Sunday, April 12, 2009

How I chose Classical homeschooling

The first family that I really talked to in depth about homeschooling was my pastor from high school and his wife. They have three children that they have homeschooled from Kindergarten on- two boys (one high school aged) and a sweet daughter. Their kids were everything that I wanted my kids to be- well read, eloquent, able to not only recite facts but logically work through a position.

I then looked at how those kids had arrived where they were. I knew that some of that was inborn temperment but I also knew that the careful, methodical, deep education that their children were receiving was also a factor.

I then set out about reading everything that I could about homeschooling- general arguements for and against, different types of homeschooling, about legal issues, about the big S- socialization, and I tried to find things on both sides, not just homeschool apologetics. The more I read the more intrigued I became, and the more homeschooling began to feel not just comfortable but something that might be a good choice for our children and our family.

At this time my oldest was in preschool in a classroom and utterly miserable. That helped push me to more seriously consider home education. We moved to a new area and made the choice to not enroll Sweet Pea in preschool and try it at home. At that point I was considering Classical Education with a strong Latin focus after reading The Latin Centered Curriculum by Andrew A. Campbell.

I did decide that the best way to begin was a generalized introduction to the basics to both assess where Sweet Pea was, get my own feet wet with planning and scheduling, and focus on age appropriate skills including fine motor activities. The books we started with were Rod and Staff's Preschool A-B-C series. Sweet Pea had a lot of fun and I saw that overall she was at age level. She knew her ABCs. She could color and cut and paste. She was also beginning to slowly enjoy learning and work again.
After a few months we added in Earlybird Mathematics or Singapore as it is commonly called. I think that this is where I really found her strong suit- and something that she really enjoyed.
Taking a year of doing general education also gave me time to go back and look again at where we were and where I hoped to have my children end up. I read The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. And it appealed to me more then any homeschool material I had read before. It seemed to pull everything I liked about the Classical Education and also reintroduced some things that I felt were missing- great books being an easy example.
That brings us to where we are now.

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