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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Journeys into Classical Homeschooling - A Visit with Beth

Next up in my  series on Journeys into Homeschooling, we have Beth from As He Leads Is Joy  talking to us about Classical Homeschooling at her house.

This fall I will begin my 7th year homeschooling. I have two children. My son who was adopted from Eastern Europe when he was 7. He is now 14 and beginning high school work. My daughter just turned 11 and has Down Syndrome. My daughter was born in Asia. My husband and I are both from America but met in Asia. We lived in Asia for a number of years and now we are living in England. We are missionaries working with Chinese students in England. 

I was impressed and intrigued when I listened to the things that my friend's son who was just a few years older than my son had learned in Classical Conversations (CC). I thought that would be a great foundation for my own son. My husband has said that he wished he had a classical education. I attended a CC meeting and the big question in my mind was what to do with my daughter. She has Down Syndrome and was 7 years old at that time. Oh, mom of little faith in what her daughter could do. We decided to sign up. My son was with a group of boys and my daughter a group of 6-7 year old girls who included her. Both children learned so much that year. That changed my thinking and methods.

I began to read and research the classical method and so much of that made matched with the goals of our children. Some of the aspects of classical education that are values in our education are a chronological approach to history, an emphasis on grammar and Latin, and in some ways the simple joy of learning.
We have been enjoying Mystery of History. I am thrilled that Volume 4 was completed in time for us just to continue right along using that for history. We also review our timeline cards from our CC days. When we did CC Miss K loved the timeline, she would get up in front and knew the motions. Our campus gave her a special award, Timeline Master. 
My son has began First Form Latin last year. I just made the realization that I need to be a bit more involved in his learning and we are pausing and reviewing and drilling a bit more. My goal for him is that he will finish First Form and Second Form. I love just about anything from Memoria Press.

My son discovered that he enjoyed diagramming sentences. That is a skill to retain and develop. We have been using Analytical Grammar. Teaching writing has been a challenge for me. He did a year of IEW when we were in CC and in a classroom that was great. We tried it just the two of us and it was difficult. I discovered Memoria Press has a writing program and so three years ago we began with Classical Composition Fable Stage. That has been a great program for us. This year we will be using Classical Composition III: Chreia/Maxim. I just saw that they have DVD's for this and I might order those just for some help. We also do some study of Latin and Greek roots. 

As we begin high school level math and science, we will use DIVE CD's for those. That is new for us. 
Because of my daughter's special needs we adapt things for her. She follows along in history. I give her a mix of classical learning though it might not look like it all the time. We just continue with her learning where she is at.

The challenges that we face in our Classical education are not necessarily based on the classical aspect. We are following the American program as far as high school graduation. We have met other home education families here but they are following the British system so we are limited in the classes that we can do together. It really was helpful when we were in a group. 

I am enjoying our short summer break. I love planning all the new ways that we will do things for the autumn. I enjoy pulling books out and writing plans. One of the challenges is doing what we planned. I know that as I cleaned up the learning area and discovered last year's goals and realised that we didn't read as many read aloud as I wanted or go on as many outings. I guess the challenge is doing all the things I want to do and plan to do. There are so many things I would like to do but the reality is it is not all going to get down but I want to give my children a thirst for learning.
We usually begin our day with our together time. I have been assigning an art project or drawing at the beginning and that way the children have something to do while I read Bible and history. That has worked great and I want to continue that though we will be doing that based on art history. I might just plan an outing to the cave drawings that are two hours south of here. We will do some Latin and Greek roots then do individual things. My son and I spend some time doing Latin. I then spend time with my daughter who needs individual attention and my son works on his things independently.
This is a classical approach that works for our family. 

Beth currently lives in England after having lived in Asia. They are missionaries reaching Chinese students and scholars. She keeps busy homeschooling her two children, cooking meals, and other things around the house. She dreams of having time to read and quilt or just peace and quiet. You can read about all her adventures at As He Leads Is Joy.

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