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Seeking Classical experience

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    Seeking Classical experience

    Hi, I'm new here. A friend recommended that I bring my question here:

    Has anyone ever started a middle schooler in a classical curriculum for the first time?
    -Was it a smooth transition or not?
    -What in particular were your challenges?
    -What qualities in your child did you feel helped make the change happen well or poorly?
    -What would you do differently if you were to do it over again?

    Would you please share your experience with me?


    P.S. I don't understand forum *talk* abbreviations, so would you avoid using them for me, please? Thanks in advance.

    Welcome Maria!

    I'm going to post two links that tell our story, coming to Memoria Press when my oldest two children were 12 and 13. We came from an eclectic background and they had many gaps. One of them also had a history of academic and behavioral struggles due to a delay in brain-based executive function skills. They are now rising juniors and both are doing quite well academically. One is discerning between military and trade school (he wants to open his own shop) and the other wants to be a Latin teacher and plans to major in Classics with a minor in Old English.
    Blog: [url][/url]

    DS16: MP, MPOA, HSC, Breaking the Barrier French
    DS15: MP, MPOA, HSC
    DS12: Mash-up of 6/7M
    DS11: SC 4
    DD9: 3A with First Form Latin (long story!)
    DD8: Mash-up of SC 1/2
    DD5: January birthday, using SC B and C as a two-year JrK


      Welcome, MariaG. We are glad you found us. I have young children and we started them with Classical and Memoria Press right from the get go so I am afraid I will not be too much help to you. I am glad shared her story and I am sure others will soon as well. The only thing I will say is that it is never too late to jump into Classical, a bit of an excellent education is better than none at all.
      2020/2021 - 3rd MP Year
      S - 6, rising 1st Grader @ home and HLN
      D - 4, rising Junior Kindergartener @ home
      S - 3, the master of disasters


        Thank you both, ladies. I appreciate your blog links, jen1134 .


          Hello and welcome, Maria!
          We started with Memoria Press when my oldest was in fifth grade, my next was in third, and then I had a whole bunch of littles, too. This was back in the dark ages when MP was just starting to release grade level packages...that first year there was 3rd, 4th, and 5th. I was so excited and impressed, but I also feared it would be really tough to just jump right in. So we changed math and Latin, and then halfway through the year we added in some literature guides for my oldest. The next year, I added a few more subjects, and by year three, they were each in a whole core.

          For us, doing it gradually like that worked really really well. It gave me the chance to learn how to do each component of the curriculum a little at a time rather than having the whole thing at once. But that was also what I needed because I had six kids at the time and I didn't have hours and hours to "start over" completely. I have known friends and others whom I have helped over the years who have been able to jump right in...even with a big family! We helped them place each child according to his or her skill level, they took their time getting started, had a lot of patience, and they have thrived, too.

          The biggest challenges are usually tied to learning how the courses have been designed to be used, and then juggling more than one child as you try to get started. It is one thing to look at sample pages, but it is another thing to have the Teacher's Manual in hand or the Curriculum Guide in hand and read all the teaching notes that are included. These are what really helped teach me how to be a good, classical teacher. That, plus reading the articles that MP publishes in their catalogs (even the old ones - they are all kept on the website and you can read them for free), reading great books on classical education, asking questions right here on the Forum like you are doing, and then getting involved with the Sodalitas Gathering conference each year. The support of the community and folks at MP were so different - even from when I had my kids enrolled in homeschool programs!

          As for your other, there isn't really anything I would have done differently. I do not make decisions quickly, so for us, the gradual approach was good, we have stuck with it and see the good fruits produced by the stability of no longer jumping around from curriculum to curriculum.

          And the traits in my children that helped or didn't help...I think a good way to answer that is to say that one of the beauties of classical education is that it flips the modern emphasis of "what best suits my child" on its head and says "how do I help my child be suited to the curriculum." It is about helping a child grow in wisdom and virtue - which means a lot of changing. Each child has his or her strengths, but also his or her weaknesses - whether it be skills in school or in character traits. ALL of those are things we work on during our homeschooling. We have an idea of the type of adult we want our children to be, and we are daily striving, working, chiseling away at helping them get there. The book "Climbing Parnassus" is an excellent explanation of this at work in education and one I highly recommend.

          I hope that helps!

          16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
          DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
          DS, 16
          DD, 14
          DD, 12
          DD, 10
          DD, 8
          DD, 6
          DS, 2