Saturday, January 12, 2013

This week...

I am determined to stay with my blog(s).  My apologies for the fact that I haven't really posted much; I take comfort in the fact that there probably aren't too many folks who are reading this particular blog (yet!) and thus are not injured precariously by my tendency to NOT post! 

I am hoping to stay on top of my posting for the fact that as we are such Classical, Charlotte Mason fans, I have decided to start a Charlotte Mason/Classical homeschool Co-Op.  Well, I have not determined if it will be co-op or if I will just offer "tutor"ing or rather, "mentor"ing.  I do feel so strongly about this style of learning that I would want to ensure that the manner of learning for all these bumkins would be entirely in this form, as opposed to fluff, frou-frou, or twaddle being taught.  I hope that I do not sound like a snob.  I truly am not...as a matter of fact, I'm as hill-billy as they come! However, I do so value my children's education, their time, my time and the other Homeschool parents' time as well, that to do anything less than the Best while in my classes would feel sacrilege to the cause of classical learning.  Hmmmm, I do sound like a snob.  Well, so be it.  My apologies.  But this just shows how amazing this style of learning is!  Yes, it is old-fashioned but the best education stems from the old methods.  Modern Education is not based on Education at all; purely socialization and facts...Dry, boring, crusty and hard to swallow, let alone enjoy, facts. After trying Charlotte Mason or Classical or the wonderful merger of both styles and seeing the response in your children...You will never want to settle with your childrens' education with anything less! 

If you don't know the where to start with the no-frills, challenging yet fun, Charlotte Mason Classical style Education then I stronly advise checking out my heroes at http://amblesideonline; I go to them for guidance, book lists, exam questions, Socratic questions and inspiration.  The other excellent resources that I use immeasurably are http://heritagehistory.com, http://mainlesson.com (or Baldwin) or http://gutenberg.org ; these websites are jammed full of books which are heavily laden with History written as biographical stories giving character to the people and events that make up our past instead of just nameless faces and meaningless dates. Or grown up Literature from Shakespeare or even Dante, written for children but keeping the essence of the plays, poetry or stories so that it is still inspiring and yet understandable.  They are not an explanation of what Shakespeare was writing, not a breakdown of what he is trying to say.  It is what Shakespeare wrote but written by some of his most adoring fans for the hearts and heads of little ones who might not otherwise understand...I mean, who understands Shakespeare?!  Only those who grow to love it!  And study it!  And live it.  And breathe it.  But these were written in a time when the Lexicon of the standard child was mountains greater to the standard 10th Grade vocabulary of the general populace of today.  Books rewritten for today's child makes the reading "easy" or "difficult" but there is no vast array of words implanting themselves into the mind.  Just the same typical ones that we would be likely to use in everyday conversations...Literature uses words as art, expounding instead of just expanding.  Soaring instead of just flying.  Blithely instead of just happily.  How will these children ever really know the beauty of words when those words never make it into their books and hence never into their minds.  The typical modern vocabulary is is not going to give that desire to read more. According to Wikipedia -which by the way, is not my source for all things true, unbiased or factual-but according to them (emphasis mine):" In first grade, an advantaged student (i.e. a literate student) learns about twice as many words as a disadvantaged student. Generally, this gap does not tighten. This translates into a wide range of vocabulary size by age five or six, at which time an English-speaking child will have learned about 1500 words."  There it is.  I was blessed with an educated father.  His vocabulary was large thus mine tended to be a bit more evolved than those of most of the people I knew; However, I was never interested in increasing my education beyond that required of me by my Public School and so hit my pinnacle of speech at, I would guess, approximately 18 years old.  I maintained this average well through my adult years.  And then... I became a homeschooling mom!  I began learning right alongside my boys; reading the same books, studying the same regions, memorizing the same speeches and sonnets. And it was just this last year when I realized that in speaking with others if I was looking for a term that might solidify what EXACTLY I was trying to say, I could search my mind for a word and find one!  And not just any general term but one specific to our topic at hand.  And now I seem to have words at the ready!  On the tip of my tongue, ready to be put to work and ready to prove my opinion or support my belief.  Ready to tell an embellished story or ready to quote a great Orator.  I love it!  And you will too...I promise!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back To School!

