As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been trying to figure out what our homeschool will look like this next year. I have discovered a lot of beauty in the Claritas Publishing Memory Work Guide so that’s the direction we will go with our 7, 9, and 11 year olds. The main reasons why?
- There’s familiarity in the way it’s laid out,
- I love the way they present the Latin strand,
- There are songs for each piece of memory work,
- The addition of hymns to the curriculum add for a more robust connection to church history and theology,
- I already own all of the Story of the World cycles, so I’m excited to see a four year cycle that will allow me to more easily dovetail those to resources.
There was a temptation to keep doing what we’ve been doing, especially since the CC Foundations Guide has no restrictions on doing the Foundations program at home on your own. However, I think for us it is wise to have as much of a clear break between what was and what will be as possible – and after having gone through the major overhaul of songs and such this past year I know our kids are resilient and can adapt to the new curriculum well.
You might laugh at me over this, but the Claritas Publishing Fundamental Grammar Guide ended up attracting me because their font is friendly and it feels like it will be easier to “get into” than what we have been using. (I continue to shake my head that I, as someone who has a degree in Journalism from a University that does Journalism really well… is still buffaloed by English grammar! Just proof that education doesn’t really stop at the end of formal classes!)
I was tempted to go with the Language Lessons series from Well Trained Mind because we’ve used that before and liked it, but I’m thinking it’s wise to stick with the Fundamental Grammar Guide because it will have crossovers with the Memory Work Guide being from the same publisher.
Our kids have been doing three different math programs, all online: Math Seeds, Teaching Textbooks, CTC Math. This is working for them, so we will continue those programs until or unless it becomes evident we need to shift.
Our outside activities will continue to fill in the blanks: we have 4H which, through active projects or inspiration for those projects, covers sewing, animal husbandry, robotics, gardening, public speaking, and fiber arts.
We will be exploring the chemistry and dynamics of cooking this summer (and through regular practice – the kids each make at least two meals a week for the family) through the book, How to Cook Without a Book which we plan to do with friends.
Our religious study continues to be the responsibility of us as parents, and church attendance is a reinforcement to what we do at home.
So with the younger ones, I feel fairly confident we aren’t going to suddenly crash and burn next year in a flaming network of pyrotechnics. I also believe (and am backed up with scientific studies) that you kind of can’t screw up the younger years of education. Obviously, there are a LOT of things you can do to make things better and easier, but you can’t straight up ruin a kid’s love of acquiring information during the grammar years because it’s embedded in their DNA.
However, our 13 year old is giving me grief. She has been so well prepared for the Challenge program and this past year in Challenge A worked so well for her, that I’m seriously struggling over how to move forward confidently in her education. I believe that the stakes get higher and higher for her as she grow older.
I also believe now that she’s in her dialectic stage of development, she’s a partner in this endeavor, so we need to consider things that she can engage in and enjoy.
I’ve been reading Norms & Nobility. Admittedly, I started in chapter 9 A Curriculum Proposal (What Might Have Been) because I really just wanted to know the answer! I was looking for the easy way out and it didn’t work out so well.
In chapter 10, Hicks hit me over the head with this quote: “The best questions, it seems to me, are those least prejudiced by the availability of pat answers, as well as those originating not only in practice, but in imaginative theory. In other words, the best questions are not limited by what can be done; they ask what ought to be done, knowing that the former question – although scientifically correct – can only make a poor education worse by narrowing the range of inquiry and by limiting the possibilities for improvement.”
Consider yourself eye-rolled, Hicks-meister, for adeptly nipping my desire for easy and quick answers in the bud.
So… what would we do with an education, with the valuable handful of days we have left while she’s in our home and unable to drive away… what could we do if we had big dreams?
Hicks gives me these clues:
“Cardinal Newman’s (1969) description of liberal education remains, to this day, unimpeachable: that which teaches the student “to see things as they are, to go right to the point, to disentangle the skein of though, to detect what is sophistical, and to discard what is irrelevant. It prepares him to fill any post with credit, and to master any subject with facility.”
(Sophistical means “clever and plausible, but unsound and tending to mislead.” I had to look that one up.)
It needs to be something that develops an appreciation of Truth.
Something that involves the ability to create and recognize logical thinking and arguments.
It needs to be something that practices sorting and clarifying tricky situations or history.
Something that allows her to practice passing a judgement on things that are irrelevant while always treating the human being as relevant.
This is going to require some more thought.
I think we’ll stick with Lost Tools of Writing. I hate it as a writing program, but I love it as a critical thinking program.
We’ll stick with Latin (although we might go away from Henle – I really like friendlier fonts….) and Logic (she loved the Fallacy Detective. I don’t know whether to move from that to formal logic or not. (There are at least two more books I want to explore because they interest me: The Amazing Dr. Ransom’s Bestiary of Adorable Fallacies: A field guide for clear thinkers by Douglas Wilson & ND Wilson, and An Illustrated book of Bad Arguments by Ali Almossawi. It’s possible that those can be things we work through as a family instead of her coursework.)
That’s about as far as I’ve gotten so far.
I’d love to hear feedback from you all about what you have seen and enjoyed, what worked or didn’t work! Do you have any suggestions?!