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Mama Education...

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    Mama Education...

    Hi Ladies! Not sure if this is the place to ask, but does anyone have suggestions for educating OURSELVES classically? Starting at the very beginning? Is it good enough to just keep a bit ahead of our kiddos? Is there a good reading list, or video series? Or a place for moms to share and discuss what they’re learning?

    I remember feeling that I had missed so much about literature and history when I homeschooled my girls years ago, even though I was a good student myself in school and college. I often felt I was learning alongside them. It would be helpful to absorb some truth, beauty, and goodness this time around, so that it flows out to my boys more easily!

    It helps to understand first that you cannot "learn it all." The more we know, the more we realize how much we do not know!

    Initially this might be frustrating, but it is really freeing. You can begin where you would like to begin!

    Would you like to learn Latin? Work through the course your little ones will first study. Not only will you be ahead of them, but you will see the bigger vision when the time comes to teach them Latin. The very act of devoting yourself to your own disciplined learning will make you a stronger teacher.

    Perhaps you would prefer to begin with literature. Choose from any of MP's carefully chosen selections. Begin with anything 5th grade and up. You can read only the novel or purchase a Lit Guide for yourself and write (or think through) the answers as you go. If you can start a "book club" with your husband or a local friend, so much the better.

    You can make subtle changes within your home: Change some decorative items for more artistic selections. Look at your home with an eye to creating beauty and order with natural light. Replace plastic bins and toys with well-crafted wood. Listen to accessible classical music on the weekends, rather than the clatter of television or talk radio. Ask your husband to read aloud a poem every Saturday afternoon from Poetry in the Grammar Stage. By the time your boys arrive there, you will have memorized the works as a family. All of it matters, so you can begin anywhere!

    An easy "course" of reading material comes to your mailbox via the Classical Teacher and Simply Classical Journal. Not only will the content inform and encourage you, but your children will benefit from seeing you read these cover to cover. These articles commend their very education! Without comprehending what it all means, they will know that this is important to you and your husband in an integrated, essential way.

    Others may have more systematic or personal suggestions for you. I commend your question! I love this from Quintilian:

    "I wish the parents to be as highly educated as possible. I do not mean only the fathers."

    In the early twentieth century, Dorothy Sayers gave birth to the modern classical education movement in a much-quoted speech at Oxford in which she cast the abstract concepts of the liberal arts of grammar, logic, and rhetoric as stages of learning. These three stages have given structure and clarity to the long and somewhat inscrutable [...]


      "The Great Tradition" is a wonderful anthology of selections about what it means to be "educated." Now that I no longer have real "littles" at home, I am hoping to read through it myself. They are meaty indeed, but perhaps a little less intimidating than an entire book by Plato?

      A video series that our entire family enjoys is Kenneth Clark's "Civilisation." I believe the individual episodes are accessible on YouTube, but we loved them so much, we bought the series on DVD. They are filled with beautiful artwork, accompanying music from each era, along with notes by Clark about historical events and writings. Created in 1969, it may look a bit dated, but worth the time.

      I am also working though "First Form Latin" with my older daughters. We watch the videos together and do the exercises without the Answer Key. They seem to appreciate the camaraderie of Mom struggling through declensions, too, and I feel reassured to model life-long learning. A "win-win!"

      Laura H.

      DD: 14, special-needs (modified 7M Core)
      DD: 11
      DD: 6
      DD: 6


        Thank you, Cheryl! Those are great suggestions and a good place to start! It is definitely true that “the more we know, the more we realize how much we do not know.”


          And thank you, Laura! I didn’t see your comment until after I posted! That book looks interesting, and I will check out those videos!


            At MP teacher training, the best advice I heard was to teach a grade above and a grade below what you're teaching so you can both draw from what the student has read in the past and connect it to what they are reading now and will read in the future. This advice was for teachers using MP in a classroom, but it made perfect sense. So many of us homeschool moms either haven't read these classic children's stories or it's been 25 years+ since we've read them. This does put an undue burden on moms with many littles, but I only have two, and we deliberately simplified this year to get me to a place where self education is possible. This winter, I read through and learned all the vocab & grammar forms from LC, which my eldest starts this fall. I also have gotten many books on CD of her lit selections to listen to while I set up my classroom this summer. I jot down thoughts and connections I'm making on post-its and will put them in the TM so I don't have to read it again with her next year. We also went back and bought/read all the read alouds from preschool on, even though we started in MP2, doing a summer intensive of MP1 lit and read alouds. We have drawn upon many of these stories when it comes to thematic discussions.

