Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ludus Sanae Mentis

I remember finding this site when I first surfed on the internet about seven years ago now.
In Homeschooling from Birth, NS Gill writes:

Most of the year we go along using a relaxed schedule in which my son is free to work on his games, playing, and reading, interrupted for only a couple of hours to deal with schooly stuff and intermittently for chores. However, there are at least two months when we go through intense work. One is in April as we prepare for the annual test. Minnesota homeschoolers are required by law to take a nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement test each year. If their performance is below the thirtieth percentile, the parent is required to seek further evaluation. When my son was to take his first test, I worried because he couldn't read. I explained this to Tom Murray, the Minneapolis Public School's homeschool liaison, who said it sounded as though I'd already provided evaluation, so not to worry. Except for that month each year, the test seems so remote that I can't remember if my son ever actually scored below the thirtieth percentile.
BLANK The other month is in the fall--probably a residue of my own schooling. Anyway, I feel excited enough then to tackle new subjects in depth, The first official year we combined learning about frogs with starting a support group. Last year we tackled Ancient Egypt, reading Eloise Jarvis McGraw's The Golden Goblet and all the books we could find in the children's library on Egypt until the information became hopelessly repetitive. As a related project we studied geometry.
BLANK Teaching one child intensively for a month can cover what a traditional school does in a year. A month is also a short enough period that I don't feel terribly guilty about cramming information into my son without his full consent. I believe, with Thomas Jefferson that an education, particularly in history (my usual focus), is essential for an informed electorate. Creating a responsible, self-sufficient, happy citizen is what I hope our home education is all about.
Hmm, this fall month thing sounds like a possibility to ponder. Also see Tidal Homeschooling for a different version of the same concept. I have to figure out where to go from our fall "sabbatical". The next step is to figure out how unschooling can fit in with classical education, if indeed it can. So many people seem to think it can't.

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