BlogHomeschoolingWhat is Classical Homeschooling: A Comprehensive Guide

What is Classical Homeschooling: A Comprehensive Guide

Looking for an education that goes beyond test scores and prepares your child for life? Classical homeschooling focuses on critical thinking, communication skills, and a lifelong love of learning.

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This educational approach has been gaining traction for a reason. It fosters a love of learning beyond textbooks, equipping students with the critical thinking and communication skills they’ll need to thrive in any future they choose. Let’s explore what classical homeschooling is all about!

What is Classical Homeschooling?

Classical homeschooling is an educational approach based on the idea that a strong foundation in core subjects like language arts, history, and logic is essential for developing critical thinking and communication skills. It borrows inspiration from the educational methods used in ancient Greece and Rome. In simpler terms, it focuses on teaching your child how to think, not just what to think.

Classical Homeschooling Curriculum

ven diagram of 3 principles
Source @vanguardclassical.org

The classical homeschool method hinges on a concept called the Trivium, which literally translates to “the three ways.”  This framework divides learning into three stages, each building upon the last to create a well-rounded classical homeschool education.

1. The Grammar Stage (K-4/5): Building the Blocks

Think of this stage as laying the foundation.  Here, your child focuses on memorization and mastering essential skills.  A classical homeschool curriculum will emphasize things like basic math operations, phonics, historical timelines, and geographical locations. It’s all about building a strong knowledge base for future learning.

2. The Logic Stage (4/5-8/9): Questioning & Reasoning

As your child enters the Logic Stage, the classical homeschool approach shifts gears.  Now, the focus is on critical thinking and analysis.  Your child will learn to ask questions, break down arguments, and form their own well-reasoned opinions.  This stage often involves delving deeper into historical events, exploring scientific concepts, and engaging in lively discussions.

3. The Rhetoric Stage (8/9-12+): Expressing Themselves

By the Rhetoric Stage, your child has a strong foundation of knowledge and critical thinking skills. Now, it’s time to hone their communication abilities.  A classical homeschool curriculum will emphasize persuasive writing, clear communication, and creative expression.  This stage might involve debating historical figures, analyzing classic literature, and crafting compelling arguments.

The beauty of the classical homeschool method is that these stages are not rigid.  Concepts and skills from earlier stages are revisited and deepened throughout the entire classical homeschool education.

How to Implement Classical Homeschooling

The beauty of classical homeschooling lies in its flexibility. Here’s a roadmap to get you started, but remember to tailor it to your child’s needs and your family’s learning style:

1. Choosing Your Curriculum

  • Explore popular classical homeschool curriculum options like SplashLearn, Memoria Press, Classical Academic Press, or even self-created options using resources like the Well-Trained Mind.
  • Consider your child’s age and learning stage (Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric) when selecting materials.
  • Many programs offer complete lesson plans and activities aligned with the Trivium.

2. Building Your Schedule

  • Dedicate time for core subjects like language arts, math, science, and history, following the sequence outlined in your chosen curriculum.
  • Weave in Classical Elements
  • Grammar Stage (K-4/5): Daily read-alouds of classic children’s literature, memorizing poems or historical timelines.
  • Logic Stage (4/5-8/9): Incorporate logic puzzles, debates on historical events, or critical thinking exercises related to science experiments.
  • Rhetoric Stage (8/9-12+): Encourage persuasive writing assignments, analyze classic literature through discussions and written analysis, participate in mock debates.
  • Allocate time for independent reading and exploration based on your child’s interests.

3. Finding Support

  • Utilize online resources like The Classical Education Podcast or The Institute for Classical Education.
  • Connect with local homeschooling groups or online communities focused on classical education.
  • Consider co-ops or online classes to supplement specific subjects or provide social interaction for your child.
  • Remember, this is just a starting point! As you embark on your classical homeschooling journey, find what works best for your family and adapt your approach.

Pros and Cons of Classical Homeschooling

ProsCons
Emphasis on core subjects like language arts, logic, and history builds a strong foundation for future learning.Creating and implementing a classical homeschool curriculum requires dedication and time management.
Encourages close collaboration and fosters a strong parent-child relationship.The vast amount of information and responsibility for “teaching everything” can be daunting.
Curriculum can be tailored to individual learning styles and interests.Homeschooling can feel isolating, and traditional school support systems might be missed.

Challenges & Solutions of Classical Homeschooling

Classical homeschooling offers a rewarding educational experience, but it’s not without its challenges. Here are some common hurdles you might face, along with solutions to help you navigate them:

1. Time Commitment

Creating a classical homeschool curriculum and juggling all the responsibilities can feel overwhelming.

Solution:

  • Plan and Prioritize: Map out a daily or weekly schedule that balances core subjects with classical elements. Focus on the most important tasks and adjust as needed.
  • Utilize Time-Saving Resources: There are many classical homeschool curriculum options that come with pre-made lesson plans and activities, freeing up your time for other aspects of your child’s education.

2. Feeling Overwhelmed

The vast amount of information and the responsibility of “teaching everything” can be daunting.

Solution:

  • Start Small: Don’t try to do it all at once. Begin with a few key subjects and gradually incorporate additional elements.
  • Break Down Tasks: Chunk down large projects into smaller, more manageable steps. This will make the process feel less overwhelming and help you stay focused.
  • Find a Mentor: Connect with experienced classical homeschooling parents or educators who can offer guidance and support. Utilize online resources like forums or communities to connect with others on this journey.