It's not the first day of school for any of us in this household but it's the first day where everyone is back in the swing of things.  Although the real "first" day of school for everyone was last Wednesday, I did continue to assign to and require homework - primarily in the way of reading fine Literature - of all my children throughout the Summer so the new school year, at least for my homeschooling boys, didn't really come with any grand "Back to School" pomp.  My Public School daughter did have to do some school clothes shopping but we are learning to sew together in order that she can begin to sew and create her own outfits and this place is always lousy with school supplies...we have entire drawers full!  She did want a color scheme for all her binders, folders and notebooks this year - sparkly pink and sparkly silver- and she is my only girl and her requests are small, so, of course, I had to honor that.  Needless to say, she is hooked up.

Anyway, back to homeschooling.  I have been homeschooling both my boys for the last two years.  I am somewhat dismayed and yet glad to admit that it has taken nearly the entire two years to really pinpoint our goals and thus, our curriculum.  Hm, let me rephrase that, as I'm not saying what I want to quite right.  We have always known full well our goals for our kids. To raise intelligent, Godly kids with a hunger to learn.  Easy enough.  The problem was, I was having a hard time getting there. I was not finding curriculum that would feed either those needs or those desires.  As I began my search, I kept them busy with textbooks given to me by homeschooling friends (thank the Lord for them).  And I would scour Goodwill and other bookstores seeking out primarily Christian textbooks or at the very least Christian friendly.  And, of course, we ordered them in from various websites.  The boys would do the work happily enough but it seemed to just bore them and when completed they just wanted to watch "TV" (We don't actually have cable. Truth is, we only have Netflix and movies on DVD.  We've not had cable for the last sevenish years and I would highly suggest any parent, especially a Christian homeschooling parent, should go this route!)   I wanted more for them.  I wanted them to love what they were learning so that they needed to know more, ya' know?  I wanted them to want to want to pick up a book and read it over scrolling their Ipod or playing Video games.  I am not opposed to such things per se' but it seems to me that too much valuable time is spent in these arenas and I want their brains charged not numbed.  Though, I was (and still am) very involved in lesson planning, it felt like they were still getting taught like they did in school. And it didn't matter if the books were Christian - though I am very grateful that there is that choice out there- but they just seemed as dry and uninteresting as the secular textbooks with the same facts and expectations of my kids but again with the appropriate references to God.  My thought?  If this methodology isn't working for the schools, in general, in educating then it's not the method for my kids or me.  I wanted for them an education that would strengthen their Knowledge and abilities to seek out those things they desired to learn.

I am a problem solver and daily I met with the Lord asking for him to help me find "it". There was no real A-ha! moment but in guide and internet searching, I came across addresses for a Charlotte Mason Education.  As I started to read into her methodology, I was like, YES!  We are definitely headed in the right direction.  She uses Classic Literature and Poetry.  Duh! Not just references to Classic Literature or Poetry as the textbooks do.  The kids read entire books not just passages fit in intermittently into a textbook where the child develops no relationship with the story or the book or the author. She encourages kids to read the same Literature that adults do and throw out anything "Twaddly" (explanation - another day!) They learn to write using the methods of the masters as a basis for teaching.  They learn their lessons through the actual words of them who made History!  This is almost perfect. We began to redesign our "curriculum" by getting rid of textbooks (except to keep the occasional one as a spine) and start reading the classics. So, again, we're on the way to what I was envisioning for them but I still wasn't resolved to use the CM method entirely.  I still envisioned something more.  More internet searches.  Library searches, etc.  Then I came across the The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jesse Wise; combine that with Teaching the Trivium by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, Dorothy Sayers "The Lost Tools of Learning" and we have nailed our curriculum.  We use the Trivium to teach in the "correct" timeframes and order and apply our expectations as appropriate to each age.  These methods all use "Great Books" and the teaching of Latin and Greek to help us go back to our ancestors and understand right from their mouths what they were trying to say instead of watered down, possibly fallacious interpretations by folks who are writing sub par textbooks trying to cram "everything" that can be learned into them.  And with the schools dismissing History at only two years' worth of classes, well, the general youth population is indeed missing out on those important lessons from the past which can help prevent the same mistakes today.

