Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What is Eclectic Homeschooling ?

Eclectic - in ancient use, epithet of a class of philosophers who 'selected such doctrines as pleased them in every school'

Here's how it works in our house. After breakfast and morning jobs were done today, Lucy and Arwen sat down with their maths books. Just like school, only in the kitchen. That's us in school-at-home mode.

By the time they were done it was close to 10 and so we all sat in the lounge room, ate biscuits and watched 'Behind The News' on the ABC. I guess I'd call that relaxed school-at-home!

Time for a walk down to the shops to buy cardboard. The girls are working on posters, badges and flyers for their Teen Study group's mock election on Thursday. They've had a term of sewing, a term of geography and now are mid-way through a term of civics. Snowy joins in too, because I often run a related activity with all the younger brothers. Next week we're decorating a cake as the Australian flag, and that's called an excuse to eat cake....no, actually that's called our co-op learning.

When we got home, Snowy found his book bag but baulked at yet another reading lesson! So we compromised on some reading practice at Starfall (computer aided learning ?? ) followed by a couple of pages of mental maths and a handwriting page - back to school except comfier - yes, we were in the loungeroom again.

Then I put on my Charlotte Mason hat for a spot of narration. I read Snowy a page or two from our nature read-aloud 'Ellen the Echidna' He told the story back to me and I typed his narration. When it's finished I'll print it out and he can illustrate it.

Played a Lego game with Snowy as a reward for his hard work, brushed the guinea pigs, ate lunch, drank tea. Definitely the delight-driven part of our program!

Back to Charlotte for some living, twaddle free books - 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' for Snowy, a chapter of 'Eagle of the Ninth ' for the girls. It's a tale of Roman Britain and Snowy listened in. In the chapter I read today the hero, Marcus, entered an old, holy Place of Life - a barrow - to recover the Ninth's lost Eagle, captured by the tribe of the Epidaii.

Now Snowy is building a Lego game of his own based on the chapter complete with passage and cave and standards to be won, and if that isn't natural learning at play! I don't know what is.

Free time now for everyone, because tomorrow is busy with dance and choir and more dance rehearsals, taught not by me but by tutors...

Most days see a hint of Classical education in there as well, with chapters from 'Story of the World' being read and Latin lessons being done together. In the lounge room. ( I don't know why we bothered fussing about the children having desks. They are never used for study - too schooly - but I digress..)

Lucy is reading 'A Brief History of Montmaray' for teen book club in a few weeks time, and Arwen is nursing her aching limbs, bequeathed to her by a too-vigorous gym lesson yesterday.

Yes, I "choose what pleases me from every school". Nothing seems to me a perfect doctrine; so many things seem to offer something of worth.