We have decided to…
Before I go into any details, I must first apologize for my complete lack of posts for the last few weeks. I meant to keep updating during our trial period, but it only ended up lasting a week. Then, we were going back and forth with our decision, and I just didn’t feel I had much to say in this space. But, now that we’ve decided for sure, I feel I can write posts again.
As you may have noticed, we have a new header, and our “homeschool experiment” is upgraded to an “adventure!” It took my husband quite a long time to come around to the idea. So long, in fact, that we actually ended up switching positions at the end — I was ready to send her to school! But, it had to happen this way because I wouldn’t have been successful without 100% of his support. There can be no acquiescing in this sort of decision.
During our trial week I learned A LOT about what would/wouldn’t work for us in a homeschooling situation. I have so many questions, but they will remain unanswered until we start our program in the fall. I think that it will be a “take it as it comes” sort of adventure, and I am okay with that.
We are still going to use some of Charlotte Mason’s ideas, but others just won’t work for us. And, though I love the Ambleside curriculum, I feel much more comfortable designing my own. Lillia will read many well-written, not-dumbed-down books. I am creating humanities “unit studies” based on various periods of history, and incorporating primary source literature as much as possible.
I feel very strongly that children should have access to primary sources when studying history. Professional historians use primary sources, not textbooks, for their work. If we want to stay true to the discipline, we should teach it the way professionals practice it. Also, children should be free to make their own connections and interpretations about the past. Simply memorizing names and dates does not make history meaningful.
We will also be combining the humanities unit with a science unit that is in some way connected. For example, during our first six weeks we will study Prehistory and Climate Change, which played a huge role in the development of human civilizations (people couldn’t really develop agriculture during the ice age…). This will ensure that Lillia learns modern science, but not in a void. She will learn the history of the science topics and why they are important today.
I have chosen to do the humanities units in chronological order because, as a history major, I find it completely illogical the way children learn history in school. They jump around between time periods, so everything is always out of context. There wouldn’t have been an Enlightenment without the Renaissance. There would be no U.S. History without the Enlightenment. See where I’m going with this? So, for the coming year, we’re going to cover Prehistory through Ancient Rome. If we decide to homeschool again next year, we’ll do the Middle Ages through the Enlightenment, which is a whole ton of stuff, especially because the closer we get to the present, the more cultures there are to study. And, each time period left more and more literature behind for us to read!