Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Window into our School

Though I was a public school Literature teacher in my former life, I have chosen to home school my children. We use a quasi classical/unschooling approach. I read John Holt early in our adventure and his philosophies seemed reasonable and guided our early education. My insane sense of insecurity in the face of inquiring minds, led me to a more structured school for a year or two. Now, even though we read great books, use Saxon math, and study Latin, my grammar stage children have a bit less structure and more freedom to choose. We don't claim any special knowledge, but I still want to share some of what we are doing -- cool resources, good books, successes and failures. My children are 9 and 6.

This week we are finishing a study of the Civil War. We started this study early in the school year because: The Civil War is in modern history and that was the goal for the year; we are Southerners and are drowning in the ghosts of this war; and my son became obsessed with the rebel battle flag and I felt the need to intervene in a less emotional way than burning every drawing and telling him 20 times a day "That flag is hurtful to some we don't need to draw/display/obsess about it even though it is displayed frequently here." We read these books:
  • The Boys War
  • Across Five Aprils
  • Bull Run
  • d'Aulaire's Abraham Lincoln
  • The Red Badge of Courage
We memorized the Gettysburg Address and learned about the states who left the Union first and why. We also visited the Vicksburg Battlefield though we missed the reenactment they have nearby. We didn't leave out the movie Gone with the Wind either. As it turned out, we all - including the six year old - enjoyed the readings and came away from the study with the realization that war is not glory and that injustice did not end with the end of the war. The battle flag issue has been resolved or ,at least, he has stopped being conspicuous with the flag. He still says it is prettier than the American flag.

I would like to have some adult discussion about The Red Badge of Courage, so I may do that here. . . tomorrow.

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