A bit extreme?  A bit challenging? They love it.  Love. It.  They are interested and excited about what they learn. They are not spending all their time filling in questionaires or worksheets.  Circling one of three choices.  They are simply reading, digesting, discussing, questioning. The 16 year old is engaged in thorough conversation about things he's learning and the 10 year old is a goldmine of information.  We use Ambleside Online for the general selections of reading lists and ideas. For the bulk of the boys' learning, we rely on Heritage History and The Baldwin Project as well as Gutenberg.  All of these websites offer classic literature - free- with additional inexpensive lesson plans or there are actual published books on Baldwin and HH that you can purchase.  No more expensive textbooks or curriculums.  We read what we are studying from the original authors and then we talk about it.  We question it.  There is so much more to the varieties of learning methods here but I've already written a tome so in the end, I think what I love about this method of learning is this: it is so simple.  It is how our ancestors learned.  It is how the Founding Fathers learned.  It's how we as a nation learned until the big change in the 19th Century...but that is a subject for another day.
 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I am a Mother of a Homeschooler...

Hi All! 
Welcome to my blog! 
Sorry about the basic Font, but, I'm going bare minimum on this and as such have no fancy fonts to give you to read from.
A little intro to me:
       This is not my first blog.  I've had a blog on Weight Loss and Faith..I grew in Faith and <sadly> I grew in my weight again as well!
    I've had a blog about my photography studio which was a phenomonal success...Too much of a success maybe; 
    I had too many clients and realized how much I hated taking pictures as a career!  (If you want to see any of my former photography~ you can check out my FB page ~ just send me a msg first saying you saw my blog and you can see my pics ~there's not alot there but there are a few mini albums...) Although, I was very happy in my business, it wasn't what God truly wanted me to do, I can tell you that with certainty!  I just wish I had listened more beforehand! 
     I have a blog about our farm and business, Hodgepodge Hobby Farm & Cottage...A mouthful?  Indeed.  A pleasant place to live and be?  Very much so.  It's planting season but I paused to take a moment since, though, it may be a lovely Spring day, it feels very much like a late Winter day outside this afternoon!  And maybe I am actually starting this blog this evening in order to evade the evening planting that I had had in mind!  ;0)
      But, moreso, I know that ~ as with any of my ventures and consequently, my blogs ~ I am starting this with a passion to share that which I love!  and
      I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING!
      and, more importantly, my KIDS love Homeschooling!
      I have three kids and at this point in time they range in age from 16 down to 9.  I homeschool my two boys, my eldest and youngest child, respectively.  At this time, my 14 year old daughter chooses still to go to public school.  I give her that choice because she thrives there ~ without issue and without self ~degradation.  But, I ask her every year as the year begins what she wants to do and at some point, I do hope that my DD will make that decision to have school at home.  (for Homeschooling Naysayers, I will add that though my daughter is "thriving" she has nowhere near tapped into her potential as my boys have...and that's a promise!  Her level of responsibility is less, academia is well below each of them and well, you get the idea!) 
      Some of my homeschooling sisters and brothers. then. might wonder why I don't just pull her out and MAKE her homeschool...well, I do know that my other two had the option to choose this homeschooling option so I allow her the same.  (But, hopefully, soon....!  Lord willing!)
      Anywho, I hardly think that anyone will really find their way to this blog, especially when there are sooooo many other phenomonal homeschooling blogging Mamas out there!  But, if anything, I figure that this can be a place where I might just journal my thoughts, ideas, struggles (homeschooling ain't always peaches & cream!), concerns, prayers, etc.
       Well, I went out and checked on the planting and it appears that the DH has already taken care of it for me...awwwwww, I love that man!
       More from me tomorrow!  And thanks again for popping by!