Thursday, June 12, 2008

A retro-active disclaimer

Taking a break before I finish up my "friends who have amazing businesses" series. :)

There is just one thing I must say (see my post title?), and it has to do with the book I just finished, The Well-trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. In a previous post, I mentioned that the book really resonated with me. WELL I just finished up the book yesterday, and I have to say that by the time the last page was turned, there was literally smoke coming out of my ears. (Okay maybe that's an exaggeration. But only a slight one.)

See, the beginning of the book shared the philosophy behind choosing a classical education. (Which I loved.) The end of the book shared the philosophy behind choosing homeschooling. (Which, let's face it, I didn't love as much.)

SO, because I raved about the book earlier, I feel the need to disclose that it, well, bugged me by the end. (But maybe that's just my institutionally-educated, improperly-socialized self talking! Ha! I'm kidding...really.)

All in all, a great book for getting an idea of what classical education is all about, and for learning how to do it, getting resource ideas, etc. But I definitely parted ways with these women when it came to some of the more foundational issues. (Public schools, homeschooling, the importance of academia and knowledge, family- vs. get the point. :) ) When I read some of their ideas it makes me NOT want to homeschool, because I can't relate/I disagree/I want to distance myself from that school of thought.

Okay. That is all. Tomorrow, back to our regularly scheduled programming.


Kristen Borland said...

Wait, I want to hear what they said was their philosophy for choosing homeschooling, what it was that left you fuming. Don't leave out the good stuff, Brianna!

Meg said...

I agree with Kristen- can you be more specific?

cathy said...

Thank you Brianna! That's why I didn't comment before on your previous post. I've read the end of that book too, and it just never sat well with me. We are 100%public school all the way, and that's where God wants us. If God called me (and I mean with a very loud megaphone and burning bushes and smoke-filled cathedrals) then I would be obedient to that. But only then :)

Sugar Plum said...

you have to give us more details.. I'm so curious!!!!! we're hanging!!

Brianna Heldt said...

hehe, kristen you crack me up! i didn't want to put a lot of specifics on the blog b/c i am confrontation-avoidant, and i didn't want to stir up controversy. :) and cathy, do feel free to share! i want to hear from those who have had positive public school experiences. i hear less about that than i do from people enjoying homeschooling. i'd love to hear more!

but, since ya'll asked...

in a nutshell, i DON'T think organized team sports are a waste of time, (in fact i'd PREFER my son doing that to grinding his own wheat and making the family bread(!)), i DO think they put WAY more emphasis on academics and learning and knowledge than i EVER want to with my own kids, i felt like there was an air of superiority in their tone, and i completely disagreed with their theory about socialization.

they make the point that kids learning in a room full of peers is not like the "real world" and that only being with your family is more like what the real world will be like b/c it's a variety of ages. ummmmm....yeah i highly disagree. to me, if you're ONLY around your family you are getting a LESS diverse worldview in that:
--it's just one socioeconomic class
--only one religion
--only one race (usually :) )
--only one type of people to get along with
--an attitue that non-family members don't really matter that much or are automatically a bad influence.

we can tell our kids as they grow that there are other types of people and we're supposed to love them, or about how some people are poor, or rich, or have different values or a different lifestyle from us, whatever it is...but if they never encounter them personally, they will not have a personal reference point about them. and maybe they'll get to college and finally see someone different from them, and be weirded out, or judgemental, etc. plus, i have found in MY life, that most time IS spent around people who would be considered my peer group.

PLEASE hear me when i say i DON'T think that kids who are homeschooled will be socially inept, or that they're missing out on some key part of socialization. (we're open to homeschooling for goodness sakes!) i just disagreed with what the authors were specifically putting out there.

that was SO NOT a nutshell! oops!

Brianna Heldt said...

oh and i thought the story about her daughter's college age friend who didn't know how to make a salad was pretty snide..."she may have been institionally educated..." but essentially she was too stupid to make a salad.

i just felt like there was some snobbery and honestly yeah i get that if you want to educate your kids yourself from 9-5 every day, and teach them piano, etc. etc. you could churn out scholars who could go to harvard. but that is sooooo not my desire or goal, and the mentality just seemed a little on the "academia and learning are the most important things in the world and we're better than all the other "institutionalized kids" side. there is more to life and learning than what is found in books (classical or otherwise).

yeah so obviously the (end of the) book struck a nerve. :) i'm done now. i promise.

shell said...

Oh you are going to LOVE going public. I have been recommending it to my homeschool friends, not to change them, just because it is a great parenting book too.

Anonymous said...

Gosh darnit Brianna! Just when I think I'm starting to figure things out you have to come up with some well thought out points. And you are always so gracious in your analysis, too.

Once again, I am so grateful for all of the dialogue and points-of-view!

I have read some homeschool books that tend to sound a little condescending and can be a bit ego-centric.

