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Laura K (NC)

Smaller and purer, or bigger and broader: where are the classical homeschoolers?

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When I first started visiting TWTM forums however many years ago I was at once impressed by the dedication of moms to the classical homeschooling method and academic rigor. When I felt a little puny, I could come to the boards and find new strength to provide my kids with my best effort.

 

Now I come to the boards and the rigorous homeschoolers are either quieter or seem to be a minority. If a kid doesn't like math, then many simply suggest we switch to an easier program. If a kid doesn't like reading, pop books are okay... the classics are not for everybody, and don't bother reading them yourself because it's just not necessary. History phobia? Pick a prepackaged curriculum that doesn't demand much. We are granted permission not to teach basic science requirements if we know(?) our children won't "need" them, granted permission to do bare minimum on extracurriculars and count them as full credits, and granted permission to take the day or week or even month off if we're having a bad time of it. After all, we've heard that public schoolers aren't covering all that much, so why try harder?

 

It is my experience that we don't really need much encouragement to do less than is required for a well-educated, (and even more, a well-trained) student. What I really need is a kick in the pants to get off the computer and sit down with my sons and teach them -- and myself -- to know, or at least appreciate, as much about history, and math, and science, and literature (and logic, and rhetoric, and the arts) as possible, and not to scrape by on minimum requirements for any test or college requirement, and to overcome any phobia I or my kids have of any subject by treating the fear as a simple misunderstanding that can be overcome.

 

I'm glad there's a big crowd here. I've learned from so many of you and I do like it here. I only lament that this isn't a classical education board anymore, and people will ask basic questions about scope and sequence that could be so easily answered by a cursory reading of our hostess' own book, which is the namesake of this forum. It seems to me, but maybe I'm mistaken, that we owe her at least that much. I know every family is different, and we are obviously supposed to tailor the book's suggestions to our own style, but the whole spirit of the system seems to have left.

 

Or so it seems to me. In my opinion.

 

I'm trying my best, and I do think the classical method is superior. I sometimes find myself wishing there was a support forum for classical homeschoolers who follow The Well-Trained Mind, at least in part. I don't want excellence measured in modern public school terms. I want to be surprised at how much my kids and I can learn together. I need a push to go farther than the minimum.

 

I know that this will come across as such a criticism, and that people will take offense. I do apologize if anyone is offended... it is not meant as anything personal and I don't have anyone particular in mind.

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What is your definition of a classical education? Many would say that SWB's book is really neoclassical. I think part of the problem here is that everyone has their own thoughts of what a true classical education is. I don't necessarily think that doing history in four year cycles is necessarily a classical education, but it worked for SWB's family and it is an "efficient" way of covering history in a chronological manner. Many things in TWTM are for self education, but the classical education of the past was a "mentoring" type of education. I think part of our problem here is that we have differing opinions as to what the "classical method" is. I've read TWTM, Norms and Nobility, Trivium Pursuit, and more, and everyone has a different take on the classical method. Even in reading SWB's blogs and her articles from her newsletters, I haven't seen her stick to everything she mentioned in her book. The TWTM is a guideline to go by. Some of us hold tightly to it, and others of us hold loosely to it. Some of us are the risky types that will make up our own curriculums and others of us are non-risk-takers and need textbooks/guides to hold our hands along the way. I hear what you are saying, and I do think that a classical education is superior. But everyone on this board is coming with different needs and abilities, so what you think is superior may not be what the next person thinks is superior. You don't know how much money I have spent in taking "experts" adivice about books (math programs especially) and having to dump them because they just did not work!!! Some of us have children with learning problems that have been professionally diagnosed, and I'm sorry but TWTM just does not address these kids needs other than giving basic guidelines for teaching (keeping notebooks, narration, dictation, etc.). I do think that in the earlier years of this board that there were not as many "classical books or curriculums" therefore we did discuss more in the ways of following TWTM to a closer degree.

 

Just my 2 cents,

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"FWIW, no, I haven't rated my own post. -nt- "

 

I did.:D

 

I tried just giving you a positive rep privately for simply bringing up a neat discussion topic but a message came up and said I had to give points to someone else so I guess I must have already repped you earlier and so I just repped the whole thread instead.

 

From Tracy Lee Simmons pgs 14-15,

 

Thus nowadays may classical education refer to something not linked to the classical word at all--never mind the langauges--and get equated with what what might have once been called simply traditional or orthodox education. This is school based on "the classics," on the books of the Great Tradition, an education that serves to inform us of the best works of our civilization and to provide us with models for spotting ethical and aesthetic norms. These two functions the valuable "Great Books" programs try to perform. Used in this way, classical education describes the quest for what has also been called a "liberal education" or, more particularly, an education in the "humanities." And now legions of well-intending home schoolers rush to put dibs on the term and bask in the light of the glory they believe it to exude. To many home schoolers, "classical education" simply means the opposite of whatever is going on in those dreaded public schools. We can sympathize with them. I will only say to all these good people that extending "classical" to mark an approach or course of study without reference to Greek and Latin seems an unnecessarily promiscuous usage. But I am afraid we're stuck with it.

 

And although it is not apparent from that quote and Simmons makes this clear in the rest of the book, that while the study of Latin and Greek is necessary, it is not sufficient to making an education a classical education. For example, the local public high schools where I live all offer Latin to high school students but it's not a "classical education." For example, the following lists the classical course of study in a Boston high school about mid 19th century,

 

books?id=oosVAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA101&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=qShjs2-CG8vtDmh5lAwd4VgJ-k8&ci=127,385,733,729&edge=1

 

Anyone here doing Caesar the sophomore year and Virgil and Xenophon the junior? I'd love to read through some threads on how that's going.

 

We dropped Latin this year but will definitely pick it back up again next. I downloaded Xenophon from textkit.com with the best of intentions of making that my goal in high school. For right now I've been getting my classical education fix from reading the blogs of classicists and high school Latin teachers.

 

Carry on.

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Well this is probably not what you wanted but it is Susan's post,

 

http://67.202.21.157/forums/showthread.php?p=36162#post36162

 

 

Seriously, folks. Of COURSE you're supposed to adapt it. Of course you're supposed to take what you find valuable and then adjust for your family. Why else are you home schooling?

