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Classical home educating

(39 Posts)
Haya1 Mon 11-Mar-13 14:25:20

Hi there :-)
I have 4 pre-school age children, and although I have a choice of 2 Ofsted 'outstanding' schools for my twins for September, I'm thinking of HE.
Is there anyone else who's following a classical education structure, perhaps using The Well Trained Mind, or Andrew Campbell's 'The Latin Centered Curriculum' for guides?
Three of my children are already reading books and writing etc. (the 4th is just 6 months so only gurgling and laughing going on at the moment ;-)), and when I saw how little would be expected of them at primary school I started to consider HE.
My idea is possibly to try and see if they can get bursaries to a great private school at 8 or 11.
I would love to chat with anyone following a classical model, who's doing HE because they don't think the national curriculum is challenging enough, and perhaps because they can't afford or access an excellent private school.
One big fear is that in doing HE I will make my children 'unusual' in some way, and perhaps leave them unable to get on easily in the world as adults...
The second is that I won't be able to find any others following a similar HE model to meet up with...

milk Mon 11-Mar-13 15:05:33

Sorry, I cannot help you but I have a few questions:

Have you read "The Well Trained Mind"? What is it about?

Haya1 Mon 11-Mar-13 16:01:23
It's a home-schooling classical education curriculum, where subjects such as Latin, Greek, classical studies and classic literature are studied along with the three Rs etc. It's a structured, very academic approach, quite popular in America.

chocolatecrispies Mon 11-Mar-13 16:05:14

I guess you have already found the Well Trained Mind forum? Not on mumsnet, an independent forum.

Haya1 Mon 11-Mar-13 17:05:50

Thanks chocolatecrispies, I hadn't - my children are still pre-schoolers, so I haven't used the book yet, just looked at it a bit. I hadn't realised there was a forum.

MollyNollyNoo Mon 11-Mar-13 17:21:43

I have a friend who bases her home ed on a classical education, she chooses from more than one curriculum though so she can pick and choose what she feels is best.

I'm currently reading The well trained mind, I'm also looking at the Cambridge Latin course and it also seems to base the learning around history.

From what I have heard the earlier edition of The well trained mind lists independent material to work from, in the later edition apparently the book lists further books to buy that are written by the same author... something to bare in mind.

I hadn't actually thought about meeting up with people who are also home ed-ing along the same lines as I might be, we've been to a few meet ups and usually the DC's just like to run amok and have fun. My friend is also very keen on phonics (I'm not sure if this is part of TWTM ethos) but I know a few other home ed familes that use phonics and also teach their DC's Latin so there are bound to be some common areas if you met up with a local home ed group.

Kaida Mon 11-Mar-13 17:22:46

There's also a forum called A Little Bit Of Structure where they have people who, to greater or lesser degrees, use curricula/textbooks. Someone there may be able to help.

Haya1 Mon 11-Mar-13 17:48:32

Thanks, MollyNollyNoo and Kaida.

MNN, I learned Latin with the Cambridge Latin Course! There was a character called Tampax, v funny when 13! I want to choose from more than one curriculum too. Interesting about Bauer recommending her own books..

My three older children have learnt/are learning to read using phonics, so maybe there is some mysterious connection!

Kaida, I will look up A Little Bit of Structure too, thank you!

I am nervous about making my children too 'different' or unable to be part of 'normal' society when they grow up!! I don't really have any experience of HE, I just feel that my children can do more than the local schools can offer.

There's a selfish part too, I'm not ready to hand them over to school, I want them for myself..! But I don't want to do something that causes them difficulties in the long run.

SDeuchars Mon 11-Mar-13 18:29:26

If they also take part in other activities (music, drama, sport, youth orgs) with children (some of whom will go to school), you should find that they are only unusual in good ways.

Haya1 Mon 11-Mar-13 19:32:16

Thank you SDeucars, I'm sure you're right.
How do you all enable your children to form close friendships? Do organised activities such as music and drama provide enough contact time for them to make close friends?
I haven't had to worry about it up till now, because I have four children under the age of 5, so they all play together. But I wouldn't want to stop them from being able to make close friendships.

throckenholt Wed 13-Mar-13 08:40:18

I have been working through the Cambridge Latin course with my 3 boys (age 10 and 11) - and they love it - the stories are funny. I wish there was some kind of equivalent content available for MFL - if so I haven't found it yet.

We HE partly because we found the National Curriculum too restrictive - we take a much more freerange approach - taking in languages, history, geography, sciences, maths, philosophy, politics, and practical stuff like woodwork and metalwork.

As for friendships - I think it depends on the child, more than the situation.

Haya1 Fri 15-Mar-13 10:46:11

throckenholt, do you find doing lots of activities e.g. drama etc. is necessary for socializing? Do you socialize with other home edders?
I feel the same about the Nat Curriculum.

seeker Fri 15-Mar-13 10:48:42

Do bear in mind that the National Curriculum is a minimum requirement, not a cap.

throckenholt Fri 15-Mar-13 11:51:37

>Do bear in mind that the National Curriculum is a minimum requirement, not a cap.

But sadly it is often used as a cap - no time to venture outside its limits - and no "benefit" because it is not in the exam.

Haya1 - for us no - my lot are not performers, or extroverts - they prefer small groups. They do cubs/scouts and then socialise with friends. We tried a few HE meetings but they didn't suit us. As with everything else it will likely evolve over time.

