Tuesday, November 26, 2013

More Thoughts on Classical Education

I wrote a rather long post about some of my thoughts about Classical Education. I have been thinking a bit about that since writing. One of the challenges that I took away from what I wrote was having a passion for what I am teaching. My attitude and passion will spill into my teaching and my children's learning.

If you had asked me a few years ago, if I thought Classical Education could be fun. I might have said, "no." Don't ask my why. It is just one of those perceptions in my head. I guess just not knowing and thinking it was studying the classics as well as Latin made it boring in my mind. Can you believe I am confessing that to the world? I have changed. I understand more about Classical Education and understand more about fun learning. I don't think studying Latin and the classics are boring. Now I need to convince my children of that.

In that rather long post about Classical Education that even included footnotes. I wrote a bit about my thoughts from Cheryl Lowe's article "Is Learning Fun?". In The Classical Teacher late summer 2013 Part 2 was published. I was eager to read more and continue my learning.

"Really effective learning activities resemble work, and since we are all naturally lazy, they aren't exactly fun." I know about the naturally lazy part. I fight it in myself and see it in my children. I also remember a time in my life when I had a job that I loved. I really did love my job. Because I loved my job, I enjoyed it and it didn't seem that hard. I didn't mind the long hours, the late night phone calls, the problems of did we have enough manufacturing capacity. It was hard but I enjoyed it. So what if I apply that love for math? Could we learn to enjoy math even though it is hard?

"It is simple: It is the enthusiasm, passion, and knowledge of the teacher that makes a lesson compelling and motivates students to learn." So much depends on my attitude. That puts the burden on me. I am challenged.

The author tells about a Sunday school class she taught and how the children were excited and eager to attend. She states, "I didn't do anything remarkable that anyone else couldn't easily do--just my usual bag of tricks--content that is concrete, elevated, and meaningful. Lots of review questions, memorization, bees and drills. Bingo. Learning is fun. Here is the secret Learning is more fun when you actually learn something." So is what I am teaching concrete, something that they can understand. Is it twaddle? It should be something that moves them forward. It needs to be meaningful.

"Kids love to know the answer." I chuckle inside sometimes when Bob and I are doing school and he will raise his hand and say, "pick me, I know." I do pick him. So if children love to know the answer and I helping him to have the answer. Am I asking the questions that he knows the answer? I am not talking about teaching to the test but rather giving him confidence and encouraging his learning.

Classical Education can be fun. The teacher holds the key to that. What am I going to do?

Where is your passion in teaching? Do you have a specific subject that you enjoy?

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  1. I love teaching school, except for handwriting instruction. I think for homeschool moms who have mountains of laundry and 3 meals plus snacks to prepare, as well as a host of other chores, the burden to make it fun can be overwhelming.

    I trust God to make it fun, I suppose. He has to take my meager, sometimes exhausted offerings, and make them more than enough. I do agree that choosing literature and materials that are packed with meaning is most of the "fun" battle--or at least, avoiding the "boring" label. Children know what is busy work and what is meaningful, and I think they are grateful for the meaning and the challenge.

    I think in their free time, they make their own fun so that their days are still balanced. If I can't make everything fun, at least I can insure they have enough free time to create their own. The four seasons are something I am very grateful for because in those seasonal changes every 3 months, my children find a lot of fun. God is amazing in providing what our spirits need to flourish.

  2. Great post! I absolutely agree that Classical ed. can be fun - it's not all "drill and kill" like some may think. I don't think I have one specific subject I'm passionate about (well, I guess I'm passionate about self-education for adults) but I want to show my daughter that learning is a life-long pursuit, not something that is finished when she graduates.

  3. Wonderful encouragement today! I am not a great teacher in the sense that I don't always have a wonderfully put together presentation for each lesson that is engaging and inspiring. I think it's hard because it's my first time around. Public school teachers, Sunday school teachers, etc. have an advantage in this area because they do the same thing year after year and can learn from their mistakes and continue with what works well. Thanks for giving me food for thought today!



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