Monday, October 25, 2010

What is Our Homeschooling Style?

This week's Homeschool Crew Blog Cruise topic asks "What is your homeschooling style and how did you choose for your family?"

Well the simple answer is we ascribe to a classical style, but more of a modern classical as opposed to the traditional classical style.

When we first decided to homeschool our children we had yet to have any children.  We were not even pregnant.  My husband and I both decided that the public and private schools were just not going to be right for us.  I personally felt a pull to fulfill what Scriptures says in ... "To train up your child in the way he should go ..."  Well, I kept saying, "How can I train them if they are not home."

When we finally became parents we began the research process.  Both my husband and I are very much research people and want and need to know every single option there might be in order to feel like we've made an informed decision.  I came across a book called The Well-Trained Mind (WTM) by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer and the book just spoke to me.  After reading the beginning section I told my husband that I thought the classical style was what we were looking for.  We are both book people and the classical style stems from living books and lots of them.

So what is the classical style of homeschooling.  Well in a nutshell it is based on three learning stages.  These stages are the Grammar State, the Logic Stage and the Rhetoric Stage.  The first stage (Grammar) is where you are mostly teaching facts, memorizing data (whether it be math facts or history facts or lists or poetry), and acquiring knowledge.  The next stage (that is the Logic stage) is where the child begins to apply reasoning and logic to all the knowledge they have collected.  Then in the last stage (Rhetoric) is where you apply the knowledge combined with your logic and reasoning skills to your situations to come out with judgments and wisdom  - basically where you put it all together.  These three stages are affectionately called the Trivium.

In WTM the Wise's connect the three stages of learning with the appropriate grade levels so that during that time in school you have a different focus of learning.  So for instance the Grammar stage is 1st - 4th grade, the Logic stage is 5th - 8th grade and high school is the Rhetoric stage.  These distinctions between learning stages and the normal divisions of elementary, middle and high school seemed to be exactly right for what we were feeling the Lord was calling us to in homeschooling.

There are other books that you might want to look into if you are interested in learning more about a classical homeschool .  I'e already mentioned WTM, but Susan Wise Bauer also has a book called the Well-Educated Mingd for those of us who would like to experience a classical style of self education.  There's also Teaching the Trivium by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn.  I haven't been able to read this book yet, but it's on my list.  Maybe I'll get it for Christmas. ;)

So after a lot of research and prayer we decided that this would be the best fit for our family.  And I must say, I have enjoyed it immensely!  My children also seem to enjoy it too.  We read a LOT of books about everything.

Our history and science 'repeat' every 4 years so that we can delve into the subject areas more and more as the child gets older.  It also allows us to study more about one area the first time and by the time the second round comes about the child's interests may be different and therefore we will spend more time on a completely different subject.

We follow a 4 year rotation in both science and history and they match up (a bit).  For history we begin with the Ancients (about 0 B.C - A.D. 400), move on to Medieval Times through Early Renaissance (A.D. 400-1600), Late Renaissance through Early Modern (about A.D. 1600 - 1850), and ending with Late Modern up to the present day.  Then we repeat this cycle 2 more times.  Science ir broken down by the categories in the scientific field - Biology, Earth Science (and Astronomy), Chemistry and then Physics.  These also will repeat 2 more times.  So by the time our children graduate they will have explored each area 3 times.  Of course each time they will be going deeper into the study and like I said earlier their interests will probably change so they will lean to one area more one time and a different area the next time.

Some of the other differences with our classical style is that we incorporate handwriting, narration and dictation with our history and science.  We take from the areas of interest we are learning about to write our narration and do dictation from.  We also keep our 'time periods' while we learn about art and music so that all of our subjects meld together to create a beautiful picture.

We do also take breaks sometimes and focus all our studying on a particular subject.  You can see our latest study on Tigers which I posted about yesterday.   Small unit studies help to break up our longer studies and give a certain type of "break" wile not actually taking a break.

If you'd like to hear about how other families have chosen to homeschool and their 'style' please go to today's Blog Cruise topic.  I hope I've clearly explained the classical style.  If you have any questions for me, I'd love to answer them.  You can leave a comment with your question and I'll be sure to get back with you.


Guiding Light said...

Hiya classical homeschooling family! Checking in to see how you folks do school...sounds like fun! Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Our Homeschool Reviews said...

Great post!

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