Classical or Classical-Hybrid families...what is your day like? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 07-02-2006, 10:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I want to copy what the unschoolers have done with these threads about what your day is like.

How much time do you actually spend on "lessons"?
How many hours per day?
How many days per week?
What things does your family do that is different from the WTM model?
What "fun" books does your child read?
What books have you/your child read that correlate with the history period you are studying?
What parts of Classical Education do you/does your child thrive on/detest?

Or, just tell me about a typical day. I'll post a typical day for us in a separate post.

I really hope to get some responses here.
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#2 of 7 Old 07-03-2006, 02:48 AM
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I'll post for you! (I've been stalking MDC, it only just came back yay!)

My dd is 6.5, we started with WTM last fall. At first, we did SOTW, first language lessons, miquon math, spelling workout, and zaner-bloser handwriting. Also drawing with children. We had a schedule, and did lessons after breakfast. It was a bit of a miserable failure, dd isn't much interested in doing things because I tell her to. Neither is she interested in sitting and writing for long periods of time. Mostly it was the writing, and how each subject expected her to write a whole lot. The level at which she can write is so tediously simple compared to the level at which she can learn, that it was really not going well. We put her in a free school (democratic school, unschooling school) for the second half of the year and let her run around and play with kids a lot. She de-schooled by going to school, it was pretty funny. We decided to go back to homeschooling for the summer, and back to un-school in the fall. We'll see what kind of schedule we keep, attendance is flexible there.

We have more of a weekly flow than a daily flow. We spend very little time on what I will consider "lessons," but I'd say at least 30 minutes each day on "schooly stuff." I imagine that it is usually a lot more, but it comes in bits and pieces as we go about our day. I have my goals for her for the summer, I would like her to be writing to the point where she can copy or take dictation by writing an entire word or syllable from a longer word, rather than each letter at a time with coaching, and begin to be able to write things that she thinks up on her own. By "be able to" I guess I mean that I'd like to see her choosing to do that without coercion from me. I want her to be able to "count by" all the numbers up to 10 to their tens, and be able to do addition of larger numbers with carrying on paper on her own. We accomplish this by finding a teaching moment, rather than a set lesson. Just yesterday, dd came home from a bike ride with her dad, able to count by 3s to 30 without stopping to think. Boring car rides become spelling lessons, or are a good opportunity to have a poem-reciting contest.

For science, we have what we call a "naturalist's kit" that includes a sketch book and colored pencils (we made the book by folding paper in half and stapling it, with a construction paper cover), a butterfly net, a bug house, a field guide to our area and a magnifying glass. Once a week we go hiking and look at everything around us. We choose one interesting thing to draw in our book, and dd writes its name. We read about it in the field guide, and see if we can find more of them. (we've done big leaf maple, and last week we went to the coast and found sea stars) We also did one of those butterfly kits where you send away for caterpillars, and made a "diary" of what happened with pictures and simple sentances for dd to write.

Grammar and language is another one of those things I just kind of do as it comes up, without following a text. I do want to start doing writing strands soon, and I'm reading Spelling Power and using some of their methods. I need to look at the lists, too, because today we were in the car doing some spelling on our way up to the science museum (2 hour drive) and I didn't feel like we had quite enough structure with the words we were spelling. I'd like to stick to one group and learn several words that fit. I'm happy to do spelling orally, dd reads so well that she has a mental picture of how the words look on a page. I don't think she necessarily needs to write them just for the sake of a spelling test. Mostly she just needs to have an idea of how words are put together so that when she is writing she feels comfortable coming up with words on her own.

Oh, and she's been really interested in pirate stories so I'm reading Treasure Island to her as our bedtime book. She just really enjoyed reading Peter and the Starchasers to herself. Before that, we read Piratica by Tanith Lee which was really fun. Girl pirates rock!

