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Laura K (NC)

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

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I don't know of any local private high schools who offer any of these kinds of classes. I get a little nervous thinking about how competitive schools seem to be, and if all the local schools are lock-step in their reporting, will a non-traditional transcript be a good kind of oddity or a roll-eyes kind of oddity. Many of the more classically motivated homeschoolers here adapt the transcript to make it sort of match the public school one, so that maybe medieval and renaissance literature would be changed to British Lit. since there's so much parallel.

 

One of my friends had a son with a very successful college application to Wake Forest, and one reason it was good was because it was so unusual, with a very odd but well-written, tightly-crafted essay (which she shared with me). I'd like to run my son along those lines with his transcript, but that's such a leap of faith.

 

Then again, my son said recently he wanted to become an electrician. Okay, an electrician who could quote Homer and whistle Eine Kleine Nachtmusik... at least his funky transcript won't get in the way! And he'd make more money as an electrician with no four year degree than he would if he became a history teacher in a high school. Thinking of this makes my head spin and so I go off to read the general board for relief. :)

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I think one of the dangers of the sort of education you (and lots of the rest of us, too) are trying to do is that if we do a good job, college may seem sort of redundent, since we are teaching them to think and to keep learning and how to teach themselves. Where does that leave college? My first son became a plumber's apprentice after college because he was so burned out by the ps system here, who were a very bad advertisement for education. My second son I figured would be different, but he knows how to learn himself and is looking at college as a way to be trained in a vocation because he likes learning the rest of the stuff his own way. Hmmmm.....

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I don't know of any local private high schools who offer any of these kinds of classes.

 

This one I'm speaking of is in Asheville.

 

Reading books like Colleges That Change Lives is comforting. Standing out in a good way is a GOOD thing, I think. We've been doing competitive admissions since ds was 11, and I really believe that unusual, as long as it is positive and presented in the context of a rich life of genuine curiosity and learning, is a fine way to go. We have certainly found it so.

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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.

 

Well, then, I'd encourage her to make an intro post, and ask her questions about WTM. I am sure that people using the WTM method will respond, and you can be the first person to encourage her. :)

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Of course there is room for both. It is just (at least in my case) that sometimes one of them seems a little scarce.

 

Nan, do you think it could just be due to the fact that there are less people out there actually using WTM to the letter? As with all programs, people tend to use them differently over the course of time. We hs'ers love to modify and change things to suit our particular needs. I remember going to TWEM forum when it was up and trying to get people to discuss it. I ended up coming back to the main boards and discussing it there, but even then, I had few "takers". (I remember we tried our own little discussion group for a while - that was fun! I loved how you brought a perspective that was totally different and interesting!)

 

Do you think that there are WTM'ers out there that just got discouraged and left, due to lack of support here? Personally, I don't think so, but I would encourage those lurking hard-core WTM'ers out there to prove me wrong.

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LisaNY: I don't think Lamere met anything negative by her post. I think she was taking off of the poster who asked why would anyone come here if they don't follow WTM? and Lamere meant...for that matter, why do people who aren't homeschooling here? That was how I took it. IN a why are ANY of us here, way.

 

Snowwhite: I was thinking of this earlier...perhaps a portion of the board for those that are following more strictly and those of us who are more eclectic in nature. The problem is, some of the best ideas I've implemented are from those who consider themselves rigorous. The support I get comes from places I wouldn't expect and I'm so happy when it does! I'm afraid I would linger on only one aspect of the board and miss out. One thing I like about the boards is that I am challenged and inspired by those I wouldn't otherwise agree with, KWIM?

 

Thank you Maria, that's exactly how I meant it and a sorry to the poster who was so upset. My point is you cannot control who is here or decide who belongs and who does not. We're all here for a reason and I think I stated that in my post.

:D

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I really, really hope that your post has not hurt people. I'm going to try to be nice here, since I am really angry right now at such an insensitive post. :mad:

 

Right off the bat, I think of Ria, a long-time poster on these forums, who has just placed her dc in ps. She has contributed so much to this place, and I, for one, am grateful for her. Are you saying that she no longer has a place here because she no longer has children at home????????? Goodness!! That's like saying older women, who longer have children at home, no longer have anything to contribute to younger, new moms.

 

Many hs moms, who have placed their children in public/private school for one reason or another, can still bless us with their wisdom and experience.

 

Maybe some of these women just want to stay in touch with friends, or see what is happening, or maybe share their experience.

 

On a personal note, I have one dd in ps, and another who will be going in two years. I plan to keep in touch here.

 

You took my post totally wrong.

OF COURSE I want people like Ria here...I know the value of women who have "gone before" me and I need them, esp. now as I'm about to embark on the high school journey with my son.

