The classical tradition does not see itself as a new thing, but as part of the stream of Western civilization that started in Greece, grew in the middle ages, has suffered much recently, but still exists, particularly if we educate our children in its gifts and blessings and warnings. It is the culture of a people who sought truth, of a people then who met Truth, of a people who tried – though messily and often wrongly – to make truth the basis of their state and kingdoms, and always of a people who wanted truth more than anything else.
Yet another definition of education, fully in line with so many others: Knowing Truth + conforming ourselves to Truth = wisdom. It has been said in a variety of ways by a variety of people, but that is the essence of a classical education.
Education that aims at anything less than soul-formation aims too low.
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Simple Sanity Saver: Math-U-See Tips
I am so glad that when my oldest was 4 or 5, I had two real-life friends rave about Math-U-See. Not only did they rave, but one of them sat me down and had me watch the “adding 9s” lesson. I was sold then and there.
Perhaps part of the reason I like Math-U-See is that it is pretty much the opposite of Saxon, and I hated Saxon as a homeschooled student. MUS has short lessons, focuses on mastery, and uses manipulatives to teach, even in 5th & 6th & 7th grade, making math very concrete. MUS also has no instruction in the student text, instead parent & student are supposed to view the DVD instruction together and the teacher’s manual gives suggestions for teaching the concept to the student (without a script).
I appreciate and value the mastery approach of Math-U-See, and they emphasize knowing the facts perfectly before moving on. However, if they don’t use them, they lose them, and knowing the facts isn’t the same as being able to do them quickly.
So we add drill practice to our daily math routine, at least for the elementary students. I use both xtramath.org (love it!) and Calculadder. We’ve also added times table chanting to Morning Time before because those facts needed review.
No matter what program you’re using, we as the homeschool mom need to be alert and wise in applying it and adding in supplements or taking a break or pausing to review based on what each child needs to make progress.
When I see a specific skill needs to be reviewed, we take a break from the current lesson and go back to practicing the foundational skill that is causing the errors – yes, sometimes that’s even meant practicing number formation because 4s look like 9s or 6s look like 0s.
This approach does require teacher awareness and involvement. Welcome to homeschooling – we signed up for this gig.