 

Listen, even within my own family, all four kids are pursuing somewhat different academic and vocational paths, and if someone were going to get really picky, I could probably rank them in order from "more classical" (oldest son) to "least classical" (that would be Ben). But that's why I don't plop them all into the nearest classical school, which would probably give them more stringent overall academic training than I can all by myself. I don't WANT them to get a one-model-fits-all classical education. I want each one of them to get a tailored, hand-made neoclassical education.

 

I've been saying for year now that arguing about which model is "more" or "less" classical is totally pointless. You should be thinking: Which model will meet my goals for my family, and within my family, for each individual child?

 

Which brings me to the REAL value, for me, of (neo)classical education. IT TELLS YOU WHERE YOU'RE GOING. The goal of a classical education is this: at the end of the twelve (or however many) years you educate, the child can gather information, evaluate it, and express an opinion about it. There are many paths to that goal.

 

I think that the paths we outline in TWTM have helped many parents design a journey towards that goal. And I have to say that most of the nasty attacks I've seen on us and on the book, over the past ten years, come from people who have totally misunderstood our intention: To equip you to get YOURSELF there. We're trying to strengthen and equip, not oppress.

 

So kudos to all of you who are trying to reach that goal. You'll make wrong moves, back up, try again, hit dead ends, turn around, re-evaluate...constantly, every single year. You'll never "get it." You'll be in process until that child walks out the door...to continue the process on their own.

 

Unless you lose sight of that goal, you're not going to ruin that child's education.

 

Those of you who aren't doing grammar are the exception. You're beyond help.

 

SWB

 

(P.S. That was a JOKE.)

 

(P.P.S. Kind of.)

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"Anyone here doing Caesar the sophomore year and Virgil and Xenophon the junior? I'd love to read through some threads on how that's going."

 

My son did Vergil in his sophomore year (Caesar in 9th) and is now doing Catullus/Horace. He'll study Medieval Latin next year. I do lament that he has not taken Greek! He wishes he had begun that earlier, as well, and he has a friend who is in the same online Latin class with him who is also reading Homer this year in Greek. So it can be done!

 

It amazes me that your local public high schools offer the Latin! Last year when my son took his AP Vergil exam, he was the only student in the whole Portland OR metro area (over 1,000,000 pop.) who took that exam.

 

For what it's worth, Laura, I have noted the difference on this board over the years, too.

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"

My son did Vergil in his sophomore year (Caesar in 9th) and is now doing Catullus/Horace. He'll study Medieval Latin next year. I do lament that he has not taken Greek! He wishes he had begun that earlier, as well, and he has a friend who is in the same online Latin class with him who is also reading Homer this year in Greek.

 

When did you start Latin? What texts did you use? In retrospect, when would have been a good time to have started Greek?

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I have a funny story to relate concerning "classical education." We are a family that holds VERY loosely to TWTM -- I love many of the ideas in it, but I would be hard-pressed to find specific examples of where we have directly followed TWTM. I wouldn't even consider the education that my kids have had particularly "classical."

 

One of the hallmarks of a classical education is knowing the epics of Western Civ, right?

 

Well, oldest dd goes off to college and takes art history. In art history, of course, it helps to know the stories behind some of the art. This is a small liberal arts college, so the prof usually asks around so a student can tell the story. Well, dd now WAITS and WAITS before raising her hand -- she is almost the only person who knows any of the classical mythology and medieval tales. I was dumbfounded! She has even thanked me for her education which is "heavy on the classics"!

 

So I now have NO idea what a classical education is, since my dd feels she received one but I didn't give her one!

 

(I know -- she REALLY didn't receive a classical education, but I was amused by this!)

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Now I come to the boards and the rigorous homeschoolers are either quieter or seem to be a minority.

 

what is rigorous for one child is too easy for another. I found much hope in the post of Susan's that I cut and pasted above why because it is reality. Some kids are cut out to be scholars and some are not. Are we to allow a classical education only to those kids who can sustain the most rigorous classical education. Only allow the parents of those kids to post? If so we ban Susan from her own board :o

 

I have been lurking on these boards almost since day one. I have found the posts of Susan, Jan P, Lori D, and Clair to be of great encouragement to me. I know that to some extent with at least one of their children these gals walk the walk that I do with a child that does not fit the mold of sustaining the most rigorous view of what a classical education means. With any post one should take what helps and spit out the bones. This one is not excluded from that advice :D But there needs to be room from all of us.

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts because those have been my thoughts for several years, and particularly recently. Even though I should probably graduate and move on from these boards since my children have graduated, I still pop back in now. I don't have time to peruse the boards as before, but I will usually only come to ask a question concerning curriculum pertaining to my current employment that is foggy in my memory.

 

I think that for the most part, the board member profile has changed from a focused intent on classical education. I'm not sure what it has changed to, but it seems to have changed direction. I've noticed the change over the past few years as more people found the boards, but a definite change when the boards changed for some odd reason.

 

Reminiscing........

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I am one of those people with very high standards and a more narrow definition of classical education than most here. Yes, we plan to read Latin and Greek authors in high school. I'm actually in the process of helping start a classical high school here in New England, and our curriculum will look more like the one Myrtle posted (minus the bookkeeping! ;)) than like most public or private schools. We will require four years of Latin, Greek and math, and we are getting two reactions: "Who are you lunatics?" and "Where do I sign up?" :D

 

But I also believe that homeschoolers, in particular, need flexibility and common sense. I read maybe 10% of the posts on this board because I recognize that most of what's being discussed doesn't apply to me or my child. But I'm very, very grateful that SWB and PHP have provided a big tent for classical homeschoolers to come together for discussion and support. I have my own spots on the Internet for discussing my preferred style of classical education in a more focused way, but I really appreciate what these boards offer, too.

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When did you start Latin? What texts did you use? In retrospect, when would have been a good time to have started Greek?

 

Since his older brother was studying Latin in high school, I had my younger one doing Latina Christiana and Henle when he was still in grade school. In 7th grade he began Wheelock's, finishing it partway through 9th grade, after which he studied Caesar (and others) during the second semester. In retrospect, I wish he would have started Greek in 9th grade, after had more or less mastered Latin grammar.