            I'm almost finished reading Victor Davis Hanson's The Father of Us All. It's a book on warfare throughout ancient history up to the modern era. Hanson is a Classics professor at Stanford and lectures frequently at Hillsdale (another great resource for Classical ideas). The book has given me an interesting idea of Greek warfare and battle ideals. He quotes readily from Thucydides, Socrates (Plato), Homer and Virgil to tie together the historical and geographical context in which these real wars were fought. Fascinating read!

            Hillsdale College offers free online courses, many of which are popping up on YouTube. On their .edu website they have many pdfs of the assigned readings, from Plato to C. S. Lewis. The History of K-12 Education was eye opening! Read the assigned texts and watch your understanding explode! The Intro to Aristotle's Ethics has been very good, too. Hubby and I also took the Intro to the US Constitution course together. Wow! Our country draws so heavily from Greek and Judeo-Christian thought. We recently finished the WWII course by Victor Davis Hanson, and we feel so deceived by the media and public school upbringing. So much detail and thought put into that (with plenty of world history to explain how we even got into that mess).

            I have found some really great videos on YouTube that are helping me understand events from ancient history.

            Events from Illiad/Odyssey explained via archaeology of Troy:

            By the way, Penn Museum is an amazing museum to visit if you can. Greek, Roman and Egyptian artifacts aside, they have one of the few archaeological exhibits on the people of the land of Canaan. Walking through was confirmation of the horrors the Bible speaks to about the idol worship and human/child sacrifice these people groups embodied. It also has plenty of simple pottery, but it's worth going to see that these aren't just "stories" people made up. The idolatry was real and damaging.

            Some Protestant Church History Videos
            Greek influences
            Roman influences

            My final note would be to go to art museums and historical sites all across the nation. Embedded into almost every historical house or building (at our nation's capital and along the east coast from South Carolina to Boston, MA) is a reference to the Judeo-Christian God and Greek or Roman symbolism. It's left out of the current discussion of our founding father's, yet it's evident in all you see. Plus, it supports these homes and sites which rely on tax dollars to maintain and preserve history. Just yesterday we were at an art museum looking at The Three Sisters by Laurent. My daughter was able to see from the description that hard work and studies keep you out of trouble. We're co-opting this painting as our theme for next year.
            Last edited by Michael; 06-12-2019, 12:37 PM.
            Mama to 2, Married 17 years

            SY 19/20
            DD 8-3A
            DS 5-SC C


              Thank you, Enbateau! I will definitely check out all those resources! I just headed over to Hillsdale College, saw how many Constitution and American government courses they offered, and excitedly told my husband (a Constitution and American government geek). He already knew about Hillsdale! 😂 And has been a while since I’ve read many of the children’s classics... I’m excited to have a chance to read them again.


                I think my post was too long! I had even more. LOL

                My final thought is about living a life where you value the Classical arts by visiting fine art and historical museums or homes. I take my kids early and often because it tells them that of all the free hours the Lord has given me in each day, I choose to spend some admiring what is truly beautiful past and present. For our family, it's important to patronize American history sites where godly men and women worked or lived. Penn Museum in Philadelphia has an amazing archaeological exhibit on the people of Canaan that lends credence to the validity of scripture. It also has Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Middle Eastern exhibits that are world famous.

                My son has a terrible inability to be anywhere he doesn't want to be, but little by little we're inoculating him with micro visits to art museums that are short and engaging. VMFA Richmond has interactive hands-on exhibits for kids where they can design their own Faberge egg or have Russian Folk Tales (hello, MP3 Firebird) read to them.
                Mama to 2, Married 17 years

                SY 19/20
                DD 8-3A
                DS 5-SC C


                  Originally posted by enbateau View Post
                  I think my post was too long! I had even more. LOL
                  I checked your previous post, and the forum really did "eat" part of it. I'm so sorry! There is good news at least. I was able to restore that post to what you originally wrote.

                  Memoria Press


                    I absolutely agree with that last thought, Enbateau! We did historic reenacting and participated in living history events with our girls, and they literally grew up in museums! We’ve taken the boys to Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown several times already, and our oldest son keeps asking when we’re going again. ❤️ The two year-old likes anywhere he can run loose, so museums are quite an experience with him. 😜 But we keep trying!