Getting the Big Picture

in Blabber, Philosophy

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14762054206_652f306bcc_zOkay, folks.  Let’s be honest.  I can say Charlotte Mason, and most everyone has a pretty good idea what’s going on there.  Yeah, you should read the six volume treatise, but generally, a year in the trenches and you’ve got the basic gist.  I can say Seton, CHC, Montessori, even Waldorf and if you’re familiar, these names conjure exact goals and methodology.  We know why the resources are chosen; we know the main routines for each lesson; we know where we can adjust.

So why is the MoDG game plan SO HARD???  I dunno.  But, rather than tell you “how to figure it out” and change the post forty times (like I have to do to the do-aheads every time I figure out something new) I will just be honest about the path over the last six years.  BEWARE: The early years are uncharitable.

  • In the beginning, I thought I understood it better than they did.  My husband and were BOTH educators of some form or another for more than two decades between us; how hard could it be?
  • Next, I thought that I didn’t understand it at all.  I had screwed it all up.  Kids ruined.  Dishes are done.
  • Then, I read every school resource (that I knew of) three times, or more.  I was still confused.  I thought that they must be horrid communicators.   I started asking very specific questions and complaining loudly.
  • Based on people’s reactions, I thought that it might be a cult.  Not by design, mind you, but some folks were so “Rah, rah, Laura! How dare you criticize! Everything is clear and perfect!  You’re a bad person!”  I nearly quit.
  • Then, I felt like every other month (no idea what the real frequency was) I was getting some sort of advert for classes I could take or support services if I was out of my depth.  I thought it was a racket. 
  • Then, I decided none of that was true.  They’re SO NICE.  Have you ever seen this video?  She wants us to understand what we’re doing too.  Awwww, I like her.  I was still a little lost, but I wasn’t mad anymore.
  • Somewhere along the line, I found the printed parent resources.  I bought three different manuals.  I bumped into the info I needed here and there.  A note in the back of one article.  The intro of another.  And there was a lot of overlap! I thought, maybe the info is just disorganized.  I mean, I’m a Lay Carmelite.  Talk about disorder!  Have you ever read Teresa of Avila?  It’s all over the place!  Nugget here, rabbit trail there, clear instructions two chapters away…but aren’t Thomas-Aquinas-Dominican-loving-folks all about ORDER?  Where’s the PATH? (Knowing me, it’s probably in big bold letters in the Table of Contents of the enrollment booklet.)
  • Recently, I studied some other classical ed resources.  I realized that Classical Ed Land was a foreign culture that used the same words as Regular Ed Land, but meant totally different things.  Like us and the Brits with “biscuits.”  In even inside Classical Ed land, there were many different dialects.  I decided that they have no idea how confused some of us are. We are separated by a common language.

So, I have a question:  If you were making up an imaginary “get to know you” course for new parents who had never even heard of MoDG or Classical Ed, what would you put in it and in what order?  Where would the “overview of the stage” classes go? Teaching Tips?  The youtube videos?  Your favorite newsletter articles?  DYOCC?

In my imagination, I would “Start with the End in Mind.”  What is the grown person to which this education is ordered?  That’s where most of the resources try to start us, but words like “wise” and “holy” are MUCH too vague.  I would send them to the Thomas Aquinas College site, specifically A Liberating Education.  Understanding the college Laura went to (and her husband helped found) was an important missing piece. We would read and discuss EVERY link in that tab, except “Beyond the Classroom” and “Beaches Mountains and More.”  For a mother of a Kindergartener?  YES.

How about you?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 KIm August 10, 2016

This is an old post, but I wanted to mention the resources on the MODG public website. Under Curriculum>>Classical Methodology, the “way men think” talk is written out. Under Curriculum>>Curriculum Overview, the school has embedded links to a variety of Laura’s talks. “The beginning of the Liberal Arts and Philosophic Sciences” is a helpful beginning point and dovetails with the TAC pages you mentioned :)


2 Alison June 30, 2015

Hahahahaa! LOVE Laura, but yes, we need more help with organizing all this. Your site is very helpful. my friend & I (and we have kids doing K-11th this year) are having this exact conversation! I feel bad sometimes that I am just getting a handle on how to do things properly and what to really emphasize more now. I feel that some of my older kids could have had a better education from me had I been more knowledgeable.

Here’s how I would do things in order
Watch the YouTube videos, read DOYCC especially the sections on stages of formation, take the classes from Laura, then teaching tips. I tend to reread DOYCC each summer & always get something more out of it.
I also found it to be VERY helpful to be familiar w/ Charlotte Mason for the early years. I already understood the nuts and bolts of narration, dictation & copy work- this is huge and could be a class on its own.
Completely agree that MODG’s version of a “Classical Education” is different from others out there, and I like it much better.


3 admin June 30, 2015

I am so glad you are having the same conversation. I wonder sometimes if I’m the only one! I like your parent plan. Mind if I put it in a post as a suggestion?


4 Alison June 30, 2015

Certainly! I also have some thoughts about 7th, but I need to look it over again. Feel free to email me 😉


5 admin June 6, 2015

Hee-hee. Yes. Here’s what I found quickly. These are non-enrolled prices. Ready? In addition to Teaching Tips, there is a “Writing Manual and Language Arts Overview” ($25); “Composition Manual”($20); “High School History Overview”, “High School Science Overview”, and “High School Religion Overview” (each $45 without the dvd, $55 with it); and the full curriculum “Language Arts Overview” without the Writing Manual but with a recording ($55).

There are recordings (with transcripts? dunno) of overviews for each of the following grade levels: PreK-2GRD, 3-5, 6GRD, 7GRD, and 8GRD ($30 each or 100 together); and recordings (for what appears to be K-12?) Latin Overview, Math Overview, Ancient History, Adv Am Gov, and Religion 10GRD (from $30-45 each.)

Finally, there are live online classes for each stage of formation (Primary, Grammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric) twice a year ($20). There used to be WRTR one-day class, but I haven’t see that lately.

It’s SHOCKING, right?


6 Beverley June 6, 2015

Wait a minute… what printed parent resources???? Beyond the enrollment booklet and Teaching Tips booklet?


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