Friday, January 24, 2014

Should Christians Prefer a Classroom School? Teaching the Trivium Ch. 3

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This post contains an affiliate link to the book that we are going through.

Welcome to the third week of the Teaching the Trivium book club!  I am so excited to read and discuss this book along with you.  I loved the discussion last week and would love to hear from more of you! This is the last week of the more general homeschool defense and next week we will dive into what classical homeschooling is!

Chapter 3 - Should Christians Prefer a Classroom School?

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  Ephesians 6:4 (ESV)

 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.  Colossians 3:21 (ESV)

This chapter is all about why the home is more conducive to the Biblical method of raising children than a classroom setting is.  The Bluedorns argue that a classroom setting puts children in an environment that is more like a factory, which is not how children are designed to learn.

"Fathers are to nurture their children to full maturity, not drive them there."  (pg. 63)  This is a good reminder for me!  I know this in my head, but I am such a "get-it-done" kind of girl that it is easy for me to just want to push onward and upward.  A nurturing spirit is something that I need to be consciously working on!

Problems with Classroom Schools

The bulk of the rest of the chapter is devoted to discussing ten problems with classroom schools.  I'll comment on some of the problems that resonate with me.

Time away from family.  When a child is away at school (public or private) it inevitably means that they are spending a large amount of time with other people.  Personally, I have a hard time with the idea of my children being away from me more waking hours in the day then they are with me.  I am not saying that it is easy to be with my children all day.  I am an introvert and would have a hard time being with any person all day, but I know it is still good for me and for them.  I heartily agree with this quote from page 65:

We parents need the sanctification which comes from teaching our children, and our children need the same from us.

Exposed to things before they are ready.   When your children are away from you for any amount of time, you don't know what they are being exposed to.  First of all, I think that children are exposed to way too much at an early age than is healthy for them.  I want to help keep this from happening.  Second, I have no problem with kids being exposed to things (when they are ready), but I want to be there to help them think through it.  Young children do not have the maturity to come to good conclusions and I don't want to force my kids to make decisions they are not ready to make.

It is the job of the parents to instruct them and to test them in controlled situations, not simply sprinkle them with a few choice words of advice, then immerse them in an adverse world.  (pg. 67)

"Boys and girls from different families should only mix together in controlled environments fully under the authority of their parents."  (pg.68)

The above quote is one of the reasons the Bluedorns give against a classroom setting.  I completely understand what they are getting at.  I also know that it is a position that would be looked at as antiquated and possibly extreme.  What do you think?  Are you careful about your children spending time with children of the opposite gender?  My kids are 3 and 5 years old, and so far I have not let them be with other children when I'm not around, but I know that this would get harder as they get older.  Do you think this is a concern or is it not something you are worried about?

Some Questions

The last few pages of the chapter are spent answering common questions that people have about homeschooling.  I am blessed to have many supportive people around me who are happy that we are homeschooling.  Even so, I've heard my share of questions about homeschooling.  Sometimes I even have questions of my own!

What questions have your heard (or have you thought yourself) about homeschooling?

Can parents handle classical education? (pg. 75)

If we parents value a classical education for our children, why should we not value it for ourselves as well?  Just because we did not learn these things in our youth does not mean that we should not learn them now.

Our child doesn't want to homeschool. (pg 76)

Children don't know what's best for them - that's why God placed them into the care of parents...God bless those wise parents who make their children do things which children do not want to do.

I love both of those quotes!  I love the idea of teaching my children, but I am just as excited about learning everything for myself.  I think I had a good education, but honestly I don't remember many things.  Learning and understanding things better is something I am looking forward to as the years go on.

Many more points and questions are discussed in the chapter.  I have only highlighted some subjects that really stuck out to me.

What did you think of this chapter?  Any comments on the parts that I highlighted?  Any different parts stick out to you?  Some of these issues are not so popular to talk about, but I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Leave comments here on the blog post, or share about it on social media (#ClassicalMamasRead).  I'll be sharing too, so follow me on facebook, twitter, or google+ and we can chat about it there as well!  Don't forget, if you want to share your thoughts about Teaching the Trivium on your own blog, link it up below so we can all come and visit!