3. Lack of Support

Homeschooling can feel isolating, and you might miss the support system of a traditional school environment.

Solution:

  • Join Homeschooling Groups: Many communities have vibrant homeschooling groups dedicated to classical education. These groups offer opportunities to connect with other parents, share experiences, and participate in social events for your child.
  • Connect Online: There are numerous online communities and forums specifically for classical homeschoolers. These online spaces allow you to connect with others, ask questions, and find inspiration from other families.
  • Explore Co-ops: Consider joining a homeschooling co-op where families come together to share teaching responsibilities or participate in group classes. This can provide valuable support and social interaction for both you and your child.

Remember, the key is to find what works best for your family. Embrace the flexibility that classical homeschooling offers, and don’t be afraid to seek help and build a strong support network.

Is Classical Homeschooling Right for You?

Classical homeschooling can be a fantastic educational choice, but it’s important to consider if it aligns with your family’s needs and learning style. Here are some self-assessment questions to help you decide:

Learning Style

  • Do you enjoy in-depth discussions and exploring different viewpoints? Classical homeschooling emphasizes critical thinking and analysis, so a love of learning that goes beyond memorization is essential.
  • Are you comfortable with a curriculum that prioritizes strong foundational skills in language arts and logic? Building a solid base is crucial in classical homeschooling.
  • Do you value fostering a love of great literature and historical exploration? These are cornerstones of the classical approach.

Time Commitment

  • Are you prepared to dedicate time to planning and implementing a classical homeschool curriculum? While there are resources to save time, some level of commitment is necessary.
  • Are you comfortable with the flexibility that comes with homeschooling and the responsibility of managing your child’s education? Classical homeschooling allows for customization, but it requires organized planning.

Support System

  • Do you feel comfortable being your child’s primary educator? While there are resources available, classical homeschooling requires a strong parental role.
  • Are you open to building a support network with other homeschooling families or joining online communities? Having a network to share experiences and seek advice can be invaluable.

Family Fit

  • Does your family learning style mesh well with the interactive and discussion-based approach of classical education? Open communication and a love of learning are key.
  • Are you excited about the prospect of embarking on a learning journey together with your child? Classical homeschooling fosters a close relationship between parent and child.

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. However, by taking the time to reflect on your family’s needs and preferences, you’ll be in a better position to determine if classical homeschooling is the right fit for you.

Related Reading: Best and Helpful Homeschooling Resources for Parents

How SplashLearn Complements Your Classical Homeschooling Journey

Classical homeschool programs offer a rich and rewarding education, emphasizing critical thinking, strong foundational skills, and a love of learning. But even the most dedicated parent might need a little help when it comes to core subjects and fostering those essential early skills.

This is where SplashLearn can step in and become a valuable asset in your classical homeschooling toolbox. SplashLearn’s educational approach is built on engagement and interactivity. Through a library of fun and educational games, your child can practice and solidify essential concepts aligned with their current classical curriculum stage, while also developing crucial early skills.

Here’s how SplashLearn complements your classical homeschooling experience:

1. Reinforces Core Math & Reading Skills: SplashLearn’s adaptive learning platform personalizes the experience for your child, focusing on the specific skills they’re working on in their classical homeschool program, whether it’s math or reading.

  • Math: Whether it’s mastering basic operations in the Grammar Stage, tackling fractions in the Logic Stage, or exploring geometry in the Rhetoric Stage, SplashLearn provides engaging practice that makes learning fun aligning well with the classical math curriculum.
  • Reading: SplashLearn offers a range of activities that can support your child’s reading development throughout the Trivium stages. From building phonemic awareness in the Grammar Stage to honing comprehension skills in the Logic and Rhetoric Stages, SplashLearn complements your classical reading curriculum.

2. Develops Early Skills: SplashLearn goes beyond core subjects by incorporating games that focus on early skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and logic. These skills are fundamental to success in the classical homeschooling approach, and SplashLearn provides a fun and engaging way to develop them.

3. Frees Up Time for You: Juggling all the elements of a classical homeschool curriculum can be time-consuming. SplashLearn’s gamified approach allows your child to learn independently to some extent, freeing you up to focus on other important subjects like language arts, history, or in-depth discussions about classical literature.

Conclusion

Classical homeschooling could be a fantastic choice for families who want their child to develop strong thinking skills and a love of learning. If you’re looking for an educational approach that goes deeper than textbooks, it’s worth exploring! Check out the resources and see if classical homeschooling feels like the right fit for your family’s learning journey.

Related Reading: What is Traditional Homeschooling?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is classical homeschooling too challenging?

Classical homeschooling emphasizes a strong foundation in core subjects, but it’s adaptable to different learning styles and paces. Many curriculums offer flexibility within the Trivium stages, allowing you to adjust the difficulty to best suit your child’s needs.

How does socialization work in classical homeschooling?

Socialization is a concern for some parents considering homeschooling. However, there are many resources available! Homeschooling groups, co-ops, and online communities provide opportunities for your child to connect with other homeschooled kids and participate in social activities.

How can i track my child's progress in classical homeschooling?

Many classical homeschool curriculum options come with built-in assessments and progress tracking tools. Additionally, you can utilize standardized tests alongside informal assessments like projects, presentations, and discussions to gauge your child’s comprehension, critical thinking skills, and ability to apply knowledge, which goes beyond just memorization.

AUTHOR
Amy Gill
Amy Gill is a Contributing Editor at SplashLearn. As a former teacher, she likes to write about education reforms, edtech and how to make learning more fun for children.
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