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Classical homeschooling has been in existence for a while but is becoming more popular with homeschoolers now. Every time I looked through the book The Well Trained Mind, I would get overwhelmed and have to clost the book and put it away. Here is an informative article with my comments at the end.
Classical Homeschooling - Should You Consider It? by Don Rodriguez
Now that you have decided to home school your children, you need to decide on the curriculum track you will implement. There are various curriculum sources: Montessori, religion based, classical, unit studies, Waldorf, to name a few. In conjunction with this consideration should be whether you will want a secular or religious-based education for your child.
Classical homeschooling, traditionally known as the Trivium, represents what is considered the three-fold path or way of learning: Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric. This system of learning is not some passing fad or hip trend. Instead, it is the ancient way of learning which follows the natural way the minds of children learn. Notice the emphasis here on learning and not teaching. That is because the Greeks, who originated this methodology, believed that you could not teach a child anything since all knowledge was created by God during creation. The role of the parent and teacher is to help children to discover this knowledge created by God. Thus, parents in classical homeschooling are more facilitators of learning rather than teachers.
The Grammar phase involves a child's ability to grasp vast amounts of information, store it and recall the information at will. If children are exposed to significant amounts of data, they can grasp it and recall it later. A recent article in Newsweek argued that children possess all kinds of abilities when very young and then lose them as they grow older because parents do not nourish and allow their children to use those abilities. The child who is so exposed and allowed to explore her/his environment might be what we call prodigies.
The Dialectic stage is where a child's ability to reason develops and the child discovers argumentation. The Rhetoric stage is where a child manifests self-discovery and self-expression becomes of primary concern.
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Last year I saw a homeschool group using classical homeschooling, very successfully I might add. My children enjoyed the day but said that they just wanted to do that method of schooling at home instead. I was able to purchase some of the material from a friend who used this method successfully during that year.
I was amazed to see her little 5 year old boy recite long History words and motions with very little trouble. The songs in this program were what helped my son the most. He is singing about all kinds of events in history and remembering dates, names and documents.
I have also enjoyed going through First Language Lessons with my son this year. It is just my style with just enough material for each day, but not too much. My son seems to enjoy the interaction between us when I read from the book. It is all oral except for the copy work. It still seems to be very effective. It is set up for first and second grade and is about 422 pages. Along with Mad Libs, this is about all we need for Language this year except for some spelling.
I've written some more thoughts on classical homeschool curriculum. You'll find more recommendations there that I recommend for each stage of the trivium.
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