For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Friday, August 9, 2013

Combining Classical and Relaxed

On our last post in this series, it is now time to put things together. How can I talk about a relaxed classical homeschooling style?

The way I see it, classical and relaxed can work quite well together. Classical homeschooling focusses on what needs to be achieved and sought for. It is about goals, that of teaching my kids truths, values, beauty, goodness. Relaxed homeschooling addresses the way or atmosphere in which education is pursued and done.

As much as I hold to a classical philosophy of education, I do not think that it has to necessarily be done in a very rigid way.

The way I make sure that my kids are classically homeschooled is in the kind of material or curriculum we use. I am very eclectic in our curriculum choices, but I usually tend to choose material that emphasizes the areas I mentioned on day 3 of this series. Materials that focus on:
  • Language Arts skills
  • Critical thinking and logic
  • Good books of literature
  • History and humanities
Even as I make sure that whatever curriculum I pick include these, I am very picky to make sure that they suit the personalities and learning style of the boys. Sometimes, I am not successful (in finding the right fit) and I have to make them do the work even if it does not fit very well, but I try my best to limit those instances. The goal is not so much to make sure they enjoy school (work is not always enjoyable - that is a skill in itself they need to learn), but more to make sure I use the best available that they will be able to work with. The goal is for them to learn, and we all learn differently because we have different brains, strengths and weaknesses. The beauty of homeschooling is precisely being able to make use and cater to these differences, while seeking to accomplish the goal of a good rounded education.

How I go about using the material is really where my relaxed aspect comes in. Far from being the rigid school format one might be used to, or expect from a classical standpoint, I tend to be more relaxed. We do have a starting time, we do have a loose schedule, we do intend to finish up the material in a reasonable amount of time, but the boys are also allowed plenty of free or independent learning time. As much as books are a big part of our homeschooling, I allow them lots of learning through TV shows and videos, and computer.

We do a lot of talking, analysing, discussing with the kids of everything they see, watch, read, create etc...  This is what I call relaxed classical homeschooling because as we seek to teach the boys to have a good understanding of their world and be intellectually apt to judge everything, we desire to make sure this is done in the context of a lifestyle, not just books and workbooks. I think having a relaxed view of homechooling actually fits well within classical education since the goal is to have an integrated view and understanding of our world, of beauty, good and virtue, and these cannot always be discerned exclusively through sit down or what I call "busy work". Again, the goal is to engage the mind and engage the world.

True, christian education, as I see it is not about form but about a life worldview that encompasses every subjects and aspects of life.

I enjoyed this quote:
" If all truth is really God's Truth [as Calvin would asserts] then we must not live fragmented lives leading to Christian Schizophrenia. . . .God has already defined reality; it is our job to respond thoughtfully and engage it appropriately." Think Christianly - Jonathan Morrow

Summer Blog Hop

Other posts in this series:

A Philisophy of Education
What is Classical Education?
Why and Why I Homeschool Clasically
What is Relaxed Homeschooling?

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