Updated: Nov 10, 2020
As a homeschooling parent, my pedagogical approach leans to the classical. However, being the rebel I am, I fully wave my permit that states, "I Do What I Want," and I utilize a vast array of curricula to meet my goals. I guess that makes me Classically-Eclectic!
What can I say...I'm a rebel.
"Most mothers are instinctive philosophers."
- Harriet Beecher Stowe
One of the precepts I cling to from the strictly classical side of things is that classical education should cultivate not just book knowledge but also virtue (high moral standards) and wisdom (sound action in the application of good judgment). So when choosing educational items for my kiddos, the lens I filter it all through is 'what else does it bring to the table?' It was this thought that struck me cold as I made the ghastly realization that my kids were growing right before my eyes. One day they would surpass me in their own educational knowledge, and at that point, what would I bring to the table!?
I didn't want to educate myself on the mechanics of homeschooling, or the logistics of navigating curricula. I wanted to educate myself. Period. Just me, broadening my own mind, so that when the time comes I can bring my own brand of wisdom and virtue to the table for my children.
As my mind plummeted down the rabbit-hole of self-induced panic, I collected my college transcripts to see if continuing education was an option. After all, I thought, I've already achieved quite a few college credits in my youth, so I can just complete what was already started. Alas, the cost of a university education was wholly untenable with our families single-income budget juggling all the things a child with type 1 diabetes, iGa deficiency, and celiacs needs to stay healthy and thriving. Okay...so now what? I wondered. Our budget is what it is. I'm not bitter about it...but I'm also not deterred.
Still convinced I needed to continue my education, I sought out continuing educational endeavors outside of traditional universities. Sadly, I came up short with a beautiful list of conventions, books, and resources I could read on the mechanics of HOW to homeschool your children...but nothing on HOW to educate the parent as individuals. I found a slew of resources from incredibly well-read individuals via TED talks, Skillshare, Udemy, and more that gave great insights and had a vast wealth of information to offer. But none of them scratched that philosophically classical itch of making sure my own brain was ready for my three sons to launch into our classically eclectic homeschool high school in a few years.
Then I stumbled across a podcast episode from one of my favorite podcasts, Schole' Sisters. The entire podcast is fantastic, and I can't recommend it enough! However, episode #78 was on the topic, Pursuing the classical education you never received, and it was lead by Susan Wise Bauer, who authors several of my favorite books and curriculum such as:
Susan Wise Bauer was formerly a home-educated kiddo herself, who became a degreed and much-lauded historian, writer, and historian. Her chat on the podcast was all about homeschool moms giving themselves the classical education we longed for but never received. Specifically utilizing the steps she outlines in her book, The Well-Educated Mind. That podcast helped me shape my little project to educate myself using a modified classical approach to better prepare to jump into the great conversation with my children.
I gathered a few like-minded friends around me who felt a similar pull, and we put together a plan to go through historical texts, reading and analyzing them one by one, and discussing them in monthly book-club fashion. Our book list is LONG and EXHAUSTIVE, and in true rebel-fashion, doesn't totally follow the listing offered in Bauer's The Well-Educated Mind; then again, I'll remind you about that little permit of mine.
I do what I want.
Bauer's original list was exhaustive and amazing, but light on women authors, so I adapted the plan to up the girl-power. My list as it sits today is here...subject to change at any time.
So there you have it. Using ordered steps, adapted slightly to better fit my homeschooling/author/busy lifestyle, I fully hope to educate myself in the liberal arts tradition. I'll post about my steps in case you want to follow along; and I might even blog periodic updates as well. My hope is that even Harriet Beecher Stowe would be proud of my little rebellious effort.
"The obstinacy of cleverness and reason is nothing to the obstinacy of folly and inanity."
- Harriet Beecher Stowe
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