Skills vs Subjects

It was a moment of epiphany.  That moment of oh my gosh, this stuff really works!  It was a confirmation that the educational path we’ve been taking for the last few years is a great one.

Classical Conversations is what we have chosen for our family’s homeschooling needs.  This will be my third year and my first year as a director.  I’m committed to the Classical Education model.  After much research and seeing how stages of learning are echoed in scripture in terms of knowledge, understanding and wisdom, I believe in it as a way to educate my children.  We focus more on skills than subjects, making the skill of a task the primary objective while the subject (science, history, art) is secondary.  How can this work and educate a child, you might ask.

photo (5)Witness the epiphany moment of my eldest child.  In our weekly CC meetings, she is exposed to the various tools to learn the skill of memorization, something I was not taught. Tools like songs, flash cards, chants, and writing what is to be memorized and erasing various words until it’s all gone and it’s known by heart.  These can work upon math formulas, multiplication tables, parts of speech and anything a child might find they need to memorize.  Sabrina is currently in our church’s VBS and they get extra points for memorizing extra scripture.  This is what I found in her room after she had left for VBS.  She took it upon herself to utilize one of the memory tools she’s learned from school and applied it to her scripture.  She required no extra teaching in this; it was the natural application of the memorization tool she has learned which can be applied to anything.  This is the great value that Classical education has.  If teaching a subject as primary, the student does not know how to apply anything from that subject to a new subject.   But, if skills are taught then the subject matter can change freely and it doesn’t phase the kid.  Subjects begin to integrate as skills and tools bridge them. Subjects all begin to reflect the glory of God as my kids think through the world He’s made.  This year we will be learning the skills of writing and my daughter will be able to pick up any text-book outline a chapter well.  Why?  This is what a teacher does to present notes to her classroom. What if I have kids who don’t need her notes because they already know how to outline themselves?  How much more time will be spent learning to think and apply knowledge if they don’t have to be fed?

I love what I’m doing with these kids.  I love redeeming their education to Christ through it but I’m also redeeming my education too.  I’m filling in all the holes and gaps where things didn’t get taught and skills never made it my way.  And it’s moments like these, when you sit and wonder, are they getting it? and then you see this kind of result.  It’s awesome and just draws me to praising God for the ability to educate my own kids.

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