I felt that the original poster and some others were trying to say that unless you are a "by the book" WTM'er that you have no business being here. I meant no offense. :)

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A lot of local kids hit the public schools in 8th grade and do very well there. I'm seeing a lot of my local support wane as parents get discouraged, and then if the numbers aren't there, important social opportunities among homeschoolers aren't there like they were in the elementary years. Co-ops here are great until about 7th-8th grade, like you said, then it's harder and harder to find talented moms willing to put that much effort into a class that is supposed to count for "credit." Some here hang on by doing Sonlight or by online classes, most here just try to make it to the junior year when their kids can do dual enrollment. It definitely is more challenging, but I am enjoying homeschooling this year more than ever now that I have a high schooler.

 

My local hs group of close to 100 families has only a handful of high schoolers doing school at home. Most families send their dc to private or public high school. Our coop only goes up through 8th grade for that reason, too. There just aren't enough high schoolers to have meaningful classes.

 

Since my son started high school three years ago, I've tried to make sure that we still have a presence at some group activities. I've had many moms thank me for bringing my high schooler, and tell me that my son being there and going through high school at home is helping to give them courage to teach their dc at home for high school. I hope that is the case, and the number of high schoolers who school at home will grow.

 

I know that high school at home isn't for everyone, but I've really enjoyed having my son at home, too, and I know that he's growing here both academically and spiritually. I know that his course of study won't fit the "mold" when he begins applying to colleges. My heart says that differences in his schooling will make him stand out above others in the college application process. He won't be student #xxx from public high school yyyy. They will be forced to look at him as an individual.

 

I could definitely relate to Kelli's post about having moments of panic about whether I have prepared him well enough. When that happens, it can be hard to think clearly about anything. The only way I've been able to keep those feelings at bay is to trust that my son belongs to God first and to me & dh second and that God will lift him up and help him over the bumps.

 

Leaping in faith right there with you!

Brenda

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You took my post totally wrong.

OF COURSE I want people like Ria here...I know the value of women who have "gone before" me and I need them, esp. now as I'm about to embark on the high school journey with my son.

I felt that the original poster and some others were trying to say that unless you are a "by the book" WTM'er that you have no business being here. I meant no offense. :)

 

I get that part, Becky, it's *this* part I had a problem with:

 

On that note, I'm a member of two other homeschool boards and I'm sure it may happen here as well...but why are people who are no longer homeschooling, but have put their children back in ps still on homeschool boards??

 

I guess everyone has their reasons for being here...

 

You may not have meant any offense, but I can see where a post like that can be hurtful. If both of my dd's were in ps, and I read your post, I would not be happy about a post like that.

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Or it might be a class in Ladies' Undergarments!

 

Hmmm, how about a course in the history of undergarments using the Cunnington book The History of Underclothes as the spine. There are an amazing number of books on corsets and various others that you could supplement with and perhaps a few visits to museums...wonder if you could make it a 1/2 credit or a full;)

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Hmmm, how about a course in the history of undergarments using the Cunnington book The History of Underclothes as the spine. There are an amazing number of books on corsets and various others that you could supplement with and perhaps a few visits to museums...wonder if you could make it a 1/2 credit or a full;)

 

And I have The Perfect Fit as supplementary reading, if someone want to tackle it. :D

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A good friend of mine, who has since passed away, was a math teacher at our local middle school. One summer she and a few of the other math teachers at the middle school attended a teacher's enrichment workshop in Oxford, MS, where one of the main courses taught was on women's clothing in the 18th and 19th centuries. I don't believe they had one single math-related course among the three of them. Your tax dollars at work! ;)

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I might do history and lit just as recommended in TWTM, but I use a text for science. Or someone else doesn't do great books in high school, just really good books for her student. Who would be pure enough to post? Or how could you let people know the parameters of a classical only board?

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Stop it! This has gotten out of hand!! Just this afternoon I was telling a mom who is about start homeschooling that she needed to come here and be encouraged by all the mature, wise women on here. And then I come home and look at what you people are discussing!

 

Now, aren't you ashamed of yourselves?

 

 

I didn't think so. If she sees this I am going to have to explain the difference between books and booKs to her.:D

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nt

 

Very funny!!!! Last night I finally told dh about booKs (okay, he knew about them, but the term) and he asked, "What do you talk about on there?":D All this time I've been justifying my time here by the fact that I'm learning more about homeschooling, etc.

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and that means more people are here, lots of people. Also, we're a particularly polite bunch here, as I notice whenever I read anything else, and that is appealing.

-Nan

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I think this is an excellent discussion, Laura. For our family, personally, we aren't strict followers of the classical method. However, we are very strict followers of pushing our children academically to their maximum potential. The focus is not necessarily on the liberal arts, but may be highly intensive in math and science (which isn't quite so "classical.")

 

From our experience and POV, educational success is what leads to the capabilities to achieve future academic goals. Our oldest son is majoring in chemical engineering. We could have focused more on the liberal arts (Latin, Greek, ancients) when he was in high school, but opted for him to be able to dual enroll and take the science/math route. I'm not sure that was the wrong decision for him. It was definitely hard work and developed excellent work ethic, exposed him to what he needed to do in order to achieve his dream.

