That's a picture of Kate on her birthday this year, our first day back to homeschooling. Could she look any happier?
Two weeks ago, Kate refused to continue going to school. She's 8.
I did this to my mom when I was 16. I left school early one day, caught a ride home with a friend who had a car. And I told my mother, “I'm not going back and you can't make me.”
Karma's a bitch. 🙂
Seriously though… I'm so happy we're back! Kate enjoyed Montessori at first. But then over time, she got bored. She said to me one morning, standing outside in the school hallway, “Mom, I beg of you, do not make me go in there!”
I hated school pretty much from the 4th grade on, so I can't blame Kate. She's a really smart kid. The other day, she used “hence” in a sentence.
And I think our decision to allow unlimited screen time has made her even smarter.
“A week's worth of the New York Times contains more information than the average seventeenth-century citizen encountered in a lifetime.
“And the volume is growing exponentially. ‘From the very beginning of time until the year 2003,' says Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, ‘humankind created five exabytes of digital information. An exabyte is one billion gigabytes—or a 1 with eighteen zeroes after it. Right now, in the year 2010, the human race is generating five exabytes of information every two days.'” — Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think
by Peter H. Diamandis
If the New York Times contains more information than a medieval citizen encountered in a lifetime, just think how much one absorbs from YouTube every day.
OK, I know many of you will disagree with me on this point but if you ever got a chance to talk to my daughter sometime, you'd be astounded at her vocabulary and how much information she knows at her young age. YouTube is a veritable firehose of information, and not just about video games. She learns a ton of stuff about animals and nature and history and politics and presidents and so much more. But enough about YouTube… for now, anyway…
We are doing Classical Education. There is no way she would get this kind of education in public or even private school.
In Classical Education, you start with Latin in 3rd grade (Kate and I are starting a little early since she's ready for it). In 5th grade, we'll do a second language, either Spanish or French.
You also study 4 ages of history, 1 per year starting with (1) Antiquity – Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, ancient China, Africa and the Americas, then (2) Middle Ages and Renaissance, then (3) Early Modern and finally (4) Modern.
Normally you start with Antiquity in 1st grade, and then you do 1 age per year:
1st grade – Antiquity
2nd grade – Middle Ages and Renaissance
3rd grade – Early Modern times
4th grade – Modern times
Then in 5th grade you go back to Antiquity. It's at this age that they start reading the original source material. So in 5th grade they're reading Plato and Aristotle. Shakespeare in 6th grade, Dickens in 7th, and Mark Twain in 8th.
In 9th grade they circle back to Antiquity again to repeat the cycle for 4 more years. Not only are they reading the books this time, but they're writing papers on the material. This puts them way ahead of the curve when it's time for college.
Since we are starting late, we're starting with Antiquity this summer. We'll work our way through The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor this summer.
Next summer we'll study The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 3: Early Modern Times
and in the fall of 2016, we'll study The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 4: The Modern Age: From Victoria's Empire to the End of the USSR.
Since Kate will technically be starting 3rd grade this fall and 4th grade next fall, that will catch us up to be able to start back with Aniquity in 5th grade.
Making the Time to Homeschool
We've been planning to homeschool for years… but it was always something we were going to do eventually. Now it's happening a little sooner than I planned.
Then again, Kate is 8. So how much longer am I going to wait? It's time.
I've had to work all of these years which is why we weren't homeschooling before. And I still have to work. But what I realized is you can do homeschooling in just a few hours a day. We start every morning around 8:30 or 9 and we go until lunch time. In the afternoon, Kate plays on her computer or iPad. Sometimes we go for afternoon park days or playdates. On the days she doesn't have park days, I work in the afternoon.
I know it's not possible for everyone to homeschool… but we're finding a way. I won't get this time back.
What I Love About Homeschooling
The conversations we have – Right now we're studying ancient Egypt. We've been talking about mummies and embalming and the afterlife and fossils and whether animals and plants have spirits. Kings and queens, government and laws, slavery and freedom.
Getting to learn all over again – We just started Latin and it is so much fun! I've always loved etymology (the origin of words) and it's so fun to learn things like Pennsylvania – PENN (John Penn) SYLVA (Latin for woods). I always wanted to study Latin and now I get to do it with Kate. (We're doing Visual Latin – Latin 1 which I highly recommend.)
What Kate Loves About Homeschooling
She said what she loves the most is getting to spend time with me. 🙂
She said to me last night, “Mom, you know why I like homeschooling better than regular school?”
“Because when you homeschool, you get to be with the person who taught you everything.”
I'll be writing more about our homeschooling journey and Classical Education… stay tuned for future posts.
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I uploaded a new video: The Rainbow Connection.
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