I like to keep our reading synched up with our period of history, but sometimes other interests take precedence. When we get to the greeks I'm going to read those children's adaptations of the iliad and the odyssey (black sails before troy?). When we were doing egypt the first time, we read The Golden Goblet. I try to introduce mythology and legend for all of the cultures we study, if at all possible, and to give everything equal weight. So, when we were studying ancient egypt we read Gods and Pharohs of Ancient Egypt and when we were studying the ancient hebrews I found lots of library books with stories from Jewish tradition (I intentionally shied away from "old testament" stories with a Christian focus). These are mostly presented as myth and legend, though we do talk about other people's beliefs. I tell dd straight up when I notice SOTW muddying the waters, because there is definitely a bias there. For SOTW right now we have lots of books of african folktales, I read them to her sometimes in the afternoon, or she reads them herself. I do one SOTW chapter per week and try to have some tie-ins with other sorts of activities, but it doesn't always happen. We have a lot going on. I do at least go to the library, and we look through the Usborne world history. I have chosen not to do the full narration and making a notebook page, it wasn't fun for either of us. Asking her months later, she doesn't actually remember chapters we've done this way any better than ones we've just read. So, for us, it's too much busy-work. I do ask her to repeat back the salient points after I read it to her, that's good enough for now. We still enjoy SOTW but I do less with the activity book (unless it's a really cool activity, we're going to make the african feast this week some time) and mostly just read the chapter and get books from the library, both stories and non-fiction.

We also go to a free spanish class at the library twice a month, and she takes gymnastics and ballet classes and is looking forward to swimming lessons later in the summer. We have twice a week meetings with another family, sometimes we just play and sometimes we do open-ended art projects. We go work at a community garden once a month, and sometimes take an interesting field trip together. Dd is also learning chess, and is usually up for a game. She also spends 2 days each week with our babysitter, who takes them all over the place riding the bus, eating raw foods, going to the library, working around her communal living "eco-village." She billed herself as "continuum concept childcare" and we have been very happy with the things they do together.

Wow, this is a long post
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#3 of 7 Old 07-03-2006, 05:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for posting. A lot of the things you said ring true with us as well. The writing does seem to be a problem, and it does seem like a lot of busywork. We also have a weekly agenda, and not so much of a daily one.

We do follow WTM almost to a tee right now, but don't send as much time as they recommend. We typically only do "schooly-stuff" three days per week, for maybe two or three hours each day.

I think that in the future, we will do even less, but I am trying to get her to where she should be by the end of the calendar year. I have realized how little she actually learned in school.

So we wake up around 8:00 and I make coffee and breakfast. Dh leaves aroun 9:30 for work. Tania plays for about an hour while I check my email and such. We sit down for some schoolwork around 10:30. We do Singapore Math for about 30-60 minutes. Dd really likes math and enjoys doing the workbook exercises. Then we do the First Language Lessons for about 30-45 minutes. Dd likes those too.

We have lunch around 12:00 and dd plays until around 1:30. Then we do either History or Science. Dd likes hearing and learning about history, but does not like doing narration. She likes drawing about what she has learned. We do a little bit of writing, and then she can draw for as long as she wants.

After that, she plays for the rest of the day as long as there are no plans to leave the house.

Every Monday morning, we go to the library. (It's dh's day off.) She gets whatever books she likes, and I pick out a few that correlate with the history lessons. Every Thursday morning, we walk to the Farmer's Market. Other than those two days, we try to hike or walk or ride bikes every day. Since it's summer, we try to go to the beach a few days a week, although honestly, since I have had the baby, we haven't gone once. I've let her go with friends a lot though and skip any schoolwork we had planned.

I have pretty much just started all this, and plan to incorporate more fun outings and real-life learning into our lives. Sitting down to have lessons is not what I had in mind. I want my kids to appreciate the classics and learn history in a logical way and have good math and grammar and writing habits, but I don't want it all to be boring. I also want to give dd more opportunity to do art every day. She's a really good artist and I want to cultivate it. I don't want to weigh it down with too much schoolwork.

We plan to tone down our schedule in August after the stuff that I consider first-grade review is over. We'll probably not do a schoolwork-related thing for about two months.

Well, I am looking forward to hearing from others about this. Thanks in advance to everyone who responds.
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#4 of 7 Old 07-03-2006, 09:13 AM
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We spend as long on school as Miss A wants to spend each day. Usually that averages 3 hours 5 days a week. Sometimes less, sometimes more. It all depends if she wants to do a whole math lesson in a day or only wants to do one page of math or wants to read 5 lessons in the McGuffey Reader or only wants to read one. All that is up to her. We school year round taking random breaks as needed/wanted. We're on break right now since this baby should be born very, very soon and we are moving in 1 1/2 weeks.

In school we do Math-U-See (she's about halfway through Delta), Latin for Children A (up to chapter 8), Spelling Workout B (almost done), McGuffey Third Reader (1/3 of the way through it), Rod & Staff English 3 (almost done unit 1), Story of the World (1/3 of the way through volume 1), science (done plants, just started human body), religious studies, piano, music history, art, Spanish (using Rosetta Stone), and I read a great illustrated classic each week to them. We deviate from WTM mostly in that we're already doing Latin (though, as you can see, even though she "should have" just finished kindergarten, Miss A is essentially doing 3rd/4th grade work) and my daughter wanted to also do Spanish.

