I have been using CM methods in our home for a couple of years now and it has been working out ok for our younger children, but I am finding that with my 14 yr. old, it’s not working quite as well anymore. I recently bought a book called “Teaching the Trivium” just out of curiosity to see how the Christian Classical method worked!
Has anyone else read this one? Just wondering!
I am only on Ch. 5.
Anyway. I would like to be able to have my son doing more independent work but it still be CM/Classical style. We read aloud a lot this past year, but it seemed like it was hard to get it all in because he is 14 and the only boy…my girls are all 9 and under (four of them) and they don’t really want to sit still for the read alouds that I picked out for him, and he didn’t want to listen to the ones I read to them. Of course…Bible, and some others were for all age groups. The point is, HE is the one who is getting tired of the CM way, and wants to do more independent work, but I didn’t want to order a full blown curriculum package for him. He does his math, dictation, reading, and poetry independently but says he feels like he’s not doing enough “school”…(we had been doing History, Science, Shakespeare, Logic, and Bible as a family aloud). Unfortunately he has several friends who give him a hard time about what they are doing in comparison to what he is doing that attend public or private schooling. EVEN THOUGH HE REALLY IS GETTING A LIBERAL ARTS educ. and learning so much more I feel! I had actually thought about just getting some biographies for him to read independently (like the Famous Men of Greece) and perhaps a good Composition/English book to add to his current books…but does anyone have any other advice or suggestions?
Yes, I’ve read Teaching the Trivium.
One important thing to remember is that the “CM way” does not require you to read all his books to him! By all means, pick out some good meaty books for him to read on his own, and that doesn’t have to be just history. It may very well be that he needs some good biographies, perhaps some high school level science, and if he has not yet had a good grammar coverage, now would be a good time. Also he should be writing narrations and you could be nudging him into essays–if he isn’t doing that yet, now is the time to start, as the process takes a bit of time. Is he doing any foreign language? If not that could be a good add-in to challenge him as well.
Boys do get to a point where they need some feeling like they own what they are doing, I think. It’s the dominion-seeker in them. It may be possible that he is feeling “girled” to death. Does your dh have time to discuss some books with him? My dh takes over math correction and logic when my boys become, um, that age. And I really make an effort to seek out books that are living books but will also build them as young men–good, active male characters/historical figures to read about, that sort of thing.
Perhaps peer pressure is a part of what your son is feeling, but I also get the idea that he is seeking some challenge now. I’ve noticed in my own sons a big “jump” in what they are capable of doing at about age 13/14, and I’ve needed to be alert to that, and not overwhelm them but “bump” it up appropriately. These next four years are sort of the “capstone” on your homeschool efforts. What does your son want to do? Is he headed for college, or a specific trade or occupation? What are his interests? Find some things he can explore or do, partly on his own, perhaps involving his father if you can. I know I’m a little ambivalent when I watch my little boys turning into young men, but it’s an exciting time. I’ve felt a little sad at their depending on me less, but overall it’s a good thing. Give his wings a nudge and watch him begin to learn to fly!
Yes, he does written narrations. And we also have introduced him to a foreign language program. He just started that last year. He and his father do a lot of reading together as well. I honestly think it was just the fact that he didn’t have a stack of books in front of him for each subject like his peers had. He also attended a private school and public school from Kindergarten-5th grade! So he had that background. As I mentioned before…when he first started homeschooling in 6th grade, we went with the “traditional” method, buying the curriculum package…and he really didn’t like it all. So after much reading and praying, I went with CM the following year…and at that time it was a breath of fresh air for him, and actually me as well! But, I think he’s just gotten exhausted with all of the reading aloud…even though he does read quite a bit independently too. He is just wanting to do ALL of his work independently, which is fine with me, but I just didn’t know if anyone had any recommendations as to what to order using CM/classical method. I get a Veritas Press catalog that I have browsed through, but it’s quite overwhelming! I love CM, and I have read just about every CM book written…so I know how it all works, even in the highschool yrs. BUT~ I guess I am just at a point now where I am trying to come up with a plan for him and my girls…without changing things too much and having to order a ton more books for him to use independently! Goodness know I have spent a fortune already! His main interests by the way, are music. He plays guitar, drums, and piano. He enjoys reading his Bible, and video games! LOL He isn’t sure about college, and is still trying to figure out where and what he wants to. At this point I believe his biggest interest is getting his learner’s permit! HA! So! I leave it at that for now! Oh, and he really enjoys reading Shakespeare, and fantasy fiction like The Illiad and the Odyssey, and Lord of the Rings, etc…
Why are you reading aloud to him at 14 yo? He seems really old for that, assuming he can read well. How many audio books does he do?
