Recently, we’ve been moving towards a classical education-based approach. Having spent the first six years of our home-educating journey following our son’s interests, we can see that he keeps coming back to Ancient Greece.
So we started to wonder about building on his extensive foundation in ancient history and mythology.
When I started looking into classical education, I discovered that the seven ‘liberal arts’ subjects happen to be all the kind of things that our son tends to gravitate towards anyway – science, philosophy, mathematical arts, history, literature, language and art.
(During this exploratory phase, I was particularly struck by the clip of David Foster Wallace speaking in this video. I also found Caroline Taggart’s book A Classical Education useful, and the first few chapters of Anthony Esolen’s Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child inspiring).
So far, using these seven areas as a guiding framework is helping me to offer exposure to things that we wouldn’t otherwise stumble across.
This approach seems to suit us as a family, as it supports a number of things that feel important in our home-educating life: richness, choice, whole-to-part learning, and intellectual stretch.
And most importantly, the freedom to be curious. Not just for our son, but for me too: it’s allowing me to follow threads of learning that I never got to explore at school (for example, I have a degree in Literature, but never covered any of the Ancient Greek classics).
As ever, I’m drawing from a wide range of sources (mostly free resources I find online). These resources in particular are ones we’re finding helpful at the moment:
‘Grammar for Grownups’ book by Katherine Fry & Rowena Kirton
OpenLearn courses (currently we’re following ‘Getting Started on Ancient Greek’ and ‘Introducing Homer’s Iliad’).
The Wooden Books series, for lots of subjects – https://woodenbooks.com/index.php
For history – World History Encyclopedia https://www.worldhistory.org/index/
Youtube – for all the fascinating documentaries about the lives of Greek philosophers and scientists, recordings of dramatic performances and informational videos etc
When our son hit ‘secondary school age‘, it did make us have a think about what we would be doing instead – for now, it seems we’ll be staying in the ancient world a bit longer…