Miss A is allowed to read whatever she wants for fun. Rarely do we read anything that correlates to what we are studying in history. I'm just not that organized. Mostly Miss A chooses things like Magic Treehouse and Secrets of Droon for her personal reading to herself.

There is nothing in school that she detests. Her favorite part is Latin. She absolutely loves Latin, probably because I am learning it right along with her.

We try to do school in the morning, but that doesn't always work. I strive to start by 9, be done about 12-ish, have lunch, and then I read aloud to the kids and they have quiet time after lunch and then they do whatever the rest of the day. Of course it rarely works out that way and once this baby is born a lot of things will likely vary in how we do them, but that's my ideal so far.
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#5 of 7 Old 07-03-2006, 11:51 AM
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WE are very relaxed and I haven't even read TWTM but I do consider us to be classic-esque. I mostly use Classical Home Education as a resource as well as other reading lists.

How much time do you actually spend on "lessons"? How many hours per day? Probably 2 hours a day? That would be for DD, DS is whatever he chooses and about 45min of reading to him.

How many days per week? typically 5, although I read every day.

What things does your family do that is different from the WTM model? WE don't do formal Latin or Logic

What "fun" books does your child read? Right now DD is choosing things like Patience, Princess Catherine but she also enjoys fantasy like Abarat, Merlin trilogy and Harry Potter.

What books have you/your child read that correlate with the history period you are studying?
Let's see-for DD:
Otto of the Silver Hand
Trumpeter of Krakow
Beowulf (condensed and in modern English)
Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver
Mary, Bloody Mary
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Matilda Bone
Catherine, Called Birdy
The Great and Terrible Quest
The Once and Future King
Dragon Son
The Squires Tale
The Second Mrs. Giaconda
Leonardo DaVinci

Shakespeare for young readers-Macbeth and Hamlet
For DS:
Castle Diary
Knights and Armour
Robin of Sherwood

Several Magic Tree House books
Several Time Warp Trio books
A Medieval Feast
Usborne Time Traveler
The Canterbury Tales (very condensed)
Children in History-The Middle Ages
Leonardo-Beautiful Dreamer
Favorite Medieval Tales

