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How We School...Classically Cool

Update 08/16/2018: 

We're back to homeschooling with Classical Conversations.  Our classroom has changed a bit as you'll be able to see but this is a really great article at explaining how we homeschool down to the core and again why we shouldn't compare ourselves to one another!  XO 

We homeschool. 

And not only do we homeschool but we homeschool using the Classical method!  

For shame! 

If you are interested in reading about Classical Education I highly, HIGHLY recommend the book The Well Trained Mind.  It is phenomenal.  If you aren't so interested in grabbing a book and reading, in a nutshell I can try to explain the classical model to you: the Classical method began in, like, Ancient Greece or something, but when I think Classical I first think Laura Ingalls.  The way they taught school in one room schoolhouses...lots of memorization and learning things in a method that they stick.  Learning things in a methodical order, from Creation to the Present.  The three levels of school include grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric.  It is God-centered and encourages life long learning skills rather than just learning to get through school.  

Anyway, when I think of Classical Education I think of a lot of things it isn't...even though we use the method!  I know, I'm a weirdo!  I think togas and laurel leaf wreaths around mens heads, perfect children writing in their perfect handwriting in silence, students able to quote me in perfect English the correct answer to any question I may ask.

But that is WRONG!

This is real life and in real life we like to be cool, cool in school!  And so when I am asked how we homeschool, I have a hard time answering them.  

We homeschool Classically but it is Classically cool. 

Homeschooling Classically Cool

What does that mean you may ask?

*Well in our house we have a cute little classroom set up.  For us it really works to keep our schoolwork separate.  That doesn't mean that some days we aren't sprawled out all over the house doing God knows what, but at the end of the day I like being able to chuck everything up there, shut the door, and call it quits when needed.

*We get dressed.  Some days yes, we do homeschool in our pjs.  But we aren't the people who leave the house in pjs (well except for last week when Cal had Chicken Pox and everywhere we went was to drop off Emma and I forbid him from getting out of the car.  THEN he wore the jammies) and you'll never hear me say "well he wanted to wear the <fill in the blank of whatever horrid fashion statetment you can think of> out".  We've tried to make it clear in our home that there are rules for purposes, and it seems, especially with the autism, that if we bend then we fall off the cliff into never being able to bend the rules again.  If you wear jammies nothing but love for y'all. Serious!  We get dressed as a way to signal that we are starting our day and are setting out to get something accomplished. I know when I stay in my jammies all day I tend to have a jammie state of mind.  :)  

* This year we have followed Classical Conversations.  Next year we will not.  Up until this year we have followed The Well Trained Mind which means our history has driven our homeschooling. We've used The Story of the World books and we will be going back to those.  Super excited!!!  But in a Classical education we go in order.  This year we studies American history.  So, to put it shortly and finally make this bullet point, we traveled.  A lot.  Washington D.C., Williamsburg, Indianapolis to see the Emancipation Proclamation on display, etc, etc. I believe that seeing things in person, seeing the White House, Looking at the Signatures on the Declaration of Independence up close and personal really helps it stick in their little minds.  Going to the house where Abraham Lincoln laid and breathed his final breaths help put in their mind what happened a lot more than just reading it.

*We watch a lot of programs.  Netflix is our best friend.  Classical education has a lot of saying with real texts...don't read about the Declaration of Independence, read the actual document.  Don't read a story book about Moses, read Exodus, etc, etc. And I get that, really I do.  We do a lot of that.  But I also supplement the crap out of things.  Yes you are reading the Gettysburg address but let's read little kid books about it too.  Let's watch History Channel programs about state shapes, tycoons, the civil war and more.  Let's try to make this fun!

*I don't push too hard.  I am the first one that would tell you that I have a bad, bad problem with comparing myself, my teaching style, my cleaning skills, whatever, to others.  So when I see moms with their kids dressed as union soldiers reenacting the war between the states or with their playmobil pyramid having a parting of the red sea with King Tut and Moses I tend to wonder what the heck wrong exit I got off on.  But the truth is that might just be how some children learn and relate to their schoolwork.  I know my children are learning, I know they are getting school and are growing and achieving life long learning skills. And so with that knowledge I can relax and not try too hard.  

So I hope that helps to explain a little how we homeschool like cool kids and why we do what we do.  :)  


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