“We aren’t filling buckets—we’re lighting fires”

(from the FIAR blog)

i visited my first homeschool co-op informational meeting this week (woohoo?). i was not homeschooled growing up but have gleaned things here and there and started looking into it more seriously last year, then moved and had a baby, and now i’m here looking at it again.

BECAUSE–my oldest is 4 and getting close to school age. she has an after-the-cut-off birthday, so she can’t technically start kindergarten until 2017, though she’ll be 5 this fall (how is it possible?!)

this second time its less of a theoretically we-might-do-this-in the future sometime i guess maybe? and more ok, let’s make a decision! .

what we do right now for Education:

  • parent’s day out program once a week (a fantastic one!)
  • reading widely and deeply (chapter books, etc)
  • habit training (doing-for-themselves as much as they can–this has been a life-saver for me when baby #3 arrived!)
  • bible at-home teaching / church activities (AWANA, sunday school)
  • free play!

the co-op i visited was a classical style co-op which i was told (by them and The Internet) could work with charlotte mason style (which i lean toward, thanks to my friend Heather getting a Charlotte Mason Companion, which i Resonate with, into my hands as soon as i started looking into homeschooling).

i listened and could see where they were going with their ideas and they seemed really nice, but when they started talking about making their middle schoolers memorize 100+ different sentence structures, i knew it wasn’t for me.

as a writer, i love sentences. Syntax is pretty much my favorite thing–ask anyone who has taken one of my poetry classes and heard me ooh and ahh over a favorite poet’s syntax. JUST Look at the Sentence Structure?! i tell them.

in no way is it necessary to memorize 100+ sentence structures in order to be a good writer–the best way to learn to write well is to read good books. i would much rather teach my girls how sentences work (parts of speech, diagramming, because diagramming is great fun really) and apply it to some really good books than have them memorize S+V+DO, S+V, S+V+V, etc., out of the context of an actual story. the thing that makes sentence structure sing is the rhythm and varying of it within a Story (or poem). The short declarative followed by a question followed by a lengthy faulkner-esque sentence–the rhythms.

anyway, i know that is Such a small part of classical and classical does seem like a great way to educate, i just think, at the core of it, i disagree with their view of education in general–the children as buckets to be filled up, so they can create stuff from what they’re filled up with–rather i’d like to “light the fire” of learning in my children, if i can, somehow.

so, i suppose we’ll be co-op-less for a bit! i’m keeping-on with what we’re doing for now (with some phonics thrown in for fun, but just Charlotte-Mason-Companion style lessons, nothing Crazy) and maybe start something a little more structured (Five in a Row?) this summer.

anyone who knows stuff about homeschooling, feel free to speak your piece! this is a whole new world to me!



6 thoughts on ““We aren’t filling buckets—we’re lighting fires””

  1. i’m so glad you posted this! i’ve been thinking more and more about homeschooling. and, though we have a few years until we will need it, i’m researching a little now. i’ve never heard of the Charlotte-Mason approach, so i will have to look that up!

    we have family friends (with children age 5-14) that homeschool by finding people Passionate about the various subjects that the children need/want to learn and ask them to come in once a week to teach their children. they have found that it was the best way to ‘ignite a fire of learning’ that specific subject for their child. because children get curious when we are excited, especially when they are young. anyway, that’s not a program, but it’s been helpful when i’ve been thinking of homeschooling. all i need to do is find 5 passionate people willing to invest in my child once or twice a week! and then the homework, of course. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ha, I wasn’t sure if I should’ve posted this, since it might Insult people who disagree? but i’m glad you found it useful! i’ve not done a ton of research, but read a few things here and there–I think that of the different “Schools of thought” with homeschooling, Charlotte Mason is the one with which I resonate the most. Finding experts in the field is something they recommend (and reading books by experts in their topics, rather than textbooks) “the charlotte mason companion” book is very good; http://www.amazon.com/Charlotte-Mason-Companion-Personal-Reflections/dp/1889209023

      there’s a heavy focus on Reading, so you may like it =)

      and, talk to Julie Stuber–she has been endlessly helpful to me with all my homeschool questions!


  2. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed that book. 🙂 I really like it, too. I think habit training has been most influential for me just in my everyday mothering. And of course I love the idea of “mother culture”–have you read about that yet? If not, I’ll have to tag you in an Instagram account that’s all about Charlotte Mason mother culture (basically lots of pictures of moms reading books over cups of tea–it’s kind of about stimulating your own mind as well as your children’s minds, so they see you learn as well).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, yes! You’re modeling good behaviors. I’ll tag you in an Instagram account all about “mother culture.” You’ll love it.



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