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JaysFamily
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Posted: April 07 2010 at 11:12am | IP Logged Quote JaysFamily

What do these methods have in common? Is it possible to combine the two, or are they just too different? I've read WTM, and I have Real Learning on the way. I like both MODG and Mater Amabilis so far.
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Posted: April 07 2010 at 11:52am | IP Logged Quote LLMom

Both use copywork, dictation, narration, living books, nature study,fine arts and music. I think MODG does a great job of combing both of these methods.   

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Posted: April 07 2010 at 12:20pm | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

I can't do justice to an answer, but I will do the best I can hoping that others will chime in too.

We incorporate some classical method ideas into CM. I think many here pull from a variety of methods to create something that is their own.

Both methods use great literature. I'm not as versed in classical education as some here, but some (most?) of what we now call "classical" (including WTM) base studies on the idea that children go through growth/processing stages and how/what we teach should be based on that. So young children can remember things easily and should be filled with facts (grammar stage). And then they move through dialectic and rhetoric stages. Charlotte Mason never saw children as buckets to be filled. She saw them as people and wanted nurture (not kill) the love of learning in them. I personally think that this is the biggest difference between what we now call "classical" and CM. So from the beginning CM focused on using great literature to teach subjects. (So does a classical approach). A broad range of subjects were taught, all using short lessons. The focus was on formation of habits, not memorization -- complete attention to the task at hand, doing your best work, creating a positive atmosphere of learning, narrating or re-telling what you've learned instead of testing to find what you've not learned. An article on the classical side of CM is here.

I've never used MODG, but I've looked at their website. Even though MODG is classical, I think it leans more towards CM than most.

What we do is to incorporate logic and latin early on. We spend a good chunk of time studying the Ancients. But we narrate, use short lessons, focus on habit of attention, use hands-on science, lapbooks, living historical fiction. Real Learning is a great resource for showing what CM could look like in a home. It paints a beautiful, attainable picture of CM in practice. You can read at the top and towards the bottom of Ambleside's site to read a bit more about CM and how each subject area is taught.

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Posted: April 07 2010 at 12:37pm | IP Logged Quote Becky Parker

Just jumping in to day that I use MODG because it is the most CM friendly, that I found, of the accredited schools. I LOVE Mater Amabilis, and would probably choose that if it were only up to me, but DH was insistant that we go with an accredited program with an official enrollment.

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Posted: April 07 2010 at 2:43pm | IP Logged Quote Maria Rioux

Ohmahgosh, I have boatloads I could say in response!!! Can you see my little fingers itching to type? :)
Sadly, I'm generally short on time...but I imagine everyone else is, too, and they are probably breathing a huge sigh of relief because no one has time to wade through boatloads of info....right? That might be a little precipitous, though, because I have written on this topic so often over the years, as well as given a talk on this very subject a couple of times...I can cut and paste quite quickly...little time input on my part, huge post regardless. I hope it's helpful to you and in no way annoying! I just love this topic...and am fairly passionate about it. It's exactly what we do do...and we have been doing for the past 22 years of homeschooling...though I do think we've gotten better at it over time. I did help Michele with MA (though she and Kathryn definitely did the lion's share of the work!!!) but our own curricula (which we make available online at no cost)is not purely CM, it's exactly a melding of Classical principles with CM's methods. I'm updating it online, so, if you want specific grades, it would be better to write me off-list and I can send you the most recent versions....at least until I can update the site.

To answer your specific question, I'm going to use a portion of my talk on the subject. I hope you find it helpful. :)

God bless, Maria
Excerpt:
I was first introduced to the Classical method while studying at Thomas Aquinas College. That's where I learned the difference between opinion, of which I was almost completely composed, belief...of which I had a goodly portion, and knowledge.... which I'm pretty sure I had none of. I always loved to read, but there I learned how to think about what I read in a way that led to knowledge and Truth. I can't claim to know much, but every bit of truth is precious and even knowing that you don't know is a gift. I didn't enjoy all my studies, and I didn't always study as hard as I could have or should have, but I did come away with a lifelong love of learning....and a patient and knowledgeable husband willing and able to help me.

