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October 12, 2009


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So are you doing textbooks this year and do you agree with what Teri says? I am a bit confused. I thought you were into Montessori, CM, etc. Just wondering what your stance is on textbook learning.

cindy dodd

Wonderful post and photo


So thankful you were alright! I'll be pondering your quote all day now.


What is my position on Teri's article and on traditional schoolbooks? Well...

Montessori is all about independent learning versus the materials which take center stage in many people's minds. The classic Charlotte Mason curriculum was actually very classical in nature unlike the unit studies which are assumed to be CM today. CM students studied foreign languages and math and history in what would be considered traditional ways today. So some of this is a matter of labels and what they mean today.

If you read back through the posts in the Schoolhouse index you will see we believe wholeheartedly in simple, sane homeschooling where children take ownership of their learning and families have margin and balance in their lives. We feel it is important to develop a good work ethic and good time management skills. We also believe no one can learn for anyone else and that there is something inherently satisfying about mastering challenging material like that found in classic schoolbooks written by single authors. We believe learning together is immensely rewarding but that 'school' is not the sum total of our adventures together. Keeping the curriculum manageable leaves us lots of time to make music, create art, worship, travel, and adventure outdoors - all things which we do regularly. When we 'do school' we do it with gusto. We work diligently. When we are done, we play hard.

The kids retain what they learn and are constantly bringing their studies into their daily conversations, from Aidan wondering when his boy arms would become "sinewy" like The Village Blacksmith to impromptu demos of the earth's orbit with globe, flashlight and tiny white hacky sack ball. Their art work covers the fridge. They wear clothes they helped to create. They eat meals they have helped prepare. They gather around the piano together and with friends to sing and play duets and prepare for the church services which they accompany. There is nothing 'dead' about our homeschooling lifestyle.

What is different now is the result of a few years' worth of transition from mom-oriented teaching to independent learning. They don't wait around for me to tell them what is next anymore. If I have a sick child or two, the others can and do keep working. This is critical in a family of this size because a routine illness can take a long time to work through us all. It is also critical if you have one or more special needs or ADD kids who become overstimulated easily or have health challenges. The Montessori ideal of uninterrupted independent study really helps kids stay on task and have accountability. We have enjoyed peaceful steady progress (which is much easier to document) despite lots of other challenges which could derail a mom-dependent program.

Like I said - our experience matches the Maxwell's in this regard. (though we do not schedule by the clock nor schedule our babies etc) I can tell you many other homeschool moms we know have successfully made this transition and are enjoying peace in the home and margin in their lives - sometimes for the first time. Homeschool for them is rich and rewarding part of life, but not all of life and not the activity that ate the house. My position is that this works for us. It works for a lot of people we know and respect. My position is that every family needs to find what works for them.

Laura Guiang

I hear that sometimes angels dress as Fed X guys!


our girls speak much sooner and much more articulately than our little boys.

--LOL! After having 4 boys in a row, our little girl stuns us with her verbal abilities at age 2!


Really great post Kim :) We did something totally out of character for our family this year too and it's giving us some wonderful rewards. Each family has to find the balance that works for them.


I think that the Holy Spirit always sends me to your blog exactly at the right moment! I'm serious! Thanks for this great daybook entry and for once again saying exactly what I need to hear. I am sorry to hear about your Grandma.
Laura in Va.

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