I agree that some independent research could be helpful. He can make it as hard and detailed as he chooses. That would help him to feel more in control of his own learning. Not only could this help him now, it will be good practice for research papers later on. Allowing him to choose the subject is a boon, too, because it’s not the ‘substance’ you are necessarily after, but the learning to do research. Better for him to pick a subject he is willing to live with for awhile! I had a student this age that wrote a mini-research paper on skateboarding, of all things. The only caveat I would put on it is that you need to come to an agreement on what the end product will look like and set some boundaries on the time allotted for this project. I’ve learned the hard way that some student’s desire to do independent research turns into so much surfing the internet following meaningless details, bunny trails, and dropped projects (which all equals a very discouraged child).
Another idea might be to allow him some input on what books he does read within the subjects and parameters you have set for him.
I am also a firm believer in reading together as a family until the children leave the home. As they get older, that does really become just one book, plus our family devotions and anything I happen to be reading at a mealtime to the younger ones. My husband’s and my motivation in that is to continue to ‘preach’ at the children through our selection of books without actually ‘preaching’, if you get my meaning. 😉
Just some suggestions to take to your husband and the Lord!
To the9clarks~ I just wanted to comment on what you had said! I don’t read aloud to him because he’s not a good reader! WOW! We do read aloud for devotions and family reading. He is an excellent reader…but I have read time and again from various CM books that family read aloud time is an essential part of learning. Especially The BIBLE! Apparently not all CM parents do this! I know some parents who actually have college age students that still enjoy being read to…you’re never too old to be read aloud to!
Anyway, thanks for all of the tips and suggestions. I think some of what I posted was misleading..and perhaps I didn’t communicate my problems as I had intended. I was just at a crossroads with the “classical” vs. “CM”.
Anna, you said that you think some of what you posted was misleading…at a crossroads with the classical vs. cm… Do you think your concerns were addressed? I got the impression that your son is advanced and needing something more.
I suppose I can’t quite word my problem correctly on here! What had really upset me was the comment put on here by “the9clarks”. Quite rude to say the least. It’s sort of what you had mentioned…but it’s more. It’s tough due to the fact that he is my only son, and the oldest. He doesn’t want to do traditional schooling, but he also doesn’t do that well with the CM way. I have been reading “Teaching the Trivium” to see if I can mix it up a bit and introduce some of the classical with what he is already doing. He does choose his books that he reads, and he’s done research papers…but he mentioned something to me about philosophy the other day and I think he is just wanting to dig even deeper and gain even more knowledge. We have covered so much, and he is just thirsting for more..but he still seems to have to be kind of pushed in that direction. He is a computer whiz and makes his own movies, he is a big gamer, he loves reading, and writing too! HA! I am just trying to gather up a tailor made curriculum, so to speak, that will be interesting and not twaddly/text booky! IF that is even a real term! Just kind of gather a few of the best resources from veritas press perhaps, and CM stuff too, and just take it from there. OH! One other thing! MATH…he hated Saxon Math…as did I. Math is his least favorite subject. He’s good at it, but gets frustrated VERY easily with it. Last year we used a variety of resources..but this year I don’t know what I am going to use yet. Math U See didn’t get it either..