What parts of Classical Education do you/does your child thrive on/detest?
They thrive on and enjoy the chronological history and seem to like the science. DD doesn't really enjoy the outlining.
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#6 of 7 Old 07-03-2006, 05:05 PM
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Hi! We're taking sort of a hybrid approach, generally because I haven't ramped everything up, yet. There have been too many other things of interest to get into a good routine (though, I will say, my children are the kind that really like routine). I can answer along the lines of what we do get done, though. Bailey just turned 5 and we are doing first grade.
How much time do you actually spend on "lessons"? It depends on the lessons at hand. Generally, we do HWT (1 or 2 pages) and Spelling Workout (1 or 2 pages) after breakfast (20 minutes between the two). It's the sort of mechanical part that helps Bailey get into her "school" groove. She determines how many pages she's up for. I want one, most days, she'll do 2 or 3, occasionally, she wants to skip one or the other. We then move on to FLL and do whatever the lesson is, orally, like talking about proper vs common nouns, making lists of each (10-15 minutes). We then read a poem together, three times through, as her weekly memory lesson (10-15 minutes). Before lunch or nap (after lunch) we will read through the week's SOTW narrative, either for the first time or a subsequent reading, depending on the day (10-15 minutes). After lunch we may work on a SOTW project, like hieroglyphic writing in clay or cuneiform writing on homemade paper (maybe 30 minutes?). Throughout the day, she reads to her brothers or to herself and we do "drills" while we're engaged in other things, like finger spelling her spelling words while we walk through town, running errands or talking about the earliest farmers and how their practices differed from modern day farming while we're passing corn and soybean fields in the car. We work on basic math as the opportunity arises during the day (I have three shirts to hang on the line, how many clothes pins do I need?) We just got Math-U-See (alpha) and are working on gathering the books for My World Science (we'll be doing the 'Woods...' book with friends this year. I love this program because it's so flexible and our friends have children doing 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade and can all use the same thing, with different reading books) so we'll be adding those into the mix soon. My husband reads "fun" books or biographies pertaining to the history period we're studying to her in the evening, before bed. On Fridays, she takes a spelling test. Since she's never been to school, she doesn't have any problems with taking tests, they're simply to see if she needs more practice with the week's words. She practices recorder, makes up songs, ASL and draws a lot during the week, but at her leisure. I haven't started Drawing with Children because I, frankly, can't seem to find the time to do the first exercises myself.
How many hours per day? Well, adding it up, it looks like abot 2 hours a day of "school" type work. The rest - reading, etc. - just sort of happens in the course of our day. I do try to guestimate the hours for reporting purposes, but they're just estimates.
How many days per week? 5 days a week, M-F. Sometimes, we'll have a cool field trip during the week and move our spelling test and poem recitation (in front of the family) to Saturday or we'll take a field trip downtown to the Smithsonian or National Gallery on the weekend, so our "school" week is extended. If we "only" do 3 or 4 days, we don't sweat it. We homeschool all year, so we'll either take a calendar year or 6 months or however long it takes to cover the material for any given grade and not worry too much about it. We don't have to close up our "school" for the summer so there's no looming deadline.
What things does your family do that is different from the WTM model? We don't teach religion. We're pretty flexible, but, then, she says to use comon sense and be flexible, doesn't she? We plan to detour off into state history while we're in that time period in SOTW, so she has a decent timeline, rather than teaching state history in one lump just stuck in there. I can't remember what WTM says about that, if anything. We aren't exactly following the science model of studying parts of science apparent to the peoples in the time period we're studying in history. That's really because there is no science curriculum that I can find that is laid out that way (ie, there seems to be no Biology program for first graders, only parts of a first grade program that has to do with biology). I CAN use the My World Science in about the same order (their groupings are a little different, but not much) for the elementary years, though. Once we get to the logic stage, we'll break the science up more and follow the history more closely.
What "fun" books does your child read? We have a virtual library of "I Can Read" books that I got at the used book store that she reads and re-reads. We also read Magic Treehouse and the Bailey School books for fun and have a whole box of books from her birthday to read our way through (we had a book party where family members, from a couple years older than her to their 70s, brought her a favorite book) so we'll be starting those shortly, after the last of the Bailey School collection is done. She really likes her subscription to Ladybug magazine, too.
What books have you/your child read that correlate with the history period you are studying? We've only just begun, so we've really only read Cleopatra's biography thus far. We have the Iliad and Mary Pope Osborne's 6 part Oddyssey coming up.
What parts of Classical Education do you/does your child thrive on/detest? She doesn't like doing dictation. Most of the time, I simply don't do it or have her doing copy work yet. She's just not quite ready. Mostly, she dictates to me and I type out her narration for her notebooks. I don't know if there's anything that I "detest". There are points that I feel the WTM curriculum is a little lacking in, but I can branch out during any particular historical period to incorporate more Asian history, for instance. I think the estimates for time are a little high. Maybe not in the upper grades, but we don't spend nearly as much time sitting at the table as they prescribe. On the other hand, what I really like is that they have a nice skeleton in place and provide solid resource lists to get you started, but there is also the flexibility to meander down any given path a bit before moving on. I was a bit bummed to see that the majority of resources they list are for Christian curricula. It would have been nice to see some secular programs in the mix, but I can find the ones that fit our beliefs where necessary.
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#7 of 7 Old 07-03-2006, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by papayapetunia
I want to copy what the unschoolers have done with these threads about what your day is like.
I'll have a go.

How much time do you actually spend on "lessons"? -- We probably average 20 minutes a day of parent-directed lessons, where I'm actually teaching/explaining something in an effort to impart knowledge to my children. I'm sure that BeanBean spends at least 1.5 hours a day doing things which could be considered lessons or "schoolish;" For BooBah, probably more on the order of 45 minutes.

How many days per week?-- Four for me, but my children "work" every single day.

What things does your family do that is different from the WTM model?-- The age and grade ranges have been completely abolished in this family, but we've retained the sequence. I like the idea of doing things in particular order, but the idea of waiting for a certain "age" or "grade" is irritating to me. We also don't limit our studies nearly as rigidly as the WTM model suggests; for example, BeanBean was very interested in airplanes and flight last year, so we read lots and lots of books about airplanes, even though in the first year of history and science flight doesn't really come up at all. I will not plan for an entire day of study for my children; I want them to have time to pursue their own interests, so I won't do more than 45 minutes of directing on any given day without being dragged into it. It's much more important to me that my children have time to do the things that interest them than anything else, really. As far as I'm concerned, WTM provides a framework within which I can operate and feel comfortable. I don't need to spend 8 hours a day on it, and neither do my kids.

