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Laura K (NC)

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

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Laura,

 

I'm watching this thread grow and and I am wondering how it came to be that a thread about classical education on a forum for classical education needs to be defended or clarified.

 

Secondly, on a message board where tact is king we shy away from certain subjects so as not to alienate other posters, risk neg reps, or chance an off topic digression about how someone else is offended and it is refreshing to read a post where someone gets really excited about the subject they are discussing.

 

I can tell by your word choice and tone that this really means something to you personally. You are not out there "me-tooing" your peers and you haven't censored yourself to the point of ceasing to make meaningful adult conversation.

 

If the highest priority on a message board is sugar coating every last word and playing such nice-nice with each other so that absolutely every last "opinion" and thought must be allowed to go unquestioned lest someone be offended then the board becomes about therapy, self-esteem, or socialization--a reflection of some of the very things that I do not like about public education.

 

While my intention is not to "make friends" on message boards, it certainly should be no surprise that after we've censored ourselves and ceased to talk about those hot topics, (as if the study of Latin or Greek is that contentious!), potentially offensive to someone, we wonder why we never feel really close to anyone and we speculate on how it is that we are the only ones attempting these particular educational goals. On a board with thousands of registered participants we feel isolated and alone.

 

As a result of this thread I've been thinking about how much more of an effort I need to take to get the Latin done the way that I know it needs to get done. There was a comment left on a blog not so long ago that I laughed at and then immediately worried that it might apply to me, "There are two ways that students think they can learn (topic): One way is to do the work and learn the topic, the other way is to come up with lots of good excuses why they didn't learn the topic. But there is no either/or, there is only number one."

 

And so I need spend more time figuring out how to overcome the difficulties with the Latin and less time whining in my head about all my excuses.

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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.

 

I don't think so, either.

 

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).

 

Yes. Your emphases are important.

 

If I didn't think that classical education were the best for my child, I'd be doing something else, would I not?

 

Maybe or maybe not. I imagine there are times when people would prefer to do "X (uppercase)" but for a variety of reasons have to modify for the time being and do "x (lowercase)".

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I do believe that we ought to be able to hold a certain standard on these boards without people falling to pieces about it...So yes, classical homeschoolers should be allowed to search and rescue one another without folks on different paths getting their feelings hurt.

 

Kelli, just to clarify, I do agree with you. I think, though, that we can do that without asserting a holier-than-thou stance. It is my opinion that some of the comments in this thread fell short in that regard, thus my earlier post.

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I've been encouraged...Yes, this has been a good thread.

 

This was a good discussion, I agree!

 

Why are classical homeschoolers not allowed to search and rescue their own without making everyone else feel bad about themselves?

 

I think it's possible to engage in that "search and rescue" without assuming the tone of smug superiority that I sensed in portions of this discussion. Of course, "I sensed" underscores the subjectivity in my comment. This is merely my interpretation.

 

For me, different is less, just like a different religion for me is less.

 

I hear you. I would not put education on the same par as faith, but I do understand your underlying point.

 

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 we will have to agree to disagree on that score.:)

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T

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:

 

Totally agree.

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I

I think I will like this better in the high school years; these junior-high years seem to be pretty much about transitioning from being a kid to being a young man, about learning how to handle larger work loads, and they frankly aren't as much fun. But I think we will find our way to the other side, back to the interesting conversations, and that's good. To tell the truth, when we get to DO that stuff, I like this homeschooling a lot.

 

It kind of freaks me out that I have a rising 8th grader on my hands, though. When did THAT happen?

 

 

I remember thinking that even if we just "maintained" (in middle school) we were still better off at home. Just last night both dh and I said how much we hated 7th grade. Sigh.

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Laura,

 

 

And so I need spend more time figuring out how to overcome the difficulties with the Latin and less time whining in my head about all my excuses.

