Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Homeschool Diaries: A Refreshed Perspective

Fortunately, my lack of homeschool blogging is not a reflection of our actual homeschooling.

We are moving along and have finally completed the alphabet! And with the completion of the alphabet Hannah is becoming a stronger and stronger reader. I love to hear her sounding out words as we go about our day in the car or on errands. She is confidently reading her Bob books with little help. It makes me happy to see her running to grab her books to read them to me.

And as she is growing in her love for reading, I am growing in my love for a classical education. And, for those of you who know me well, when I start to love something, you know like Christian rap artists Flame and LeCrae and the whole coupon thing...I like to talk and talk about it! I get fired up.

A former public school teacher, I was skeptical of this method. But now, I can't stop talking about it. I was fortunate enough to go to a practicum for Classical Conversations two weeks ago. It was here where I finally felt like I was 100% on board with educating our kids through this method. And excited about it.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the model, like I was just a short while ago, it's method that focuses on the three stages of learning: grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric.

We are in the grammar stage: memorizing the basic facts or "grammar" of math, history, science, language arts, and latin. The kids in no way are expected to know the meaning behind these facts at this point. They are only committing them to memory.

In 3rd or 4th grade (can't remember..think it's fourth) they move into the dialectic stage where they begin making sense of those facts now committed to memory. They begin organizing them and using those facts.

Finally, they move into the rhetoric stage (high school age) where they take all that they learned and apply it to their life.

An example is like a computer: input (grammar), processing (dialectic), and output (rhetoric)

An example in music would be memorizing the music notes in the grammar stage. In the dialectic stage the student would then use the basic facts about the notes and what they look like to start playing music or reading music. Finally in the rhetoric stage, the student would then not only play music but be able to write his/her own.

Another great example is studying the Bible. In college I was introduced to the method: observation, interpretation, application. Same thing here. Observation is like the grammar stage, gathering facts in a verse/passage. Then, the dialectic stage is the interpretation of that passage...taking those facts and beginning to make sense of them. Finally, the rhetoric stage would be applying what you learned through the interpretation in your own life.

Okay, so I could go on and on. But these examples were very enlightening to me with how the method worked.

Of course I love that the goal of Classical Conversations is to know God and to make Him known.

And in the midst of the grammar stage of memorizing we are also learning to read, working on basic math skills, and delving into some crafts.

So, here we are, homeschooling. And, actually enjoying it. Who'd a thought?!

Today, we had a small victory...Grant finally held his writing utensil (a dry erase marker) the RIGHT WAY. We've had many a tears with trying to hold it correctly. And with some great advice from other moms at Classical Conversations, Grant cheerifully held the marker the right way and practiced writing his G. He was adamant to write a G so I let him. And Hannah is finally writing her name correctly, meaning not in all caps. Just the fact we accomplished this today made me happy!

I'll leave you with their proud work:


travelingstacey said...

I like your explanation of the classical method! I like it, too, but don't really know much about it. I've just been doing my own thing, trusting God to lead me in the right direction, and so far we've been doing really well! I've been looking at Veritas' curriculum and following it on my own without spending a ton on buying stuff. glad you're excited about homeschooling! I'm feeling the same way. The more I do it, the more I love it!