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This will be quick - I had a long post but I was logged off. So I am just going to kick you and will write more later;) Whenever I feel that I (or one of my dc) need a kick in the pants I read (or assign) The story of My Life by Helen Keller.

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There is variation, no doubt. I still consider WTM The Book I turn to for answers and inspiration. I have tried nearly everything SWB suggested and some of it has fallen by the wayside simply because I am lacking. In the same thread that the long, encouraging post by SWB is lifted from, I made the comment that WTM had ruined me. Now what I want in an education is so high but I am not intelligent/educated/well read enough to pull it off. So there is a continual tug of war inside me where educating my children is concerned. I consider this constant struggle and stress a very, very good thing. Before WTM it was so easy to always take the path of least resistance.

 

I have not adhered to WTM as closely as I would have liked. But reading that book every year and listening in on the conversations on this forum have made me a better teacher and have made me try harder. Maybe by the time I get through with my last child I will finally have the complete classical homeschool!! For now, I do all I can and the next year I try to do a bit more than the year before. I am so far from where I want to be.

 

I am comfortable with folks fine-tuning the methodology. What makes me uneasy are the people who openly state that they don't care for the method or the author, and I have to wonder why they choose this forum to visit?:confused:

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I take this and Jan's post to heart, and I was hoping my intent was clearer than it was. I did not advocate rigid conformance to TWTM. I don't follow every jot and tittle of it myself. My post was lamenting that the general spirit of classical ed., in its various expressions, seems to be waning.

 

The point about every child having different needs is not lost on me. I have a child with special needs also. That doesn't mean he gets to read fluff, though, when his brothers read Great Books. It means that we might do a few less, rely a little bit more on study guides, and maybe do the occasional abridged book. I know, because I've pushed him, that he can do Latin. My friend's daughter, who wasn't expected to be able to get much past a 3rd grade education, is doing Saxon advanced math. She's only going to get through part of the book in her senior year, but her mom didn't make excuses or settle for less, but sees the value of discipline in her daughter's sense of self-worth. My artsy son can do math well if he knows it's non-negotiable and I enforce that it's non-negotiable. What I'm hearing on the boards more often is not so much that someone's child can not, but that he dislikes some particular subject and wishes not to do it, so the parent is opting for some easier option. There is a huge difference here.

 

It is the spirit of rigor, and not the particulars of rigor, that I miss.

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It is the spirit of rigor, and not the particulars of rigor, that I miss.

 

I understand, and since Myrtle was unable to sling rep at you, I did it for her!:)

 

But I do get what you are saying.

 

At our house anyone younger than high school has NO say in what they study. My highschooler has the freedom to ask me to change things, but whatever she is asking to do as a replacement better be as good or better than what she wants to do away with!

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I am comfortable with folks fine-tuning the methodology. What makes me uneasy are the people who openly state that they don't care for the method or the author, and I have to wonder why they choose this forum to visit?:confused:

 

I don't peruse all the posts so I don't necessarily see so many of these kinds of posts. Yes, if someone is not at all interested in classical education in any of its forms, then I think other homeschooling forums would be a better choice for them. Though some will implement more ideas than others from TWTM and other classical and neo-classical writers, all who post here would do well to at least be interested in the conversation about implementing a curriculum centered around the Great Ideas of human history.

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What I'm hearing on the boards more often is not so much that someone's child can not, but that he dislikes some particular subject and wishes not to do it, so the parent is opting for some easier option. There is a huge difference here.

 

It is the spirit of rigor, and not the particulars of rigor, that I miss.

 

I think that reflects the general trend of the philosophy of education in the public schools, in that context one hears more about getting the children to "like" a subject rather than actual achievement. At the risk of overgeneralization the ed school message is that the only way that children can learn is if they are "engaged."

 

In the extreme this is catering to instant gratification. If the kid doesn't find it interesting or relevant (oh, and that's a whole ball of wax for those us interested in a dead language, is it not?) they steer clear of it. And I don't suppose I entirely fault someone for avoiding programs which require a lot of ungratifying work since many students really have been exposed to relentless, mindless, and purposeless busy work and why should it be any different this time?

 

I think there must be some small subset of parents that really did shlog through a year or two of work, perhaps as undergraduates or perhaps in graduate school, that had no immediate reward but did finally enjoy the fruits of their labor at the end and it's just easier for us to trust this kind of an approach.

 

One of the more helpful suggestions in Well-Trained Mind is to keep a portfolio or record of work accomplished in a binder and then the child can reflect back and see how far he has come. This has been useful for me when it comes to encourage my son to keep on and not get discouraged.

 

If the kid goes on to college, no one will care about how much they "like" Spanish and much fun they think it is to talk to the carpet installer-- their test paper is just another one of hundreds and they'll be counted off for incorrect mood on their verbs along with the kids that don't particular like Spanish but do it because it's required.

 

 

I never liked my major, I just realized that I was better at it than almost anyone else and got a degree in it. The one class that I really hated and found difficult turned out to have a surpise ending when I was finished with it and worth it when I was done.

 

I smile everytime I think of GH Hardy saying that as a boy he never liked math but he was just competitive and did better than the other boys.

 

Because of my experience I'm not terrified of giving my kids work that they don't particularly like.

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When I first started visiting TWTM forums however many years ago I was at once impressed by the dedication of moms to the classical homeschooling method and academic rigor. When I felt a little puny, I could come to the boards and find new strength to provide my kids with my best effort.

 

 

I'm trying my best, and I do think the classical method is superior. I sometimes find myself wishing there was a support forum for classical homeschoolers who follow The Well-Trained Mind, at least in part. I don't want excellence measured in modern public school terms. I want to be surprised at how much my kids and I can learn together. I need a push to go farther than the minimum.

 

 

I'm not offended one bit. I really, really, really wanted to do WTM to the letter. I do know what you mean. But I found, (the hard way of course) that it didn't all work for my kids. I also know that not all kids way back then had the exact same education. Some kids do have real challenges learning certain subjects, and one of the benefits of homeschooling is that these kids don't have to go through any humiliation of being considered "stupid", "lazy" or "slow." Not that I'm an advocate of unwarranted praise, either.