 

For me, this thread is getting me back on track with my eldest's history, which has been minimally done for the past couple of years to focus on other things. When I presented my recent plan for next year (SWB's highschool/self-education history book as a spine, and using the Bible, Josephus, Ussher, Snorri Sturluson and that famous Greek historian whose name slips my mind) doing comparative history along with other readings (some ancients, some modern with different scientific view points for certain historical things, etc) she didn't balk at all. This is a girl who "hates" history.

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In response to the negative rep I received for my post(s) here, please know that it was not my intent to "lecture" anyone. I felt ~ and still feel ~ that what could have been a fantastic discussion was marred at times by a somewhat off-putting tone. I apologize if I caused offense with my remarks, but rest assured that sending me sarcastic, snarky anonymous comments serves no good purpose.

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TWTM really inspires me even though I do not homeschool the WTM way. I, too, view the book as an excellent resource. After finding the book at the library many years ago, I was thrilled that some very intelligent person had done the work for me with regard to selecting curricula. I was overwhelmed with all of the choices out there. As time went on, however, I realized that some of the top picks were not good fits for my ds. I also realized that the WTM method was not going to work with my ADHD child. I then latched on to the few suggestions, recommendations, and ideas that I *did* like and that were very do-able for us...including using the SOTW history books. When the revised edition hit the book stores, I made it a point to purchase it. Why? Because even though I did not consider the WTM to be my method of homeschooling, this book happens to be one of the most inspirational homeschooling books out there. I like picking it up every so often and reading a few chapters to see if there's anything new I can glean from it. It sits horozontially on the top of my bookshelf in our living room right under a small world globe. I love the way it looks there and I won't ever sell it. A few months ago, while at the grocery store in the early afternoon, a woman asked my ds why he wasn't in school. He replied that he homeschooled and we both gave her a nice smile. That lady followed me to my car and asked me if I could tell her a little more about homeschooling, because her child was soon to start school and she was not happy about the school system. After giving her my phone number and email address, I told her to go to the library and check out TWTM by SWB and JW. I told her that there were other good homeschooling books out there, but that this one was the most inspirational one I have found. It's funny, this is the first post I've made since late last week. There have been some things that have bothered me here lately and I had considered not posting here anymore. I felt like maybe I just didn't fit in, but I've missed this forum and all that the moms and dads here have to offer----no matter how closely they follow the WTM...And after stumbling upon this thread, and reading the responses of Momof7, Maria of Electically Yours, and Colleen, I've changed my mind. Thank you ladies!

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Goodness! Colleen, FWIW, I didn't see your post as "lecturing" anyone. You asked thoughtful, reasonable questions - completely appropriate in light of the discussion.

 

And as for the person who neg rep'd you, it is a shame that they feel they have to do that behind the scenes instead of posting publicly. I'm sorry, but that's sad that someone has to do something like that instead of trying to enter the discussion and give thoughtful reasons as to why they disagree with you.

 

In response to the negative rep I received for my post(s) here, please know that it was not my intent to "lecture" anyone. I felt ~ and still feel ~ that what could have been a fantastic discussion was marred at times by a somewhat off-putting tone. I apologize if I caused offense with my remarks, but rest assured that sending me sarcastic, snarky anonymous comments serves no good purpose.

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I don't think so, either.

 

 

 

Yes. Your emphases are important.

 

 

 

Maybe or maybe not. I imagine there are times when people would prefer to do "X (uppercase)" but for a variety of reasons have to modify for the time being and do "x (lowercase)".

 

 

Colleen, you say "I imagine there are times when people . . . have to modify for the time being and do "x".

 

This is true -- this is why I am "here", even though I am not a classical homeschooler. I would prefer to be a classical homeschooler. For many reasons, it has never worked for our family.

 

Now, we are at a place where I would prefer to be a homeschooler, period. And again, for many reasons, it is no longer working for our family. We are preparing to enroll our oldest in a local Christian school.

 

In my heart, I am a homeschooler. In my preferences, I am a classical homeschooler. Sometimes we can choose our reality, sometimes it is forced upon us.

 

And I want to stay here, on these boards, because here is where I find people who challenge me, inspire me, encourage me, and broaden my horizons. Sometimes it has to do with homeschooling, often it does not.

