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What should I call this…

July 17, 2008

Teaching the Teacher. . .The Education of Me. . . Self-Education. . . or my personal favorite:

Educating the Idiot.

That would be me.  There’s a t-shirt that says, “Your village called–their idiot is missing,” and somedays I just feel like that missing idiot.  Somedays, like quite recently, while thumbing through our 2nd grade history curriculum.  I know I’ve mentioned quite a few times how much I learned in first grade this past year, but I felt like I at least had some familiarity with the ancient civilizations to start with.  This year, I’m not nearly so lucky.  I’ve identified a whole body of missing knowledge, it’s called the Middle Ages which brings to mind castles, knights, King Arthur, and that’s pretty much it.  I literally know nothing about the Byzantines, Skandagupta, the rise of Islam, the Ottomans, the Samurai, and the list could go on.  I’ve never read Beowulf or the Canterbury Tales.  And history is one of my favorite subjects!  Let’s not talk about some of those other subjects.

I know I’ll learn a whole lot along with the boys this year just as I did last year, but I have this nagging feeling on occasion that I’m missing the big picture and that if I knew even just a little bit more than my students, we’d get along much better, have better discussions, know where best to spend our time, and so on.

This post has been rattling around in my brain for several weeks now and when I saw Paige’s “Education of Me Project” post, I thought I’d try to post some of my own thoughts on self-education.  I’m not very organized about it yet, but here are some of my (scattered) thoughts.

I’ve been tempted in the past few weeks to chuck my 888 list out the window and come up with some new reading goals for self-educating, but I’m finally getting through some of my lists and am excited about quite a few of the books I still have planned out.  So I’ve added some medieval (themed anyway) literature to my lists (Ivanhoe, Robin Hood) and as I’ve only read one book in the history category so far, I’ll be looking for medieval history to fill out that category this fall.

Once upon a time, I had the bright idea to go through the high school reading lists in The Well-Trained Mind while the boys were going through the grammar stage lists.  That soon well by the wayside as my brain wasn’t quite up for that challenge and I couldn’t seem to find the time or energy to get into it.  I haven’t had to think that hard for some time.  This year I think I will just do the 6th-grade literature recommendations (most of which I’ve never read) and maybe by the time A is in middle school, I’ll feel ready to tackle the high school list myself.

Aside from reading though, I’ve been trying to get a head start on the time period we’ll be studying (400-1600 A.D.)  We watched a fabulous video on The Dark Ages from the History Channel.  I learned a ton and it included a feature-length documentary on the plague which was also fascinating.  I have the Engineering an Empire video set on hold also which has several episodes relevant to medieval history.  I’ve also recently discovered The Teaching Company lectures on DVD.  I’ve heard people rave about these forever and finally decided to see if my library has any of them.  Well, they have tons!  So I’ve been listening to A Brief History of the World while I’ve been sorting piles of clutter and I have a hold placed on The Early Middle Ages.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love my library?

Some of it is still way over my head, but that will keep me busy on history for awhile.  I’m steadily working my way through the New Testament with my BYU religion course manual and hope to read through Jesus the Christ as we will be focusing on the New Testament with the boys this year.  I have learning to draw on my list as always.  I was going to work through Drawing with Children this summer, but have yet to open it up, but that is in our 2nd-grade plans.  And DH wants to learn Latin so we’re thinking about working through Henle Latin together.  Now I just have to figure out how to fit this all into my life!  But those are my thoughts so far.

And of course I need to seriously practice my cello.  I’ve really not been doing that lately and we open our symphony season with Tchaikovsky this fall so I need to get to work.  But I did find all my technique books again and maybe posting my practice routine will spur me on to actually get back into it.  That probably won’t be of any interest to anyone, but then again, I’m always amazed at what people find interesting enough to comment on here.  So, thanks for reading.  🙂

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2008 8:29 am

    I have had very similar thoughts go through my head as I have been thinking about the next school year. There is so much I never learned. And I did get a humanitites minor in College. I have never read Beowulf but had heard of it. I think we usually skiped over the middle ages or skimmed it and jumped into the renaissance which had a lot to study. It should be a very interesting year!

    I too have Canterbury Tales and Ivanhoe on my list of books to read. I like your idea of finding some documentaries or lectures (I have to see if my library has some) about the time period if nothing more to get an idea of what we are going to be studying.

    But I am with you on feeling like I didn’t learn anything when I went to school. I am getting a much better education this time through! I hope my kids are too.

  2. July 18, 2008 9:51 pm

    i am really enjoying learning along with my kids, particularly the history. i will admit that if something doesn’t interest me, i let it out of my head as soon as i don’t need it anymore, which in high school and college meant right after the test. thankfully, i do care about it now and find it all to be so fascinating. we are loving sotw as a family and i think it may be our favorite subject in homeschool at the moment. i know it is mine.
    i have been consciously trying to read more in the past year. i was a bookworm all the years that i was growing up and basically until i started having kids and then i would go for long stretches without reading a book besides the scriptures. i just wasn’t feeling like there was time for it. but lately i have made it a priority and i am really enjoying the extra dimension it adds to my life.

  3. July 28, 2008 10:22 pm

    Have you tried reading A Well Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer? It’s classical education for adults. I had high hopes for myself after I read the book, but like you, can’t seem to find the time.

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