3 Classical Concepts
We’ve tried out various homeschool styles over the years. Some we love and incorporate into our homeschool; others don’t quite work for us.
The Classical Method is still very much my favorite homeschool method.
I was a bit scared of this method in the beginning. It was overwhelming. I had to learn alongside my daughter to fill in all the gaps in my own education. I’m still not completely comfortable, but that’s part of the fun. I love learning along with my children. I love seeing them grow and mature. I love witnessing them transition to a new learning level and start making more connections in concepts and ideas.
I am all about these 3 Great Concepts: multum non multa (not many things, but much), scholé (from the Greek, then Latin for restful learning), and festina lente (make haste slowly).
Multum non Multa
We’ve gone overboard, trying to do too much, stretching too thin – and not succeeding. We prefer to go deep rather than wide. My kids are more than wells to pour facts into. They have a say in what they learn, where their interests lie. I consider their desires.
I see too many curricula offering just a taste of information before moving onto the next thing. My kids are often not ready, hungering for more, desiring to dig deeper to understand what they’re learning. We often spend lots more time than allotted in our curriculum because we enjoy learning.
We often extend our history and science lessons.
We are currently still only on Unit 2 of history because we thought WWII was more interesting than the two weeks allotted. So, this summer, we may skim over events during 1960-present because we spent so much time on this unit. Our science book didn’t offer as much detail as my kids wanted about the heart, so we looked to YouTube and library books and even college anatomy texts for more information.
The kids have language apps and love learning new words and phrases. They love watching documentaries and reading about scientists and missionaries.
This is why we homeschool.
Why would I hold them back or push them on when they are so intent on learning?
Learning is supposed to be leisurely. The original design of school in ancient times was “apart from physical work.” While we certainly do chores in our home, we prefer to learn in a restful manner. I don’t crack a whip from dawn till dusk. I have a very general agenda and we learn at our leisure.
Can you imagine? My public school experience was anything but leisurely. I can provide a restful learning environment for my children.
I don’t have to compare our homeschool to any other. We may do fewer art projects. We may read many, many books and not write essays about it. We may prefer math workbooks in this season. We may skip science this week.
I don’t want to work my kids to death with busyness.
We don’t complete all our curricula. Are you shocked? We skip reviews, quizzes, and tests if my kids grasp the concepts quickly and easily. I don’t do grades.
I have four students. If I don’t know how they’re doing in their studies, then I’m not a good homeschool mom. I don’t have to measure them up against anyone. I used to teach 120+ students and I kept grade records because I had to and because I couldn’t have told you what each child earned on the essay last Tuesday.
We don’t bother with co-ops since they defeat our purpose. I don’t want checklists and schedules and random parents teaching my kids something I may disagree about.
We limit our extracurricular activities so we don’t feel stressed and rushed.
I make sure the kids get enough sleep. In the spring and summer months, we go to bed later since the sun is still out. We wake up in the morning whenever we naturally rise if we don’t have anywhere to go. It works for us.
I protect our time so we can be free to learn how and when we want.
There’s a reason for rest. Our brains have to rest in order to make the connections and assimilate new information. When professors, doctors, other professionals take a break from their work to rest, study, and learn, it’s called a sabbatical.
We all need the Sabbath.
I think activities should have a proper balance of urgency and diligence. If tasks are rushed, mistakes are made and the desired results are not achieved. Work is best done flowing, fully engaged in the task when there is no sense of time passing.
I love seeing my kids absorbed in their learning. I strew books and materials around the living room and we explore together. We may take a break from our regular lessons to study our backyard pond with its tadpoles and cattails. We travel often and learn about new cultures, foods, art, language. I don’t make my kids do travel journals. We live the journey and remember.
I don’t interrupt my children when they are learning and working hard on a project. We don’t have bells, timers, or traffic lights to signal when math time is over or to begin history reading. We prefer a natural flow to our learning. Some days, we will do science all.day.long. and I’m ok with that. Other days, we may play outside in the warm sunshine and worship God in creation and devolop our family relationships.
Learning doesn’t have to look like copywork, memorizing dates, math manipulatives, or anything dealing with paper and books and pencils.
Children learn just fine when we get out of the way.
Learning is living.
I’ve always had an internal tension regarding involving my children in a co-op. Your simple phrase, “since they defeat our purpose,” was so liberating to me today. Thank you.
So glad to help! Everyone homeschools differently. I felt loads of pressure off when I quit a co-op. I expanded on my reasons for not participating in a homeschool co-op here: http://www.royallittlelambs.com/homeschool-co-op/