He just really is not a math or science person..he likes poetry, music, reading, and story telling. The point is…I need to come up with resources for each subject, mostly literary type resources, that will also make him feel like he is up to par…even though his father and I BOTH know he’s beyond that! He’s gifted! I tell ya, peers can really discourage children at times..His homeschooled friends aren’t so bad…but they still, from time to time, especially if they do “traditional text book” type schooling, will tell him that they are learning more than he is…it’s awful. So I don’t know if this made any sense or not, but there it is!
Anna Christine, my daughters were also in PS and struggled initially with CM when their friends all had what seemed like more stuff to do. They eventually realized that a lot of PS is busy work, but listening to them and after prayer and discussion we came up with the following, which has worked for us. By the way we still read aloud and my daughters are 17. We have family read aloud time with dad, and I always have one book on the go, that we read aloud, each taking turns in the afternoon with tea. It is one of our favorite things to do. Sometimes we read a play and act the roles, other times we just read. They read 99% of their books themselves, but we love the read aloud times too much to give it up.
the girls wanted to mix CM with some textbooks, so we came up with a plan together to do that. We use Apologia science, but they also read living science books in the areas that interest them. We do math the same way – textbooks and video lessons, with the tests and anything else that helps the math stick. For literature, we did a short literary analysis course from IEW a few years ago and I now give them a list of books and they choose which they want to read. They then do written narrations, and analysis essays from what they have read. Some books we just have them read for pleasure, and some for analysis/narration. The list is long, they have lots of choice, but it is all very excellent literature, no twaddle. They do copywork and still really enjoy it, I don’t use it as a subject -it is just something they still like to do. We did use Winston Grammar for a quick refresher, but that was all that was necessary with the copywork doing the rest, they have always been strong writers. For history, we are using a text as an outline – we also have a history reading list of biographies and political books which they also read from and they read historical fiction, non fiction and articles from magazines like World. They write essays and we have lots and lots of discussion. We also watch documentaries and appropriate movies. They write a lot and I have given them both a writer’s handbook to help them with some things that might confuse them. For Bible, we use the Bible and read, then discuss what we have read. One daughter saw a friend doing Alpha Omega Lifepacs on “The Life of Christ” and she asked if she could do that course – we had no problem with that so we got them for her, and she really enjoyed them. We are learning German through “Tell Me More” and it has been successful, helped by the fact I speak almost fluent German. We learn Geography with our history and through games and reading.
This is not pure CM, but I do not worry about that – I wanted the girls to have a lot of input into what we do and we all pretty much came up with this. This of course may not work for others, but I think we all have to find our own way to make this work, and not be too worried about what others think. I love the CM way of homeschooling, and would recommend it to anyone, however, the girls PS experience, made it a harder sell than it would have been had they always been homeschooled. So we did what worked for us, and I think with prayer and lots of discussion with your son – you will come to have a really good plan as well. One of the nicest things I have found about high school, has been the discussions that we all enjoy and being able to allow the girls to study their own particular interests through their reading and writing. Your son is about to experience the wonders of that – he is at an age where he can really take off with his learning. Perhaps you could find him some really interesting and excellent music books for him to study if music is a special passion of his, also give him a wide and varied list of books to read and have him discuss them with you and write about them. I wish you lots of luck and don’t be discouraged – we all have slightly different paths I am sure.
Just saw this. So sorry you thought I was rude. That was not my intention at all. I don’t know your ds at all, so I really had no idea if he was a good reader or not. There are plenty of poor readers your son’s age.
Now I see what you mean by read-alouds. I guess I just don’t think of Bible study as a read-aloud time. I don’t know why; it’s just a part of our family worship, so I don’t think of it in terms of schooling.
Thanks for clarifying and again I apologize.
Well, I’m not sure I would recommend this, but I’m going to say it anyway. If your son is feeling pressured to learn the same subjects that his peers are, why not get your hands on a couple/few of their textbooks and shape his education around that? Then, like missingtheshire says, tailor it to his own level and giftings.
