As many of you know, last year our youngest graduated from homeschool high school. I’ve been slowly re-adjusting how I spend my time and thinking about what to do in this next stage of life. As I’ve been adjusting to more quiet around the house, and actually having silence while I fold clothes or weed the garden, I’m becoming increasingly aware that I don’t know how to think well. It’s kind of alarming. (What do YOU think about when you are doing mundane tasks? For me, it’s usually people, problems, or what I have to do next.) I love what Elanor Roosevelt once said,
Great Minds Discuss Ideas. Average Minds Discuss Events. Small Minds Discuss People.Eleanor Roosevelt
I want a great mind to discuss ideas. Over the last 20 some years, I’ve been thinking about how to keep everyone fed, how to get to appointments and activities on time, and keep boys in shoes. Managing chaos is something I’m used to. But thinking clearly about things? Not so much. What am I supposed to think about? And the bigger question, HOW do I think about these things? I don’t know. So that usually means I resort to NOT thinking… scrolling online, looking up unimportant information, or watching something mindless or entertaining. Then the cycle just repeats. And I keep thinking there’s something huge here I’m missing. How am I to love the Lord with all my mind when my mind is soft, mushy, and used to just running on damage control for years?
I did start a homeschool history course as one of my goals this year. But while plodding through Grant’s Personal Memoirs (he’s talking about ranks in the military, locations I’m unfamiliar with, and military terms I just don’t understand), I asked myself, “Why am I reading this? What am I hoping to get from it? Is it just so I can say I’ve read it? Is it just for bragging rights so I feel smart saying I read it? What’s the point of that?” I started this course because I’m weak on history, but the deeper reason is I really want to learn how to think.
Plus, one of the ministries I’m involved in is our local Apologetics ministry. I love how understanding and defending your faith requires you to understand deeply, think clearly, and communicate graciously. I get to see brilliant people do this every time we meet together. But it’s also frustrating because they all seem to have this secret gift that I didn’t get. Is it hopeless? Was my education so poor there’s no hope now? (I doubt that.) But what do I do?
I went back to our beginnings of homeschool where I first heard about different ways of learning and schooling. I pulled up blogs like this and this and podcasts of smart homeschoolers I used to listen to and one of those is the Schole Sisters Podcast. It’s a podcast all about Classical Education, which is what I really wanted to do with my boys, but reality dictated that I had to go with a more simple approach if we were going to survive this late in the game. (I did get to dip my toes into Classical Education-ish schooling with my youngest, but learning how to do an entirely different way of school –my husband and I were both brought up in the public school– while actually doing school was too much at the time.)
After listening to a few of the newest episodes (and their 100th episode book bash) I fell in love (again) with how they think and what they do and, honestly, I was kind of a teeny bit envious that they were doing homeschool how I always wanted to, but never actually did. But instead of being sad and wishing life would have been different for us, it occurred to me that I actually could do this, and I had a willing student at home and ready to go… ME! The book bash episode directed me to a couple more episodes with a mom who was schooling herself while homeschooling her kids (10 of them!) and another with the writer of a bunch of homeschool history books that we had used as part of our homeschool but I had never actually read myself.
So as usual for me, one thing led to an Amazon purchase and I now have this book coming home to me.
I will read through this and see if it really is hopeless for me, or not. Maybe I’m crazy, maybe life will dramatically change and I won’t be able to do it, but for now I’m willing to try. Have any of you dove into classical education? Have you continued your own education by yourself? Have you read this book? I’d love to hear about it.