The Classical Adventure Begins

To me, the self-sufficient lifestyle not only means producing your own food, energy, etc, etc but also means taking control of your own education.

My daughter will be turning 4 in November and I’m super pumped to dive deeper into her education.

There are a ton of ways out there to home-educate a child and I think all of them have something to offer.

But at this time, we are pursuing the Classical education method.

Why I Like Classical Education

I briefly reviewed the different homeschooling methods and it was the Classical method that jumped out at me.

I like it for a few different reasons:

1. It’s challenging

A classical education will “train the mind” using the trivium pattern; it begins with the grammar stage (elementary age), then goes onto the logic stage (middle school age), and  ends with the rhetoric stage (high-school age).

The classical education is language-intensive- not image-based. We live in such an image-rich culture these days, and I’d love for my child to appreciate the value of the written word.

I hear that the classical method is rigorous and time-consuming but I’m not going to let that scare me- me and my little one are going to at least attempt it. I like how it will teach my daughter to think on her own. Far too many of us, (me included) have a hard time doing that these days.

I have high expectations for her and I think this method will help us achieve those.

2. It’s uncomplicated

It is challenging but not overly-complex. I won’t need a lot of props, tools, guides, videos, etc  to properly teach my child. I can choose to have those things if I want but they aren’t required.

I do not have a degree in early childhood education (shoot, I don’t even have a degree) but I know I am capable of guiding my child  and teaching her how to think, reason, and understand on her own.

3. It’s cheap

We’ve been doing the pre-reading exercises suggested in The Well-Trained Mind (which you can print out for free from their website) and  I can already tell Ava is ready to learn how to read on her own. I bought only  two things: The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading (also by Jessie Wise) and index cards. We also checked out a lot of library books but those are free.  So, with these three things I can completely teach my daughter how to read. It costs me $20 ($18 for the guide and $2 for the index cards).

I will have to purchase more books and other supplies but by and large the classical method uses a lot of books that can easily be rented from the library or bought used. It’s inexpensive compared full-blown packages like Sonlight.

4. It’s time-tested

Classical education began with Aristotle who compiled the system of formal Logic still in use today and was carried on to the Middle Ages, through the Renaissance, and was used by the Puritan colonists.

The classical concept of the trivium in education survived as the sole educational model for two millennial because it worked- it consistently produced educated men, given to “the pursuit of knowledge and the exercise of the mind in the case of judgment.” -Christine Miller

I didn’t learn a thing during my time in the public school system and I’m horrified at some of the things they are “teaching” kids today. Sometimes old is good.

5. It’s comprehensive

In classical education, all knowledge is interrelated. When my daughter reads the Odyssey, she won’t just read the story; she’ll “learn about Greek history, the nature of heroism and the development of an epic.”

She will become intimately familiar with the history, science, math, and literature of all the ages: the Ancients, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Reformation, and Modern Times.

I’m excited to give my daughter the education I never had.

6. It’s flexible

From birth to SAT’s, The Well-Trained Mind offers a complete program to classical education,  but I do not have to follow all of it. If we discover another way of learning math, we can easily replace it with what The Well-Trained Mind recommends. Substituting parts of the program won’t be a big deal.

If I want to throw in some lap books or a particular curriculum, I can and still get the benefits of a classical education.

I’m Glad There are Different Homeschooling Methods

At this time, I’m digging the classical approach but that may not always be the case. The little one and I may discover that indeed, it is a little too advanced for us. Or time-consuming. And that’s okay.

There are other great methods that we can try. Whether it’s the Charlotte Mason, unschooling, or unit studies, I’m glad there are different ways to teach a child. You know why? Because children are different.

All children do not learn the same so why should there only be one method? So I say hooray for classical education and hooray for all the other methods out there.

I even say hooray for the parents out there who are “afterschooling” their kids, and for the parents who, tonight, are helping their child with their assigned book report.

Hooray for being involved in your child’s education- may it always be an adventure.

This post was linked at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Wednesday Blog Hop!