Monday, May 14, 2012

Homeschool Method : Classical Education

One method of Homeschooling is called the CLASSIC method.

After trying to pin in down for several years, I've decided it falls into one of 3 definitions ... depending on who you are talking to.

Group 1:  Education using classic text books  -

Group 2:  Education by teaching in a classic style and classic subjects (like Latin)

Group 3:  Teaching the trivium:  which includes Latin and Logic and Literature (or Reading, Writing, Arithmetic)  This often includes teaching the arts and Philosophy.

According to Wikipedia ...

The Classical education movement advocates a form of education based in the traditions of Western culture, with a particular focus on education as understood and taught in the Middle Ages. The curricula and pedagogy of classical education was first developed during the Middle Ages by Martianus Capella, and systematized during the Renaissance byPetrus Ramus. Capella's original goal was to provide a systematic, memorable framework to teach all human knowledge. The term "classical education" has been used in Western culture for several centuries, with each era modifying the definition and adding its own selection of topics. By the end of the 18th century, in addition to the trivium and quadrivium of the Middle Ages, the definition of a classical education embraced study of literature, poetry, drama, philosophy, history, art, and languages.[1] In the 20th and 21st centuries it is used to refer to a broad-based study of the liberal arts and sciences, as opposed to a practical or pre-professional program.[1] The University of Pennsylvania seal (1894) depicted the triviumas a stack of books providing the foundation for a quadrivium of mathematics, natural philosophy (empirical science), astronomy, and theology.

The 3rd of my definitions is the most correct - but a classic homeschool can include all 3 aspects.  

This is not one of the most popular method's of homeschooling.  So, some of the curriculum can be a bit on the pricey side, but it is gaining in popularity as students are walking out of high school and testing through to Sophomore and Junior years of college.

This method has at it's core the belief that teaching trivium (how to think and learn) is better than teaching trivia (bunches of facts).   And I don't disagree with that - one thing lacking among many young adults today is the ability to think and reason ... many just parrot back what their friends or popular people are saying, if it is popular, then it must be right!  Right?

Typical subjects that a child will learn ...

Latin  (which aides in spelling and reading)

Philosophy (reading and thinking about great philosophers of the past.  Logic is taught at earlier ages, and by age 9 or 10, they are chewing on Pascal, Kant, Socrates and others.  They learn to pull apart arguments and decide if they are valid or not.)  The Bible is often not the core of this study.

Art (study the great artists, their art styles, and learning to create art themselves)

Music (often becoming quite good at an  instrument by age 7 or 8 - piano, guitar, and violin are most popular)

Logic (learning to recognize invalid arguments - like circular reasoning, bandwagoning, and lots more.)

Literature (listening to deep classical novels as a child and continuing to read them as they begin reading on their own)

Languages (Spanish, French, and others)

Grammar  (writing is a big part of this method)

Arithmetic (memory drills and speed are pushed)

From what I have read, Science, History, and Social Studies are not taught much until the child is older and can apply what they have learned through Logic and Philosophy - usually between 10 and 12.  This doesn't mean that these subjects are ignored, but they are not focused on either.

Other subjects may also be taught, and often the parents use older books to teach, such as the McGuffey Readers.

If you use this method, or are curious about it, it will take you all of maybe 10 minutes to end up with the leading teachers of this movement, the Bluedorns  and/or  Susan Bauer.     (This website has many articles about different method's of homeschooling.)


The Bluedorns have written many books  Books by the Bluedorns 

And so has Susan Wise Bauer  Books by Bauer

The Bluedorn's have a blog that I have followed for years ...
They tend to be much more Biblically sound than many others using the Classic Methods.

and here is another blog with an excellent post about the Classic Style

Classical Homeschooling Website

I'm sure there are many more Classic Style blogs.

Personally, I don't use this method ... much.

We do read a lot of literature, have learned logic and discussed philosophy.  I even used McGuffey Readers!   At one point in time, I tried to teach some Latin and Languages as well.

But ....

I found this method to be a HUGE time consuming drain on my day.  I was spending hours each night to teach my girls a few minutes the next day.

The girls didn't respond well ... maybe because Mommy was so tired, and maybe I just didn't have the right tools?   We simply could not afford $200 per subject, or an initial investment of nearly $1000!  Yikes!

Languages and Arts didn't come easy to me - I struggled every single day.

I didn't learn this way, and found it difficult to grasp all of the various aspects of it.

It was intense, and I never seemed to get anywhere.

I was bored, and the girls were bored.  (We enjoyed the reading ... it was the endless drills.)

But the biggest reason that I don't do Classic Homeschooling ...

when there is a disagreement between God's Word and man's word ...

the Logic and Philosophy study often led away from God.

Too often, the strict focus on logic (which IS a good thing) would lead to a faulty ending.  Especially where childish logic was concerned.  There were not many curriculums that taught how to compare logic with God's Word.

Our Creator spoke through His prophet Isaiah and said, "Let the wicked forsake His way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord; and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isa. 55:7-ff).

But that is what I LOVE about homeschooling.  We can take what is useful to us ... and leave the rest of it on the shelf.  If you have read my post about the Charlotte Mason style, you will quickly see that they are somewhat similar in their approach ... focus is on a foundation to teach learning and thinking and observation.

Just because this Method didn't work for my family, doesn't mean it won't work for you or that you wouldn't love it.

So, in the words of Forrest Gump -

That's about all I have to say about that.

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