 

One of the first lessons I was given as a budding piano teacher was that each piano student is different and I had to teach each one differently. This was not from some young pedagogue, but from a woman in her 70s who had not only been a concert pianist and a piano teacher, but had taught piano pedagogy. I was a very serious teacher as far as teaching the kids to play well, but I really had to teach the same things very differently. I even tried different methods. This was one of the best preparations I personally had for homeschooling, although I did start off too rigidly in terms of curriculum and learning methods.

 

This board has helped me find harder materials in areas where WTM's wasn't challenging enough, easier materials when that was warranted, and overall has given me pushes in many areas. When I was doing Easy Grammar, it helped me remember that I didn't want to stay there forever and get back on track. However, I don't regret that decision at all for those grades. It has also helped me realize that it's okay to be human, imperfect and not some super-homeschooling mom who can get it all done with a set of kids who each march to the beat of a different drummer than that of the ps world. I strive to get better, but no longer beat myself up if we just can't do it all but the best we can.

 

Sometimes I'm the poster advocating meatier methods, sometimes the one saying it's okay to use something easier for a while. But WTM is our spine and, like everything else in life, I use what works rather than force things that aren't working at that time. I don't think all of my kids will study all those books in high school. But the one I am sure won't is doing 2 math programs, will be doing a lot of meaty science, logic, etc. She can read those classics later if she chooses to. To me, education is a life time process that can't possibly all be coverered by 18 or the end of college, so I don't worry about doing it all.

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Drat Kathleen,

I was on the fence... so we should keep Greek, eh?

Darn. Darn. Darn. I was hoping for one less thing.... but I suspect that they'll thank me in the end.

Right?

Thanks for the kick in the pants!

Janice

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I think that reflects the general trend of the philosophy of education in the public schools, in that context one hears more about getting the children to "like" a subject rather than actual achievement. At the risk of overgeneralization the ed school message is that the only way that children can learn is if they are "engaged."

 

 

Because of my experience I'm not terrified of giving my kids work that they don't particularly like.

 

I agree. Even though we've modified, I don't modify just because my child doesn't like something. IRL we all have to do things we don't like. It's part of character building. But I also don't want them to hate everything, either. While I don't let them choose their curricula, I gave them a lot of freedom in art when they were younger (just let them have at it), and I do modify for learning styles. I also choose my battles with one of mine for whom almost every subject is a battle; I can't be so stressed out that I am snapping at my other children and my dh over this one dc!

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Ah yes. I've read these kinds of lists before. But you know what I don't get?

 

Where is Spanish I, II, III?

American History?

American Government?

Economics?

Biology? Chemistry? Physics? AP Science?????

Algebra II, Precalculus, AP Calculus, Statistics? DID these guys have to spend time learning how to PROGRAM their graphing calculators??????

Where are the twelve great books read with a 3 page paper for each?

A research paper with 10 sources?

Short Stories?

College Application Essays

SAT Prep?

Gym.

Fine Arts? Are these folks taking art appreciation at ALLL!!!!!!!!

Are they devoting umpteen hours to community service?

 

These college applicants do NOT look well rounded to me!!!!!!:D:D:D:rolleyes:

 

Yes. I've seen these kinds of lists before. It looks like a focused education. But are these folks reading the newspaper and doing internet research and...................

Building jack-of-all-trades takes up SOOOOOOO much time!!!!!

 

Peace,

Janice

 

P.S. 7th grader dd is taking Latin I and working through Elementary Greek III - she'll probably start High School Greek I in 9th grade. She is also taking French II and her voice teacher wants her to add in Italian.

 

I guess sleeping isn't necessary any more. :-)

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

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The point about every child having different needs is not lost on me. I have a child with special needs also. That doesn't mean he gets to read fluff, though, when his brothers read Great Books. It means that we might do a few less, rely a little bit more on study guides, and maybe do the occasional abridged book. I know, because I've pushed him, that he can do Latin. My friend's daughter, who wasn't expected to be able to get much past a 3rd grade education, is doing Saxon advanced math. She's only going to get through part of the book in her senior year, but her mom didn't make excuses or settle for less, but sees the value of discipline in her daughter's sense of self-worth. My artsy son can do math well if he knows it's non-negotiable and I enforce that it's non-negotiable. What I'm hearing on the boards more often is not so much that someone's child can not, but that he dislikes some particular subject and wishes not to do it, so the parent is opting for some easier option. There is a huge difference here.

 

It is the spirit of rigor, and not the particulars of rigor, that I miss.

 

When I started hsing in 95 I had a mute, brain deaf, visually impaired 4 year old. I was told he would never speak, read, do any math (wich is a language on its own,) or much of anything. However at 15 he just finished unabridged Treasure Island and has started 80 Days Around the World unabridged. I have lived the Anne Sullivan thing. When he was 5 I knew every word that he knew because in the year between 4 and 5 I taught him those words. We were lucky in that medical treatment healed our son but we are still catching up.

 

That written Latin was not going to happen here, English is his second language, vision is his first. Lial's which we tried will not happen here either but the much Pooh poohed TT will tho. Thing is this same kids has a non verbal IQ of around 150 but his writing is still delayed, math is a struggle, and grammar welllll....... He on his own pick up SOTW 3 which I had shelved years ago and is now tearing through it. We don't fit on the sn board and we don't fit on the gifted board we are in some sort of limbo :rolleyes: If I wrote what we do here it might to some look like the path of least resistance if they did not know our back story and for that reason for years I have lurked on these boards.

 

So I agree that some folks are just taking the path of least resistance but not every one is. I don't even bother to read the posts that read what is the most rigorous math or.... program because they are pointless for us. I do look for the moms who are trying to provide excellence with kids who have true LD issues and I read what they do and borrow from time to time from the posts they write.

 

The problem with posting about rigor is the manner in which it is posted. It can make some feel as if it is unobtainable. My son will never be a scholar but there are producers in Hollywood that think he has a future there and want his ideas. Ideas that are built from classic poems and books which were read aloud by me for years. There are ways to be rigorous that may to some look as if they were the path of least resistance. I am not sure how to rectify the dilemma that you raise but I would hate to see rigor raised to such a hight that it can seem unobtainable and pointless to some.

