Willa, one of my favorite bloggers and favorite people in general, pointed her readers toward this post at Dumb Ox Academy the other day. Faith's blog is new to me, but I like her already. It appears we have a lot in common; like me, Faith sees good sense in both traditional classical education and unschooling. Faith writes:
I am drawn to two dissimiliar methods of home educating my kiddos. One is the structured, rigorous and time-tested method of classical schooling, complete with chanting declensions, and in depth analysis of ancient classics. The other is unschooling, following one’s bliss and trusting in the Lord to provide the pilgrim with everything he needs.
Now, I would characterize unschooling a bit differently, since my vision of "natural learning" involves a good deal of behind-the-scenes path-strewing on the part of mom and dad; and from what I'm seeing on Faith's excellent blog, I get the impression she works this way too. This post goes on to share a terrific idea for using the fridge as an "unschooling bulletin board":
So far the categories I have come up with are: Quote of the Week, Latin Phrase of the Week, Root Word of the week, Spelling Rule of the Week, and Math of the Week. I showed them to the kids at lunch time (I was very busy setting it up yesterday morning and they were getting curious about what I was doing!). So I showed them each category. My 11 yo immediately said, “get me a pencil and paper!” And then got some himself and wrote E=MC(squared) and posted it up. I’d forgotten science! And apparently when he and his dad were attending a baseball game on Sunday, dh had explained Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to him.
Read the rest of the post to see what Faith has chosen for her first week of Fridgeschooling. She promises to share each week's selections on her new "On the Fridge" page. I love her first Quote of the Week. It's from A Thomas Jefferson Education, a book I found useful and interesting, living as we do in Mr. Jefferson's backyard. (And I have just remembered with a terrible pang that I promised to send my copy to a friend ages ago. Cindy, I'm so sorry, do you still want it? Mea culpa.) Like Andrew Campbell's superb new book, The Latin-Centered Curriculum, Oliver van DeMille's A Thomas Jefferson Education makes a case for an education steeped in the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, with the parent serving as mentor, accompanying the student through the deep, unrushed study of a few key works. Multum non multa, as Campbell puts it: "Not many, but much."
Willa herself has written several thoughtful and eloquent posts exploring the seeming oxymoron of "classical unschooling." My own explanation of the concept is that classical ed informs the what, the content, and unschooling describes the how.