As the title would imply, I have recently ventured out on a new schedule. I was enjoying the lax nature of my previous schedule in which the main feature was to WAKE UP and shower. It was a stretch some days. Anyway, after yet another week of not schooling, we are officially about three weeks behind schedule and though I keep trying to play catch-up, I find it exhausting!
This year has been eye-opening for a variety of reasons, one of which is that homeschooling is not as fun as I thought it would be! Don’t get me wrong- I love seeing Jordyn and Noah pick up new things, I love being able to discuss issues and events with them. I love being the nurturer, the counselor, the “best-friend” as Noah likes to call me (which sounds like “bwes-fwen”). However, staying on task, keeping the house (and homeschool) organized, getting up and actually doing it, are much more difficult than I expected. When I get discouraged about homeschooling, I look forward. I always like to plan ahead of time and contemplate how it will look in the future. Perhaps this isn’t a great strategy, largely because it has the tendency to draw my attention away from the actual problem and live in dreamland, however, it also encourages because I can be confident that Jordyn will learn to read and one day, she won’t need me to read to her. And I’m going to miss it.
To encourage myself and look to next year, I have been rereading both Teaching the Trivium (note that I linked to their website, which is one location that you may order the book from) and The Well-Trained Mind (note that this link goes to Peace Hill Press, which is the small press operated by the Wise-Bauer family) because I love both books and until recently, I thought they had nothing in common except that they both say they are methods for teaching a “classical education”. [Is that punctuation correct, by the way? When I quote a word and it ends the sentence? I know if it were an actual sentence quoted that the period goes inside the quote, but in this case? Oh well, I like it outside the quote.] I said, “until recently” because as I have gone through these books again I am beginning to think that there is a very simple way to combine these two books and the philosophies behind them. I found this link very interesting because it is essentially an argument for Christians using WTM and how (and why) to do so. However, I read in Teaching the Trivium,
Is “Classical Education” reading Homer and Plato, or Caesar and Cicero? There are some who declare that reading such ancient classical authors is the very essence of any education which could be styled classical. But we believe a more accurate name for this would be a “Classical Humanist Education.” A humanist in the classical sense is one who studies what are called the “humanities,” primarily classical Greek and Roman literature.
The Renaissance – the rebirth of learning (1350-1650) – involved a rebirth of the humanist philosophy and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. There was nothing Christian about this ancient philosophy and culture. If we defined classical by this humanist standard, then we could not avoid the influence of its philosophy and culture. Indeed, an unbound and unbalanced focus upon classical Greek and Roman literature would drive us in every direction except toward Christ. (Chapter 1, pg. 29)
So, I got confused. If I used Well-Trained Mind, how would that fit in with all my other beliefs? I believe whole-heartedly that God is the author and creator of life- including education. I believe that education is the responsibility of the family, not the state. I believe in somewhat sheltering your children until they are able to deal with concepts safely within a Biblical worldview. But how will I know when they are ready? How will I know if I have over-burdened my children with lies from the past that are somehow going to cripple them? Is reading a children’s version of The Iliad along with a perfunctory, “we don’t believe this…” enough? How much detail do I need to get in to? Isn’t it safer to avoid the controversy until they are older? How much older?
Ultimately, we decided that for now, we would go primarily with Teaching the Trivium except for all their delayed start mentalities. Which means that we are conservatively using The Well-Trained Mind. My mind blurs and everything remains unfocused. However, we managed to get a new schedule out of the mix which really emphasizes child-training and homeschool.
6:30- Mother rises, exercises, and showers
7:30- Father and children rise, shower, and dress
8:00- Breakfast and Family Worship
8:30- Morning Chores (set schedule of daily tasks)
9:30- General School Meeting: memory work, practice reading (including phonics)
10:00- Mother reads aloud (using the Sonlight K4/5 recommendations)
10:45- Drill Work: Handwriting, Copywork, K4/5 “Perception” workbooks, Math
11:30- Prep Lunch; Play Outside
12:30- Naps/Quiet Time
2:00- Mother reads aloud
2:45- School Meeting: Finish work from the morning or Field Trips
4:30- Play Outside
5:00- Prep Dinner. Straighten house.
6:00- Dinner. Evening Chores.
7:00- Father Reads Aloud.
7:45- Prepare for Bed (Bath time)
8:30- Evening Family Worship
9:00- Childrens’ Lights Out.
10:00- Lights Out.
You will have noticed I will be spending a significant part of my day reading out loud to my children, but they are not required to sit still, they are free to play quietly as long as they don’t disrupt anything. We are working on sitting quietly on command for a few minutes at a time right now anyway. We are in the middle of the day and so far, I think it’s going well. We have our afternoon reading to do and then a trip to the library. Home in time for dinner.