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Classical Homeschooling: Overwhelm and Perspective

Classical Homeschooling: Overwhelm and Perspective

This is part of the series: Classical Homeschooling. (This post may contain affiliate links).

I sometimes pause my reading of some or other book about homeschooling or classical education, or stop homeschooling for a minute and feel overwhelmed with all that I do not know.

  • How to I implement a classical education? (A true classicist probably wouldn’t call it “implementing.”)
  • Can I really even define the Trivium? The Quadrivium?
  • Oh, there’s more to a classical education than just the Liberal Arts? Oh geeze.
  • I don’t remember a *thing* I’ve read from Aristotle or Plato, and only a little of Augustine and Aquinas, etc. What about the massive list of great books I’ve never read or mostly forgotten?
  • I wasn’t even *aware* of the classical tradition all through college and early adulthood (and I studied philosophy!) Yeesh.

And on, and on…

I’m especially suceptible to feeling overwhelmed when I listen to others who have been involved in the classical renewal for many years.

For example, Cindy Rollins interviewed Karen Glass on the Circe Institute’s latest Mason Jar podcast episode. For those unfamiliar with this new podcast, it’s all about Charlotte Mason and integrating her educational philosophy with a classical approach to education.

Cindy and Karen are both veteran homeschool moms. Cindy has 8 boys and 1 girl, most of whom have already graduated high school. Karen is the mother of four children whose ages range from 11 to 24 years.

I, on the other hand, and many readers here, are merely fledgling homeschooling moms. My experience with homeschooling only goes five years or so–since I started learning about homeschooling when my oldest was about three. And I type this with my newest 5-month-old on my lap. Some of you are so new, you’re drinking from the firehose of researching homeschooling to see if it’s right for your family.

That is an intimidating place to be!

Cindy has spoken and written for many years about classical and Charlotte Mason homeschooling, while Karen has authored Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition, in addition to being on the advisory board of Ambleside Online.

In other words, they’ve been involved in a conversation for years–a conversation many of us are just now joining.

Remembering to Have Perspective

And then I have to remember where I am in the big picture. Cindy and Karen must have started there too. Their arms were once filled with babies and books like For the Children’s Sake. I can guess that they, too, felt overwhelmed in the face of the task ahead: giving their children an education which fed those little minds, bodies, and souls with truth, goodness, and beauty.

The most wonderful thing is that this classical renewal is like a snowball: gathering mass as it rolls along. We may feel like we’re fumbling in the darkness, but if we tap into the right resources, we newer moms can benefit from the experience of the veteran homeschooling moms around us. In Cindy and Karen’s case, they’ve so graciously written and spoken about what they’ve learned, all it takes from us is an eager ear.

I don’t know about you, but even though I have my share of overwhelm, I have more than enough eagerness to learn how to do this well. Let’s not let our fears keep us from joining this conversation about rebuilding our culture, one student at a time. And let’s take advantage of the generous wisdom offered by veteran homeschooling moms like Cindy and Karen.

Thanks ladies.

Rhiannon Kutzer

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Nice to meet you!

I’m Rhiannon.

You can call me Rhi for short (as in “rejoice”). I’m a fiercely independent homeschooling mom of five, a Navy wife of 13 years, and a creator of various things: articles, a semi-regular newsletter, quilts, furniture, and the occasional knitted scarf. This is the site where I write about our homeschool journey and news and happenings in the homeschool world. more about me.

Rhiannon

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Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool? Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

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  • Morning Time Details! E. (12), S. (almost 8), and L. (6). Our Morning Time morphs as the kids grow and change. It usually includes a combination of memory work and reading aloud. We try to cover a WHOLE LOT of things: Shakespeare, Bible, poetry, catechism, hymns, timeline, art study, composer study, and Ambleside selections for nature study, tales, and church history. This term I’m adding Plutarch.
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The hard part is figuring out where I want to aim, with the 5-year gap between E. and S., and then L. being a newbie to full-on school. Having moved twice in 2019, I nixed MT and just focused on individual work. That came with costs. Shakespeare, Plutarch, art study, and composer study suffered. Memory work barely happened at all. I was BUSY. We missed out on discussing things together. Now that we’re settled, it’s time to restart MT.
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This term I’ve decided to aim Shakespeare and Plutarch at the oldest, while the girls listen in and do handwriting/drawing/fine motor. I won’t ask them for much narration. Our reading schedule for these is AMBITIOUS. Maybe crazy. Then we’ll do all the memory & read aloud stuff that suits everyone. These lessons are SHORT. Then E. will go do his individual work while I read aloud w/ just the girls.
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Also, “Morning Time” is a misnomer, considering we break it up throughout the day. It should really be called Morning/Lunch/Nap Time. I need a new name. Circle Time? Except we don’t sit in a circle. Together school? Except we’re together doing school all day. I don’t think English has the word I’m looking for. Maybe Tertulia or Salon?
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Our actual coursework is: the Scottish Play, Plutarch is Alexander the Great’s life, our artist is Gustave Courbet, composer is Paganini, Bible memory is Psalm 46, Hymn is Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me, read alouds will rotate from Burgess Bird Book, Trial and Triumph, Blue Fairy Book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Vanderbeekers, & picture books. Timeline is from Classical Conversations. Poems are Charge of the Light Brigade, Winter Night by Teasdale, and The Land of Nod.
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Whew! It’s gonna be a fun term! What do you guys do for Morning Time?
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