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When do we get to “why” not just “what”?

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    When do we get to “why” not just “what”?

    We are four weeks into 5M with my daughter. The first few weeks were an adjustment and now things are going swimmingly. However, it’s all easy for her. It’s work, and worthwhile work not at all “busy work”, but with the exception of Narrative, none of the material is challenging her. I don’t necessarily want to change anything for this year, though we may skip some of the review and work ahead in math. I am more wondering when analysis, pro/con, application, inference, prediction, etc begins in history and literature and even science? We do all of the discussions and enrichment with literature but The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is an easy read for her.
    Emily…a hunter who prefers coffee to chocolate and dreams of the mountains

    Beech Tree Boarding School, 2021-2022
    DD (age 10): MP 5
    DD (age 8): MP 2
    DS (age 5): MP K
    "Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as making music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else.” Steven Rinella

    Is there anything stopping you two from doing this now on the fly in your daily conversation? 10 year olds vary widely, so not all are ready for this level of discussion that you are describing. In my experience though, most of this happens naturally in daily homeschool and family conversation. The work (skills) and knowledge precede the ability, but create the ability, to coverse in this way. One blends into the other. Everything relates to everything else. We talk about it all all of the time. Since it's on your mind, maybe you are already doing it and haven't noticed? I bet you are!

    Festina lentē,
    Jessica P

    2021-2022 • 12th year HSing • 10th year MP
    12th • AP Latin online, DE Calculus & Physics, HLN
    10th • HLN, Latin online, MPOA
    7th • HLN & Home
    4th • HLN & Home
    Me • Third Form for Adults, MPOA; teaching TFL and co-directing @

    Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016


      I'm not here very often, and in fact these sorts of concerns caused me to step away from MP as the mainstay of my children's education, so take what I say with several grains of salt & weight it against your experience.

      I've found that the analysis element of MP's programs is not at the level I want for my children. When using MP materials for, say, 5th and up it is often best to do the daily written work orally so I can teach analytical skills and provide missing backgrouns.

      If at all possible, quickly read the text before handing it off to your child. FMoR, IIRC, opens with a rather admiring description of the cleverness of the Latin people. Start with that! examine it. Compare it with what the Romans thought about themselves (I myself think they were pIenty proud, but tended to attribute success to their culture and not to their natural proclivities -- they were quick to admire and to adopt cleverness found abroad).

      I've found, generally, in MP if a Western classical culture is uncritically praised or a non-Western culture is uncritically condemned, you can get a more nuanced view from the Guerber or Mills books or by a quick dip into Wkikpedia or the Great Courses Online/Wondrium. But even if you don't have time for that, you can take the opportunity to just talk about assumptions and train the child to at least identify the claims being made so that she can examine them thoughtfully. Does she think it is likely that the Latins were noticeably cleverer than their neighbors? Why or why not? Are people of her nationality cleverer than their neighbors? Why or why not?

      If you want to supplement this without too much trouble, you can simply assign her some other books to read. I like the Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome and the Julius Zebra books (which are fluffier) for supplements, and you could have the child read a chapter or two from Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World volume 1 throughout the year for a more well-rounded view. Add in, if you can afford it, a subscription to "Ask" science magazine (or check out old issues from your library, if possible) and assign free reads from the literature (and perhaps history & science) Well Trained Mind lists and you have a decent basis for adding analysis and depth without burning yourself out.

      Again: just my 2 cents. I will say that my children get a much better grounding in careful, analytical reading after discussing these issues than they would have if our curricula never presented them at all.
      Ana, mama to
      ds A, 15 yo
      ds N, 10 yo


        I have seen these skills you specifically mentioned (inferencing, predicting, analysis, application) in almost every guide starting in K. In the Enrichment guides for K read-alouds, students are predicting what will happen before the page is turned in a story. In Hubert's Hair-Raising Adventure, students are asked who the lion's friend really was...and who our greatest advocate/friend is (Jesus). Talk about application! One of my favorite questions from the K Enrichment guide was with The Ox-cart Man. It asks the student how you know the family was waiting up for the return of the dad/husband. That is deductive and inductive reasoning. The student has to look at the picture and connect from prior experience or knowledge that when you leave the light on, you're waiting up for someone to return. It is not mentioned anywhere in the text of the story, but it is a conclusion a student can draw from what s/he already knows. There are numerous examples of that from Kindergarten on.

        The core literature guides (if you chose the moderated track) are written for students one grade earlier. We did LWW, Heidi and Lassie in 4th. It was just right for my student's developmental abilities. The skills required in the guides gently ratchet up as the year progresses. There are ample discussion and enrichment (bonus, honors) activities in which students can apply the thematic elements they are beginning to explore. I think Heidi will provide more analysis you are looking for. Students are asked to agree/disagree with a character's actions and intentions and explain why (there's a pro/con question about how the townspeople treat Uncle Alp and another about Peter's actions on the mountain). Students analyze quotes, compare and contrast view points, connect setting and scenery with characters' moods, propose solutions to problems characters face, give opinions on characters and actions numerous times, and consider their own experiences where foresight averted misfortune. In Lassie, students are looking at the justice/injustice of a situation, exploring irony, virtue & vice, authorial intent, diction (why a certain word is chosen to describe a character/place), themes (of courage, poverty, hospitality). Students are asked to analyze their own sphere (just as an author writes considering his or her audience). There are countless ways these guides meet exactly what you're asking for.

        Again, I think the history (FMOR) is going to get there more slowly because it is used a grade prior. I do know that there is a rush in the public schools to push analysis and "higher order thinking skills." The inverted pyramid where creating, evaluating and analyzing is superior to applying, which is superior to understanding, which is superior to remembering isn't wrong, but MP has a deliberate path. MP really seems to luxuriate in the foundational skills so that when analysis comes, it is automatic, easy and based on a variety of facts, experiences, and skills.

        I wish someone from MP would chime in because this really needs to be addressed from the broader view of MP's educational philosophy. What the previous poster writes regarding the taunts and stereotypes people groups historically threw at one another, the bias of historical viewpoints, and such are skills much better addressed quickly so that the main goals can be met (people, places, dates). Having listened in on Mr. Warren's history class at Teacher Training, I know this is absolutely a goal that gets addressed, but it is at a high school level. I love how they go about it, but I'm not sure it's become part of every guide (nor do I know how early it gets incorporated).
        Mama to 2

        Spring start MP1
        Summer start 5A

        Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A, SC B, SC C,
        SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1



          You leave me little to say! Everything that you have said here is the MP philosophy. And you state it elegantly, so I'm not going to repeat it. I just want to reinforce it by saying that our study guides are written to specific age levels and do become more challenging and abstract as they go along. It was Cheryl Lowe's conviction that we could not waste time - time on task was a huge incentive to her to write curriculum that would make the best use of students' time. And that meant teaching to the level they were on. It's why our classical studies isn't chronological - she truly thought that ancient Rome was more age-appropriate for young students than ancient Greece. So you aren't going to see many abstract questions or discussion in the guides for young students. You are going to see a focus on reading comprehension and learning to find an answer in a book and get it written down as a good complete sentence. And I must say that I was just in a couple of our fourth and sixth grade classical studies classes this afternoon, and the discussions were great even though the questions were more black and white. They do lead to more higher level thinking because we have trained our students to think. It always warms my soul to walk down the hill from the MP office into the classrooms and see the results of what we are doing!

          Thank you for your eloquent words on this subject!