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April 27, 2011

Where are we now?

Once upon a time, almost exactly five years ago, I drew up a tentative plan for our classical homeschooling journey.

Since then, I've largely ignored the plan. I don't keep it in front of me on my desk. I don't even look at it once a year. The plan was drawn up based on my philosophy of education; in theory, if I held to my philosophy, we'd stay on track.

After I drew up the plan, I had that moment that many classical homeschoolers face - that moment in which we realize that our plans our grand, and our kids are, well, maybe average. We have ideas of reading Plato together, when the reality is that our 5th grader can't write, still struggles with multiplication, and won't read anything more complex than a second-grade Star Wars novel. We realize that we are going to be hopeless at teaching Greek. Who are we kidding?

Some people switch tracks at that point, believing that they are shooting for something unattainable. I decided that whether or not the goal was unattainable, we'd still benefit from trying, from getting as close as we could. We stuck with the philosophy, but ... slowly.

Now, five years later, I want to drag out my plan and see where we are, compared to where I decided we should be.

Here is my original plan for Connor's 9th grade year:

Math - Euclid. Aidan - Dolciani pre-algebra. Griffin - Singapore 5. Lachlan - Right Start C.

Latin - Henle I I. For Aidan - Henle I, Units 6-10. For Griffin, Henle I Units 1-2. Theoretically time for Lachlan to begin LC I.

Greek - First Greek Book or switch to Spanish or other modern language. Possibly start Griffin in Elementary Greek.

Logic - Material Logic I

Writing - Progym CW Chreia and Shakespeare
Younger children will finish CW Aesop and begin Homer. Or something.

Literature Studies - Gilgamesh and undecided

Classical Studies - Sophocles, Euripides

History - er ... two younger children will do History Odyssey ancients this year. Aidan may do so as well.

So, where are we, really?

Math - Euclid didn't happen. And may never happen. Connor is doing geometry this year, though. Aidan is ahead of the plan, as he's in algebra this year. Griffin, on the other hand, is in Singapore 3, not 5. Lachlan is right with the plan in Right Start C.

Latin - We're way off the grid. Connor has nearly finished Lingua Latina: Familia Romana. Aidan has done two units of Cambridge Latin. Griffin and Lachlan are doing Minimus.

Greek - Because we are in our wonderful co-op, we are still doing Greek. I assure you, if we'd not found the co-op, we'd not be doing Greek. Connor just finished Elementary Greek 3. Aidan just finished Elementary Greek 2. Griffin may start EG I next year.

Logic - None. Haven't done a bit of it.

Writing - The down side to our co-op is that it became to much to do that and Classical Writing. The younger kids are using Writing With Ease. The older boys are ... er ... doing whatever essay assignments I throw at them. I was sorry to drop Classical Writing. I still love the program. We just could not manage both.

Literature/Classical studies - These were combined this year into a Great Books Ancients study for Connor, which covered Homer, Herodotus, Sophocles, Plato, and Marcus Aurelius. Both Connor and Aidan also read literature for their humanities class, which focused on Medieval writings (Chaucer, Machiavelli, etc.)

Lachlan and Griffin had a classical studies class that focused on the Romans, and read Famous Men of Rome.

And we've really kind of dropped history. Or, rather, it's rolled in with classical studies/humanities/great books.

In other words, we're amazingly close to the original plan, even though I haven't looked at it in years.

Why do I post this? Not to brag (honestly)! I'm posting it to point out two very important things:

1) It's your overall philosophy of education, not your curriculum, that is important.

2) Even though I had those moments of realizing that my kids are not geniuses, and my plans were perhaps too lofty - even though we struggled and were behind the curve - we are achieving the goal. The work is bearing fruit, and it's even the fruit we expected and hoped for. Stick with it! Even if you have a bad year, or three; don't give up, don't throw out your plans. You can do this. You may have to move ahead at a snail's pace for awhile, but that's okay. Stick with it. Odds are, you'll be amazed at the results.

Posted by lynx at April 27, 2011 10:21 PM

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Thank you, I so needed to hear this today. You inspire me.

Posted by: Paula (Elegantlion) at May 1, 2011 12:28 PM

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