However, my 3 are very close in age - so to some extent they have a ready made peer group - I imagine that would be different with a wider age range.

pansyflimflam Fri 15-Mar-13 12:00:54

Can I just say please do not worry about making your children different. There is room for all sorts of people in the world, we need different kinds of thinkers in the world. With regards to bursaries, yes you might pull it off but really I think statistically it is a big ask for all of them so do have a fall back position. If you feel you can do it then do it. All you have to do is make sure they do lots of nice extra curricular stuff like Brownies/Boys Brigade/Scouts and stuff and they will meet people and make friendships. IME HE'd children are special but in a good way; they have been independent thinkers and the ones I have known who are now adults are confident young people making their way. Personally I find the school system as it is can sort of crush some children, most are fine but their emotional well being is the most important thing for me and that can sometimes take a back seat to the academic stuff.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 15-Mar-13 12:09:42

I look at it similarly to pansyflimflam, but would add if you have a different child H.ed allows their difference to thrive.
My dd is very extrovert and likes large groups and socialises well. This was the first thing we assessed before taking her out of school. I agree the emotional well being of the child is the most important thing and should not take second place to a forced education. So she not only attends all the activities she did whilst at school, now she has added a H.ed group and other activities and groups she didn't have time for whilst at school.

BigSpork Fri 15-Mar-13 20:36:31

Haya1 - I've had a strong interest in classical education, particularly in my early days. This website gives a real clear and quick background of a version of Classical Home Educating though it's quite a Christian version. Most of the Classical Home Ed. movement is very Christian, European/US focused which suits some but turns off a lot of others, including us. A lot of things I liked, like narration and memory and a solid development levels and challenging nature can be found in other styles - Charlotte Mason has a lot of it along with focus on character development and good books, but again has it's root in certain circles so most products for it fit that which can turn off a lot of people like me. I find book recommendations from both circles tend to be quite out of date, cringingly so at times, but some are rooted to it because it fits their path so pick and look through carefully if you want up-to-date academic information, particularly in humanities.

Since you're still in very early days, look through various Philosophies of Education and finds what fits you and be willing to flex. I've found that we've moved onto more of an eclectic build to fit our priorities as the kids have grown and can find things that fit their personalities. Places like,, and can be good places to have a peek at products you might be interested. You decide your priorities. At young ages, I focus on proactive teaching of social skills, conflict resolution, peace skills alongside handwriting, reading, maths, and diverse stories/history.

As for being weird, all kids are weird. Look around for local groups - my 8 year old, who has always been taught at home, is just as weird as his peers at the youth club and fits in straight away. I have both introverted and extroverted children so finding the balance takes time and trial and error, but each child has their own bend and with work we can find it. Hope this helps.

ATeacherWritesHome Sun 17-Mar-13 11:05:06

How do you deal with the social aspect of kids at home with fewer peers than they'd have in class? Do you meet up with other homeschoolers?

SDeuchars Sun 17-Mar-13 15:31:02

Is that a general question about home education, ATeacherWritesHome?

It seems to me that you think "kids at home with fewer peers than they'd have in class" is a negative thing. For some children that might be true but it is not for all. My DC were generally happy with smaller groups although we did go to larger, more free-range HE groups a few times a month. As they got older, they were happy to be in larger activity-based groups (e.g. drama and bands). They are now young adults and are getting on fine in college/university, although they still tend to plough their own furrow. They do not feel the need to fit in - if the group is doing what they want, they join in; if not, they are happy to do thier own thing.

ATeacherWritesHome Sun 17-Mar-13 18:35:05

Um, I guess it's general. Should I be on another thread?
Not criticising fewer peers - it's just the first thing that pops into my head. I'm interested in it for mine.
Thanks for the answer!

morethanpotatoprints Sun 17-Mar-13 19:04:26

Hello ATeacherWritesHome.

Most H.ed people I speak to and come in contact with say their dc have a mixture of school and H.ed friends for socialisation. They attend the same groups and activities as school children. Some, including my own dd access the LEA provision for music lessons, drama groups, orchestras, choirs etc.
Then there are the H.ed groups where children get together to play socially or in some cases do group activities. An example is my local group that do English related studies and research in our library. Field trips organised by a group of parents etc. Or just hang out for an afternoon at a soft play area.

I hope this answers your question. Please feel free to ask for more info if you need. As a regular contributor to these threads sometimes I see less than favourable comments towards H ed parents, some are really nasty. I'm not suggesting you are at all but sometimes people may be wary if your name isn't familiar. smile. Also your question was unfortunately the one that normally starts the trouble. smile

BelfastBloke Sun 17-Mar-13 19:18:17

Just letting you all know that Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' has recently been translated into Latin.

It'd be funny if the DVDs had an option for Latin sub-titles!

morethanpotatoprints Sun 17-Mar-13 19:33:50

I know this is a completely duh question. But........

What are the general advantages of a child learning to speak Latin. I ask as dd sings some songs in Latin and I know its a good subject for chemists. But in general terms what are the points? Obviously as H.ed and can do any subject I thought it was worth at least considering.

ToffeeWhirl Sun 17-Mar-13 20:17:18

My understanding is that Latin helps with working out what words mean (language roots), as well as being a good intellectual exercise in learning a language. Also exposes you to a rich literary and historical heritage - Catullus, Martial, Pliny, Ovid, Cicero, etc.

Personally, I was thick as two planks at Latin and gave it up as soon as I possibly could grin.

seeker Sun 17-Mar-13 20:40:06

Latin is a code word for "posh education". Honestly. It is can be interesting and some people love it because the logic of it is quite beautiful. But almost always it's just an us/them marker.

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