Today’s Real Homeschooling for Real Families post is written by Holly from Fulltime Homeschool Mom. She is writing about Classical Education while being a Stay at Home Mom or Working fulltime!
“Give a man fish he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he will eat for the rest of his life.” Chinese Proverb. This was our motto and quote when we took our first steps to start homeschooling our kids. We didn’t want to give our kids education. We wanted to teach them how to learn and give them tools to apply learning so they can learn for the rest of their lives.
In my search for a method to use that fit our reasons for homeschooling, I came across The Well Trained Mind book by Susan Wise Bauer. Four months later it was confirmed that this book is a real gem and fit our criteria for our homeschool journey. Susan Wise Bauer said “A classical education is more than simply a pattern of learning, though. Classical education is language-focused; learning is accomplished through words, written and spoken, rather than through images (pictures, videos, and television). “
The stages of Classical Education-Brief Explanation
Classical Education is a three part stage process. There are different opinions of what grade levels are in three stages. I will share briefly what grade levels I did in each process. 1st stage you have the Grammar stage which is all about absorbing information and memorization of facts. The grade levels that I did for the Grammar stage consisted of 1st to 4th.
2nd stage is called Logic or Dialectic stage which is all about asking the why questions and seeing the cause and effects of what they learned in grammar stage. The grade levels I used for the Logic stage were 5th to 8th grade.
Last stage is called the Rhetoric stage which was the last four years of high school. Rhetoric stage is about writing and speaking which they apply what they learned in Grammar and Logic stage. There are a lot of writing during this stage. We also used this stage for our kids to explore their interests by doing a more specialized education of what they would like to do in college or career. There are many classical educations websites you can check more about what the stages of Classical Education. I highly recommend The Well Trained Mind site.
How did we do Classical Education?
We used The Well Trained Mind book by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. Their book is excellent in giving you a guideline of materials they recommend, how to use the materials and how to use their guidelines to use any materials if you choose not to use their recommendations. Most of the time we used what they recommended in the book. Here is a picture of some of the Language Arts curriculum we used.
While we used The Well Trained Mind (WTM) book we also used Tapestry of Grace program during grades 7th to 9th. I used the guidelines of WTM to use Tapestry of Grace program. It’s a very intensive program and I have no regrets using it. We went back to WTM full recommendations for high school except math. I outsourced math for Logic and Rhetoric stages.
If you decide to try Classical Education I would start with Well Trained Mind book and follow their recommendations and guidelines until you get your feet wet and are comfortable with this method of education. After a few years you can modify your curriculums and use the guidelines in WTM book to keep on track as far as the stages go.
How we implemented Classical Education
When I was home full time each day we did Language Arts, Math, Reading, and Writing. For Science and History we did a block schedule. Foreign Language was also in a block schedule.
Here is a picture of what our block schedule looks like:
The reason we did block schedule was WTM recommended it for Science and History. Longer time spent on the day we do science or history. Arts and music as well as any other extra-curricular activities were done Friday.
When I went back to work full-time, we put all subjects on block schedule except for Math and Grammar. We believe Math and English language are the most important subjects for our kids to learn. We added vocabulary and Logic to our schedule by the time I went to work full-time because our kids were older.
Here is a picture of what our block schedule was like while I was working full-time:
You will notice it’s a bit different than the one I showed above. Reading is at the end of the day because the kids can read on their own. Remember I mentioned they are older by the time I went to work full time. Latin was done through a video curriculum so they can easily do it on their own. On Friday Latin is done earlier in the day because I wanted to sit in with them while they did their Latin lessons to make sure they are on track with the program.
In case you are wondering how I did it when I worked full-time. I was home with the kids in the morning until 1:00 pm. We did everything that they need me for in the mornings. The rest of the subjects they can do on their own were done while I was gone. There is one thing I didn’t put in both pictures of schedules which is our morning meetings. We have a meeting each morning to go over anything they are struggling with from subjects they were doing while I was gone.
Tips to implement Classical Education
- When starting out, just follow the WTM curriculum recommendations and use it for one year to get your feet wet.
- Do not try to do all of the subjects during the first week. Add 2 subjects the first week and then add two more the next week. Keep adding until you have a full schedule.
- Do keep a loose schedule until you find what works. Make sure there is room for fun.
- Do not mimic a public school setting. This also means do not have a school room. Kids love the couches and dining table.
- If a curriculum is not working for you and your kids then sell it and find a different one.
- Do go to a homeschool convention and talk to the classical education speakers and vendors. This is the best time to go through curriculums with your kids and all can decide on a curriculum.
- Most of all, have fun and learn along with your kids.
Classical Education is easy to implement in any homeschool settings. Whether you are a stay at home mom, work at home mom or work away from home mom, I hope you will give classical education a try. I highly recommend the Well Trained Mind book for your homeschool and classical education if you decide to try it out.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Classical Education and how I implemented it. I blog at Fulltime Homeschool Mom and I would love for you to hop on over and visit. I homeschooled my kids from the beginning and graduated two boys from homeschooling. My oldest is now married and has a very good career in business. My middle son is currently in college at IUPUI’s Kelly School of Business. I am homeschooling my last child and I will be retired from homeschooling next year.
If you would like to know more about how to homeschool while working a job here are some links to my site for you to check out.
Holly is a full-time homeschool mom and also works outside the home full time. She has homeschooled her three kids since kindergarten, with two already graduated. You can learn more about Holly’s experiences and encouragement at her blog, Full-Time Homeschool Mom.