There are many fine ways of educating children. I was homeschooled using largely A Beka and Alpha Omega, a graduate of the traditional schooling method. My husband graduated from public school. And we’ve both done well in life by God’s grace.
When I began homeschooling my children, I really had little idea of all of the different approaches and styles. I began on a traditional road, and quickly fell into a lot of potholes. We could have trudged on I’m sure, but none of us enjoyed those first weeks of by-the-book schooling. Disillusioned, I took a break and re-evaluated everything. I searched blogs and checked out books from the library, one of which was the Well-Trained Mind. It was my first introduction to the idea of classical education, and every part of it appealed to me.
I began researching more about this approach. The more I discovered, the more my husband and I were convinced that this was the path for us. Classical is more than the study of ancient cultures and ancient languages; it’s about a framework and an ordering of information.
In a recent article I read by Martin Cochran, published in The Classical Teacher, Cochran sites an illustration given by Neil Postman in a speech. Postman referred to a new deck of cards which is arranged in a fashion that gives sense to the whole deck. Once that deck is shuffled, however, the order is lost. There is no means of knowing which card will follow the next. Classical education gives order to the vast amount of information in our world. History is studied in chronological fashion; science is studied from the framework of history; modern languages and English are learned from the foundation of the classical languages from which they were derived. Classically educating is laying a foundation and constructing a framework for the facts our children must learn.
Another appealing aspect to this style is the trivium, the three stages of training through which a child progresses: grammar, logic or dialectic, and rhetoric. First, a child learns facts without fully understanding all of the relationships between those facts. Next, as the child nears adolescence, he begins to explore the logic, the relationships of ideas, and the reasons behind those relationships. It’s the stage when a child naturally starts questioning everything. In the final stage, the rhetoric stage, the high school student is now developing an understanding of what he believes and is now learning how to articulate and defend those beliefs. I love this video clip where Michael Horton explains the advantages of the trivium for the Christian faith.
And, thus, we embark on this adventure, fully embracing the classical model for the first time.
History and Bible Curriculum: Tapestry of Grace (history, geography, Bible, art, literature, and beginning grammar)
Anatomy and Nutrition: Anatomy notebooking pages; Usborne’s See Inside Your Body; God’s Design for Life: the human body (borrowed from a friend); Little D’s Nutrition Expedition (free curriculum); My Plate (free printables)
1st grade Core:
A Beka 1st grade phonics/spelling
A Beka 1st grade math, supplemented with Math Mammoth as needed
K4/K5: (Middlest will be doing a blend of K4/K5 this year.)
A Beka K4/K5 phonics
She’ll also be participating in our anatomy activities and our Tapestry read-alouds and crafts.
Now, to get my house and my school room as organized as my lesson plans!