 

I am also a focuser on the smaller and purer. We can't study everything. We go narrower and deeper. However, in today's technological world, we have made educational room for a slightly different picture (like Janice's list in her post)

 

I've enjoyed the discussion. With our 3rd child approaching high school next yr, I am still trying to evaluate our route with her. She has no clear cut dreams or focus, so a more traditionally classical approach may be the one we take. Either way, pushing her to her maximum potential is our ultimate goal no matter which subjects we end up selecting to study.

 

The son you described here is an example in my mind of what good academic preparation can do for kids by the time they get to high school - they can narrow and specialize. From all the posts of yours I have read, I believe you are an excellent teacher of reading and writing, so your kids could probably read and write and reason their way through any subject - and you've let them choose which ones to study in high school. This is what I hope to do for my kids by the time they reach high school years - I just desperately need the help of WTM and posters here to guide my way to that goal, since I wouldn't have a clue how to do it otherwise. :)

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I know I don't follow WTM to the letter, certainly not with my oldest 2. However, ds is pretty in line with a good bit of the WTM.

 

We did drop Latin, and I'm hoping to pick it back up with him in HS, but the girls probably won't ever do it.

 

We love doing our history ala WTM, and I try to follow her writing guidelines (when we write, which is bad I know), but some of the stuff just didn't work as well for us.

 

I love TWTM, and I recommend it a LOT. It is THE one book I will keep around and refer to over and over. However, I realize that each of my kids is different, and they each have different goals in life. My 2 oldest already know what they want to do. One is in college now. One is heading to cosmetology school after graduation. I realize that isn't rigorous, but it's what she loves and what she wants to do. I'm not skimping on her education because of that, but I will not push her to do what is beyond her capabilities (at least right now) just for the sake of doing it either.

 

3rd dd wants to go to nursing school. I do push her harder. Ds will do goodness knows what, and he is definitely going to surpass all the girls in his schooling (at least here at home). I came to TWTM a little late for some, but not too late for the rest!!

 

Oh, and I love the boards just the way they are. I think there is a nice mix of people who have all types of experiences, and that's what makes the boards so wonderful!

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Who would be pure enough to post?

 

How did you mean "pure" enough? You mean like Aryan-pure, as if classical homeschoolers secretly feel like some kind of master race?

 

I personally don't want to be quarrantined into a classical-only sub-board, if the rest of the board isn't classical, as if it were some disease that others might catch.

 

I was thinking this was getting cleared up, but now I'm not sure again.

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Yes, I realize I'm resurrecting a dead horse and beating it again...

 

At the risk of gaining negative "reputation points" (whatever those are...)

 

I guess I'm still missing something, because I still don't get why someone who isn't doing WTM or classical, or has never even read the book, would post here.

 

Here's what the forum description says for the Parent's Forum K-8 Curriculum Board:

 

"For questions about specific curricula and their relationship to classical education..."

 

And here's the forum description for the Parent's Forum General Board:

 

"For general questions about classical education methods, teaching techniques, readiness,..."

 

So again... I'm not getting it... <shrugs shoulders>

 

I'm really not trying to run anyone off the board. Truly, I'm not. But I don't really understand it, that's all. But I certainly stand by your right to be here, regardless of my misunderstanding of it.

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Yes, I realize I'm resurrecting a dead horse and beating it again...

 

At the risk of gaining negative "reputation points" (whatever those are...)

 

I guess I'm still missing something, because I still don't get why someone who isn't doing WTM or classical, or has never even read the book, would post here.

 

Here's what the forum description says for the Parent's Forum K-8 Curriculum Board:

 

"For questions about specific curricula and their relationship to classical education..."

 

And here's the forum description for the Parent's Forum General Board:

 

"For general questions about classical education methods, teaching techniques, readiness,..."

 

So again... I'm not getting it... <shrugs shoulders>

 

I'm really not trying to run anyone off the board. Truly, I'm not. But I don't really understand it, that's all. But I certainly stand by your right to be here, regardless of my misunderstanding of it.

 

Well, it is probably because they feel supported here, and they can get great advice and help from a really wonderful bunch of people - regardless of whether or not they are purely classical hs'ers. I think people who come here are, or strive to be, serious and dedicated homeschoolers.

 

Personally, I don't want to spend time wondering why people are here if they don't follow this, or that. I figure they are here because they have found a place that can offer them help and support on their homeschool journey. And, to quote Scrooge's nephew - "I say, G-d bless it!"

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Here's what the forum description says for the Parent's Forum K-8 Curriculum Board:

 

"For questions about specific curricula and their relationship to classical education..."

 

And here's the forum description for the Parent's Forum General Board:

 

"For general questions about classical education methods, teaching techniques, readiness,..."