Had I been exposed to Charlotte's Mason's ideas and methods before college, I might have enjoyed all my studies more and studied each of them harder. Charlotte understood wonder and respected reason, but in the context of the whole person and, more pointedly, with a focus on good habits. I think I might have had better habits had I been introduced to Charlotte's methods while I was forming them. This is what made Charlotte Mason so appealing to me as a homeschooling parent. Parenting is already a big job. The only way I'm ever going to be able to parent _and_ academically educate the 8 children God has blessed us with is if I do so simultaneously.

A classical education begins with the Trivium: A study of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, in that order. Given that my responsibilities with regard to the academic education of our children represents a beginning, that's good enough for me. I will be content if our children love to think and know how. The studies of the Trivium are undertaken in stages, appropriately, if not very imaginatively, titled the same way. There is some difference among the various proponents of a classical education as to when these stages occur, but the grammar stage is generally considered to be grades 3-5, the logic stage grades 6-8, and the rhetoric stage grades 9-12.

The subjects studied in the Trivium are not really subjects at all if by subject we mean something studied for its own sake. Grammar is undertaken not so much to learn a new language but to understand language itself: to understand how it is structured and why words are used in specific ways. Language expresses thought. How one expresses an idea, that is, which words he uses and how he uses them, has a tremendous impact on whether or not the idea to which these words ought to correspond is accurately conveyed. Inflected languages rely on endings to make meanings clear whereas uninflected languages rely on position. You can completely destroy the order of the words in an inflected sentence and yet retain the meaning precisely because the function of the word is determined by its ending. That makes function unambiguous and takes the guesswork out of translation. As Latin is a highly inflected language, having 6 cases to English's 3 sparingly used, it is the language of choice for the study of grammar. This alone provides good reason for studying Latin, but it isnít the only benefit. Since inflected languages help us interpret uninflected ones, studying Latin grammar is a big help in understanding English grammar...which is one of the more confusing and grammatically rebellious languages. Latin has the added benefit of being the root language of all the Romance languages, as well as the technical language of the sciences, medicine, and law.
Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ, provides a good example of why how we say things...how we use language...helps us recognize underlying Truths. Christ is carrying His cross, having been horribly scourged and suffering terribly. He sees His mother, who can hardly bear to see Him so. In response to her gaze, He says, "See, Mother! I make all things new!" Everything about Him radiates joy, mastery, and proper pride...even strength if it were not for the concrete effects of His suffering. He uses the word "make". That's not a passive verb. It's active. To all appearances He's suffering abuse passively and helplessly, dominated by those who have the power to wield it. His words point us to the reality our senses cannot apprehend: He _makes_ all things new. He's not passive in this. He's working and this is the tool He is using. He's passive not because He's powerless, but rather because it is through willed submission that He will remake all things. It's an active passivity, and His words make that clear. He did not say, "All things are made new." He said, "I make all things new." If we understand language, we can appreciate the difference.

The study of grammar, through which we gain an understanding of the structure of language and the means of intelligent expression, has a corresponding intellectual stage titled the Grammar Stage. It is in this stage that the child learns what is. He learns all that he factually can about all that is good, true, and beautiful. Just as you cannot formulate a thought in your own mind and express that idea or reality without language, you cannot consider anything without knowing that it is and what it is. The grammar stage is intended to supply the child not yet intellectually mature enough for rational argument and analytical thought with the facts from which he will, in the logic stage of the Trivium, draw conclusions and abstract universals.
The study of logic aims to teach us how to use language: how to define terms and formulate an argument. It trains our minds to reason well and draw only necessary conclusions and detect fallacious ones. In this we are not so much focused upon what is studied as how it is studied. That's why logic books often resort to "If all A is B..." type syllogisms. It doesn't matter what we're talking about. In fact, because opinion often clouds judgment, we're better off with "A" and "B". No one really cares about A or B...or even AB.... in a personal way. If one defines clearly, one often avoids error and misunderstanding. Sadly, almost no one takes the time. We prefer to assume we all understand X the same way. In fact, doing so avoids so much conflict and is so much more pleasant....if only in our own mind. If you have children I am...dead sure...you have known the frustration of fallacious conclusions based upon ill-defined terms. "Did you vacuum the family room?" "Yes." Did you do a good job?" "Yes." If we quit here, we could all be at least theoretically happy, avoid conflict, and have a reasonably pleasant if delusional day. Most mothers are not content with assumptions and generalities or ill-defined terms: they want something they can sink their teeth into. They have a gut appreciation for logic. They begin to define their terms: "Did you move stuff?" For almost every mother, this is a given. How could you dream you vacuumed the room if you did not move things out of the way and do behind them? We assume this. It's a first principle. Boys...are lovable but...ignorant of household first principles. They're not just ignorant, they're...developmentally challenged. A 13 year old boy will look his mother in the face, with wide-eyed amazement as if this idea is altogether new and ...rather odd....and say, "Well, I didn't actually move stuff, buuuut..." A good logician will make mincemeat out of him in short order. That alone ought to be inspiration enough for any of you considering the classical method but sort of sitting on the fence. It is, sadly, no guarantee that any room will ever be truly clean. That points to two things: defining terms isn't enough, and, while you might be able to make an irrefutable argument, knowledge is not virtue.
In the logic stage one applies logic to all those areas introduced in the grammar stage. We know what is. Now we want to know why and how. One of the best ways to do that is to read good books and discuss them. It would be important to discuss in a logical manner, supporting opinions with text and presenting arguments rooted in truth as opposed to strong feeling.

