Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More on Classical Unschooling.

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis writes:

Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children’s games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups– playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest.

I am resting from surgery right now and reading the rest of Campbell's LCC book. I must admit that it is making me feel peaceful - I see a connection between Campbell's "much not many" and Suzie Andres' book "Homeschooling with Gentlness" - which I dubbed the "little way" of unschooling.

The Latin Centred Curriculum book is not making me want to ( necessarily) follow a scope and sequence for classical education for my children. It is reminding me of the importance of reading, of reading aloud, of time to explore - and of not filling up time with many have tos. This seems to fit directly with Andres' take on unschooling.

And it means allowing time for play, for leisure, as well as time for study and work and reading. Time for the play described by Lewis, above.

Many other books that I have read on classical education strike me as "fillers of buckets" -but the sense I am getting from Campbell's book is not of filling buckets but of lighting fires ( to mis-quote Yeats! lol!).

So, I doubt that we will change much in the way we unschool, but I am inspired once again to blend our few have tos with the bulk of our day - movies, reading, music, reading, playing, reading,outings, doing, reading.....:-)

And work and relaxation.

Still, all our pupils will require some relaxation, not merely because there is nothing in this world that can stand continued strain and even unthinking and inanimate objects are unable to maintain their strength, unless given intervals of rest, but because study depends on the good will of the student, a quality that cannot be secured by compulsion. Consequently if restored and refreshed by a holiday they will bring greater energy to their learning and approach their work with greater spirit of a kind that will not submit to being driven. I approve of play in the young; it is a sign of a lively disposition; nor will you ever lead me to believe that a boy who is gloomy and in a continual state of depression is ever likely to show alertness of mind in his work, lacking as he does the impulse most natural to boys of his age.

Play. Today was a good example of play....

This afternoon, we met with a couple of other Catholic homeschoolers. I took only Anthony and Thomas. We met at another's home, we sang the Regina Caeli, we talked about Latin and English words.

I took a painting of St Anthony of Padua, for picture study, and we discussed St Anthony's life. Feast Day June 13.

We learned about the tau cross.

The bulk of the time, before and after this "learning" interlude, was spent in play. Imaginery play, involving a fort, swords, running, teams, co-operation...

Much was learned in our little learning interlude but much also was learned in the hour or so of play.

Campbell talks about this as freedom within limits.

Makes sense in my experience.


Willa said...

This is neat, Leonie, thanks.

Leonie said...

Hope you have a great holiday, Willa!

Moonlight in Vermont said...


You have inspired me to read LCC. I can't wait for my copy. I've been following your blog and love it.

Re: latin We use Latina christiana and Henle. We take it really SLOW. With my 2 oldest we worked all year and only completed 3 units of Hene. We have the MODG syllabus for that course. We only used the first 4 tests.--over and over again. It got to be a joke in our house. Who could make the wittiest comments when these "unfamiliar tests" were placed in front of them. We laughed a lot during this course and I want to quit. My thirteen year old said,"No, Mom. We shouldn't quit. We've worked too hard and I think we can do it." Being the softy I am towards my children I decided to listen to him and we are sticking with it. We shall see. My favorite is still the Latin prayers and if they remember those years from now then I think we will have done well:)


Leonie said...

Love your 13 yo's comment.And we really like prayers in Latin, too. Thanks for answering my question and sharing your resources!