Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Year-Round Sort of Thing

Breaking News!  Life is a year-round thing!  Didn't you know that already?  Well, I for one have had my head in the sand on this one and I finally realized that, *gasp* so is homeschooling!  I posted here earlier that I am on a journey to figure out what sort of approach to learning is best for these children of mine.  And, as I mentioned earlier, I'm also struggling with the concept of schedules.  These two things, "approach" and "schedules," are my central concerns.  And the breaking news above has helped to solve this apparent dilemma!

As you read at the above link, I am interested in the concept of unschooling, but only up to a point.  After further research, I happened upon "Classical" education.  Seemingly the polar opposite to unschooling, classical education is more structured and actually more purpose driven.  I won't go into detail about classical education here because everyone has their own opinions about what it really is.  What I discovered was that I am most drawn to it because of what I can teach the children.  They will learn basics which form the groundwork for understanding history, culture, science, language, and the arts.  This would be accomplished by studying Latin; Greek and Roman mythology, history, and culture; Jerusalem and it's history, culture and faith; learning at the earliest ages to appreciate good literature; encountering math as a reality rather than through 'drill and kill'; and being exposed to great works of art and music.

The way I see it, unschooling has its place, if you believe that the education of today is either cruel, incomplete, or just plain broken.  Some actually believe that unschooling is best because formal education is inconsiderate to the individual personality of each child, coercing them to choose between their self-identity or conforming to society to fit in.  I personally don't buy into that idea, not any more.  For this family, unschooling isn't the best answer to our educational problems of today.

I do believe that education today is incomplete and broken.  The reason I believe this is just take a look around.  How many people know our nation's history?  How many can actually read, write, or even speak intelligently?  How many know simple math?  How many can think critically for themselves?  How many know how to research any given subject to see if it's true or false?  How many of our graduates are able to compete on the international level?  The answers are terrifying.

Another reason I believe our educational system is broken is because we've neglected to appreciate the need to know our history, let alone ancient history.  And we all know the old saying, "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."  Studying the Latin language is to give a person the keys to otherwise inaccessible knowledge.  For example, how many of us can read and understand the Latin on our country's money?  Studying ancient Greece and Rome are the keys to understanding our own country!  Western civilization was born from these two great civilizations.  Understand them, and you understand where we came from, who we are, and what could quite conceivably happen to us if we don't wake up.  Add to this the study of Jerusalem, which is responsible for the birth of our faith, which is responsible for giving birth to a Christian nation, the United States of America.

As you can tell, this gives purpose to what the children are learning.  It will stay with them and serve them well throughout their lives and maybe, just maybe, they can then effect a positive change of course for this country.  I can only hope.

This takes care of the "approach" aspect of my problem.  All that remains is the "schedule."  Since we live so far away from typical services such as stores, fuel, and a library, then I have to be prepared ahead of time.  I can give it my best shot, but it will never work out perfectly.  I need to make peace with that.  I also have to accept the fact that our unique lifestyle here on a mountain affects our schedules.  So what I'm forced to accept is that scheduling will always be a bit of a battle.  The end result is year-round homeschooling!

It's not so bad I suppose, because sometimes I just don't have the energy left to push through another school day or week.  Sometimes, a day off or even a week off is a much needed necessity around here.  Around here, we're human.

Being able to accept this will give me the strength to endure because I will firmly believe I really am giving them the best possible education.  And no, by doing it in a more formal way doesn't rob them of their unique personalities or force them to become something they aren't!  What it will do is give them the tools so many of us, myself included, have been so mercilessly deprived of!  This illustrates how I feel about classical education: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Breaking News!  Life, and school, are a year-round thing!

And the kids will learn a dose of reality, summer vacation isn't a birth right!

*  Live - do your best  *  Laugh - at yourself  *  Love - unconditionally  *

Linking to the lovely blog Deborah Jean's Dandelion House for the Farmgirl Friday blog hop #11!