The study of rhetoric...hardly seems necessary. I have at least 7 rhetoricians in my house and none of them have been taught. That may be because I am not making necessary distinctions because I am blinded by ....love. I have at least 4 debaters/ lawyers living with me....and none of them have any sort of degree. All are out of diapers. They're not actually all that persuasive, but they are pretty frustrating from time to time. A rhetorician should not be a debater. A rhetorician, ideally, has a noble aim: he knows the Truth and hopes to share it by expressing it eloquently and persuasively. A debater just wants to win the argument. He could be a complete skeptic, but he has plenty of pride. He does not care what is true and may even doubt that there is anything such thing. He does know what it is to win an argument and he likes to win. Sadly,if he "wins", he almost always loses, though he almost never knows it.
This points to a notable difference between rhetoric and logic: rhetoric can be used as easily (though not morally well) to persuade one to accept a falsehood as truth as it can to persuade one to accept truth as truth. Logic, that is, demonstration, can never lead to error. You might not be able to conclude much...or even anything at all, but whatever you do conclude you know is true. In that sense, logic necessarily safeguards truth in a way that rhetoric does not. I donít care how persuasive your argument is, if itís fallacious, a good logician will not only smell a rat , heíll be able to hunt him down.
The rhetorical stage focuses on the spoken and written word. It is best learned through persuasive speeches, beautiful poetry and works of literature. The student who finds heís eager to be one of the happy few left alive on St. Crispinís Day or whoís prepared to plunge into the breach to add his little bit to the bridge of corpses for Harry and King George despite the fact that heís American and in principle would oppose King George if given the opportunity...and further, that he has some disdain for those who chose to wear brilliant red in a world of muted greens and browns... with a white ďXĒ conveniently emblazoned across the chest to helpfully mark the spot for even a half-blind enemy....knows heís sitting at the feet of a master.
This will suffice as an explanation of the classical Trivium for our purposes.

Charlotte Mason shared many Classical ideals as well as Catholic ones. She described education as an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life. When she said, ďI am, I can, I ought, and I will.Ē she was indicating the dignity of man made in Godís image and the responsibility that goes along with that. We are children of God with a natural capacity to come to know, which ought to be used. The way we begin to do that is to act on our desire. We will to do what we ought to do. Sometimes thatís as good as it gets....but if thatís all that is possible, itís enough.
Charlotte Mason could be summed up nicely by Socrates and Bonaventure: "The unreflective life is not worth living." and, "The only true educator is one who can kindle in the heart of his pupil the vision of beauty, illumine it with the light of truth and infuse virtue."
She had a love for Truth and confidence that it could be arrived at. She respected the child's ability to think and directed them to think about beautiful things. Above all, she appreciated the gift of wonder that God has written on our hearts and which makes us yearn for Him. Charlotte appreciated what Aristotle knew and what the sacraments exemplify: man learns through his senses. She had a special affection for how we can come to glimpse God through his creation.
Charlotte loved order, maybe in part because she recognized God's hand in the order of creation. We readily admit a kind of ordering of thought when it comes to mathematics and acknowledge that it would be foolish to work on algebra before one has an understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Mathematics might be the clearest illustration of the need for order, but it's not the only one. In nature we see connections not initially obvious, but revealing order and a plan.
Habits are important: "Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism. In battle it is not syllogisms that will keep the reluctant nerves and muscles to their post in the third hour of the bombardment. The crudest sentimentalism about a flag or a country or a regiment will be of more use.Ē C.S. Lewis ďAbolition of Man
Children do not naturally grow either in knowledge, goodness, or Truth, and virtue must be practiced and repeated before we can claim it as habit. Children do naturally wonder, and that wonder kindles flames which must be carefully tended and fed. Fire fed upon immature, wet, or rotten wood sputters, smokes, and finally goes out. The smoke might make you think there's a lot going on, but in the end it isn't fruitful. The apprehension of facts alone is not knowledge and one who is content with compiling facts is like Lewis's†"trousered ape who has never been able to conceive the Atlantic as anything more than so many million tons of cold salt water