 

Blessings,

Rebecca

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Given that I am the only semi-classical homeschooler in my neck of the woods, I have relied on these boards for quite a while as my support network. To me there is often a sort of "junior high" feeling on the general board, although that doesn't prevent me from posting over there when I need a recipe idea, etc. I only read a few posts on the general, while I read many posts here on the high school board.

 

Fairly often someone posts a question concerning literature lists or how one studies history. There are several of us who are always quick to chime in "consult TWTM". It would seem that if one is participating on a WTM board that one would at least be starting from that guidebook. If more of us were, I could see some side discussion groups forming for teens and parents who are reading the same books. Tht would be just terrific for someone like me with an only child and no other homeschoolers nearby following this methodology. (Another regular poster and I have exchanged a couple of private messages on our reading of The Canterbury Tales. I wouldn't be surprised if others are similarly engaged in off forum discussions.)

 

There has never been an attempt at learning Greek in this household, although I could see my husband pursuing that path some day. On my list of "things that I wished I had learned" was French so it was only natural that we would gravitate to French in our homeschool, but Latin was in the program first and remains there. Is it hard to do two languages? You bet, especially when I have to struggle to keep up in one and cannot remember the grammar that I once learned in the other.

 

What is perhaps daunting about classical education or semi-classical is the amount of work that it does require on the parent/teacher's part. One can utilize online courses, the university, tutors, etc., but it still takes time to coordinate, find textbooks, and stay on top of a student's work. Is that why some have shied away from TWTM?

 

Jane

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I'm wondering if the tone of the WTM boards have changed, NOT because there are fewer rigorous classical educators, but rather, there are many more people overall using these boards now compared to several years ago, and that they are not the more strictly or rigorously classical educators who originally read TWTM and came here to discuss it.

 

There are SO MANY more curricula, schooling resources, and books about homeschooling now (and coming from so many different/competing educational models) compared to even 10 years ago, that I'm thinking the mindset of those starting off in homeschooling now is more of the smorgasboard approach.

 

I really admire and appreciate those on this board who do have that classical education vision and are able to follow through on it rigorously. You inspire me! And I'm also inspired by those who homeschool fully following other visions as well. I'm just glad that the WTM boards are flexible enough to encompass the variety! : )

 

Thanks to all of you who participate here -- I always leave inspired, encouraged, challenged, and wiser for having visited here. : ) Warmest regards, Lori D.

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I hope folks haven't taken to heart that I'm opposed to TWTM. If you saw my copy of it, then you would definitely be wrong. I am constantly going back, rereading it, trying to figure out how to better my teaching with my children by using the methods presented. I'm so attached to my old copy that I don't want to buy a revised one!! I did go to the library to see the newer book, and I took copious notes from the sections that weren't included in my old book. I have the deepest respect for SWB, and on numerous occasions in the past she has answered my e-mails and helped me on my homeschool journey with my children.

 

Blessings,

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I started here 8 years ago. I still try hard to maintain WTM standards, with modifications for kids, as needed. I don't check in as often as I did years ago, when I got such great feedback on how to implement WTM. Part of it is that I now have a lot of experience, but part of it is a switch in people visiting.

 

I do still get great ideas here, but the feel is definitely different.

 

Holly S/NC

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If my sons achieve half of what your child has, I will think that I have been very, very successful as a homeschooling parent.

 

Again, I must reiterate the difference I see in stories of what a child can do, and what a child simply would rather not do.

 

Peace,

Laura

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When I started hsing in 95 I had a mute, brain deaf, visually impaired 4 year old. I was told he would never speak, read, do any math (wich is a language on its own,) or much of anything. However at 15 he just finished unabridged Treasure Island and has started 80 Days Around the World unabridged. I have lived the Anne Sullivan thing. When he was 5 I knew every word that he knew because in the year between 4 and 5 I taught him those words. We were lucky in that medical treatment healed our son but we are still catching up.

 

 

 

 

Bravo, Rebecca! You have persevered with your son. I'm sure there were many years where all your hard work felt like a hard slog through the swamp. But your son has a much brighter future because of your influence. Good going, mom!

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I noticed the board switching to less of a real books/spine focus (a la TWTM), more of conservative Christian focus, more of a textbook-type curriculum for history and literature. This happened several years ago. I think, as others have said, that homeschooling became more popular, especially amongst conservative Christians, and highly motivated hard workers that they are, they wrote lots of curriculums to make things easier for people, especially ones with more or younger children and a heavy load of charity work and to approach things from their own particular beliefs. I, too, am taken aback when people post on *TWTM* board asking for advice on the best way to do literature, but I think this board has just morphed into something more versatile to suit the larger population of homeschoolers. And I suppose that is good. When I began homeschooling, what I prayed for was creativity, the creativity to take full advantage of the freedom that homeschooling gave us. TWTM served as a guide to how to do an education creatively and a safeguard against missing something critical and failing. As you can see, my goals aren't classical at all. (Or, I guess you can say that I've been lazy enough not to even explore the issue, TWTM having done it for me. I'm also somewhat allergic to the label "classical" because my mother had a "classical" education and is still complaining that it was dry as dust.) Was it Gwen who told the story of not doing a classical education and having children in college who considered themselves classically educated? I've found the same thing, even before mine have gotten to college. I hope I am providing lots of laughs for our dear SWB. And I have my own funny story: When I was growing up, UU and Roman Catholic were about as far apart as you could get and still be Christian, but here, I find I feel much closer to the Catholics than to anyone else LOL. Funny how these things work out. But that is beside the point... I think everyone does a splendid job of being polite and supportive and non-judgemental, and it is no wonder lots of homeschoolers, TWTM oriented or not, want to be here on this board. With the greater number of posts, I've just learned to be selective about which ones I read. I inhabit the high school board because I have children doing high school work, and the accelerated board, not because mine are accelerated, but because some of the odd traits of the gifted children there, like chewing holes in their shirts and extreme upset over historical events and depressing literature, match my just-brightish children. On the high school board, I know which people have similar goals and higher standards, and I read those posts and the posts from people who sound like they could use my help.

