O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Psalms 43:3

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. D&C 88:118

The kids

The kids

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Changing Homeschool Paradigms

As I mentioned before, I am revamping my homeschooling. I am leaning more towards a Leadership Education model of progression through phases and opening my home to more child-led learning with some direction from me. It has been a long time coming. I started out researching homeschooling when I was still pregnant with Tiger. I read about all methods of homeschooling I could find from Charlotte Mason to Montessori, to Unschooling, to The Well-Trained Mind, to Thomas Jefferson Education. I read and studied many methods and eventually, while reading scriptures, turned to D&C 88:118. It reads "And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith." This really hit home to me. I took that to mean I needed to follow a classical model as that is where most of the great books are utilized. I immersed myself in The Well-Trained Mind. It was right for a time but slowly it became more about checking off the boxes of subjects done and lessons taught than lessons learned and absorbed by the student. It became no fun and a bit too dry for all of us.

This year the Lord began prepping me to make some big changes. It all began when my daughters were invited to join a Heroine book club. It was to be mentored by a mom who is passionate about Leadership/Thomas Jefferson Education. In joining her book club, our family was also invited into the TJed organization she has been working on building in the area. At first, I was a bit resistant to the idea of agreeing to the participation agreement for the umbrella organization based on TJed because of my prior exposures and concerns about TJed.

Backing up 6.5 years, I attended a TJed forum and listened to many TJed lectures at a homeschool convention. There were many parts I loved but there were many parts I was vehemently opposed to because I didn't understand the base from which the presenter was making their assertions. And I really did not understand the concept of "You not Them." Seriously, was I suppose to focus on my education and expect my children to magically educate themselves? Hmmm. (BTW I am still wrestling a little with You Not Them but I am beginning to see in so many areas of my life that if I focus on a skill or something in me to improve, I am better able to encourage my children in the same direction. I realize now that "You Not Them" is not a statement saying, "Focus on you and ignore them." which runs completely contrary to my beliefs that I have a moral responsibility to teach my children. I am now wrestling with how does that look rather than fighting the principle.)

Back to the present day. As I pondered and prayed, the whisperings of the Spirit came to me. I was instructed to experiment upon the word. Ok. I can do that. I can give it a shot. The adults were having a book club discussing the TJed books available and although it was on a night where I finish up one activity at the time that the meeting started, I was encouraged to come late anyway. As I got there, the women were so kind to listen to my concerns, answer them, share their stories and experiences and truly allowed me to ponder and filter and come to my own conclusions. I kept going back. I really liked these ladies and their passion and their open arms! I began to realize that TJed was NOT a method but rather a philosophy. This had been totally lost on me before. I was not ready until now.

So how does this fit with the promptings of the Spirit ten years ago? TJed is still a classical model as it follows the phases of development as well as emphasizes classics not textbooks. We are still focusing on the best books. Great learning comes from great books. We read classical literature, biographies with pictures, picture books with amazing illustrations, and other books which inspire us to explore.

So, I find myself finding more and more excitement in changing my methods and switching my paradigm of education but it is so hard! There are many parts of our routine that are being refined, smoothed, and polished. Sometimes I find there are many sharp edges to smooth. I still have many things to do to clarify how this works for my family, but for now my family is reaping the blessings of following the Lord's promptings for our family. The children are once again looking forward to learning time. We are keeping our home more organized. We are having more time to read great books out loud and discuss them. We are having more time for free play. We are having more time for exploring the world God made. We are having more time for family. And I am making more time for my own education so that I can have the tools I need to share with my children. I may have a Bachelors in Liberal Arts with an emphasis on Child Development specific to education, and I may have a Masters of Herbology, and I may be the mother of 4 children, but there is so much out there I have not mastered or even learned about that I can expose my children to if I know it is there... so here goes my quest to continue my own education so I can inspire my children to greatness. And while we are working on our family learning time, personal learning time, gospel studies, and family relationships, the little ones are watching. They are learning what it means to be grown up from those of us who are older just as this picture below depicts.

I am a cub scout den leader. My daughters attend the cub scout meetings and see us salute the flag while in uniform.This was the morning after cub scouts when I called the children to the flag, Strawberry prepared to salute...

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