 

Life doesn't always turn out the way we want it. Giving up homeschooling is one of the hardest things I've done. To think that I would have to give up the "friends" that I have here would really bite.

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:grouphug: for Christy! I can appreciate what you're feeling right now. I haven't been exactly there, but I had 9 years of afterschooling before bringing my children home full-time. Hold onto the fact that as one who is a homeschooler at heart you are equipped to keep your eyes and ears out for what your daughter will be learning and experiencing. Stay connected to her learning in whatever way works out best.

 

During the time I afterschooled, I became increasingly involved with not only what I was teaching them at home, but aware and involved in their education at school. Sometimes that meant I moved to intervene in a situation, which school staff didn't always understand or appreciate at first. I stayed in touch and respectfully brought up my concerns and potential solutions and my daughters had a better educational experience because I stayed aware.

 

Colleen, you say "I imagine there are times when people . . . have to modify for the time being and do "x".

 

This is true -- this is why I am "here", even though I am not a classical homeschooler. I would prefer to be a classical homeschooler. For many reasons, it has never worked for our family.

 

Now, we are at a place where I would prefer to be a homeschooler, period. And again, for many reasons, it is no longer working for our family. We are preparing to enroll our oldest in a local Christian school.

 

In my heart, I am a homeschooler. In my preferences, I am a classical homeschooler. Sometimes we can choose our reality, sometimes it is forced upon us.

 

And I want to stay here, on these boards, because here is where I find people who challenge me, inspire me, encourage me, and broaden my horizons. Sometimes it has to do with homeschooling, often it does not.

 

Life doesn't always turn out the way we want it. Giving up homeschooling is one of the hardest things I've done. To think that I would have to give up the "friends" that I have here would really bite.

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Thanks, Marie and Nan. I took my girls to the school today for their visit -- it was good to come home and find some virtual hugs. :grouphug: I am encouraged at the warm welcome they received and I think they are going to have a very good day. I'm looking forward to picking them up this afternoon and doing the whole "milk and cookies" thing. It is a comfort to know that if we change our minds -- if this school experiment takes a bad turn -- I can (and will) bring them back home. And I can come here and find all kinds of help if we return to homeschooling. It is a blessing to have choices.

 

I do want to point out -- I did NOT feel that the original post was intended in any way to make me (or others in my situation) feel unwelcome here. It was a legitimate and thought-provoking question and I enjoyed reading all of the responses. My post was simply to add to the train of thought that several had contributed to, as to why this board attracts a wider variety of teaching styles, and why some folks who are not currently homeschooling still like to "hang out". I wanted to make that clear, I hope my post did not sound defensive.

 

Along those lines, I do think that I will still have a contribution to make to the discussions on these boards. If nothing else, I can see where I made some significant mistakes in homeschooling, and if others can benefit from some lessons I learned the hard way, hopefully it would make their path straighter (ha, note I did not say EASIER!) than mine.

 

Well, I'm off to declutter a certain little girl's closet, while she is conveniently out of the house. There could definitely be some advantages to school, right?;)

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Colleen, you say "I imagine there are times when people . . . have to modify for the time being and do "x".

 

This is true -- this is why I am "here", even though I am not a classical homeschooler. I would prefer to be a classical homeschooler. For many reasons, it has never worked for our family.

 

I can understand this, and as I said much earlier in the thread, I appreciate that this forum is a big tent. I also understand the desire for focused support. I get that support from a mailing list for people who do "my kind of classical," complete with Latin, Greek, and all that jazz, and I just ignore the many, many threads here that deal with curricula that don't fit my educational philosophy, religious perspective, etc.

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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.

 

That list of subjects from a "classical" course of study is interesting. They delved deeply into Latin and Greek, but where's the science, history (other than ancient), and other classes important to a modern day well rounded education? My dd is taking Latin, but I wouldn't consider her course of study to be classical in the way mentioned in this thread. It is classical in the sense that it is rigorous and textbook based (as opposed to audio-visual). A true classical education would have been torture for her, even though she was exposed to the ancients and other aspects very early in our home schooling. Each student is unique and has different interests and ways of learning.