 

One of the nice things about cyber space is that there is room for everybody. :)

 

-Nan

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When I started hsing in 95 I had a mute, brain deaf, visually impaired 4 year old. I was told he would never speak, read, do any math (wich is a language on its own,) or much of anything. However at 15 he just finished unabridged Treasure Island and has started 80 Days Around the World unabridged. I have lived the Anne Sullivan thing. When he was 5 I knew every word that he knew because in the year between 4 and 5 I taught him those words. We were lucky in that medical treatment healed our son but we are still catching up.

 

That written Latin was not going to happen here, English is his second language, vision is his first. Lial's which we tried will not happen here either but the much Pooh poohed TT will tho. Thing is this same kids has a non verbal IQ of around 150 but his writing is still delayed, math is a struggle, and grammar welllll....... He on his own pick up SOTW 3 which I had shelved years ago and is now tearing through it. We don't fit on the sn board and we don't fit on the gifted board we are in some sort of limbo :rolleyes: If I wrote what we do here it might to some look like the path of least resistance if they did not know our back story and for that reason for years I have lurked on these boards.

 

So I agree that some folks are just taking the path of least resistance but not every one is. I don't even bother to read the posts that read what is the most rigorous math or.... program because they are pointless for us. I do look for the moms who are trying to provide excellence with kids who have true LD issues and I read what they do and borrow from time to time from the posts they write.

 

The problem with posting about rigor is the manner in which it is posted. It can make some feel as if it is unobtainable. My son will never be a scholar but there are producers in Hollywood that think he has a future there and want his ideas. Ideas that are built from classic poems and books which were read aloud by me for years. There are ways to be rigorous that may to some look as if they were the path of least resistance. I am not sure how to rectify the dilemma that you raise but I would hate to see rigor raised to such a hight that it can seem unobtainable and pointless to some.

 

Blessings,

Rebecca

 

 

Lovely post. Most posts can never give the full picture and what sounds like very low standards, may be the top of the mountain. ;)

 

I love TWTM & these boards. Thank you Susan!

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I noticed the board switching to less of a real books/spine focus (a la TWTM), more of conservative Christian focus, more of a textbook-type curriculum for history and literature.

 

When I first started lurking here Susan's book was still warm from the press and there was a lot of discussion on what the TWTM said and using great books in hsing. In fact I remeber when all the boards were one or maybe two. Lori D I think wrote about how the market and resources for hsers has exploded! My sister has been hsing for over 18 years when she started there was almost nothing on the market. When I started there was no TWTM but lots of Konos, Weaver, Sonlight, and Fiar which was still spiral bound and only one volume. I remember that TWTM was such a novelty and that it exploded on all the hs boards. It exploded in such a manner that Sonlight began to remodel itself after classical. At that time I worked/volunteered as a sn moderator for a big hsing board and I remember that the thought was that the TWTM was the biggest competitor to their school of thought.

 

All that written I have found it odd that textbooks have overtaken what I saw as the heart of TWTM. Even to the point that some posts read as if they are superior to how the TWTM is laid out. I understand the concept of spines and using a textbook as a spine and I understand the convince of a textbook and how colleges look at it but still.......Susan's chapter for the Rhetoric stage in the first edition (too cheap to buy the revised edition sorry Susan) gives a 4 and a 5 step outline for using great books. Textbooks appear nowhere in the 4 steps she provided now maybe she wrote something different in the revised edition I don't know being cheap ;)

 

I like the choices we have now but I sometimes wonder if we have too many choices :confused: I really want her new book on the middle ages for my oldest :D But maybe the problem is not rigor but that the boards due to choice have moved away from the heart of TWTM and so have become something different. I don't know just guessing.

 

Blessings,

Rebecca

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When I first started visiting TWTM forums however many years ago I was at once impressed by the dedication of moms to the classical homeschooling method and academic rigor. When I felt a little puny, I could come to the boards and find new strength to provide my kids with my best effort.

 

Now I come to the boards and the rigorous homeschoolers are either quieter or seem to be a minority. If a kid doesn't like math, then many simply suggest we switch to an easier program. If a kid doesn't like reading, pop books are okay... the classics are not for everybody, and don't bother reading them yourself because it's just not necessary. History phobia? Pick a prepackaged curriculum that doesn't demand much. We are granted permission not to teach basic science requirements if we know(?) our children won't "need" them, granted permission to do bare minimum on extracurriculars and count them as full credits, and granted permission to take the day or week or even month off if we're having a bad time of it. After all, we've heard that public schoolers aren't covering all that much, so why try harder?

 

I don't want excellence measured in modern public school terms. I want to be surprised at how much my kids and I can learn together. I need a push to go farther than the minimum.

 

These are some of my thoughts at times, too. But then I go looking for the posts where people are talking about the type of education I want to give my kids, to get inspired again. I've also taken note of particular posters whose posts I like to read. I hope these posters, some of whom have kids who are done homeschooling, will continue to post here and inspire us on.

 

I haven't researched into all the various definitions and labels surrounding the term "classical education." I just know that the *learning patterns* I found in TWTM, combined with the recommended resources, are giving us the tools to learn. More tools than I ever learned in my school years, and yet some of them are so basic, and they DON'T take much time to learn if they are learned consistently (narration? I never did it when I was a kid, yet how simple and how much more interesting, freeing, and effective than filling in the blanks for reading comprehension and organizing your thoughts!!) I've read enough experiences on these boards over the years to know that these patterns really do work, with all the tweaking and individualizing.

 

If I post a question looking for help, I am usually just looking for affirmation and other people's experiences about a direction I *think* I want to move in. So, I don't post replies to someone else unless I think the poster seems to WANT a nudge in the same direction that I've gone in. If I think they are looking for a different nudge that I would not do, I move on because nothing I say is going to change their mind.

 

I think it's great that there are so many posters on here now, and there are a lot of "fresh faces" who are adding new excitement again for the methods in WTM. I just posted a reply to one the other day, hoping to encourage her along with her excitement. I wonder sometimes if there are newer WTM fans who are NOT posting, for fear of being discouraged out of their excitement.....that's why I like those threads where someone asks "who here actually uses many of the methods and resources in WTM?" and you see all kinds of affirmative answers.

