Of all the homeschooling approaches, what seems to have worked for us is a mixture of classical education (via The Well Trained Mind) and the living books approach (ala Sonlight Curriculum). Somehow, our homeschooling tended to be language arts focused. We always stuck to an intensive phonics type of curricula for beginning reading and spelling throughout elementary grades. We liked the old fashioned way of learning grammar with diagramming. The Charlotte Mason tools of copywork, dictation, and narration dominated our early writing lessons.
Since we had a love for words, reading (aloud by mom or child to self), more often than not, was the activity that took a chunk of our days. And what did we read? We read the Bible. We read history, science, literature, poetry, and fine arts. We followed the accounts of Moses’ calling in the light of the great Egyptian civilization and its beliefs. We examined the wonders of botany and astronomy as they confirmed that God created everything. We delighted in poetry to realize that they paled in their expression of truth when seen against the poetry in Scriptures. We appreciated the histories of art and music as they were used to express human talents to glorify the Creator and celebrate His Creation. We analyzed great works of literature written in the context of an historical period to learn that while writers grapple to understand their reality, God’s word has already given us answers to most of their questions.
That said, we applied a host of other homeschooling approaches in different areas of our learning. In math, we adhered to the better late than early philosophy. We implemented this by doing a more manipulative focused program in the earlier years (rather than exercises and drills) and then a more rigorous program around the fifth grade through high school. In our study of science we like to combine an immersion approach (studying one area at a time) with a more spiral approach to learning in different areas (using a spine book and several living books). We also enjoy a more hands-on type of schooling when we dabble with crafts, experiments, or projects in our history and science lessons.
The model of the trivium has influenced our study of languages (Latin, French), logic, and rhetoric. We also attempt to study history and related literature in four-year cycles (ancient, middle ages, renaissance, modern).
We have used computer based/CD based curricula for French, music theory/appreciation, and keyboarding. Foreign language learning, advanced writing, musical skills, theatre workshop and athletic endeavors are fields we have enlisted the help of tutors, coaches, online classes for.
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For more details on our journey: Our Homeschool Beginnings