Friday, December 7, 2007

Preparing for a new year

I’ve spent most of the last year trying to find the balance between home and learning. With lots of rabbit trails in between.

In the last 2 years we have played with:

* The Classical Veritas / Memoria press basis that God has slowly put together in our home,

* Ambleside version of Charlotte Mason – complete,

* Un-schooling or relaxed schooling with a classical bent, with leanings towards Thomas Jefferson but not quite getting their.

In each variation I have learned things, but each has had its downfalls.

* The Classical model per-see is to pressured, to formal we seem to stress through the day trying to fit everything in, surely that isn’t what we are meant to be doing.

* Ambleside seemed to leave out to much of the writing that I have come to enjoy from my children. It was fun, but the richness of learning how to communicate was missing. It was too easy for my beloved kids to coast without doing anything much, or rushed as I tried to read and hear narrations from each of my children.

* The relaxed model saw us either getting lost in art which was too much of a culture shock for me. Or it found me trying to get the kids motivated, doing a few lessons of each subject and having the kids fade away because without the regular exposure to latin and maths these subjects became big black holes.

So where does this leave my trio.

Our next adventure is a combination of all three.

* We’re keeping the balance of curriculum that we have acquired. In each subject I find a depth of learning experience that I really enjoy. They feed each other and interrelate to a language rich, beautiful and solid Christian education and so I am happy.

* But I’m dropping the pressure and the schedule. We’ll work to a mix of daily subjects – i.e. avoiding the black holes and not getting stalled.

* For the other subjects, history, bible, art and science we’ll do blocks of afternoon study. Indepth individual studies from 1-3 weeks long where we can dig in thing, reflect, play and create. The rest, music, and nature and artist studies are gong to fit around the edges, sometimes informal sometimes as a short block.

I’m hoping we have come home. Its been a long journey. It’s been tied up in doing the best for my kids, but also trying to justify my choices, keep a road map and try and prove to the critics that we are doing the right thing. I;m looking forward to relaxing a bit more and enjoying the journey. Then again I thought this at the start of last summer - and then one afternoon on the beach re-created everything.... have I finally learnt those lessons ...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


My Artist had fun writing this couplet - she extended it to cover the whole of the solar system. An this time mum didn't manage to join in the effort....


Up in space I see the golden Sun,

Beside the sun sits Mercury the one.

Mercury’s friend, hot but rock, Venus stands,

Perfectly great earth comes next with lands.

Mars is next, red orange with holes still,

Jupiter and Saturn are doing quite well.

Uranus rolls and looks sleepy and blue,

Neptune looks like it has the flu.

Pluto’s friends are comets I think,

And spaceships go up while I write with ink.

Stars sit up in the amazing space,

But I think that’s enough for this place.