 

So again... I'm not getting it... <shrugs shoulders>

 

I'm really not trying to run anyone off the board. Truly, I'm not. But I don't really understand it, that's all. But I certainly stand by your right to be here, regardless of my misunderstanding of it.

 

 

I am trying to think how to word this. I don't want to sound snarky, I don't want to be discouraging to anybody. I do think your post is worth responding to though.

 

I can see why those of us who really like WTM but struggle to implement all aspects of it stay here. After all, WTM ruined our lives! :D We know too much to go back to the other way and we know too little to do it the way we really want to!!! So we hang out here and keep trying to do a better job than we did last year.

 

I also understand why people who have graduated their homeschoolers come here. We need those people, we need to be able to pick their brains! I am so glad that they do not turn their backs on us and go on with their lives!! (Okay, I don't mean to imply that they can't go on with their lives, but I appreciate that they visit here and let us glean from their wisdom and experience)

 

I understand why people who have children in other school settings, but are considering homeschooling or a return to homeschooling would be here.

 

I admit that I do not understand why people who don't care for classical education are here. I have seen people come to these boards for years and actually discourage people from following a classical methodology. :confused:

 

I also do not understand why people who have put their kids in a different school setting and are very pleased and happy with their choices choose this forum.

 

As Seinfeld would say "Not that there is anything wrong with that!" :rolleyes:

 

But you are not alone in your pondering of the whys.

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I also do not understand why people who have put their kids in a different school setting and are very pleased and happy with their choices choose this forum.

 

Comments like these make me wonder why I'm here as well.

 

Let's not forget, we're all battling the procrustean public education system and we should be careful not to replace it with our own beds. This is a forum for learning and sharing, whatever our own personal choices are.

 

Jenelle

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I understand why people who have children in other school settings, but are considering homeschooling or a return to homeschooling would be here.

 

I admit that I do not understand why people who don't care for classical education are here. I have seen people come to these boards for years and actually discourage people from following a classical methodology. :confused:

 

I also do not understand why people who have put their kids in a different school setting and are very pleased and happy with their choices choose this forum.

 

As Seinfeld would say "Not that there is anything wrong with that!" :rolleyes:

 

But you are not alone in your pondering of the whys.

 

Well, you know, I have my dd (and had my ds, not so very long ago) in a different school setting. I chose (deliberately, not in a "I give up" sort of way -- not that there's anything wrong with *that*, lol) to finish her homeschooling in 8th grade. We finished the course that I set out to accomplish with her.

 

And I may never go back to homeschooling. Though I prefer to, if possible.

 

We're sooooo happy with our schooling choice.

 

But I'm still here. I think sometimes, "Where else would I be?"

 

Seriously. I cannot for the life of me imagine another place I'd fit in better or be able to contribute (albeit in a limited way on the high school and self-education forum) more freely.

 

I can't figure out why someone would discourage classical education and post here. Unless it would be to encourage others that classical isn't one size fits all, and that there are other options that might "fit" the family better? I dunno. But it's sort of trollish, IMO, to be a guest on a classical ed board and actively lobby against the method all the time.

 

Otherwise, I think we're mostly here because we feel like we fit here for some reason or another. And it might not be one of those reasons that's intuitively obvious to the most casual observer.

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And I may never go back to homeschooling. Though I prefer to, if possible.

 

We're sooooo happy with our schooling choice.

 

But I'm still here. I think sometimes, "Where else would I be?"

 

Seriously. I cannot for the life of me imagine another place I'd fit in better or be able to contribute (albeit in a limited way on the high school and self-education forum) more freely.

 

I can't figure out why someone would discourage classical education and post here. Unless it would be to encourage others that classical isn't one size fits all, and that there are other options that might "fit" the family better? I dunno. But it's sort of trollish, IMO, to be a guest on a classical ed board and actively lobby against the method all the time.

.

 

I mean no harm. I am sorry. I think I am having an overemotional response to a thread on another board on this forum, and remembering threads in the past that went sour and did I mention that it is that time of month?

 

I am just going to go hide from my kids and eat chocolate chips straight from that bag now. I think I will also avoid posting until my hormones stabilize a bit.:rolleyes:

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I mean no harm. I am sorry. I think I am having an overemotional response to a thread on another board on this forum, and remembering threads in the past that went sour and did I mention that it is that time of month?

 

I am just going to go hide from my kids and eat chocolate chips straight from that bag now. I think I will also avoid posting until my hormones stabilize a bit.:rolleyes:

 

Harm? Girl, you'd have to work a darn sight harder if you're thinking anything you could ever say would hurt my feelings. Not even close. You have a great deal of "credit" in my "she's just chattin' with me" bank.

 

No, I was just musing about where I fit in the grand scheme of Board. And I think possibly I sounded hurt or snarly. I wasn't. But you know why I'm here, right?

 

Right?

