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{Favorite Things} The Core

Here in the mid-Atlantic, we’re definitely still in the doldrums of winter. In fact, I drafted this post on paper with ink because an ice storm had robbed us of power for what could have been days.*

*It turned out to only be a chilly half day.
However, I recently filed re-enrollment papers for the 2014-15 school year with our local CC Community. It’s about this time every year that I start reflecting on what worked for this year and what summer* and next year will look like. My winter list included Leigh Bortin’s The Core. I had falsely assumed that I did not need to read it because I was already sold on classical education and CC and had already read Echo in Celebration. Boy, what I wrong! While Echo in Celebration challenged me to simplify our school routine and curriculum, The Core laid out how with specifics and further challenged me to embrace more mastery and discipline in our schooling. Since we all participate in Tae Kwon Do, these principles of excellence really rang true. Plus our TKD experience will give me a jumping off point as I introduce some simple (but challenging) routines into our day.
*With ESL kids who have so much catching up to do and their emotional instability, we do modified school through the summer to keep pressing forward and maintain some structure.
Take aways:
  1. Reading–By the end of a day, a classical student should read out loud below grade level, read silently at grade level, and be read to aloud above grade level. Leigh also emphasized that the content did not need to match the current memory work, and that a variety of print source types (e.g., magazines, books, newspapers). This summer we’ll work toward this challenging everyone to find a book from specific broad subjects such as health, science, math, art, music, and history.
  2. Discipline–At the end of the day, memory work, copywork, math problems, and other seemingly rote tasks are less about the content and more about the skills of carefulness, attention to detail, long attention spans, and general excellence. Between now and next year, we will be doing more written and mental math and map drawing.
  3. Accomplishment–With kids who are almost a decade behind academically, Leigh’s thoughts on the endorphins released after you accomplish a task (even one as small as a math drill sheet) really stuck with me. She uses a lot of repetition in her school routine with her kids which makes success inevitable and builds confidence. This momentum helps them tackle new skills and problems with ease.

If you’ve read The Core, what was your favorite part?

1 Comment

  1. ToniaFebruary 11, 2014

    The Core is one of my favorite homeschooling books. I know memorization isn’t a popular thing with many but we have had a daily recitation time and it has helped with so many subjects!

    I just LOVE the mapping lessons in The Core. We’re chucking the geography workbooks and just doing those now.

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