Advanced search

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...

hm32 Sat 04-May-13 15:16:40

I did Latin. Having never spoken/read/heard Spanish before, I was able to do a friend's daughter's Year 9 Spanish translation homework quite easily. Was very fun! In school, being able to read/write well at a young age is pretty irrelevant really. You chug along at your level 'till everyone catches up.

Haya1 Wed 27-Mar-13 13:47:20

seeker, I've never understood why some people think a classical education should only be available for 'posh' people. Why is it not suitable for everyone who wants it, irrespective of background or financial status? I don't understand why so often people who want a rigorous classical education for their children are criticized for sending their children to private schools (or grammar schools when they're available), when there are so many parents who'd consider a state school if they provided an excellent education in classical subjects, and expected those children who chose those subjects to excel in them.
The few that do (e.g. the remaining grammar schools) are very over-subscribed. So why don't most/all schools offer the same? Why should those of us without David Cameron et al's money and connections not expect our children to be able to study the same subjects as he studied, and so start out with no disadvantage if they want to develop a rigorous brain!, or to be academics or barristers or actors or politicians or doctors or scientists etc.?
The leading public and grammar schools were founded as institutions to classically educate the poor. What's wrong with that as an ideal? If the public schools no longer educate the poor in these subjects, then why don't all comprehensives offer the same education for those that want it? For those that are against private schools, that would be the surest way to get most of them to close down: they would no longer be wanted or needed.
What's pushing me towards H Ed is the fact I can't afford private schools and the state schools seem in the main to assume my children have limited aspirations - or if they do encourage aspirations, they can't help them achieve them, in the main.
I do think, like in Germany, it's a good idea for other forms of education to be offered alongside the classical model, for those that want another model. There are three types of school in Germany, and very, very few private schools, because there is no gap in the market for them to fill. All types of educational model are catered for.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 17-Mar-13 22:23:39


Its a beautiful hymn, I googled the meaning/ translation last week and sort of wish I hadn't now. There is something special in not knowing. She can't do much atm as full of cold but no doubt service will be resumed soon grin

steppemum Sun 17-Mar-13 22:02:23

I used to know a family well who used the American Classical Christian Education. She asked for my help a couple of times (I am teacher)

I can honestly say that the curriculum as I saw it was unbelievably boring. This may have been her presentation, but one of her big issues was getting her son to be motivated, and it was all I could do not to say 'change to a more interesting curriculum then'

It also had some points that I was very dubious about
No science at all until secondary. In uk at primary they will have done all sorts of interesting science stuff - my dd age 7 made James Bond trap where you stood on the hidden step and it connected an electrical circuit which set off flashing lights and alarms. Also magnets, plants, growing seeds, floating sinking, etc etc. This curriculum did not one single science thing

Also none of the creative stuff - art, music, dance, drama etc

Also the English part didn't teach the children how to write stories at all. In fact they were not expected to write anything or substance really. They believed that children should learn to write by copying real writers, so a 6 year old had to write a short paragraph copying a greek myth, which they really found difficult. How about starting with writing things that you know, and once you have the idea of getting ideas down onto paper, then broaden out?? Older children never wrote more than a paragraph.

If you do choose this, please, please look at it carefully and be prepared to add on lots of things to it, as well as change some of the bad parts. There are lots of good curricula out there.

seeker Sun 17-Mar-13 21:39:20

"Bread of Angels,
made the bread of men;
The Bread of heaven
puts an end to all symbols:
A thing wonderful!
The Lord becomes our food:
poor, a servant, and humble.
We beseech Thee,
Godhead One in Three
That Thou wilt visit us,
as we worship Thee,
lead us through Thy ways,
We who wish to reach the light
in which Thou dwellest.

You don't actually have to know what it means to sing it! Sometimes it's better not to.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 17-Mar-13 21:36:33

So, Latin is really good and useful because it informs how other languages work?
I sort of understand now. That is why my dh always tends to know the meaning of words not necessarily Latin when somebody in the family asks.
He isn't particularly good at languages only O level German, but he did do Latin. Perhaps I should introduce some basic terms and vocabulary, just to see how it goes.
We have made a start on Panis Angelicus. Some words seem quite straight forward as here. I'm sorry if I'm sounding a bit stupid. At least H.ed tends to go well with finding out things that interest and also there's nothing wrong with finding out/ learning together. smile

discrete Sun 17-Mar-13 21:18:08

seeker dh would say the same!

seeker Sun 17-Mar-13 21:15:17

Morethan- my father, (who was responsible for he-ing me) would have said "run and find out!"

His favourite sentence. My children hate it too. Bit at least for them it doesn't mean waiting til Tuesday when the next bus to the town with the library went!

discrete Sun 17-Mar-13 21:11:31

morethanpotatoprints we are home edding and will probably will be teaching our dc latin (as soon as they have mastered their french and spanish, we feel it would be confusing before then).

We all love learning about the origin of words, and latin comes in fairly handy there. DS1 also loves ancient history, and would be thrilled to be able to read the inscriptions in latin on things when we visit sites, so it will be fun from that point of view.

But more generally, we think that learning where the latin languages come from will be both useful and interesting in understanding more about the structure of language and how it evolves over time.

Haya1 Although we do not use the Well trained mind (find it too verbal and not mathsy enough for this day and age - well, dh did, I never read it), we do have a fairly structured and 'pushy' approach (only because we feel that ds1 thrives best on that approach).

It has never been an issue in terms of socialisation, we meet every week with other home ed families not one of which has the same approach as we do (or as each other, for that matter) and it matters not a jot. Children are children and will have fun with each other, the adults are all very tolerant of different approaches, having generally (unfortunately) experienced first hand how unpleasant it is to be judged on how you choose to educate your child....

In the end we are all people who are doing what we think is best for our children and we can be united and supportive of each other in that.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 17-Mar-13 21:06:22

Just asked dh he said are they breakfast cereals? ds2 said what language is that?

Then dh told me they were classical writers. Is this true? He has a habit of having me on, and I do fall for it.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 17-Mar-13 21:02:46

Seeker and Toffee

I really don't know the people in the list, who are they? OMG have I just outed myself as really stupid?

Hey disclaimer here folks - my schooling was not very good!

seeker Sun 17-Mar-13 20:57:43

But (sorry) even if you've never done any Latin, you still should know who all the people in toffee's list are.......

morethanpotatoprints Sun 17-Mar-13 20:52:56

Seeker, I thought this too and always associated it being taught in Private schools or Grammar. However, ds2's school offered it to y8 and above if they were top set for languages. He wasn't so didn't get the chance. It is only a normal CofE high school, but admittedly the only school offering it in this area. My dh did it at Grammar school but couldn't see the point either.

The words you posted were like a foreign language to me grin

Noggie Sun 17-Mar-13 20:41:30

I think home schooling has lots of advantages - much more flexible etc BUT it is really important they mix a lot with other kids too. I was home schooled with my siblings for two years because my mum wanted to teach my dyslexic brother to read and write. She succeeded in this but when we all returned to mainstream school it was difficult to fit in. I don't have any fond memories of my secondary education as a result- although I know I am not alone in that!! I am sure if we had socialised more locally during that time it would have been less difficult .

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.

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.

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.

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 19:04:26

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

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!

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 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?

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.

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.

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.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now