  1. Good for you for continuing your " research" on homeschooling... It's great to
    school" yourself in the different approaches and educational paths as well...and it always feels good to be headed in one direction! After nearly eleven years, I have learned to relax more and have also learned that life is learning and we are learning all the time!
    Hope you aren't near the Arizona fires we keep hearing about! Stay safe!

  2. Well said Deb! Life is learning! I believe that as long as we live, we've got something to learn!

    We are not close to these fires, thank God. But the fire season is upon us and that is always a statewide possibility. Thank you for your warm wishes!

  3. TASO-
    I read this post yesterday I think... and wanted to comment but had to go away and think about what it was I wanted to say! lol...
    I remember the struggle I always seemed to have in my homeschooling years with my kiddos still at home. I was constantly searching for the right method to teach my children. I had 4 that I was teaching all close in age (1 year avg. apart; give or take a few months)
    I looked at the Classical method and tried to make it fit into our wasn't for us. I tried a "living books" method... but I felt it didn't cover enough and was confusing at times; MOM couldn't keep up with all the different books each child was reading. I finally-- caved in, and admitted to myself, that we were 'UNschoolers' ... For some reason I didn't want to admit that out loud. I think I felt if I did then I was copping out on my children's education or something. I had books and lots of them at my kiddos disposal-- they each had their own favorites and styles of things they liked to read. It was never a forced issue. One thing I'd do differently would be to give them a more structured MATH education-- but otherwise, I've very proud of the way my adult children have turned out.
    I have one daughter who is just now beginning her college classes after starting a family at a very early stage of life, one is a mother and also a teller for a bank, and My oldest son Manages a 'district best' Pizza franchise. The owners of his Pizza place call him to clean up the messes the other Managers have made of his stores, and he helps to retrain some of those managers. He has great work ethics. He is also starting his own recording studio here in the Lake area where we live. He does this and provides for his family (wife and daughter) Our youngest son, works two jobs-- and is thinking seriously about college too. They are all productive, responsible members of society ranging in age from 20-24.
    Unschooling worked for us- it isn't for everybody. That is the best part of schooling your children at home-- you take what has been entrusted to you and you make it the very best it can be. Once they are grown, it is out of your hands-- with any Grace at all, they'll be honest, hardworking adults.
    I wondered whether or not there are gaps in my children's education-- I was fearful. Because I didn't know it all. But the best thing I did for my them was to teach them to teach themselves...and they do! They still call me up and tell me all that they are learning in life. Some days they call me up just to tell me THANKS! Thanks mom for teaching me how to change a tire, or make a meal out of what I have on hand. Thanks mom for making Volunteerism,Mandatory... I loved working for Mr. So-n-So-- he taught me so good pointers on 'felling a tree'...
    I loved homeschooling my kids-- even in the most unconventional ways! I miss those days so much.

    God bless you in your challenge to do so. I pray that you are always learning with them and searching for the best way to challenge their minds.

  4. PS:
    I just wanted to say... a more structured Math isn't the only thing I'd change.

    While I taught my children the word and made sure they went to church, I failed them in one MOST IMPORTANT AREA... and that was to TRULY UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS TO FEAR THE LORD.

    So most notably, I think I'd teach them that-- to FEAR THE LORD.
    They are each away from Him right now-- and while being productive and responsible is important here, today. Fear of the Lord-- should come first. I pray that it does for all of them.
    But that is a different story. For another day.

    Thanks for listening, Pat

  5. Lots of food for thought here. I think what Pat said was right on, that the fear felt is fear of failing the children because you don't know it all. That's a lot of pressure to deal with. Teaching them to research and find answers will take them very far.

  6. I want to thank you Pat for all your kind and insightful words. I can take a lot from this. The fact that you couldn't find a curriculum that fit you and your children is a huge hurdle to overcome and I appreciate your candor in 'admitting' you were unschoolers! I love this insight. I wonder if perhaps the classical approach will work if I can adjust it in such a way that unschooling approaches can still be implemented. I guess I won't know until I try it! MW is still sure that as long as they are learning then I'm doing what I should be doing! I thoroughly appreciated your thoughts and feelings about instilling them with the love of God. That above all is certainly the first thing of first things!