Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Year of Learning Dangerously

A while back, I finished The Year of Learning Dangerously:Adventures in Homeschooling by Quinn Cummings.  I reviewed the book on Goodreads, but I thought this book merited some more thought. I haven't mentioned home education on my blog in a very long time. I suppose it's because of a combination of things. The twins might have something to do with it, but honestly, I have grown a little apprehensive as Luke, my oldest child approaches the high school years. How did he get to eighth grade already? He was in second grade when I started this blog in 2007.  I've been on the fence about sending him to the local public high school or continuing on here at home. Both options have their merits. I went to public school and I truly enjoyed my high school years. I already have one foot in home education and the other public education (My son, Sam, 2nd grader attends public school) and they are two entirely different worlds. Luke tells me that he's enjoyed these years learning at home and  I'm saddened that they all went so quickly. Luke asked for another year at home before heading to high school. He wants to complete some more higher level math before going off to high school. It's needless to say that I'm conflicted. Very Conflicted.

I'm more distracted and interrupted these days, but such is life with five children. As I look over my blog over the past year, it seems that I've spent more time thinking about knitting and sewing than anything else. This isn't entirely true. I suppose my silence might suggest this, but on the contrary, however, I haven't lost lost my passion for education. I still gravitate to books about the brain, reading, learning, and education. I'm constantly telling my kids that the good life is life-long learning. I believe in the curious life, but I have learned some things about myself in my home-educating journey.

I'm not a purist to any one educational theory. In my experience, I have gravitated to Charlotte Mason and her approach to education, but as my oldest son gets older, I find it difficult to translate the Charlotte Mason method to an older child. I suppose it shouldn't be hard as we live and breathe good books here. We're constantly at the library. We are steeped in literature here. At one point, early on,  I thought that I would just follow the curriculum outlined in The Well-Trained Mind. I was attracted to the rigor of the classical approach, but I soon learned that I didn't like feeling trapped into any one curriculum. Home educating has given me freedom to pursue so many subjects. Home education feeds my brain too! What can I say? I'm a total nerd. I always have been. My friend, Elizabeth captured my thoughts exactly:

Our academic program has always been literature intensive. It's also delight-driven within limits. That is, my kids get choices about what to study within a certain parameter. Every once in awhile, I look at something known for its rigor (like The Well Trained Mind in its entirety or Tapestry of Grace or Robinson) and I think about how much I want that kind of excellence. I love school. I'm a total library person. I would have taken any one of those curricula as a child and absolutely loved it. But it doesn't suit my household.

I suppose the more I ponder education, good education, I learn that are so many avenues to good learning. See my review of The Year of Learning Dangerously on Goodreads. I have more thinking and pondering to do.

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