Sunday, November 11, 2007

Homeschool Ramble

I tend to write when I have come to a conclusion. I do the process and thinking in my head and then the finished product is the writing. This post will be entirely different. I am writing to process.
Those of you who know me in real life may find this post disturbing (LOL!) because I am beginning to question my commitment to the Classical approach in educating my children. GASP! I am not sure I have been as faithful to the method as I thought all along. Remember as I write I am thinking with words :o) conclusions as of yet.

I have mostly followed "The Well Trained Mind" by S.W. Bauer starting in grade one. This is what I am referencing as classical. I taught my daughter to read at four, very naturally through books and everyday life. I used Ruth Beethchicks Three R's to get me started. My daughter is a veracious reader at seven years old. I thought it was just her, but my four year old son is on his way to learning to read with the same method. They are very different children and as far as I can tell, different learners too. I think being read too, and seeing others read often is a part of their success. But the process wasn't step by step but a natural flow of life and practice when it got to that stage.

So we have established I have a good reader. I spend much time "teaching" language to my seven year old who is an above grade level reader. Why? She is so young. She is in grade three spelling and rarely misses a word. Do I need to spent time on spelling when it is natural to her? What I am struggling with is educating the creativity and curiosity right out of my children. We have grammar at seven, with spelling, language review, cursive, creative writing and then all the language associated with history and science. Some body pull me off this train!
Where is my child learning through discovery, creativity and just plan interest? Does every thing need to be systematic? There isn't much time left over for fun and creativity. We have a workbook for spelling, for math, for language review, for creative writing and then narrations for history and science and....and....and....and get the idea. My seven old is smart as a whip, no doubt she can do all that work........ but should she be doing all that work?

As I said before this is a processing post. I am not bashing the classical method at all...I rather like it. I am simply struggling with academics needing to be the main priority in young children, at the expense of creativity and how that encourages original thought and ideas. I am aware that young people need input, and lots of it, but I want my children to have space to create and be a child. Trust me, the academics are not going away and we will do them. I am battling with the timing. I want to just let her read and read and enjoy her desire to create.

The first books I read when I started homeschooling were Charlotte Mason's. I so identified with her method but yet I do the same with Classical. A balance is the best, I guess. I think I have lost a bit of that balance and begun to depend more on getting things done, then learning and living. I want our learning to be organic with direction. Does that make sense?

If you are still reading...I am surprised but grateful. These truly are ramblings of a mama who simply wants to give her kids the best learning experience she can......starting with the cross and grace, moving onto creative God glorifying learning.

I would love to hear about your own thoughts and conclusions on this .


Stacy said...

A friend of mine (who has 5 children, all homeschooled, all older than my children, one now in college) told me recently that she never made (makes) her children do busy work for that very purpose-- she figures if they *know* it, they know it. No need to create a lot of work if they know it already. It made me think, for sure...

But I have NO idea. I don't feel like I can offer anything helpful because we're such beginners.

Having said that, I wonder if all this processing you're doing is in fact God churning things up and drawing you to a different place? If I were you, I'd pray with your husband and then if you're still [both] feeling this way, change things up for a season and then re-evaluate. That's the beauty of homeschooling!


Heather_in_WI said...

You know I can never talk to you again now, right?

Just kidding! ROTFLOL!

{hugs} I hate not being sure and comfortable about what I'm doing.

Here's some advice I copied from The Well Trained Mind Board from Robin in Tx. She is *not* one of those easy-breasy unschooling proponents. She is definitely academically motivated and I believe a 'real life' friend of Susan Wise Bauer.

"Sometimes we get bogged down in the day to day specifics and lose sight of the goal. The most helpful thing I've ever done is continually ask myself "why?" about every single textbook and/or program. Why do I want to do that program? And here's the most important question ... What foundation is it laying for our next level? If it honestly and clearly doesn't play a role as a stepping stone to our final goal, then I have to walk away from it."

I think it is really good advice. Where do you want your children to end up? If "x" isn't important to you or isn't playing a foundational role in getting you to the next level of where you want to be, then drop it. If "y" is important to you and you're not doing any of it, then you need to do that! :-)


Tracy said...

Hey, don't worry, by the time they are done schooling you will have it all figured out. Then you can write a book so other moms can "get it right"! :)

I don't have much of an opinion. I have learned by watching my friends, that different things fit different families. Most DO question if they are using the "right stuff". I did, but now I am super laid back about it. I just want learning to be fun (as much as possible).