As mommies, we can be so hard on one another's choices, starting from the moment we're pregnant (or on the road to adoption). I just wish all mommies (especially Christian mommas) could be more loving and encouraging in how the interact with one another.

I know many of the choices I make are done with a lot of prayer and seeking out Scripture. As long as we are doing what God has called us to, there really is no room for judgement!

Thanks for the review! Keep on posting! It is inspring and thought-provoking!


Brianna Heldt said...

shelley i cannot WAIT to read that book! and i would so love to hear your thoughts on all of it.

heehee monica! i felt exactly the same way...i was feeling ALL INSPIRED by the book and then got to those final chapters and felt frustrated!

what homeschooling books have you read? i might read some more. any you'd recommend?

i couldn't agree more with you about striving to love and encourage one another. the thought of homeschooling seems intimidating, in large part b/c i don't see myself fitting with most other homeschoolers in foundational ways.

joy said...

brianna, i'm so glad for this discussion because it lets me know that i'm not the only one who has had all of these thoughts. i was always against homeschooling, mainly because i didn't want to do it. then i kept hearing about the san luis classical academy and i didn't like that because it seemed like the hot new thing around church. it seemed kind of elitist and maybe it is. once i started reading about classical education and what it entails, i started getting really interested. at least at sloca, the integration between the subjects is really cool. when i was taking credential classes to become a teacher, having to make-up integrated projects was really exciting to me. that kind of learning makes sense to me. i also keep hearing that this particular school emphasizes character training as well. one of the things that really pushed cade to want to try sloca was that there's no homework. yes, you are essentially doing hours of homework at home, but that leaves time for other activities such as sports, music, service projects, etc. we have never liked the idea of running a household that is so scheduled that we don't get to have family dinners. and how do you let your kids do sports and music, which i think are good things and avoid this? this seemed like one way to accomplish that. also, for us, i really like the fact that sloca is not a christian school. i know that there are a lot of christian families there, but i'm assuming and hoping that there are families that we can befriend and witness to. i agree with beth moore that our assignment is this world and we need to learn to live in it. for me personally, it's hard to keep from thinking that the "best" education possible is what is needed for my kids, because i don't think that's necessarily what the Lord wants. as cade said, we are going to have to be careful not to let this new thing of classical education become our new "god" and he's so right! i can already see the tendency for that. i'm kind of rambling, but i'm just trying to share part of journey and why we chose sloca. for us, there were other reasons, too. eli is on the young side and i thought a school like this would be a better fit for him. if we stick with it and he has to repeat a grade, it won't be as big of a deal, because the primary grades are all mixed grade. i also wasn't excited about the kindergarten teacher he most likely would have had at the public school next year. anyway, the classical academy website has some great literature to read, if you're interested. you can just read them on the site or print them out. i haven't read any books yet, but that's part of our summer assignment as parents. this is a really,really long comment, so i'm done--for now! :)

joy said...

believe it or not, i also forgot to mention that it's difficult for me to think that we're paying x amount of dollars to send eli to school when we could do other things with that money. now, if we didn't send eli to this school, would we really minister with that money? probably not. but it does freak me out when i start really thinking about it. we definitely don't feel like we have it all figured out and things could change.

darci said... upsetting that the homeschooling book you read was snobby..sigh. i get so frustrated at people, really, who are all-or-nothing, one way or the other. It's so individual to each family. let me say, we love homeschooling! my girl's play soccer-yes, organized sports, are in girl guides (more peer pressure! said tongue-in-cheek..) and yet we have tons of time to hang out at home, play, go to the beach on a gorgeous fall day when everyone else is in school, go camping with daddy when he's got days off..etc. it works for us. :)PLEASE don't think that hschoolers are a bunch of elitist snobs..some ARE! but i also feel some of those folks telling me i'm not in God's will bc my children are supposed to be 'salt and light' are elitist snobs, too. so there are great families in every circle. i so agree with another commenter that we all need to support and encourage each other as moms, not judge or criticize. I think sometimes homeschoolers can say some 'elitist' sounding things bc they are so tired of constantly defending their choices and having to answer, again "what about socialization?" lol. ps always interested in a good book..what's the back to public??
oh and ONE more thing..:) the best thing i've found, once i got into homeschooling, is that there is so much VARIETY in the people that do it..the whole rainbow. that's part of what i love.

darci said...

ok ok, ONE more thing. I could NOT do the classical education, no way. we are much more laid back than that..and I don't even bake my own bread.

