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Archive for March, 2008

It is almost upon us again! Time to turn off that TV for a whole week and see what happens. Yes, National TV Turn-Off week is less than a month away: April 21-27. I just picked up a great book: 365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do With Your Child from Paper Back Swap. There are all kinds of books like that if folks need help with ideas for filling all that time you’re not watching TV. But I have faith that you can come up with your own ideas – each family has their own unique personality. Here’s another great resource: Unplug Your Kids. Come on! You can do it! And you’ll be glad you did.

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I once made a comment while chatting with a fellow homeschool mom that, in thinking about how we would homeschool, I was somewhere between the classical model and unschooling. I remember her eyebrows going up and stating something about those being on opposite ends of the spectrum. I realized she was right and felt a little foolish at my comment. But, as I’ve been reading further, I am finding some overlap in the different methods. I recently read a wonderful book: Homeschooling Methods: Seasoned Advice on Learning Styles. I would highly recommend this book. I gained a better understanding of some of the different methods, and why people choose them.

In this book, Mary Hood and  the Moores writings are in the chapter on unschooling. However, I’m attending a conference by Mary Hood next month which states in the description that Relaxed Home Schooling is NOT Unschooling. The Clarksons have their own chapter, called Whole-Heart Learning, separate from the Charlotte Mason chapter. Yet their books are recommended by others for learning how to implement the Charlotte Mason method. So, now I’m thinking I wasn’t too far off in seeing some good things in classical as well as more relaxed models, and so much in between.

Although I have been inspired and learned a great deal from John Holt, I know pure unschooling is definitely not a good fit for me and B. On the other hand, classical is too school-like for my tastes with all the rote memorization in the earlier years. I have mentioned the Beechick methods before. I really like the emphasis on readiness, and approaching language and math in a more natural manner – much of learning happening during normal everyday living. I love the emphasis Charlotte Mason places on developing habits – I would call it building character. I also love the preference for “real” books over text books. We have already been enjoying some wonderful literature together, thanks to Five in a Row. So that seems a natural fit for us.

I have been circling for a while, taking in all the methods and appreciating what is good in each one. But, now I am coming in for a landing around Ruth Beechick and Charlotte Mason. Although they are not exactly alike in their methodology and thinking, it seems they are very similar. So now my focus has narrowed to learning more about these specific methods and what it will look like to implement some of their ideas in our family’s education. I found a local CM group that actually meets once each month to discuss just that – women after my own heart! 🙂 I knew it was the right group for me when, as I approached, I noticed a crate full of books sitting in the middle of the table.

I guess you could say I’ve been living and breathing homeschool lately. I think that will subside as I begin to gather my thoughts and feel like I have some direction as we look toward the more “official” school age with B. That hasn’t been my sole focus, although it’s all I’ve posted about here in a while. I am also reading a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss for my personal spiritual life (A Place of Quiet Rest) and making fits and starts at a prayer journal. Life is becoming more busy as new friendships are growing and I’m becoming more active in various groups in the community. I guess you could say we’re getting settled here – and that feels pretty good.

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