Through her understanding of education and children, Charlotte has helped me to be a more patient, respectful and loving teacher to each of our children, rejoicing in his unique gifts and working to help him overcome his particular weaknesses. She has given me a greater sense of flexibility within structure, something the Classical approach also employs but to a lesser degree. But Charlotte never had children of her own. Anyone who has noted the difference between how children behave in public and how they behave at home will appreciate why this might cause a problem. The Classical method reminds me that, as unique as we each are, we're still the same species and some universals apply. As beautiful as each child is, he's not pristine. He has fallen nature and the imagination to take it out for a spin. As delightful as any bit of truth is, coming to know is hard work. Precisely because we each have particular strengths and weaknesses, everything is not equally delightful to all nor are we each equally capable. Most of the time learning is a joy, but sometimes you just have to hold your nose and do it. If you develop the habit of perseverance, as Charlotte would have you do, even difficult things become less so, and sometimes they transform into joys. The two methods, woven together, provide a kind of balance neither would have separately.
With regard to the end, both methods are completely compatible if not identical. Each seeks to liberally educate, that is, to educate in a manner that frees the person to be all God intended him to be. With regard to the means to that end, they can be compatible rather than oppositional. It comes down to this: what is the role of the teacher and what are the capabilities of the student? With regard to the student, that depends. With regard to the teacher, it doesnít.
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Posted: April 07 2010 at 2:50pm | IP Logged Quote Maria Rioux

Oh, FYI, since I gave this talk God has blessed us with little Sam, so it's 9 children now...:)
Just didn't want to leave him out. :)
God bless, Maria
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Posted: April 07 2010 at 4:23pm | IP Logged Quote Paula in MN

Oh, Maria. Wow. I've read several books about the Classical approach, but your post just cleared it all up for me. Thank you for your wonderful and detailed explanation!

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Posted: April 07 2010 at 5:46pm | IP Logged Quote HeatherS

Wow, Maria. Thank you so much for that explanation! It was so helpful to me and articulates what we attempt to live in our homeschool.
Thank you!

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Posted: April 07 2010 at 6:56pm | IP Logged Quote Maria Rioux

Sam and I here....he's wanting to "help"...which is anything but helpful....but it's still quite fun. He's naming emoticons at the moment. :) Just a quick note to say thanks for your kind responses. I'm really pleased you found my...pretty mammoth ...post helpful. I could elaborate on it...a good bit...but I kinda thought the initial post was already pretty huge. If you want details on how to do this concretely...practically...I will happily chew your ear off. :) Of course, everything I say is said with the understanding that we are each unique. What works here might not work there...or anywhere else...and it's your job to discern.
Uh-oh...other people need this computer...
God bless, Maria

God bless, Maria
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Posted: April 07 2010 at 7:12pm | IP Logged Quote LisaR

Thanks so much for posting this here Maria!
nice to "see" you here as well!
Here's a smiley from our Maria to Sam!

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Posted: April 07 2010 at 10:48pm | IP Logged Quote JuliaT

I recently read two books that I thought complemented each other beautifully. One was Beauty for Truth's Sake by Stratford Caldecott. This is a treatise for Traditional Classical Education (not WTM.) He does not believe in the Trivium as stages but rather as subjects. He also states that many people focus on the Trivium and forget all about he Quadrivium (the math side of the Trivium.) Caldecott believes that education needs to be about ideas, about what is beautiful, true and good. He believed that education should not be presented in a fragmented way but that all subjects should be taught in relation to each other.