 

(And since you do, could you clue me in? :D)

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I can see why those of us who really like WTM but struggle to implement all aspects of it stay here. After all, WTM ruined our lives! We know too much to go back to the other way and we know too little to do it the way we really want to!!! So we hang out here and keep trying to do a better job than we did last year.

 

Yes, I do in some ways feel like WTM has ruined my life!!! ;) How awful to realize how completely inadequate my own education was.

 

And yet, I still struggle to feel like I'm making good educational choices for my kids when the "Abeka" kids call mine at 10:00 am every morning FINISHED WITH SCHOOL!!! And, I have to admit, they'll probably support themselves and their families just fine.

 

It is hard to remember that vision I have glimpsed here from certain posters that education isn't about financial success, but about building a life. I guess that's why I come *here*, because this is the only place that feeds that vision.

 

You just expressed it so well!

:)

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I was interested in a discussion about whether TWTM boards, at least the academic ones such as the K-8 boards, should be smaller because there was a greater percentage of WTM users there, or broader, where using TWTM didn't matter.

 

I just wish "rigor" hadn't been turned into a dirty word the past few days!

 

Ah, I see.

 

When I first saw this thread, I thought, "Oh, c'mon, we're all trying our best and have more in common than not . . . " But then, just today, a couple of folks posted asking for advice and there were a whole bunch of, "just relax, let the kids play, make it easier for them, they have to enjoy it," sort of answers. To my great surprise, it did make me uncomfortable, not because they're wrong, but because this is where I come so I won't get those sort of answers. I don't need help relaxing; I'm lazy. I need help pushing myself and my kids.

 

That said, life on the internet moves fast and organically. I'm pretty sure that if this place gets over run with relaxed homeschoolers, the draconian homeschoolers will start a forum elsewhere and there will be a natural divide.

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Yes, I realize I'm resurrecting a dead horse and beating it again...

 

At the risk of gaining negative "reputation points" (whatever those are...)

 

I guess I'm still missing something, because I still don't get why someone who isn't doing WTM or classical, or has never even read the book, would post here.

 

Here's what the forum description says for the Parent's Forum K-8 Curriculum Board:

 

"For questions about specific curricula and their relationship to classical education..."

 

And here's the forum description for the Parent's Forum General Board:

 

"For general questions about classical education methods, teaching techniques, readiness,..."

 

So again... I'm not getting it... <shrugs shoulders>

 

I'm really not trying to run anyone off the board. Truly, I'm not. But I don't really understand it, that's all. But I certainly stand by your right to be here, regardless of my misunderstanding of it.

 

 

I started homeschooling (with a burned out teenager) as a relaxed 'find the passion' kind of mom. When he didn't 'find' the spark of passion, I changed curriculums. I changed methods. I changed whatever I could to make school more 'fun' 'engaging' or 'interesting.'

 

What I've learned in the years since is that I should have required more. He would have hated it, but he would have learned more. Lots more. The biggest lesson being sometimes you've just got to muscle through the tough stuff.

 

With my second and last son, I choose differently. I come to this board to learn about rigor and demanding academics. About asking more than my son thinks he should have to give. ;) So I've gone from being a relaxed, eclectic, nearly unschooler to a tough minded, academically, demanding type homeschooler.

 

I come here to learn that it CAN be done.

 

I'll never be a totally classical educator, but I'm way closer now than I was five years ago. If only I could start all over with my guys........

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I don't homeschool the WTM way. My classical bent is more from the Ignatian philosophy, not the WTM (classical education has existed for centuries. ;)) I have read the WTM, but I am also very confident about finding my own way with each of my children. I am currently posting on the high school board and I am not even homeschooling a high schooler this yr. I sent my current high schooler to school. :eek:

 

Why do I post here?? I know very few homeschoolers that take education as seriously as I do. Most sort of go along doing this and that and are content with the mediocre. I am not. I push my kids to accomplish the most difficult topics/assignments they can. I don't currently have a high schooler, but I have graduated one who is doing quite well in college. I have 5 more coming up, one is an 8th grader. High school is always there in the back of my mind.

 

The women on this board are the most intelligent, amusing, and friendly women to hang around (ok....no offense dads.....you are pretty awesome too!) The advice they offer is pretty much on target all the time. I don't happen to know any women quite like them IRL (except for Jane.....she is even more thoughtful and intelligent in person!!! :) )

 

I don't believe that the WTM is the sole way to achieve the same goal. I am extremely indebted to SWB for this board. I recommend the WTM to friends that are floundering and need someone to provide a road map on what is a solid education. I sure like spending time here even though my own homeschool reflects my POV of education and not WTM.

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The women on this board are the most intelligent, amusing, and friendly women to hang around (ok....no offense dads.....you are pretty awesome too!) The advice they offer is pretty much on target all the time. I don't happen to know any women quite like them IRL (except for Jane.....she is even more thoughtful and intelligent in person!!! :) )

 

 

Aw shucks. Hoping to see you again this summer!

