Sunday, December 10, 2006

Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum

I was tidying bookshelves yesterday and found my copy of this book (DYOCC).

I started reading it here and there. Instead of tidying, of course. :-)

I flicked to the section "The High School Years."

The author, Laura Berquest writes " The high school years present a special challenge for many homeschooling parents. Often the parents I speak to express real trepidation about homeschooling through high school. Since my own experience of homeschooling older students has been rewarding, I want to assure parents that it can be done, and it can be done well. Further, I have found these years to be, in certain way, the most pleasant time I have had with my children."

To be honest, I have a soft spot for the home educating lifestyle in a family with toddlers, preschoolers, children in the early grade.

But I also love to hang out with my teens.

Mrs. Berquest continues:

"High school age students are ready to give themselves to high and noble things. Their growing love of the poetical is a sign of this newly felt response to the good, the pure and the beautiful. We need to appeal to this desire in our students by making available to them objects that are proportionate to their desire. They are capable of nobility, and we should encourage them to pursue it. "

What noble things can we present to our teens? DYOCC discusses art, music, theology, service, literature. I would add movies - we watch our fair share of "rubbish" but find noble ideas, things to discuss, in many films.

Berquest also mentions the need for uninterrupted quiet.

This is something I know we need to work on - allowing clear space in our days and weeks for quiet time and for prayer.


"Since youngsters of this age are still in formation, this period of their life should not be only, or even primarily, concerned with outside activities, however good those activities might be. In terms of both education and prayer life, high school age students need periods of uninterrupted quiet in which they can think and pray.

While it is true that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, it is also true that if you lead a thirsty horse to water, he usually will drink. Your child's prayer life is not unlike that. You cannot make your teenage son or daughter contemplative and prayerful, but you can encourage him or her to be so by providing the time for daily Mass or weekly/or monthly holy hours...Think about ways to help your children make the faith their own, both intellectually and by pious practices."

We try to attend Mass as a family - this week it was Tuesday evening for the weekly St Anthony Mass, Friday might for the Immaculate Conception, today for Sunday Mass.

Jonathon, Gerry and I attended the Advent programme on Wednesday - and we discussed the ideas with the rest of the kids.

We try to attend Reconcilation as a family each month.

We prayed the novena for the Immaculate Conception and are now praying together a Christmas novena.

And we are working on our failings , being accountable to one another over this work, during Advent.

( Btw, I failed today, before Mass. :-( . I blew it, in a quiet way.)

However, just being together for prayer and the sacraments has an influence, I think.

Seeing each other work on areas and dust ourselves off and try again is a help.

I hope. :-)


Cindy said...

Wonderful how you put that all together, Leonie.

I love these years, too. I miss the early years, but honestly love these just as much.

And I think the noble ideas can be brought in naturally, as like part of the atmosphere- as we live and breathe. yes, we can plan and I find I have to put aside time to look for ideas, etc. But the noble ideas are often woven throughout conversations, reactions to what the world brings. Helping our teens wrap their minds around things and sort things out, good and bad.

A friend of ours recently told us of a classmate who committed suicide. I found through very subtle and really limited conversation the noble idea of life, God, trust, love and giving complete control to our Creator shone through. Not planned, not even many words, but it shone through and we prayed for the young man and his family, each in our way.

Not well-expressed, but your post to me related to this.

Love they way you express... :)

Leonie said...

Cindy, so sorry about the suicide.

I agree that sometimes a noble idea springs our of a seemingly unrelated discussion - unplanned.

Berquest talks a lot about the need for conversation and discussion with teens, too.

Nancy C. Brown said...

Thanks for this post. I am homeschooling a new high schooler this year, she is in ninth. I have had trepidations for years, and this year is no different. Am I doing enough? Can I handle the math and science? Will she get as in-depth of an education as she would get in school? What about social studies? Fears, fears, fears. I have them all, yet I know that this is a good plan, and that God is with us, and I do so enjoy her company, she's such a great kid! I need to pull out my own copy of DYOCC and re-read the high school stuff. Thanks again for the post.

Leonie said...

Nancy, I know the fears - pull out DYOCC! I find it strangely reassuring - I don't nned to follow the curriculum but just gekan ideas...