Brianna Heldt said...

loving all of your comments. joy thanks so much for sharing about sloca! it is a good school, for sure. i love how kids get to have both: schooltime with peers, AND time at home. i know, it seems tricky to try to balance extracurricular activities with public school AND family time, i think our solution would most likely be limiting those extra activities. in some ways i feel like public school allows a child to maintain relationships/activities each day which in a sense frees up time for family.

darci you are absolutely right that there are elitist people on both sides of the fence. lame! i mostly know homeschoolers, so i don't hear the anti-homeschool sentiments as much as the other way around. i think you are so right that people tire of defending their choices. it really is too bad!!!

Brianna Heldt said...

oh just to clarify--i didn't mean to say that the homeschoolers i know say bad things about public school! not at all. i just mean i rarely, if ever, am around someone putting down homeschooling. and i feel like public schools, in general, get a bad rap.

Katy Lin :) said...

as a public-schooled wife of a home-schooled husband who plan to home-school their children (this week, not that the decision needs to be made today, lol!) "listening" to this discussion has been very enlightening! thanks everybody for your insight!

Mike and Rachel said...

too many comments to read, I had to give up, but I knew how to make a salad after high school. My mom and I made dinner together almost every night when I was home, and I still got my homewrok done, did school sports, went to dance class, and youth group. Trust me, I had MORE THAT ENOUGH family time. But you now more about my family dynamics than most people.

Anonymous said...

Just remember... it's all theory until you have a child in school. Seriously! I thought I knew what we were going to do with our kids- I taught in public school for years before having them. But everything's different when it involves your child. When you see and feel what the schedule's like everday. When you have to give up knowing what your kids are doing and learning for the majority of their day everyday. I am NOT saying homeschooling's the way to go, it's certainly not for everyone. (We're at SLOCA, too, for those who know it, and that offers us the best of both worlds, as we see it.) And I'm laughing at the gal who says they don't agree with classical education because she doesn't bake her own bread. WHAT? :) But seriously, it's what you and Kevin think is right for your child, your family. You're doing the right thing by reading different books and talking (or blogging!) about it. Go to the local ps and check it out, too. You may have every reason to believe in ps and want it for your kids, but it's good to go and see the specific school you'll be a part of.
Good luck, friend!

Angela said...

I have a degree in elementary education, and after going through the program, i totally wanted to hs. dh, however, totally wanted to ps... that was all before we even had kids.
then we moved to spain and had to ps. it was good in ways, bad in ways, as most things are. now we are back, and know that hs'ing is the way to go for our family, for this year. next year we'll reevaluate. we're taking it a year at a time. right now, though, with all of our changes, i know it is the right thing to do. next year could be a totally different story. i hesitate sometimes b/c i know i don't fit in with most traditional hs families... but i don't think that is reason enough for me not to do it.
the biggest thing for me right now, is that it is what i want to do. and i think there is something to be said for that. i think God made each of us so different, and that each one of us can be a better mom by doing different things. for some, it's ps'ing. for some it is hs'ing. i don't think there is a best way for every family, or even for every kid. i think things change. kids change, circumstances change. and we all need to do what is right for us at that time. that's just my 2 cents. do what God calls you to. whatever that is. :)

Brianna Heldt said...

yes penny you are right, it IS all theory until you're actually seeing/doing it. i'm going to visit our neighborhood school this year, as well as denver options, the one day a week thingy for homeschooled kids (thanks angela for having told me about that, it looks like a great option for homeschooling families!)

does anyone else think that homeschooling is on the rise in the Christian community? i wonder how/if this might collectively impact our society. or how it might be impacting christian society? just more of my random musings. :)

joy said...

you had to ask another question--so here's another opinion. yes, i think homeschooling is on the rise amongst christian families--maybe just among the ones i know. i hear a lot of people say they don't want their kids in public school because of the language, the attitudes and other stuff like that. personally, that never entered into our decision--i think you get bad language and mean people wherever you go. going to private doesn't guarantee that. i went to a christian elementary school and we were so mean to certain kids. (rebecca schroeder--if you're out there, i'm really sorry!) i like to make it clear when people ask that we chose sloca because of what it is as opposed to choosing against public--does that make sense? in my mind, that's a world of difference. and i love what monica said earlier about not being judgmental either way. okay, i think i'm done now. :) oh, and i've been known to bake bread, but it's definitely not something i do on a regular basis--you know, since the store does offer it, already baked--and sliced, too!

joy said...

wait,is baking bread something i'm going to have to do now? nobody told me that!

I am Katy, said...

You guys make me laugh. :)

We too are trying to decide what the best option will be. If we lived closer to our public elementary school I think it would make our decision a lot easier. I'm hoping they build more houses near us and a new school so we can have one in walking (or even biking) distance. As it is though, since I'd be driving the kids to school, I think it will make us look more seriously at other alternatives.

Meg said...

