, I never even suggested that.  The point is that the attitude that users get to even the suggestion of changing out books is extremely negative, as if the program is very likely to be ruined by that kind of fiddling.  If CM could change books around and have a flexible program, the kind of resistance seen to parents doing the same thing seems quite out of place. 

 

The point here is that there is not some perfect or even near perfect set of books, or multiple fixed possibilities for sets of books, that have to be adhered to in this inflexible way.  CM swapped out some books, and kept others, regularly.  Clearly there was not, in her view, the need to have some kind of perfect equation or sequence, where one or even many changes could make the whole thing fall out of balance.  She never even speaks as if that is the case, its quite clear that she things offering really good literature that is age apropriate, in a wide variety of subjects, is what is required.  Not rigid adherence to a scope and sequence of texts.

 

Yes, CM recommended narration.  She did not say that each individual child had to fully narrate every reading every time, and that didn't happen in her schools - children did group narrations which are much less intense for individual children.  The fact that something is good to do does not mean that doing more is always better. 

 

I also did not suggest that the AO page should not be about AO.  Someone asking for help using the program because her child is overwhelmed by the reading, cannot understand a book, is developing increasing resistance to narration, or is spending too much time on school work, is precisely about using that program.  A variety of possibilities suggested by other users, so the parent can think about different options that make sense for her child, who she knows, seems ideal. 

 

It's a very common experience of people who want or need to adapt AO to get this kind of negativity, as if it is the program that is at the center of education, rather than the person of the child that is being educated.  When people who are spending all day doing book work with their elementary school kids are told to persevere rather than make curriculum changes, that suggests a serious problem because that is clearly NOT in line with what CM believed was a healthy educational environment.  I honestly have no idea how it is possible to read about the way he schools actually functioned, or the teachers trained in teh PNEU taught students, or talk to people who were students in those schools, and think this kind of teaching to the curricula was what happened.  They taught to the student - the right book for that child, the right amount of time spent on it for that child, lots of variety of mind-food both in books and play and interactions in the physical world.  And if a teacher kept offering that, the child progressed according to her own nature, inevitably.

 

I don't use TCOO because I am not American, so I am not looking for other American history.  I am happy to use older books with different worldviews.  However, I do think there will be things at times that are simply going to prove too out of step for the child's development, sometimes even with books that were originally meant for his age group.  Advocating or exhibiting racial hatred can probably be understood contextually by a 12 year old or even a ten year old in many cases (though they might not take the book very seriously at that point, and it could easily distract from the intended purpose of teaching a narrative history.)  Younger kids might be less able to sort through such things, to be conscious enough about how to think about them, and how to think about their own feelings. 

 

I'm not sure why you would think I believe "children are boxes to hold information".  That is my main criticism of the way AO is run.

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