Thursday, November 05, 2009

There IS Something Besides Classical

There is much good to say about some aspects of classical education. I question, however, the assertion that it is the only way to provide a truly Lutheran education. (Not many people are blunt enough to state this, though.)

When new homeschoolers join a Lutheran email list, they will usually introduce themselves and may say a bit about their homeschooling style or philosophy. I've noticed that the new classical-ed folks assume that the others onlist will be into classical ed too. I've noticed that the experts who speak or write on the topic of Lutheran classical education expect that Lutheran homeschoolers will be implementing a classical-education model. They seem surprised to discover that not everyone is attempting to be classical. When people meet me and learn that I've homeschooled all my kids, they assume that we've done all the classical ed things; people are surprised to find that we have not taught Latin, and that we don't teach formal grammar until high school.

Folks with other educational philosophies and models (unschoolers, unit-studiers, traditional textbook users, etc) do not expect to find that all other Lutheran homeschoolers share their viewpoint. Although not all classical-ed folks assume other homeschoolers will share their perspective, that assumption does seem to be confined to those who consider themselves classical. I wonder why that is?


  1. How come you don't teach formal grammar until high school?

  2. The kids end up learning about verbs and nouns, just from conversation and from playing MadLibs and other non-formal, non-academic ways of learning. They learn correct use of English by what they hear and what they read. By the time they're teenagers, we can sit down and work our way through Winston Grammar and Winston Advanced Grammar in about 6-8 weeks if we're in a hurry, or about 4 months if we're pokey about it.

    In so many subjects, you can spend months or years trying to teach something, and the child will make slow and steady progress. Or you can wait until he's older, teach it quickly, and he finishes the material at the same time he would've if he'd started at a younger age. It's like reading: by the time they're both age 10, the kid who learns to read at age 9 is all caught up with his friend who learned to read at age 4.

  3. We had the same success with learning grammar in high school. My second child did very little grammar studies until last year. When she sat for her college placement exam, she tested at honors English. I no longer worry about grammar until they are around 13-14. Why waste the time and energy?

  4. Susan, I don't know why either, but I've noticed the exact same phenomenon.

  5. My only comment on this is that I liked grammar before high school. ;-P But maybe that's because I was good at it and my grammar books also always incorporated writing into them. I didn't like diagramming at all... But I really liked learning about grammar and writing.

    Maybe I'm just weird, though...

  6. Also, the above is me, Nathan - I don't know why it signed my name like that. Stupid Google profile...