Welcome to the sixth virtual meeting of The Core Bookclub here at Hope Is the Word. You can read more about the bookclub, as well as find out the schedule, in this post. Be sure to like Hope Is the Word on Facebook to participate in the discussion over there, too. (should such a conversation ever materialize 😉 ).
Chapter seven is a chapter I read with great interest and expectation because geography is a subject that has been oft neglected in our homeschool. I have used the Story of the World maps from the activity guide sporadically, but I never felt like my girls had enough of the big world picture to get a whole lot out of the maps. I’ve also done Christmas Around the World with my girls for the past several years, focusing on the Christmas traditions of a country at a time. Admittedly, this has involved little mapwork; instead it has been more of a cultural and/or religious study. We’ve also spent time the past couple of summers on some countries studies, as well as using these geography resources. Overall, though, our geography studies have been very inconsistent. I really appreciate the simplicity of Bortins’ approach to geography, as well as her emphasis on its importance. I hope to implement the lesson plans included in this chapter soon. This is going to be an education for me for sure! 🙂
Well, this was a very freeing chapter to me. I tend to overdo it (in almost every area of my life), so I really, really appreciate how simple Bortins makes this. What’s more, I even believe that it will work this way–that elementary aged students really can “just” memorize the timeline and some history sentences and fill in their studies with more interest-led reading. I suppose this is the way we do things, except that I go a little overboard in planning things out. What we’re doing this year is continue on with where we left off in Story of the World volume 2, adding in various nonfiction and fiction reading selections, narrations, and possibly a project here or there. I also have about the first six weeks’ worth of CC timeline and history sentences correlated with books for the girls to read independently. They spend so much time reading each week that I want to direct some of their reading to give their memory work a bit of context. They do read a lot from our history shelves by choice, though, so history is something they both enjoy.
The last three sections of chapter eight are worth the price of the book in terms of relieving the home educating parent of a lot of extra work (not to mention stress). I remember when I first read The Well-Trained Mind back several years ago and realized that the subject matter is secondary to the skills we’re working on–that the skills are practiced via the subject matter during the grammar stage. Bortins says it very succinctly here:
Often an artificial tension is presented between the goal of teaching the basic skills and core content. To classical educators, both are needed. While we emphasize the practice of skills, we need excellent material to practice on. Classical educators go out of their way to ensure that the content is of enduring quality. At first, mastering the classical core could seem like torture if we are not taught to value academic rigor. Eventually, studying history through scholastic literature becomes second nature and begins to be enjoyable. (169)
I also like how she discusses once again about what is developmentally appropriate and what is not at the different ages and stages. It helps to be reminded that grammar stage students are not ready for some of the tasks we sometimes expect them to be able to accomplish–that slow and steady wins the race.
What did you learn from this chapter?
Links to previous bookclub posts:
(Rather than put up a linky each week, I’ll just ask you to link up your blog posts in the comments. If you’re reading along and would prefer to just share your thoughts in a comment or on Hope Is the Word’s Facebook page, that’s good, too.)