Okay, 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?