 

Interesting discussion.

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What I mean is this: I have been looking at program after program after program for high school because the fact is other than the bible, some stories from the Odyssey in high school (in a lit book), maybe a touch of Oedipus (same lit book), and our logic study of literature (abridged Gilgamesh, Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid), I have NO CLUE about any of the other "classics" on the Ninth Grade list.

 

So, it seems really ludicrous for me to just blindly go about picking which books will supposedly make up a well-rounded classical ancient lit course. Do you think the ones who "pioneered" with the first version of WTM actually had some knowledge of these books?

 

I always imagine that people *really* doing WTM must either be genius-y smart, have kids who are genius-y smart, or who somehow just received a much, much better education than I did. It's hard to imagine a normal mom with average kids pulling this off.

 

BUT, as I was about to post earlier, I caught myself thinking, "I just don't have TIME to read all those books." But, yeah, I do. Really. (Well, at least I'd rather *read* than *clean*!!!) So, I've ordered the Gilgamesh, Iliad and Oedipus from amazon.

 

Thank you for the kick I needed to *do* something about solving my ignorance problem rather than just looking for some miracle-curriculum to do that for me.

 

:)

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It's hard to imagine a normal mom with average kids pulling this off. :)

 

This normal mom w/ normal kids is going to tap into online classes for the Great Books study/discussion. Ds 12 is taking Veritas Omnibus 1 online next year. The only way I will successfully provide my kiddos a classical education -- or neo-classical -- will be via the internet and/or local tutors.

 

These great books are meant to be discussed w/ experts, IMHO.

 

As for Latin, local tutors and online courses.

 

No one said classical ed is cheap!

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Wow. Laura. I think I understand your point, and your wish for some more academic rigor, but I think WTM has grown (esp with the new boards) to encompass a larger variety of ways to teach and learn. And I don't think any of us, old or new, have the monopoly on academic rigor. "Academic Rigor" is different for everyone, as has been pointed out so eloquently in previous posts.

 

Speaking for myself, WTM has always been the heart of what I wanted to teach and provided a beautiful basis for my beginning path of homeschooling. But my beliefs in teaching and learning have veered away from a "strict" WTM method. I will not be hemmed in by the label of "classical" or any other method that doesn't fully work for us, or that I don't fully believe in. Does that mean I don't need the boards because parts of it don't work for me? Not at all. As previously mentioned, we all come to this homeschooling journey for different reasons, and that effects our curriculum, and our goals.

 

You mention "If a kid doesn't like math, simply switch to an easier program." I would suggest, not "easier", but different. "History phobia? Pick a prepackaged curriculum that doesn't demand much." While I can not keep up with every post by a long shot, I don't think I have ever seen this advocated. However, I believe in a more "child-led" education. If a child sincerely hates a particular subject, I believe in the flexibility of change. Not "dropping" a subject, but I shall not, and will not, mimic a school room situation of dreading and hating subjects and classes for the WTM "ideal" whatever that may mean to a person individually. That would be MY invested ideal, not my childs education that I have at heart.

 

TWTM taught me that I could homeschool. What I love about the WTM boards are the ideas I get, the input from the variety of homeschoolers, and the resources. What I don't always love is that many WTM'ers come from a "school at home" stand point that I don't always agree with. So I overlook those areas as not working for me and take what does. Might I suggest, that while you are in mourning for the old rigor as you see it, just not reading the posts. Variety is the spice of life. It invigorates, it challenges. And we have a variety of people here, who, I believe, all view WTM with great respect and use it as a basis for their teaching, to whatever degree that basis is.

 

I guess, I hate labels. I resent being labeled as "rigorous" or "not rigorous" or a "classical homeschooler" or an "unschooler" when I am none of these things. I am imperfect, journeying, growing and learning with my child. And if that is not rigorous then what is?

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Do you think the ones who "pioneered" with the first version of WTM actually had some knowledge of these books?

:)

 

Actually, I think this is a really good point. I remember the early board. I was also on the WTMHS Yahoo board back then. I think the earliest adopters were starving for something like TWTM for High School and they drank from it like water in the desert. Now many if not most of us see TWTM as one option from a smorgasboard of opportunities currently available for this age group. I think it's just a byproduct of the inevitable maturing of the community.

 

Barb

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(and I won't give his/her name),

 

saying he/she just started homeschooling and is new to the WTM method. The person was pretty confused that some of the posts seem to go against the WTM method, and really wanted this board to be a support for the method.

 

I hope this person will stick around! This is why I first came here, because TWTM was really my ticket out of the public schools. It gave me a backbone. We who are trying hard to follow TWTM shouldn't feel bad for wanting to do our best to implement it and to encourage the "newbies." This is what I've been coming for.

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This is why I first came here, because TWTM was really my ticket out of the public schools. It gave me a backbone. We who are trying hard to follow TWTM shouldn't feel bad for wanting to do our best to implement it and to encourage the "newbies." This is what I've been coming for.

 

You know, Laura, I couldn't agree more with the first two sentences. I found that to be true in my case also.

 

I think it's "We who are trying hard to follow TWTM shouldn't feel bad for wanting to do our best to implement it and encourage the "newbies." statement that bothers me.

 

It seems exclusive for one thing. As if only those who follow TWTM rigorously should be allowed to discuss on this board. And again, as was stated, in previous posts, we are all following according to what works for us. Should we feel bad that you may not include us in the "we" who are trying hard to follow TWTM? If I say, " I follow TWTM to this or that degree" are you going to look down on me as not being rigorous? As not being a TRUE WTM er? Do we need to divide the board into "rigorous types" and "non rigourous types" and post accordingly??

 

"..wanting to do our best to implement it..." Don't we all want that?

 

I'm so lost on who is making you feel bad for implementing TWTM?? I stand in awe of the way some of you who interpret TWTM literally and go "by the book" teach. It's wonderful. It's successful. It's just not always my road, but is someone specifically making you feel bad about it? Or are the people who are trying to make it their own bothering you that much?