The second book I read was When Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper. This is a CM book. This book talks about the same things that Caldecott talks about--educating with unity, educating with ideas. It was amazing to me how similar the two books were.

From all that I have read from these books as well as from other internet sites, I believe that Traditional Classical and CM are similar, if not the same.

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Posted: April 08 2010 at 6:22am | IP Logged Quote Maria Rioux

Hello, Julia,
I wanted to second your recommendation of Cooper's, When Children Love to Learn." It's my absolute favorite CM book...aside from CM herself. Fr. James Schall wrote some wonderful articles and a little book titled,"A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning" which is quite good.
I feel especially blessed to have my husband's help when it comes to classical ed. In fact, without him I think I'd feel pretty overwhelmed before too long. He really is so knowledgeable about so many things, but I'm especially grateful for his help when it comes to advanced maths, music theory and science. He's a philosopher by profession and has spent the past 30 years reading/studying/discussing great books either with his own teachers, his colleagues, his students, our own children ...and me! :)He doesn't often formally teach our children (though he has done that, too...Latin, Algebra II/Calculus...and is right now teaching an online class on Paradoxes and Fallacies through Maureen Wittmann's, "Homeschool Connections which we are having great fun with!) but he raises such interesting questions at the dinner table...or during breakfast, for that matter. :) If one of our older children have a question that's beyond mom's ability, it won't be beyond Dad's! He's sometimes short on time...and energy...too, though, so we turn to Benedictine (where Jean teaches) to round out our childrens' studies. Ben has taken Latin, Logic and Intro to Theology so far, and next fall he'll take Calculus and Faith and Reason (a seminar class co-taught by Jean and Richard White (chair of the Theology department). I realize our situation is fairly unique, but there are more and more opportunities for homeschoolers to do something similar, and more and more resources to help. I am right now reviewing a music program that is most promising. I can't wait to work my way through the whole thing so I can give you a thorough assessment! It's put together by a music prof and she's thoroughly competent while also entertaining and pleasant. She appreciates that things ought not to be studied in abstraction but rather in context, so music is studied through history, art and the culture of the time. She visits the places where composers lived, goes through all the significant happenings of that time, introducing the student to the people, places, and events of the day by actually traveling there and walking you through it to the extent that that is possible. That's not all there is to it, but it gives you a bit of an idea. The program is called, "Discovering Music: 300 years of Interaction in Western Music, Arts, History and Culture." Here's link:
http://www.professorcarol.com/
Maureen has done such a tremendous job getting college profs/other knowledgeable people to help us teach our children through Homeschool Connections online classes. Here's the link to that...which includes free webinars on a variety of topics. Have fun!
http://homeschoolconnectionsonline.com/

Yikes! It's time for my morning hike! We have to be careful now, though, because they introduced cougars in our area to take care of the deer problem...and the cougars got the tracking devices off, so now they've wandered into the farming areas...and we actually heard one a while ago. Veeery creepy! We're now armed and dangerous...and we take the dog along as both a warning, for protection...or minimally as bait. ;) Our neighbor's dogs always tag along....so they're also possible alternative snacking material.
Have a great day, guys!
God bless, Maria

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Posted: April 08 2010 at 7:40am | IP Logged Quote JaysFamily

Thank you, everyone, for the responses. You've all given me plenty to mull over.

I suppose it is because of the similarities that I'm so attracted to both philosophies. Another similarity I've noticed is that most of the syllabi I've seen are rather weak in the sciences, and we are a household of engineers. Should I expect to design our own science curriculum?

I have another question to take this a bit further. Do the two methods affect the daily routine of homeschooling in different ways? Also, are the Seton and CHC syllabi considered classical?
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Posted: April 08 2010 at 10:35pm | IP Logged Quote JuliaT

Hmmm, I am not sure what you are asking. I find it easy to tie in the two together in our daily routine. We use our Morning Time for the CM things like picture study, poetry, Shakespeare, Plutarch, etc) and our basics usually have a classical feel to them.

I'm not sure if that answers your question, if not, ask again.   

