My family is in a time of preparation and training, not only to follow in the footsteps of many other amazing families sailing the ocean blue, but to embark on a never-ending exciting adventure of discovery.
Our family goal, within the next two years, is to buy or obtain a sailing catamaran somewhere in the world and begin circumnavigating from that location. Successfully achieving such an audacious goal, I sat down and wrote out a rough “road map” of things I thought important to focus on in our current educational season. I want to focus on:
- things I do not know but think wise to learn and
- things I am unfamiliar with, but greater knowledge could alleviate un-do stress.
For the last six years our curriculum has been Classical Conversation’s Foundation program. I cannot sing praises high enough regarding their ultimate mission:
“To know God and to make Him know. In every subject, God has hidden His truth and beauty. It is our pleasure as students and teachers to discover Him as we learn. Our studies should also prepare us to reason clearly, speak eloquently, calculate accurately, and write convincingly so that we have the ability to make God known to others.”
~ Classical Conversations Foundation Guide Mission Statement
Through this curriculum I have learned many tools to help my children and I breakdown large sections of information into manageable chunks that we memorize and digest through repetition. The classical model of education is divided into three learning stages:
- The Grammar stage – memorizing facts
- The Dialectic stage – discovering how the facts relate,
- The Rhetoric stage – applying the facts.
For more information on Classical Conversations and its curriculum please visit https://www.classicalconversations.com
With this model of learning in mind, I am focusing on equipping ourselves with knowledge for our future adventure. Through research, I compiled and segmented the information I gathered into weekly blocks which my children and I memorize and discuss. The following is a synopsis of what I deem important to learn in the next few months:
- History – We are memorizing a new chronological timeline of important events, people and dates which integrate most of Classical Conversation’s timeline but adds other facets of church and world history. We also will memorize history sentences and geographic locations which “add more flesh to some of these events to give us a skeletal story of world history.” ~ Classical Conversations Foundation Guide 5th Edition
- We are memorizing 100 Greek and Latin roots for “just as phonics helps children figure out what words are, Latin and Greek help them figure out what words mean.” ~ English from the Roots Up Volume I
- Science – Since living on the water and one day desiring to sail beyond the Puget Sound, I thought becoming familiar with weather terminology and forecasting weather systems would be advantageous.
- Math – Traveling in foreign countries I would like to become as fluent with the Metric system as I am with the U.S. Arabic numbering system. The kids and I are memorizing many metric conversion tables including measurements, weights, liquid, speed and celsius.
- Nutrition – Right now I have the convenience of Blue Apron meals delivered weekly to our boat, not to mention a supermarket right down the road. But what happens when I have to store provisions for a 3 week passage by shopping in an open market in another country? Grocery shopping is already a stressful task for this introvert. There are just too many options down each aisle! I need to become more familiar with the daunting category of “nutrition” and eventually “from scratch” meal planning. After much searching, I happened upon a very informative, easy to understand website by Suzy Staywell at https://www.healthy-eating-support.org who breaks down the basics of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and so much more. My kids and I are figuring out how this information fits into creating healthy nutritional snacks and meals.
- First Aid – I downloaded and printed First Aid cards from the Red Cross which I am discussing with my children one card at a time. Soon we will go through a First Aid class and hopefully have more hands on experience cementing our understanding of what to do in stressful situations. With the realization that accidents unfortunately happen, knowledge to know how to correctly respond will help keep us calmer than resorting to unprepared panic and potential costly mistakes.
- Sailing – Since sailing is our ultimate goal, we are learning the definitions of each part of the sailboat and their functions. This summer we’ll graduate to sailing out on the water with experienced sailors and possible classes. I conclude our sailing section with learning many different types of sailing knots.
As I have stated before, I am an old soul at heart. I love the one-room schoolhouse concept. “In a one-room schoolhouse, one teacher had all ages of students in one room. The younger students listened in on the older students’ lessons. The older students benefited from a review as the younger students recited their lessons…This kind of ‘waterfall’ learning environment is much like the education environment of the early days of our country and the one-room schoolhouse. As homeschooling families, we have the opportunity to recapture this natural learning environment as we renew our own understanding of the nature of learning.”
~Essentials of the English Language by Classical Conversations
We then conclude our morning lessons with more in-depth study in Arithmetics, English grammar and writing.
“…Christians sometimes ask, ‘Does the study of arithmetic glorify God?’ The answer is yes. While learning arithmetic, children develop their God-given, natural, Biblical mode of thinking. Biblical thinking begins with the premises that God created everything and that basic truths of creation are self-evident to us. We know, for instance, that we are in time and space. The concept of number – with unity and plurality – seems natural to us. So do the concepts of motion, equality, causation, and order.
…With this mode of thinking and study, it is natural to view God’s creation as orderly. Stars keep time more perfectly than clocks can ever manage, crystals teach solid geometry, musical tones and overtones vibrate in mathematical pattern that man discovers rather than creates. The heavens declare to us the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork.
Yes, children can learn arithmetic to the glory of God.”
~ Parent – Teacher Guide for Ray’s New Arithmetics by Mott Media
In our reading/ writing/ grammar/ spelling program, I use McGuffey Readers because, “The children in these stories continue the McGuffey tradition by being filled with wonder at God’s creation and by wanting to live in ways that please their parents and God. Students can learn this happy outlook on life at the same time their academic skills are improving. Besides the moral topics, history, geography and nature topics are included, so student’s general knowledge is expanded…” ~Parent-Teacher Guide For The Original McGuffey Readers by Ruth Beechick, Ed. D.
Finally, I embrace this quote from Essentials of the English Language. “Forget everything you’ve ever heard about ‘grades’, or number of worksheets, or ‘what my fourth grader should know’ and instead, enjoy the process…Remember, this is not a check-off-list approach to learning. The focus is not to simply complete a worksheet and move on, but to return to each piece of memory work many times until it is mastered, and later come back to it occasionally to ensure and reinforce that mastery.” This is how we will learn things we do not know but think wise to understand while gaining greater depth of understanding to concepts we’ve just scratched the surface of.
In this new season of our lives with a bright horizon ahead, this is the roadmap I’ve compiled, training us to enthusiastically prepare for the adventure that awaits. Finally, my children are excited to come to the school table, to learn.