Why Classical? and our 2012/2013 curriculum

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.

2012/2013 Curriculum

Tapestry of Grace, lower grammarHistory 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)

letters and sounds 1 A Beka

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

A Beka K4 math (ABC-123)—she’s nearly finished this already; Professor B math and Math Mammoth

She’ll also be participating in our anatomy activities and our Tapestry read-alouds and crafts.


Tapestry of Grace read-alouds


Now, to get my house and my school room as organized as my lesson plans!


Disclaimer: This post contains my Tapestry of Grace affiliate link and my Usborne consultant link. If you purchase your Tapestry materials through my link, I get a discount on the materials that I purchase from them. If you purchase your Usborne books through my consultant page, my 25% commission will be used to help provide funds for down-syndrome orphans awaiting adoption (read more here).

Published by Tracy
Our life is creative chaos, and our homeschool is loud and busy and distracted and challenging and lovely. My name is Tracy, and I homeschool my crew of three kids with ADHD/dyslexia, finding creative ways to use their strengths to teach their weaknesses. As a homeschooled homeschooler, I love customizing curriculum and making adjustments to incorporate fun, hands-on projects for out-of-the-box learners. Stop by growingNgrace.com to find grace for the messes and mistakes, and knowledge to pick up the pieces and make something special. Let’s grow together!

7 thoughts on “Why Classical? and our 2012/2013 curriculum

  1. I LOVE reading ans seeing what people decide on. I think we will only do one formal book, Math and that will be Right Start Level A. Otherwise, since we are kinder this year, still being pretty relaxed. Thank you for sharing!

  2. What a wonderful year you are going to have; and what a rich, exciting curriculum you have planned! My mouth is watering and I wish I could be a fly on the wall while you are reading all those books.

    • Post Author Tracy

      LOL! Our mouths are watering, too. It’s been all I can do to keep Oldest out of them until the school year starts (or else he’ll have them all read before we get to the lessons). I’m sure you will enjoy all of your new Sonlight books, too. New books are so much fun!

  3. Tracy

    I stumbled upon your blog while researching “Ways to organize Tapestry books”! 🙂 🙂

    So glad I did!

    I would love to keep updated with your progress this 2012-2013 school year, because, like you, I am embarking on a TOG journey for the first time this year with my 3 kiddos as well (and one on the way).

    I didn’t know if you had an email contact for the blog – if so could you direct me to it?

    Thanks so much! And God bless your homeschool year!


    • Post Author Tracy

      Yay, Stephanie! I’m glad you found us. It’s always great to have a friend on the journey, particularly a new journey. There is a link to my email on the right sidebar within my bio.

  4. The Well-Trained Mind was a wonderful eye-opener for me. We were eclectic (our homeschooling days are over) but teaching history chronologically made perfect sense. Loved Charlotte Mason style learning along with unit studies too. I sounds like you are going to have a blessed, exciting school year. Have fun!

  5. What a great summary of the classical style! I look forward to seeing how your school year goes! Thanks so much for sharing this with us at Trivium Tuesdays! I hope you are able to share with us again this week =)

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