This post continues the discussion of Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn along with the Classical Mamas Read group led by Amy at Living and Learning at Home.
Chapter 3 – Should Christians Prefer a Classroom School?
This is a continuation of a previous post discussing the Bluehorns’ first three problems with classroom schools. (I’ve left out two of the problems because those issues were not as meaningful to us.)
Problem 4: Classroom schools can be academically inferior in many cases simply because of the inefficiency of teaching identical material to multiples of children at different learning levels.
Problem 5: The age segregation of classroom school encourages peer groupings as the proper way of partitioning society.
These two problems get to the heart of our motivation behind homeschooling. We have two gifted children who have never fit into the mold of peer grouping. Yes, peer groupings place them in classrooms with others who are physically in the same stage of development, but that does not mean they are at the same place with regards to mental development. Brilliant B’s teacher flat out told me that she knows she leaves the upper end of the class without a challenge but that there is nothing she can do when she has to spend her time with the lower half of the class. In the end we accepted that truth and decided it was ultimately our responsibility to educate our children, and so we made the decision to remove them from that situation.
Problem 6: The gender mixing of classroom schools can create situations which are inappropriate.
The authors have a rather extreme view of how children of different genders should be allowed to interact. While I see their point, I can’t say I completely agree. However, I can say that my husband is thrilled our daughter now spends very little time with boys other than her brother. *wink* Where I can agree is with the research and my own experience that middle school and high school children of both genders focus and perform better in single sex classrooms where they are less subject to the pressures of impressing the other gender.
Problem 7: Time at school away from home, other after-school programs away from home, and schoolwork brought home from school – these all draw order and commitment to the school and away from family.
Problem 10: Resources are imprudently consumed.
Together these two problems make up our secondary reason for deciding to homeschool. Brilliant B has been getting more seriously involved in dance over the past year, and right now she wants to try to dance professionally in some capacity for at least a little while. That kind of dream requires a lot of dedication and time. She dances as part of a competition dance team and a ballet company, which means classes and rehearsals at a minimum of 5 days a week. With school, homework, and dance, we hardly spent any time with her at the beginning of the year. And this was just 4th grade! When she was home she resented all the “busywork”, and that’s really all it was for her. There were also a lot of other things she wanted to learn but could not because there was no more time in the schedule. Now there is time for Latin, Russian, computer programming, voice, or whatever else she wants to try. Plus, the whole family dynamic has changed for the better now that she is a more present part of the family. We are so excited that Legohead L will be having the same opportunities with us at home next year.