 

Jane (who greatly appreciates her WTM friends and wishes that we could get together for coffee on a weekly basis)

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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.

I picked up an old 1960s Latin textbook at our Friends of the Library bookstore. I am able to use it without a teacher's guide because I studied Latin in college. (Yes, long before I had kids, I knew that classical education was the best.) It moves really fast. My son has learned all the endings for the first 4 declensions of nouns, the first 3 conjugations of verbs in all tenses and voices, and all moods except subjunctive, and he is now learning pronouns. Meanwhile his public school friends who take Latin have not even completed learning all the cases for the first declension of nouns. Yes, we will read Caesar next year. But after that, I'll allow him to switch to modern languages. He wants to learn French and Russian. I can teach him French, but he'll be taking Russian at the community college.

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Laura, you said:

 

"(T)he second part of the question was a legitimate concern to me and some others: where are the classical homeschoolers?"

 

My belated response is an echo of what others have said or implied: What constitutes "classical" homeschooling? I've never considered TWTM the epitome of a classical education ~ which for me is well and good, given my lack of desire to implement such a thing. Susan's and Jessie's knowledge and encouragement are valuable to me, however, and I've long relied upon TWTM as a source book. Not an instruction manual, but an excellent reference.

 

"I was just trying to see what might happen if I asked a question like that."

 

So how do you feel about what happened? Has this discussion encouraged you? discouraged you? or....?

 

"I think both the rigorous and the (choosing words carefully here) more accessible are valuable depending on how much a person can handle. I just wish "rigor" hadn't been turned into a dirty word the past few days!"

 

Yes, it is difficult if not impossible to choose appropriate words there ~ because it gets dangerously close to misunderstood, inaccurate labeling. Is my friend Julie Bogart's (Bravewriter author/owner) eclectic, not-particularly-"classical" style some how "less than"? Many who consider themselves poster children for "rigorous" academics would likely say so. But on what basis? And why is not-ueber-classical education allegedly more accessible, anyway?

 

I'm so not into labels. I do understand the basis for your question, and I absolutely agree that we should encourag one another to aim higher rather than settle for less. I think, though, that we have to be wary of assuming that what's better for us is better for everyone, and to remember that "different" is not necessarily on par with "less".

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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.

 

<snip>

 

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, ...the whole spirit of the system seems to have left.

 

Laura,

 

I remember the moment (some time back) that I realized the boards had changed. ...and I felt very out of place. So out of place that I left the boards for over a year; I didn't feel that I really had anything to add here.

 

In fact, I felt that some of the things I advocated for most strongly were making others feel inadequate and it was so painful a perception that I still avoid certain topics... and there I things I would no longer say here, or would phrase very differently.

 

 

Yes, the original spirit has changed to something almost unrecognizable, and I too have grieved a little for that, but the thing which hasn't changed is the graciousness, caring, and goodwill. The mutual respect and consideration so often demonstrated here is really beautiful and the diversity of approaches and experiences is incredible - and often inspiring.

 

 

And, I must say, both classical homeschooling and academic rigor mean very different things to different people!

 

I would describe myself a highly committed to both, but the means I use to achieve those ends wouldn't necessarily match someone else's definition of a rigorous approach. (Especially with my son!)

 

My goals are almost identical for what I want to give each of my children, and my standards for the quality of the content are, imho, very high. ...but the ways my kids get there aren't always standard.

 

I also want to say that rigorous is, frankly, a relative term, and cannot be fairly judged by, for example, textbook choice. Imho, rigor is about setting high goals, but high relative to the background and abilities of the student and, again frankly, the family. That my eldest read the Iliad in its entirety when she was 9 or 10, doesn't say anything about the rigor of our program, nor does the age of my son when he started algebra... the rigor lies in me ensuring that each child is being challenged to do his/her best at working towards our family's educational goals.

 

I have too many different thoughts, and not enough clarity or alertness to express any of them well right now, so I will stop typing!

 

Thank you, Laura, for sharing your reactions (and so much more articulately than I did when I first felt this way!). I think this is a valuable discussion to have.

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When I first saw this thread, I thought, "Oh, c'mon, we're all trying our best and have more in common than not . . . " But then, just today, a couple of folks posted asking for advice and there were a whole bunch of, "just relax, let the kids play, make it easier for them, they have to enjoy it," sort of answers. To my great surprise, it did make me uncomfortable, not because they're wrong, but because this is where I come so I won't get those sort of answers. I don't need help relaxing; I'm lazy. I need help pushing myself and my kids.

 

I see what you're saying, but I have two very strong reactions.

 

1) Some people do need help, not necessarily to relax, but to to be themselves. I don't think any of us will get very far trying to force ourselves into a mold that doesn't fit. And, all too often, people tend to throw out the baby with the bathwater, and need encouragement to find other ways of meeting their goals.