Next week we will be talking about chapter four of Teaching the Trivium.  If you haven't gotten your own copy yet, make sure you check your library or order one soon so you can be ready for next time!  Also, this is a 600+ page book, so I am only touching on certain points of each chapter.  There is so much great information that I am not covering, so if this discussion interests you, you are going to want to make sure to pick up your own copy so you can read more!

Classical Mamas Read Link-Up

Did you write about Teaching the Trivium on your blog?  Have you been reading and blogging about another book (for you, not a children's book)?  Do you have a book club going on at your blog (once again, not for a children's book)?  I'd love for you link up here so we can all be encouraged by each other and maybe find another great book to read!

I think I'm going to keep this link-up ongoing since there aren't going to be a huge number of posts and then anyone new will be able to be encouraged by the other book reading ideas and discussions.  If the number of posts gets too large, I will fix it.

Please note, all posts must be on topic (about a book you are reading) and appropriate (think family friendly).

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  1. I really enjoyed this chapter, and you commented on what I thought were some of the more interesting parts as well. I can say that the time away from family part was something I did not take note of until recently. With my daughter being at school all day, at dance almost every day after school, and working on homework when she was actually home and awake, I felt like she was missing out on being a part of the family. Our relationship with her was not as strong as it had once been. All that has changed in the few months that we have been homeschooling her, and it has been amazing and wonderful. A true blessing.

    I am horrified by the things that children are exposed to at such young ages now. Yes, that stuff is out there, but can't we let them just enjoy being children for the little time that they have to do so?

    Like you, I am a little torn by the point about separating children by gender…especially when they just finished saying that peer grouping is bad. Well, gender grouping does not happen in the real world either. The flavor of the argument is a little extreme for my personal taste. However, research shows that in middle and high school students perform better when the genders are separated. Boys are not being stupid trying to impress girls. Girls are not hiding their intelligence because they are afraid to look too smart in front of the boys. The hormonal drama is removed from the classroom (well, a chunk of it).

    I also particularly liked the comment about the peer grouping of the classroom setting not being a realistic life scenario and how it reduces academic rigor. The insistence on age grouping to the detriment of the academic development of the student. This ended up being our top reason for finally choosing to homeschool.

    1. Thanks for sharing your perspective of the time factor being that you have experienced both sides. My kids have not been away for school and I don't remember feeling one way or the other back when I was in school. I know that I really never did anything with my brother, though and I'm sure the lack of family time played into that.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the gender separation. That is definitely a tricky subject to think through!

      So, the school your daughter was going to was making her stay in her grade even though academically she would have done better in another class? I know growing up, we had whole classes of advanced kids, but we were still all the same age. I guess the size of your school determines whether you can accommodate for different levels, but it really still doesn't do anything for the issue we are talking about here =)

      Thanks for reading along! Hope to hear from you again tomorrow!

  2. I'm behind a little, but wanted to chime in here about Chapter 3. P. 70 talks about the 8th problem with the classroom, that being the contrast between "tutorial-discipleship model and the teacher - classroom model." As a classroom teacher, I wasn't able to invest as much as I am able as a homeschooling mom in discipling these three children God set in my life. They receive plenty of tutoring from the Daddy and others in family and church, but "I'm commanded by God to tell the next generation of His faithfulness. That's all mentoring is." (The quote I found from a Dayspring inRL meeting stated by Roseanne Coleman. I consistently aim to mentor, tutor and invest.

    1. Thanks for chiming in! No problem being late. I don't mind going back and talking about previous chapters, so jump in whenever and wherever you want to!

      Great insight on that 8th point. I don't think that anyone (even proponents of classroom schools) could deny that large class sizes are less effective than small tutoring being even more effective! You are right, as much as a teacher wants to be there for her students, she is limited.

      You mentioned a great word there: discipling. Homeschooling is so much more than just imparting information (educating/teaching). As parents we have a greater responsibility and a stronger desire to help our children grow in every aspect of their lives and homeschooling gives us a great venue to do that!

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and experience!


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