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Posted: April 09 2010 at 7:22am | IP Logged Quote JaysFamily

That's what I'm looking for, Julia. I'm trying to learn how one can use both methods without compromising either one, and how that plays out during the school day.

Also, are the Seton and CHC syllabi and materials considered classical or CM? I'm finding so many different things I'd like to try, but I like the CM and classical philosophies the most. I like Catholic Mosiac, Little Folks, Who Am I, My Jesus and I, and Seton materials, and I'm looking at the Mater Amabilis, CHC, and Seton syllabi for preschool, and I'm also considering MODG for K.
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Posted: April 09 2010 at 8:13am | IP Logged Quote TracyFD

We are using MODG this year with some modifications. My 6yo son is already a lover of science so we do supplement this subject with books on whatever topic he is interested in. Right now that would be rocks and gemstones. He also pours over The Way Things Work. Next year we plan to use Noeo Science for 2nd grade.

I also added more narration to his weekly 1st grade curriculum by reading/oral narration/illustrating a Bible story over the course of two days and an Aesop's Fable the other two days. This is more than MODG requires. I do this for 2nd grade as well - including weekly reading/narration/illustrating of saints and historical figures.

We also add the Catholic Mosaic titles, the Little Folks stories (when they can read them) and many books from the Neumann Press

I found that the 1st and 2nd grade curriculum leaves room for for supplementation. By 3rd /4th grade the schedule is a little more full.

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Posted: April 09 2010 at 8:40am | IP Logged Quote CrunchyMom

JaysFamily,

I think that this is a great time to explore these methods like you are while your children are so young! It is what I have done, and I feel I have a much better instinct for what I need and want to accomplish than had I started later. I have found, too, that starting little things in preschool and kindergarten have been good in that they can completely fall apart and no one is the worse for it because, well, preschool and kindergarten are somewhat superfluous anyway.

I second Maria's suggestion of When Children Love to Learn. It will give you a clearer picture of what CM methods *look* like in conjunction with the philosophy. Also, it is a good modern image that is sometimes hard to visualize from Charlotte's original writings.

Some Seton and CHC materials would work well in a CM or classical setting, but to follow a set curriculum like theirs would generally not be seen as following either method. Seton would probably be considered traditional school at home rather than Classical, and it certainly isn't Charlotte Mason. CHC is considered more gentle, but it still relies heavily on texts rather than the emphasis on living books.

Maria has given a beautiful picture of a Classical education as I see it. We introduce our children to the good and the true and the beautiful in a way that corresponds to their ages. The focus is on the soul.

Some promoting a Classical education view the Trivium very rigidly and very much have a "bucket" approach, cramming little ones heads with Latin grammar just to have the regurgitate it because they are so good at memorizing.

Charlotte Mason would balk at this idea, and she would recognize a child's tendency toward this by offering something living, like a poem, to a child so that they might memorize and have something of worth with beautiful language and big ideas. She would introduce it casually in short spurts so that the small child would not grow weary from tedium. Latin verb conjunction will not inspire a five year old to a love of knowledge providing neither beauty nor ideas to ponder.

She also believed that the focus on a young child (preschool and kindergarten) should be to instill the habits for keeping a peaceful home rather than forcing a child to study with any sort of rigor. I don't believe her schools formally began education until first grade or so.

So, you probably could not offer a Classical education in a rigid way as outlined in The Well-Trained Mind without compromise and also employ CM's methods without compromise.

BUT, I think in theory you can follow CM's methods while using materials that would be Classical and lay a foundation for continuing with a Classical approach in later years while adhering firmly to her philosophy. In my mind, this would not compromise either.

However, I would warn you that you WILL have to compromise. Children are different, seasons of life are different, moms are different. It can be a good exercise in understanding methods to figure whether something is technically possible (like not compromising Classical or Charlotte Mason), but when life happens and we start actualizing our plans, it will rarely happen exactly as we would envision.

Also, to address your question about the sciences, I think that the idea in both CM and Classical is that in the early years, the children are best benefited by an exposure to nature and understanding the world around them. Science texts are not going to provide a foundation like truly experiencing nature will. Other aspects of the education are working to instill the tools for learning which would prepare a mind for tackling the sciences when older.