What "fun" books does your child read?-- Er, "Zac the Rat?" Bean's pretty comfortable with early readers. BooBah is not yet reading. Both of them enjoy it when I read to them, though. I just started The Magician's Nephew.

What books have you/your child read that correlate with the history period you are studying?-- We're not doing history at the moment (I know, a WTM nono! ). I did a bit with them last year, but BeanBean wasn't interested. Honestly, I love the idea of a history framework, but BeanBean is more interested in science and math right now than anything else, and I'd rather have him happy and engaged in his learning than listening to a history book and being bored to tears. I do plan to reintroduce our modified history curriculum in another month or two; I think BeanBean may be more interested now. He certainly loved watching Maya and Miguel visit the ancient people's exhibit today... (J/K; He did, but that's not why I think he'll be more interested in history now. )

What parts of Classical Education do you/does your child thrive on/detest?-- BeanBean is in the grammar stage, and he absolutely *loves* memorization. He's memorized all kinds of fun things on his own, and when I give him something to memorize he just hits the ceiling with excitement. We're working through First Language Lessons and he absolutely *adores* "The Butterfly Book," as he calls it; I'm sure that his love of memorization and the fact that he's a total ham are a big part of that. BeanBean can't get enough of recitation, either. The science programs espoused by the book for grammar stage are a joke, but as science is my strong suit BeanBean has enjoyed biology (thus achieving the desired end result in the book: You want your child to say, when they are introduced to biology again in middle school, "yeah, I like biology!"). I haven't decided whether I should continue doing biology work with him, or I should move on to Earth Science next month. I'll probably move on, just because Chibi is very eager to learn about space and that's part of the second year science curriculum.

We've tailored and changed a lot of things, though. BeanBean wanted to learn to write about 8 months ago, but found it very difficult and frustrating, so I just put it away. He's just not ready to write yet, and I don't have any problem at all waiting for his fine motor skills to catch up to his others, it's simply not an issue. He really loves dictating stories, though, and reciting memorized pieces is right up his alley (though he will shut down immediately if he feels any pressure to perform. It has to be *his idea* to recite for anyone, which is why he frequently does this for my mother and sisters but almost never for FIL. ). The whole point of home education is freedom, as far as I'm concerned. It's important to me to be very involved in their learning, especially at this stage of the game, but it's also important that my kids not burn out or get irritated with me. I never, ever force the kids to sit through lessons if they're not in the mood, nor do I require them to recite for anyone. I do, however, pay attention and offer suggestions when they seem warranted. BeanBean is all about mathematical stuff right now, as I mentioned earlier; he has manipulatives and workbooks at his disposal. Sometimes he wants me to sit down and show him how to do something, and other times he wants to play with them on his own. It doesn't matter to me at all*; I'm just very happy that he's learning and enjoying that experience.

Education should enable children to explore, not suck all of their exploring time down the toilet, know what I mean? Kids graduate from high school and even college having never had a chance to explore their own interests, to the point that they don't even know what those interests are anymore. My husband is a perfect example of this: he never knew what he wanted to do, because he was never able to pursue his own interests, school took up too much of his time. Today, he's one of millions of adults in this country with a bachelor's degree who is working in a field which is almost completely unrelated. He not only wasted the first 17 years of his life, but four and a half years of college tuition (for which he worked very hard, he paid his own way through school) only to end up working as a fleet manager for a trucking company.

We want more for our children. We want them to live in and be part of "the real world" before the magical age of 18; to be able to say, "I enjoy this and wish to pursue it further," at any age. I like The Well-Trained Mind because I feel that, by using it as a framework, I can feel comfortable that my children are getting a well-rounded education (something which I feel isn't possible in most public schools). On the other hand, the reasons that I'm home educating my children have a lot more in common with unschooling than with TWTM. It's not about elitism, it's about freedom and self-knowledge. I feel like my job as a parent and a home educator is to facilitate learning and growth, to provide a helpful, enriching environment for my children to the best of my abilities.

I really like the "Classical Hybrid" label; it's more fun than "child-inspired classical." Mind if I "borrow" it?

(*I should, in all fairness, say that I'm not sure if I'd feel the same way about this if I had older children. I'm kind of tense, and I can't tell you for certain that I'd be just as mellow about, say, a 12 year old who wasn't interested in learning to write letters because he found it frustrating and trying. I can't say that I'd just sit back and wait for him to grow into it, without seeking special services of some kind.)

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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