 

2) Relaxed and rigorous are not mutually exclusive. We don't have to abandon joy, delight, and spontaneity to achieve the goals of a classical education... especially for the elementary years. Also, relaxed isn't necessarily any less work than rigorous, it is just a different kind of work. Some families do best with a 'pushing' approach - often along with clear schedules and checklists - other do better with a 'leading' approach.

 

Personally, I'm one of the latter. I don't push my kids, and I don't intend to. I have nurtured a passion for learning and helped them build the skills to follow that passion. And I don't think the education my children are getting is any less rigorous than if we had taken a more standard approach to rigor - frankly, I think it is more so. [since rigor can mean such different things to different people, let me give my eldest (14.5) as an example: she is in her second year of classes at a local (highly regarded) community college acing a biology class (one intended for science majors, more than half the class is pre-med), she intends to start calculus there in the fall, she is well read and reads and discusses great works of literature with ease and insight... and she has a drive to learn and the discipline to challenge herself, and a gratifyingly high set of academic standards.)

 

Anyway... this was only tangentially related to what you actually said - and I hope it doesn't come across as discouraging the 'pushing' approach! We each need to chose the means to our ends which work best for our children, ourselves, and our families as a whole!

 

Warmly,

 

Eliana

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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.

What TWTM did for me was set me free from following the public school curriculum. I couldn't and don't follow it very closely because I started homeschooling when my kids were in 4th and 5th grade and they've each been back in the public school at least once since then. But I had a classical education myself, in college, because I wanted one. TWTM made me realize that what was good for me was also good for my kids. So we do Latin and logic and great books, but I don't necessarily use the books SWB recommends, and I don't follow the 4 year cycle for history very closely because of our erratic hs journey. This year we're focusing on a one year survey of church history, using Sonlight 200 as a spine, but not following it to the letter either. I just hope we can get through the 4 year cycle at least once in our homeschooling years. My 13 yo has done medieval and is now learning early modern. We are doing the early modern strictly as a read aloud/historical fiction/great books approach since his main history work is the church history. My 15 yo has studied ancient history at the public school as well as digging into it on his own because he enjoyed what he learned at the public school, and medieval at home, but we didn't finish the time period. The problem is that we all 3 love history so much that the survey approach just bogs down. We could spend an entire year studying one century and we'd all be happy. But I want them to have a better rounded education than that. So I'd say our homeschool is rigorous by anyone's standards, but we don't follow WTM very closely.

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An interesting thing happened on the journey. I had always viewed my son as a natural biologist with an engineering bent. Between his Montessori education and TWTM, he has developed a passion for history. He is not the best Latin student, but enjoys it. If we had placed more emphasis on math and science, we may not have discovered these interests.

 

Interesting. Almost the same thing happened to us. My oldest always loved math and science, so I designed a very rigorous program for him. He's taking Precalc at our community college at 15! Then he spent a year (last year) taking classes at the Math and Science center, a local high school which is very intensive in math and science. The only select 75 out of 300 applicants every year. His paper for biology last year was on the epigenetics of autism. Huh? Glad he had to do it not me. But after a year there, he began to hate math and science. Now he wants to major in music and literature. I NEVER would have guessed that he would take that path. Music, maybe, but I was sure he would be an engineer. It just goes to show you never know what your kids will get into next.

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Interesting. Almost the same thing happened to us. My oldest always loved math and science, so I designed a very rigorous program for him. He's taking Precalc at our community college at 15! Then he spent a year (last year) taking classes at the Math and Science center, a local high school which is very intensive in math and science. The only select 75 out of 300 applicants every year. His paper for biology last year was on the epigenetics of autism. Huh? Glad he had to do it not me. But after a year there, he began to hate math and science. Now he wants to major in music and literature. I NEVER would have guessed that he would take that path. Music, maybe, but I was sure he would be an engineer. It just goes to show you never know what your kids will get into next.

 

 

I hope this comes across in the spirit it is meant and I am not picking on you, it is just that your post sparked the thought.

 

I don't think it is surprising that interests change in the way you described. I think sometimes we put too much emphasis on one or two focus areas (usually a childs "favorite" subject) so that some other subjects/areas get little or no attention. I think this focus is not good because it burns a child out on those subjects. A balance needs to be maintained in all areas. If a child loves history, of course make sure that passion is supported, but we also need to make sure other areas are still emphasized. This will support a well-rounded education and give opportunities to make connections between the favored subject(s) and other areas and keep the favored subject in a place where the child is getting enough to maintain the passion, but not too much that they burn out on it and no longer enjoy the subject.

 

I know people who emphasize sports over academics and vice versa. I think we need to be careful about jumping on this bandwagon of over supporting passions. There is a balance in everything and I think we need to keep that in mind.

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I am going to have to explain the difference between books and booKs to her.:D
Okay, I've been away from the board for a while (busy with real life) and I don't get that one. Could you explain it to ME?

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Okay, I've been away from the board for a while (busy with real life) and I don't get that one. Could you explain it to ME?