Thanks for sharing your opinions about the book- I think I've shared this before but- we do public school and so far are having a great experience with it- anything I find lacking I cover at home- and during the summer- kind of the best of both worlds really- at least for us. good luck with your decision- you sound like you are on the right track with all of your research to make the right decision for your family.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I wonder about the impact of Christians leaving schools too. I know there are a variety of reasons for the rise in homeschooling; teaching tolerance v. character at p.s., the things that are taught as 'facts' when they're really theories, or just en-vogue, rising violence in upper-grade levels, too much homework and emphasis on testing v. learning, people feeling that their Biblical call as parents doesn't mesh and/or cannot be integrated within the public school arena..

I also think a lot of it has to do with how homeschooling has changed. There are so many co-ops, part-time schools, etc. which make it seem like a very attractive alternative. It's not just an insulated family-unit, always together. Kids can be exposed to different types of people (here in L.A. there is a very broad and diverse range of homeschooling groups)and there are many alternative opportunities for learning that couldn't necessarily be acheived in a classroom setting.

One of the major reasons I started to consider homeschooling was from observing a woman in Bible study who homeschooled. They were the most un-homeschooling homeschooling family I've ever met. But, she was very intentional about the types of things they did, so that they were all well rounded.

I went to a private-Christian school my last two years of high school (after 10-11 years of p.s.). After that experience, I don't think that I will send my kids to a private school.

Alright I know y'all are sick of hearing from me. I think I'm going to just read from now on, I am too long-winded! ;)


Brianna Heldt said...

yes joy, didn't you get the memo?! you have to grind your own wheat and bake (and slice) your own bread once you homeschool! :) i love love love what you said about choosing sloca because of the positives about it, instead of NOT choosing public b/c of the negatives. that will be us too if we decide to homeschool.

monica i love reading your thoughts so don't stop posting! i think your insights into why it's on the rise are quite good. what impact it might have, i don't know. obviously i don't think we should sacrifice everything in the name of trying to stay in the public schools, but for us anyway, there ARE deeper values and convictions at play. and i DO think if every Christian pulled out, that would be pretty sad.

katy i forget, roughly whereabouts are you in SM? i remember you saying awhile ago you'd probably homeschool.

darci said...

from the "gal who doesn't bake her own bread"..JUST to clarify for pennymalley..i was JOKING about the bread-baking..obviously that's not why i can't commit to classical was in response to a comment about brianna's from her reaction to the grinding your own wheat etc.

Sugar Plum said...

Hey B, Well you know Troy and I come from polar opposite experiences. Troy grew up in Christian private school; he got all this sisters and their combined 11 kids into home schooling 10 years ago.

I'm a product of public education and honestly loved it. I have no idea what we'll do with our own kids, but as young girl living in "the world" seeing real poverty, brokenness and dysfunction in my peers it only made my personal faith stronger. (Yes, I heard cursing, and saw kids “making out” and heard about “the big bang”, but it wasn’t enticing or glamorous.) There is a different between exposure and acceptance. I saw what poor choices where and there was a disincentive. Granted I grew up in a strong Christian fam, and a great church. I had amazing secular friends and teachers.. some of which have now come to the Lord. Times change obviously, but God can protect and nurture our children in all kinds of circumstances. He is the one that directs our steps, and if you find your first choice doesn’t work for Anna, than you can always change. Every kid is so different. Joy is so right, our school choice can't become our "god". We miss you! b

Brianna Heldt said...

Great insights Becky! I agree...and you made me laugh with your list of undesirable things you saw!

I agree that God is bigger than all of it. I too had wonderful nonChristian friends and teachers.

Wondering what in society is actually fueling such an increase in Christians homeschooling.

And we miss you too!!!

BJ said...

I've been reading your blog for over a year now. Can't remember if I've ever commented before. Am just getting caught up on my blog-reading after several months hiatus. Anyway, I am a homeschooling mom of five. I DO adhere to many of the beliefs in this book, but not all. However, on behalf of all the arrogant and ungracious homeschoolers, I apologize. Whether or not you homeschool, is totally up to you and your husband. I would encourage anyone trying to make this decision to ask themselves this one important question - more important than the academics and social issues we usually end up in arms over: Do you feel you can properly instruct and raise your children in the fear and the admonishion of the Lord is either setting? That is by far the BIGGEST mandate we are given as parents. If you feel you are able to accomplish this in either setting, then you should go with the one that lines up with your family values best in the ares of socialization, academics, extra-curricular opportunities, etc. I personally LOVE homeschooling. I have been VERY hurt by others deeming me too overwhelmed to be capable to "properly" homeschool (this came from a former pastor's wife) to subtly being accused of damaging my children. So I know that criticism can hurt. Around here, the school system is horrible, and I just can't fathom putting my children into that environment. Seek the Lord together with your husband, and you'll know what to do. Then do it with peace and confidence and joy! You are such a source of inspiration as I read about your adoption stories. My husband and I are looking forward to adopting, but we don't know when, where, how....My heart is open more and more all the time towards this new adventure though.


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