Friday, February 8, 2013


I am a homeschooler, I am a very proud homeschooler. I love what I do, I love all of my curriculums and I adore my student.

If you are not a homeschooler or if you are thinking about homeschooling let me introduce you to Classical Conversations. This is part of my love! It's all about classical education. I have and currently still pay good money for an education on education. I adored my classes and my teachers and everything I learned and did for my education. It all seemed great at the time. I then picked up Susan Wise Bauer's books the Well Trained Mind and the Well Educated Mind, and had an ah-ha moment in which all the expensive education that I continue to pay for never gave me.
What was that ah-ha... it's HOW we learn. Not how to teach, but hot to learn. Why don't we spend more time teaching the way children learn, because we don't know how children learn, we were too busy learning the newest methods in which to teach them we neglected learning how they (and all humans) learn.
Want to know the secret?

We learn in 3 parts.... We first need to learn the vocabulary, the definitions, the parts of what we are learning. Let's do a subject I love... Scrapbooking. If I started to teach you scrapbooking by just giving you my tools (I have a ton) and telling you to take the blade and put it on the inside track of the shape cutter and press down as you move it around, you might look at me crazy. The reason being you don't know what the blade or shape cutter are. However if I start by showing you the tools and really going over each one and  what they do then and only then can you move to step 2...
Now that you have the vocabulary then it's your turn you get to try things out. I can give you a page to "copy." You will make mistakes you will "argue" with the materials asking them to do what they can't or not fully understanding their capacity, but eventually you will be able to copy the page with the materials.
Last you will create your own, you know the materials you have pushed and pulled and really figured them out and last you can go and do.
Those are the 3 stages. This is a linear example, in reality you won't necessarily do these things in a linear fashion, in reality you may be in all 3 stages with different materials at any given time. Let's step back though and really look at the 3 stages in regards to children's development...
Childhood... children have an amazing ability to memorize things. Before they can read or write they have language through memorization. That favorite book... memorized! Random facts that interest them... memorized! Why don't we exploit that tool more? If they can memorize the Bill of Rights, why not? Do they need to understand it to memorize it? Could it possibly be of use in their adulthood to know their rights? This is what the classical education does, it gives children then information that one day will be useful. Classical Conversations specifically designed their foundations (memorization) program to be useful in the upper level classes.
Early Teens... what are these children known for? Arguing, stretching the boundaries, etc... That's what the next step in our classical model is. The child has the information they memorized, and now they are going to get dirty with it. The Bill of Rights is in their head now what exactly did the forefathers mean when they gave us that right. Did they really mean for us to always have that right? Your opinion is different than mine, let's debate or argue about this. Let the teens do what it is they are already so good at argue their points (they know it all anyway, right).
The final step is to take that information and now what could you do with it. Create your own Bill of Rights for your family. Because you know the Bill or Rights, you have argued it to really learn about it now you can take that knowledge and apply it to a new creation. Judges do this all the time, they write their opinions on cases.
That's the classical education, simple succinct and so obvious, but yet so neglected.

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