Even when they are older, a good science curriculum can be something that many struggle with in the home, and you might have to do more work to assemble your own, but I would encourage you to look at families who have used these methods. I don't find evidence that children typically suffer in the sciences from lack of a formal curriculum in the early years. Time spent observing and absorbing the laws of nature will be better applied to future scientific knowledge than an attempt to formally teach it in a classroom setting.

You might check out both Theresa and MacBeth's homeschool and thoughts to see how family's with a special love for the sciences incorporate them without an emphasis on texts.






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Posted: April 09 2010 at 11:09am | IP Logged Quote JaysFamily

Lindsay,

My plan is to use preschool and Kindergarten to evaluate what works for us, and what doesn't. I don't want to invest a lot of money into school materials, only to have to reinvest again a few months later once he's formally enrolled in a cover school. I have an only child, so I am also looking to preschool materials and ideas to help me keep him occupied. Being a boy's primary playmate can be exhausting at times, despite the play dates and out-of-home activities!

I will be getting the Domestic Church books for Mother's Day, and I already have a list of around 5 books on CM and classical philosophies on my reading list. Our library does not carry any of these, so I have to buy all of them. I can't buy them all at once, though the temptation is there!

I love the concept of the Trivium. I went to traditional schools and memorized information just long enough to take the test, and then I forgot what I had learned. I feel that I attended school all my life and was not educated! I feel that the Trivium is what is needed to truly retain the information that is learned, and that it teaches true perspective, if that makes any sense. At the same time, I love the CM concepts of short lessons, real books and poems, and blissful days of childhood spent outdoors connecting with God's Creation. Most of all, I want my child to be lovingly and thoroughly Catechized, which is also something I did not receive despite attending a Catholic parish school.

We live in Alabama, so there is no shortage of Nature! I hope we will be able to drive out to the country, or to State or County parks once a week or so. We have a membership to our local Botanical Gardens, and my son will be attending a Sid the Science Kid style class at our local science museum next Fall. We also already have plenty of free play time in the backyard. My son usually inspects the bugs that scamper away when I do yard work. He is already fascinated by seasonal changes. I couldn't help but giggle at his surprise when he noticed that the flowers on the cherry tree were suddenly gone a few days ago.

I know that a lot of my questions will be answered once I read all the books on my list. One thing I'm still unsure of is how to tell if a book or curriculum is within the guidelines of CM or classical philosophies, or if it's traditional? I'm looking at Who Am I, Catholic Mosaic, My Jesus and I, FIAR, I Can Find, Little Folks, Handwriting Without Tears, Cursive First and some music curriculum, and I can't tell what philosophy they fit from the brief descriptions.

Waiting to teach science is going to be difficult for us. We feel that often there is too much emphasis placed on reading and writing, and not enough on the maths and sciences. Some children are ready to learn to read and write at 4 or 5, and others aren't ready until they're 6. I don't believe that the rest of their formal education should have to wait to begin if they're not ready to read, but are ready to learn in general. They can learn from being told history stories, and from an ant farm once they start asking questions like "what's inside an ant bed?" My son is more interested in bugs, birds, and counting, while all his friends are learning to read. If this trend continues, I'd like to find a way to move forward in the areas he's interested in without completely abandoning the concepts behind CM and classical methods. I'm not sure if that's possible, but that's why I've added all the suggested books to my reading list, and am here asking questions!

I'm sure some of my going back and forth is doubt and uncertainty since the very idea of homeschooling is still so new. I think I would feel more comfortable if someone conducted a study on how teenagers and adults who were educated by the CM and classical methods view their education, and compared college entrance and graduation rates. I know that homeschooled children in general have higher graduation rates, but I'd like to see how the percentages of the different educational philosophies play a role in that.
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Posted: April 09 2010 at 11:12am | IP Logged Quote JaysFamily

Thank you, everyone, for all the replies. I haven't had time to reply to each one, but I am learning from each of them!
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Posted: April 13 2010 at 8:47pm | IP Logged Quote MicheleQ

JuliaT wrote:
Beauty for Truth's Sake by Stratford Caldecott.


Thanks for the recommendation I am reading this right now --what a gem!!

Quote:
The second book I read was When Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper. This is a CM book.


Yes! This is one of my favorite CM books and I highly recommend it!

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