Alright, you’ve brainstormed possible homeschool curriculum choices for the semester so now it’s time to think about how you are going to actually teach the three skills of the classical trivium. Like mine, your home can became a laboratory in experimentation as you try out various ways to teach the three skills of the classical trivium. Innovative, efficient learning can happen year round in your home; the potential for creative learning is only limited by your imagination and inspiration. No longer bound to certain methods, curriculum, or artificial structure, you are free to teach the three skills of language, critical thinking, and communication in ways that uniquely meet the needs of your family. A true classical Christian education is not a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all formula.
What are your respective strengths and weaknesses? Pull out the personal profiles that you created for you and your spouse on the “Is Classical Homeschooling Right for You?” page. Scroll down this page, and open the pdf file called “Strengths and Weaknesses” in the “connect” section. Using the personal profiles, examine each of your strengths and weaknesses so that you can thoughtfully and prayerfully divide the tasks of teaching the three skills of the classical trivium. Fill out the T-account like the example below:
What are your respective areas of expertise, interest, or special abilities? In Mark’s case, he knows a lot about math, economics, finance, and public speaking, and he enjoys exercising these abilities. Although he is skilled in literature and writing, he prefers to spend his free time doing something active instead of reading a book or writing in a journal. So, he would be better equipped (and happier) helping his wife in the areas of math and speech.
What outside help do you need? Perhaps there are some curricular activities that neither you nor your spouse can adequately teach, or you’d rather find an external authority to teach it for you. Options for supplementing the curriculum with outside experts are vast. You could hire a private tutor to teach or review math concepts, contract with an online academy to teach New Testament Greek, or share teaching responsibilities with other parents in a teaching co-operative for the science labs.
Finally, compile all of your work into a detailed action plan for the semester. Make a list of the skills that you are going to teach, the curriculum you’re going to use, and who will teach them. This can be as simple as a to-do list that you write on your child’s weekly calendar
To begin your discovery, complete the following “absorb, do, and connect” activities.
- Read The Lost Tools of Learning
- Read How Would Dorothy Sayers Teach the Trivium?
- Discover what NOT to do in John Taylor Gatto’s Six-Lesson Schoolteacher speech
- Watch How Do Kids Like to Learn? (4:49)
- Read Was the Apostle Paul Classically Educated?
- Discover How Other Homeschool Parents Teach in this example case study
- Make learning fun by thinking outside the box; consider Piano Stairs
- Use Amusements in Math to teach critical thinking skills
- Incorporate fun online games to learn about Nobel Prizes in medicine while improving thinking skills
- Watch Doodlers Unite and unlock your child’s brain (5:51)
- Complete the personal Strengths and Weaknesses for both spouses (pdf)
- Watch Become a Better Teacher by Adopting Seven Laws slideshow
- Draft the Weekly Action Plan (pdf)
- Plan a regular “Games Day” after reading Play Games to Improve Thinking Skills
- Investigate Alternative Learning Scenarios to supplement traditional teaching at home
Whew! Planning is such hard work; you’ve earned a well-deserved break! Now it’s time to sit back, and enjoy the fruits of your labor as the plans that you made result in increasing skills mastery. Come back to your personal Classical Makeover in about twelve to fifteen weeks when your homeschool semester is drawing to a close so that you can think about how real-life differs from the plan. Certain components of the semester plan will need tweaking, and you’ll add some new steps to improve skills and take away steps where skills mastery was demonstrated.