 

And the newbies that come here. By all means they should have encouragement like you and I did. Let them ask questions, let them find answers...just like we all did. It may be harder to "slog" through all the posts now, in the new forum, but they will find support here to find what works for them. When I was a 'newbie' three years ago I gathered what I needed from the boards. I would've never homeschooled without them. Which is why I am still here. The backbone, the encouragement. As my ideas changed and I figured out my daughters learning style I started "hearing" what others had to say, those that were not, perhaps, as rigorous followers of TWTM and what they said helped too. Is there not room for both?

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We are a family that holds VERY loosely to TWTM -- I love many of the ideas in it, but I would be hard-pressed to find specific examples of where we have directly followed TWTM. I wouldn't even consider the education that my kids have had particularly "classical."

 

 

But I love to hang out here because I get such great ideas, and like all the rest of you, I want to provide the BEST education I can for my dc, and I like to learn *with* them.

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I will say it's been an interesting perspective, because sometimes I feel like I'm the only one here who is 'relaxed' or 'eclectic' in approach. We're all reading the wrong posts!!!:)

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What I mean is this: I have been looking at program after program after program for high school because the fact is other than the bible, some stories from the Odyssey in high school (in a lit book), maybe a touch of Oedipus (same lit book), and our logic study of literature (abridged Gilgamesh, Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid), I have NO CLUE about any of the other "classics" on the Ninth Grade list.

 

So, it seems really ludicrous for me to just blindly go about picking which books will supposedly make up a well-rounded classical ancient lit course. Do you think the ones who "pioneered" with the first version of WTM actually had some knowledge of these books?

 

I always imagine that people *really* doing WTM must either be genius-y smart, have kids who are genius-y smart, or who somehow just received a much, much better education than I did. It's hard to imagine a normal mom with average kids pulling this off.

 

I've hardly read any of the books on the high school lists, either - for that matter, not many on the grammar and logic lists - but I'm catching up now! And I have TWTM methods and resources to THANK for that. Between TWTM and TWEM, and the people on these boards who DO talk about how they implement ideas in TWTM, I just have a sense that I CAN do this. And every time I panic, I'll run back here for help. No geniuses or university educated people in my house. :) As for knowledge of the books - I am guessing that when it comes time to pick books for high school lit., there'll be plenty of resources from which I can find out what the books are about (well, ideally, I'll read some of them beforehand), and then let my kids choose from the list. TWTM talks about that, too.

 

Rhonda, I think you're smart. I'd never have thought of that question. :)

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(and I won't give his/her name),

 

saying he/she just started homeschooling and is new to the WTM method. The person was pretty confused that some of the posts seem to go against the WTM method, and really wanted this board to be a support for the method.

 

I hope this person will stick around! This is why I first came here, because TWTM was really my ticket out of the public schools. It gave me a backbone. We who are trying hard to follow TWTM shouldn't feel bad for wanting to do our best to implement it and to encourage the "newbies." This is what I've been coming for.

 

This is exactly why I like to post to someone is newer than me and seems to want to use WTM methods but is having trouble with something (like, "am I including everything I need to do grammar-stage LA like in WTM?" I mean, if the person WANTS to do it WTM style, why not tell them directly, "yes, you've got it" or "no, you should add a spelling program" or whatever is missing)

 

There is SO MUCH freedom on these boards to express all sorts of opinions about all sorts of things. But when I start getting confused or feeling undermined in my efforts (which mostly comes from reading the huge variety of posts - something I don't need to do :)), I just remind myself that it's a forum BASED on the book!! If we go back and read the actual descriptions for the curriculum, general, high school, and afterschooling boards, we'd see that the overall intent really IS for discussing how to implement a classical style education in our homes!

 

I understand that there is a smorgasbord out there now for homeschoolers and many ways to do various subjects. But to me, the underlying principles of WTM is that you have to teach skills in order for the child to be able to learn. As long as the program is helpful to the parent in teaching the skills needed, then it doesn't matter if you use a program recommended in WTM or not. I just choose to use the recs, JUST because I don't want to get into researching all the zillions of programs out there. I need to focus myself. :)

 

I do hope that person sticks around, too. And I hope other "newbies" who want to gain practical help here with implementing WTM methods will start/keep posting.

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I too get caught up in the "What curriculum is best" thought. I forgot that the reason I liked WTM is the "real books" focous.

 

I will be taking my WTM off the shelf again tonight and reaquaint myself with what I REALLY wasnt to accomplist with my kids.......

 

I must admist I was first turned off by this thread. There are so many different ways to accomplish an education for your child.... after readin gall the posts though it may me realize I need to re- examine my goals and not listen so much to the people I hang with. What works for them may or may not work for me and my family.....

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popular when the children were young and then there would be a great dropping off of people who were unable to throw themselves fully into the studying required to give the higher levels of Classical Education. I'd love to see a poll of who is still doing what they dreamed off 5+ years ago. As our children grow older, us older WTM'ers get pretty busy, and we don't want to feel like we are beating people over the head for what they are choosing to do. I was always the wacko one around all the other homeschoolers I visited with in my area, but proof is in the pudding. I am on the slow and steady, not perfect path and seeing fabulous results. I'd encourage everyone here to do Latin to its fullest, to jump into the Progymn and learn it themselves, to toss out the twaddle and read only the best books, and push hard on math and not give up. I'm glad the days of debating who is really classical and who is only neoclassical have died down. I don't want to even call myself classical after those, just because I'm not educating little Classicists, but working on bringing up children who can serve in any area the Lord calls them. Right now I'm in the force who is in the trenches working hard and not giving up. With middle schoolers etc., we don't have time to enter the curriculum debates as much. We are preparing to figure out all the high school credits and how to teach what we've never learned ourselves. It is 12:18 and I'm working on a phonetic translation of Carmen in French so my daughter can prepare for her parts. I don't even know French, what am I doing? I'm just doing everything possible to give my children the fullest, deepest, richest education possible. I encourage all new WTM moms to not take the easy road, but read and search and research and really know what they are teaching and why.

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Wait, what's the answer? Is a rigorous homeschooler making their subjects smaller and purer, or bigger and broader?

 

I guess I've noticed that my kids get more education when we do less, so your dichotomy of dropping subjects and getting rigorous doesn't make sense to me.

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