I’ve known I wanted to homeschool my kids since I was 16 years old. I’d attended a Montessori school, a public school and a Christian school before leaving the Christian school to be homeschooled that year, and I just knew being home was what I wanted for my own kids. I wanted the flexibility of homeschooling, the privilege of being the one to teach them something new, and the ability to go deeper into their studies than you can in traditional school settings.
Fortunately, I married someone who agreed to my crazy plan.
A year after we got married, I started a home daycare. At that time, I began researching homeschool curriculum, as much for the daycare as for our future (at the time, imaginary) kids.
As I learned more about different philosophies and curricula, I fell in love with Sonlight and their literature-based philosophy. I loved the focus on history, the rich book lists that became the foundation for each “core” and the curriculum’s willingness to take on hard topics.
But at the same time, I knew I was looking for something more, although I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. Several years later, I began researching classical education, and something clicked.
I read The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise, and it just made sense.
Later, I learned about the Classical Conversations program, and I knew in my heart that it was the right program for us. At the time, our oldest was too young to think about a formal program, but when we began looking for a homeschool co-op for this year, I researched Classical Conversations again and loved everything I found. The Core by Leigh Bortins, the founder of Classical Conversations, is another resource that has had an incredible impact on the way we view education and do school.
Creating Our Own Program
What I love most is how easily I’m able to combine Classical Conversations and Sonlight, for classical education and literature-based curriculum really do go hand-in-hand.
Case in point: As part of our Classical Conversations program, we memorize the Veritas Press timeline cards, which start with Creation and the Fall in the Garden and progress to the Unification of Upper and Lower Egypt by Pharaoh Menes, the Code of Hammurabi and so on. For now, Classical Conversations’ focus is on simply memorizing the information; studying and understanding it more fully will come later as we repeat the cycle every three years.
But Peace Hill Press was kind enough to send me the Story of the World MP3s, which I have been drooling over for months, knowing that they’re held in high esteem by both Classical Conversations and Sonlight and knowing how much our oldest daughter loves audio stories, and as we listened to the first 10 chapters, her eyes lit up every time she recognized a name or term from our timeline cards.
She’s absorbing the context for our timeline cards through the Story of the World, and earlier this week, she said to me, “Mom, the Egyptians in Lower Egypt were actually in the north and the Egyptians in Upper Egypt were actually in the south.” (It’s true — the terms Upper and Lower referred to the flow of the Nile from the highlands in East Africa to the Mediterranean Sea in the north.)
For our family, classical education blends our desire for our kids to have a high quality education with our hope that they’ll learn to ask questions and develop critical thinking skills that will provide a foundation for life.
Whether you’re committed to classical education already or just exploring your options, Peace Hill Press provides tons of the resources for homeschoolers, including the Story of the World sets, language art programs and curriculum bundles!
Free Printable Planner
I’ve mentioned before that I use a BusyBodyBook for my homeschool planning and record keeping. I love that I can plan each subject in its own column with daily assignments and make notes about books or supplies we need on the opposite page. Joan from BusyBodyBook and I worked together to make this free printable planner available so you can give this system a try!
Are you a homeschooler? What curriculum do you use?