 

This board is amazing to me. It may not be what it was years ago, but then again, I probably wouldn't find it helpful if it was what it was years ago. :) I think there's a pretty good balance between encouraging others to stay the rigorous course, or make it even more so, and providing supportive help to those who need to make accommodations for their students or their family life. IMO there is no one right way, and we each have to discern for ourselves what's best. I've found that the more information available, the more informed of a decision I can make on various schooling options. I learn from everyone's input here. :)

 

Laura and the others who want more classical conversation here, I hope that you will be contributing and sharing your perspective and experiences with us. That's how we learn and can encourage each other.

 

After writing all this, I just saw the date of the original thread, but I'm glad it was given a bump because it is interesting. :)

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Thanks for bumping this up. It's interesting.

 

In my own mind, I've had to decide that there really is a difference between a classical education and a rigorous one, even though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. A classical education will include ancient languages, for example (among other things) and studying these will require a lot of work. But if I want my kids to have a rigorous education, is only important that I require a lot of work out of them? Or that they learn things that will be useful for them in what they choose to do? In other words, is it worth doing Latin solely for the reason that it's hard? Or is it better to choose something hard (like calculus) that a science oriented student would find a lot more useful?

 

I've decided I am interested in rigorous more than classical. If ancient languages are interesting to my kids, or if they see they will be useful in the future, then, sure, we might do an education that's more strictly classical. If not, we'll just settle for rigorous.

 

And I'm not even interested in rigorous unless it's actually sticking. The original post several years back was bemoaning people giving "permission" to do easier math or whatnot. I think it's just fine to step back and do a less rigorous math or whatever if it means that the student will actually get what they're being taught, rather than letting it go by in a difficult whoosh and getting nothing.

 

 

Thought I'd post just so us newbies can have our say.

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We neo-classically educate here and have very strict standards. I just don't post an awful lot about it other than to help those with grading and transcript questions, etc. because we've already graduated one and since we've been there done that on something that seems daunting to many, I don't mind posting.

 

But, SWB is right....it isn't going to be the same for everyone and yet can still be very much a classical education. One of the best aspects of homeschooling is allowing our kids to develop that special niche and then run with it. Ours has been almost across the board science....let me tell you....most of you have probably not done science in a classical way. It would be brutal for a lot of kids...the breadth and depth covered plus the research papers, etc. it just isn't for everyone but for our emerging scientists, perfect. It takes a tremendous amount of time and so some things, like history, can't be done on that same level. If we pursued history, Greek, and Latin at the "truly classical" level, the kids would not be pursuing science in the way they are.. I suspect that most kids never pursue a classical education in the sciences.

 

Our forefathers did not have as much math and science/technology to master has this generation. A classical education that harks back 200 years isn't even practical. Classical education isn't a "do this or do that" it is an approach to learning that is superior to modern educational theory and follows the natural maturation path of the brain/individual but it's implementation may vary according to subject and may not be able to be pursued to its ultimate degree in every academic area. There's only so much time, mental, and emotional energy in a day and so not everyone can pursue "the ultimate rigorous classical pursuit" in every single subject but yet are classically schooling from the learning approach perspective.

 

It's a means to an end but not the end itself.

 

Faith

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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 studied the Aeneid from age 15 - 16 in a very ordinary private school in the UK. Calvin will be doing something similar. Not a high bar to jump.

 

Laura

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I studied the Aeneid from age 15 - 16 in a very ordinary private school in the UK. Calvin will be doing something similar. Not a high bar to jump.

 

Laura

 

It is interesting how quickly standards change once you just start reading.

 

I remember when my oldest son was in 6th grade, and just the thought of reading one epic Greek poem in the 9th grade was enough to send me flipping through catalog after catalog and website after website of the "latest and greatest" high school curriculum. I just thought there was NO WAY that child (or myself) would EVER make it through even *ONE* of those huge tomes - however well-educated that would make us - LOL!

