Sunday, September 11, 2005

Classical Homeschooling

I believe I've already mentioned how disappointed I am with the freshman English class that Klaus is taking through Keystone. They do a great deal of writing but the class is heavily focused on the textbook. The only whole works they read are Romeo and Juliet and Animal Farm. Grrr.

I'll admit, I'm spoiled because the English department at my alma mater was truly amazing and I want that kind of curriculum to challenge my kids. Particularly Klaus, who is the most verbal/literary of the bunch at the moment.

So I was given a link to The Great Books Programwhich offers a classical education through study and (online) Socratic dialogue. (Classical education in terms of homeschooling is best exemplified in The Well-Trained Mind by Bauer and Wise.) The first year students study the Ancient Greeks, the second year The Ancient Romans, The Middle Ages the third year and the Moderns (19th/20th centuries) as a senior.

The reading list is rigorous and I'll admit it appeals to me. The classes themselves are pretty rigid though. We've already missed the first lesson. And they only require two written essays a year. (We wrote twelve per year at Central.) I've got Susan Wise Bauer's The Well-Educated Mind on backorder at Zooba, so we may just use that as his textbook. He's going to rue the day he picked me as his teacher!


Anonymous said... comments by the peanut gallery.........sigh.......


The Princess Mom said...

Dear Peanut Gallery, (LOL)

I know you don't think he shouldn't have to read anything he doesn't want to, but I'm going to have to disagree with you there. There are books that he *should* read even if he doesn't necessarily want to or has never heard of them. And, if a book is worth reading, he should read the entire thing, not just a chapter here and there. It's thinking-training as well as writing-training.

Anonymous said...

I know, I know. We'll agree to disagree. :D

I *do* think, though, that if/when a child CHOOSES to read these (and many kids WILL choose to as they hear/see references to these works all over the place) they will get far more out of them than when they are *required* reading with some sort of *work* (essay, test, project) due at the end....

And I can say from personal experience that NOT reading some of these books that others deem 100% necessary has NOT made me a lesser interests lie elsewhere.

If I read Animal Farm I don't remember; I do remember reading a few pages of Watership Down and tossing it aside as I wasn't into animal characters speaking/POV, and I don't recall any works I read in HS English that really stood out for me, and thus couldn't carry on a conversation with you today about them, so tell me why it was important that I read them then, when clearly it hasn't impacted me today?

Oops, I'm digressing again.... ;)