 

books are something you read. booKs are anatomical.

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I hope this comes across in the spirit it is meant and I am not picking on you, it is just that your post sparked the thought.

 

I don't think it is surprising that interests change in the way you described. I think sometimes we put too much emphasis on one or two focus areas (usually a childs "favorite" subject) so that some other subjects/areas get little or no attention. I think this focus is not good because it burns a child out on those subjects.

I'm sure you didn't mean to be mean. I did what I thought was best for my son, and I was surprised, but not necessarily disappointed by the change. I want my kids to choose a career that they will enjoy. If they do that, they will be fulfilled and I'll feel like I did my job. As I wrote that post, I thought of just what you said. Sometimes the act of communicating things to others helps us understand them better. Maybe someone here can learn from my mistake (if it was one).

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So how do you feel about what happened? Has this discussion encouraged you? discouraged you? or....?

 

I've been encouraged. It was good to see the hard-core folks who stuck with their high schoolers as devotedly as they did when they were teaching with Prima Latina and dictation out of Aesop's Fables[/a]. I'm very encouraged indeed to have added 4 more blogs of homeschoolers who do various versions of "classical" to my bloglines.com list. I'm renewed to try harder with my sons, especially my high schooler, and not just copy the NC standard course of study. Yes, this has been a good thread.

 

"I think both the rigorous and the (choosing words carefully here) more accessible are valuable depending on how much a person can handle. I just wish "rigor" hadn't been turned into a dirty word the past few days!"

 

I'm so not into labels. I do understand the basis for your question, and I absolutely agree that we should encourag one another to aim higher rather than settle for less. I think, though, that we have to be wary of assuming that what's better for us is better for everyone, and to remember that "different" is not necessarily on par with "less".[/color][/font]

 

I don't know how many times I'm going to have to refute the idea that my intent was to turn everyone here into a homeschooler who uses WTM to the letter. Why are classical homeschoolers not allowed to search and rescue their own without making everyone else feel bad about themselves? For me, different is less, just like a different religion for me is less. I'm not saying it's less for you or for anyone else. It may be best for someone else to use a public school, or a school-in-a-box, or radical unschooling, or worksheets and textbooks for every class. It's not best for me. I'm not concerned about what is best for anyone else. If I was, I'd be visiting different boards. There's not a homeschooler (heh, or public schooler) here who doesn't believe what she (or he) is doing, or intending to do, isn't best, and has chosen her own option because the other options are somewhat "less." If there is such a homeschooler, I would probably believe they are confused and need to adopt a more concrete educational philosophy. I think labels and classifications are very natural and necessary to human beings and need not imply prejudice.

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If there is such a homeschooler, I would probably believe they are confused and need to adopt a more concrete educational philosophy. I think labels and classifications are very natural and necessary to human beings and need not imply prejudice.

 

Laura, I'm out of rep for the day, or I would have given you some for this quote alone. I don't think anyone here should feel she or he has to apologize for setting and maintaining high standards or for having a consistent educational philosophy. We all do the best we can for our children. The best (as we understand it) we can (at this moment in our lives) for our children (and no one else's). If I didn't think that classical education were the best for my child, I'd be doing something else, would I not? :)

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I don't know how many times I'm going to have to refute the idea that my intent was to turn everyone here into a homeschooler who uses WTM to the letter. Why are classical homeschoolers not allowed to search and rescue their own without making everyone else feel bad about themselves? For me, different is less, just like a different religion for me is less. .

 

 

I am going to zero in on this. I do believe that we ought to be able to hold a certain standard on these boards without people falling to pieces about it. Once on my blog I suggested that I sometimes post on a "message board visited primarily by homeschoolers of a classical bent" and someone took great offense at this. The person argued with me, on my blog, that this is not a message board for classical homeschoolers. And I can agree that it is intended for homeschoolers and afterschoolers, I think it is not a stretch to say the people who pay the bills for this place promote a classical approach to education. I cannot understand why anyone is bothered by that.

 

So yes, classical homeschoolers should be allowed to search and rescue one another without folks on different paths getting their feelings hurt.

 

I am so far from where I want to be as a homeschool mom, but if we did not have this place to "flesh out" all that SWB and JW taught us with WTM, I would be even further from where I want to be. It's like the math discussions.

I simply cannot do math the way many on here suggest. But I am not going to get my feelings hurt because TT is not well liked. I am going to listen to the warnings about it and add in Aleks for good measure. I refuse to let people holding up a high standard offend me. After all, I come here to listen in on conversations between people with high standards!!!

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For me, different is less, just like a different religion for me is less. I'm not saying it's less for you or for anyone else.

 

You've put it so perfectly, thank you!

 

That's exactly how I feel about our standards...

 

I keep trying to type some more substantiative responses, but they keep coming out either too wishy-washy to avoid stepping on toes or too strident...

 

So I will, for once, be brief: :iagree:

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