I love her post, by the way. It has such the flavor of what we are trying to accomplish here; giving big pushes in their gifts and little nudges in their areas of weakness. It may be, too, that your son needs to ‘catch the vision’ of all of this and realize that schooling is not a contest of who studies the most, but of discovering his life’s plan in the Lord (which I understand is difficult when the knocks keep coming from peers!). That is why I started out saying I’m not sure I would recommend the textbook contents thing, because it sounds like ‘let’s all be like the Jones.’ But it likely would not harm anything because he would still be learning and progressing.
I obviously cannot say that this is your son, but my own experience is that when my children have similar thoughts, it’s important to continue to point them to the Lord and encourage them that He is trustworthy, He makes no mistakes (like in putting them in this family ) and He truly does have a plan for their lives. We talk about tailor making our children’s education, but God has us in school also and all of our struggles are precious, hand-picked gifts from Him to grow our faith.
You are blessed! As I read your post, I pictured a bucket that just wants so much to be filled but just can’t quite get enough. Your son, given the opportunity to hone his gifts, will make a true impact on the world. And your son is blessed to have you for a mother because I see you searching for the best for him. As you pray with your husband and with your son, God will give you opportunities-perhaps even outside the home-that you never dreamed of. God is able to think outside of the box because He lives there! 😉 I am so excited for you!
Just wanted to mention one thing. I was raised homeschoooled and the “I’m not doing enough school” feeling is totally normal. My cousins, friends and I all went through this. As time passes we all saw that we in fact learned far more than our peers in in other schooling environments, but it took time to see that.
Maybe it’s time to pull back from those friends or maybe it’s a lesson to learn not to base our lives on what other people are saying. I wonder if you showed him a course of study for typical highschool or even laid out your own course of study so that he can see the big picture and where he will be in the end, if it would help?
I’m just thinking off the top of my head here, with a 4 year old whining next to me!
Ok! Thank you so much to everyone! Wonderful advice! Missingtheshire especially was helpful…and the9clarks…it’s ok, we just do a lot of read aloud as a family! I think my son is actually starting to see that what his PS peers are referring to as “a lot of work” is actually busy work, like you all said! He has spent the last two weeks down at my mom’s house close to his PS friends and he has actually noticed how much he HAS learned. Sometimes it just takes a reality check! But thanks again to all who took the time to give such WONDERFUL ideas!
Also, thank you too Cindy S. ! That was so sweet!
I am late to this conversation but I just wanted to add my 2 bits:) I have three graduated homeschooled young adults and am still schooling 2 at home. 14yods and 9yodd. My 14 yo is creative like your son but not motivated at all. I need prayer for him and me so I can learn to ‘nudge’ at the right moments. What caught my eye was the reference to public school vs home school. My oldest dd now 23 and married wanted to go to public school in grade 12. Sad mamma, but, after her whole schooling at home, she wanted to graduate with her friends and wear a pretty dress, etc etc. SO, after much prayer and debate we decided that she had her grounding firm and it couldn’t hurt her( small school, total of 23 grads!) Off she went in September, a wee bit nervous but mostly excited. Fast forward to early December. Her main comment to me was “wow, mom, do we ever waste a LOT of time in class. The teacher gives us his bit, we read what we are told to read then we kill the rest of the hour with twaddle” I laughed at her use of the word twaddle:) Anyhow, she finished the year, realized her options at home had been far broader, but scooped several scholarships and pd for her first year college. That was good, but the best part was her realizing all the education she had been getting at home was real, valid, and useful. Hang in there, your son is doing great! He may also be hitting the 14yo wall that boys often hit where they just have so much energy and testosterone that they don’t know what to do with. we live rural so my boys could go split wood, you may find him needing a physical outlet as well as encouragement that his level of learning is indeed up to par. Keep on going:) Oh,and my dd spent most of her life at home as the only girl in a house of boys so I get that part too:p Keep looking up and laughing too!
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