It's unsettling to me to think I am questioning what I thought was my "homeschool philosophy" or method. Yet, here I am wondering if the approach we've been using is going to work for the long haul. The long haul being through high school with most likely seven or more children. I still LOVE homeschooling. Lately it's been overwhelming though. I want my children to be filled with joy, but how can they be when the example in front of them day in and day out is often a crabby stressed out one? We had a great afternoon and really accomplished a lot. I did a fun Latin review game with Peter and Kate which involved candy- always a hit. And I really enjoyed doing science with the 3 oldest. Then Ella and Charlotte woke up and things just kind of slid down hill. At the table (without Pete here) Maddie dropped her entire plate of food- taco shell, sour cream, RICE! lettuce, and black beans all over the floor. I took a deep breath and asked her to pick it all up. I didn't even really care when I saw her eat rice off her foot- okay, maybe I cared a little bit. So after supper instead of having a calm clean up and get everyone ready for bed and cuddle on the couch with a book kind of time, we had a me yelling at them to hurry up and get their bedrooms picked and stop fighting and GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN while I mop up this disgusting mess kind of time. How does this have to do with homeschooling you may be asking? Well, we really like the Classical method (including being a part of a Classical Conversations community) and then try to add some of Charlotte Masons ideas. Classical education is typically rigorous and includes a lot of memorization. We appreciate and want to make the most of the "parrot" stage of our children in the early years. However, in a lot of ways I don't feel as though I do Classical education justice! I am just so busy with LIFE (like cleaning up dinner spills, changing diapers, giving baths to kids that are GROSS after even a short time outside, etc) that it is HARD to consistently read and recite in order to remember! And consistency is required if they are really truly going to memorize the information! Then there's the Charlotte Mason approach which seems to be completely the opposite- Charlotte is known as the "Mother of Homeschooling." She was a Christian, she loved children, and her life was devoted to both teaching young children and teaching others how to teach young children. She lived in England in the 1800's where she practiced her "gentle" approach to teaching. She believed in the importance of narration (having children tell back to you and/or write about what they read), nature study, short lessons, living books, liberal education.
So now I find myself trying to determine how exactly to combine the two. Or do I ditch one method all together? Or do I use one method for some students and another method for other students? And then what about the money invested in material that uses a certain method which I thought would be worth it because several children could use it????