 

Now, two years after my other posts in this thread - LOL!, here he is going into 10th grade having read all 3 last year! And, in fact - he ENJOYED them!!! And, just the other day, (cough, cough, sputter, sputter!!!) THANKED me for the experience!!!! I think he likes showing off his knowledge to his girlfriend more than anything :lol:. But, somehow, he truly feels like he relates to these ancient peoples - who, after all, really did struggle with the same issues and emotions we struggle with today.

 

Yet, life happens and - Yes, you can tell from my siggy below that we have made quite a few compromises this year...

 

Still, just the act of reading what you can, and then reading the next thing, and the next...I don't know...I'm just so thankful to be where we are. I think if everyone could just get through the logic-stage recs of WTM, the world would be a much better place.

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<snipped> One of the best aspects of homeschooling is allowing our kids to develop that special niche and then run with it. Ours has been almost across the board science....let me tell you....most of you have probably not done science in a classical way. It would be brutal for a lot of kids...the breadth and depth covered plus the research papers, etc. it just isn't for everyone but for our emerging scientists, perfect. It takes a tremendous amount of time and so some things, like history, can't be done on that same level. If we pursued history, Greek, and Latin at the "truly classical" level, the kids would not be pursuing science in the way they are.. I suspect that most kids never pursue a classical education in the sciences.

 

Faith,

Would you mind sharing a bit about what science is/has been like in your homeschool? What specifically do you mean by doing science in a classical way? Do you mean anything other than what WTM lays out? That's my only real exposure to classical (er, neoclassical) science. What you wrote above intrigues me. Please dish. :)

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My youngest child tackled some of Euclid in the original Greek. I wonder if the website is still up. There is no time for neoclassical history and lit, when tackling the classical languages and/or classical sciences and maths!

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Our forefathers did not have as much math and science/technology to master has this generation. A classical education that harks back 200 years isn't even practical. Classical education isn't a "do this or do that" it is an approach to learning that is superior to modern educational theory and follows the natural maturation path of the brain/individual but it's implementation may vary according to subject and may not be able to be pursued to its ultimate degree in every academic area. There's only so much time, mental, and emotional energy in a day and so not everyone can pursue "the ultimate rigorous classical pursuit" in every single subject but yet are classically schooling from the learning approach perspective.

 

It's a means to an end but not the end itself.

 

Faith

 

Hmm...that is thought provoking! I will be thinking over this for awhile and what it means for our family.

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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! :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 just love this! I really needed this thread right now.

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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! :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 just love this!
:iagree: That's a great summary of why a lot of us are here, I think! I also love the wealth of knowledge, and the readiness of others to help. Finding new curriculums, getting questions answered and "trying to do a better job than we did last year!" Yep! :001_smile:

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Thank you, thank you, thank you for this thread! It has been such a blessing and exactly what I need right now.

 

When I first began homeschooling I followed TWTM to the letter. I used the all the recommended curriculum and schedules. I wanted so desperatly to give my children the best education possible, and I thought I could only do that by following "the book" exactly.

But as the years past I drifted farther and farther from TWTM. I found other resources I liked, read more homeschooling books, met more homeschoolers. We became more eclectic than classical. Looking back I realize that this shift was probably based on the homeschoolers in our area. The few who call themselves "classical" don't do much Latin, or logic, or rhetoric. They follow the 4-year history cycle, and that's about it.

Anyway, I became unhappy with our eclectic, workbook-y approach. I was really drawn to CM and began to try to implement her ideas.

At this point life got really tough, I adopted nine kids, moved house three times, got remarried, converted to Catholicism, was pregnant and gave bith to twins... We spent six months not doing school at all and then did a year of Sonlight just because it was the only thing I could handle. It was fine, we loved the books, but it wasn't the education I really want for my kids.

This year I'm really determined to get back to where I always wanted to be; classical, but not stuck to following anything word for word. I want to make sure we do Latin, Greek, logic, rhetoric, get back on track with chronological history, study the great books, do rigorous math and science.

This thread has really reminded me that I can do it and I'm not alone. Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

Arwen

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