2015 Homeschool Changes: Philosophy Changes



First, I had to admit that I was clearly wrong. Broken.

Then, I had to admit that my devotional life was clearly lacking.

Today, I have to tell you that I have changed my mind. I thought I was going to be one of those Well-Trained Mind all the way, philosophy laid out, hardcore rigorous academic type homeschoolers.

And I still think The Well-Trained Mind is a fantastic resource.  I still think Susan Wise Bauer (and when I had the opportunity to hear her, Jessie Wise) are very smart, very fantastic educators, resources, speakers, and all that jazz.

If nothing else, they got us off to a great start with reading via phonics, controlled screen time, a focus on words and not images.  We have used some fantastic resources they have produced and/or recommended.

I just couldn’t do it with three children full time anymore.

I hate being wrong. And I hate changing plans when I thought I had it all laid out.  But I see where WTM gives all kinds of tools for the academics and doesn’t have the same goals I have for my children.  I want them to choose and act rightly, within the bounds of Christianity, and be capable of fulfilling their vocation as called by God.  Which, likely means a so-called STEM career direction. I just happen to believe those STEM folks need a complete, rounded out education too.

I have long been drawn to Charlotte Mason ideas as a Classical Educator.  I’ve recommended AmblesideOnline to many friends and used their booklist (like you aren’t supposed to) for years, mixing parts into our Circle Time and free reading. I have told many, many people that if I had been brave we would have done Ambleside from the beginning.

I want to know more. I see how Mason fits within the Classical paradigm.  I’ve been reading Consider This by Karen Glass. Slowly.  I read all of Cindy’s blog, Ordo Amoris, for years (sniff).  Brandy at Afterthoughts and Jeanne at A Peaceful Day and Mystie at Simply Convivial, too. (Yes, I know, Mystie doesn’t completely identify as a Charlotte Mason educator) Many others.

I’m excited that my friend Anna wants to organize a local Charlotte Mason group.   We’re planning to start with Brandy’s Start Here sometime in the New Year. 

I’ve tried straddling the fence for too long.  I’m going to land on the Mason side.

This post is linked to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival:


  1. Wow! Jumping the fence! I can't wait to hear more details. This post is brave.

    I identify as a classical educator, and when Cindy had me read both Norms & Nobility and CM volume 6, then it was clear to me that CM was classical. So, probably I should just do what she says, but instead I agree with her principles and let myself wiggle out of her methods.

    Karen Glass almost has me repenting of that myself, though. I have a six, four, and two year old still to start and I might have to buckle down and actually grapple with narration.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, this series feels like ripping off a scab and exposing me to the world. Maybe I'm glad it is a relatively small world 🙂

      Narration is going to be one of the biggest changes/retraining parts for me. I have a whole post of it coming up soon.

  2. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your series! I also started out with WTM first, but after reading CM for myself and learning more about classical education (as defined by Circe and friends) I realized that not only was CM classical, she also knew exactly what she was doing when outlining her methodology. So I gradually began using her methods more and more. I will not tie myself to a particular "CM curriculum" because there isn't yet one out there that I wouldn't tweak and adjust, but her methods can be used regardless of the book list.

    It is hard to change, but sometimes it has to happen, doesn't it? I commend you for recognizing what you need to do and going for it!

  3. Ohhhh- I love that Andrew Kern quote! I'm so glad & thankful for your raw honesty, Dawn! It's going to be exciting to see how God works in your lives this upcoming year!!!

    I've always told people we "classically unschool." The beauty of educating at home us getting to choose what fits our families in the season we are in! It changes A LOT but there are principles in classical & CM that I see value in & as my children get older, I see it working! 🙂

    1. Thanks, friend. You've always been such an encouragement to me. I wish you were closer so we could just talk.

  4. this post has gotten a LOT of comments! 😉
    i too, had to comment because your story resonated with mine! way back, i read WTM and thought i'd start there too. of course, when my boys were 3 & 4 and i ought not to have really even started yet (who knew back then?), i began to feel the weight of the pressure and severely frustrated because mine weren't like what Susan described! at the same time i read WTM, i was reading CM. what a difference! and for just the same reason you gave, i felt at home with her and dove right in… after all these years, i am SO glad.
    thanks for sharing! thanks for being brave! 😉

  5. Welcome to the dark side! 🙂 I saw your welcome post over on the forums, of course, but I enjoyed reading your thought process here as well. I actually read the WTM when I was first considering homeschooling (before my kids were born!), but I found CM shortly after that and it was love at first sight! I really appreciated Karen's book, though, because I have lots of friends that school with a (neo)classical approach and I now feel like I can better explain CM in a way that they can understand.

    1. Hey, Celeste. Thanks for the welcome. I found WTM early – my oldest was a newborn and only 3 months when I went to my first Classical homeschool conference. So 11 years ago. It is strange to be making this change now. What's funny is that on the WTM forums, the Reformed Christians are "the Dark Side" and I'm the owner of that social group. I feel much more like I'm coming into the light, educational philosophically.

  6. When my children were young, I was devoted to unit studies for a couple of years until I came across Mason. That was back in the "Dark Ages" before WTM. Bless you for being honest and we will encourage you all the way!

  7. Wow, what a wonderfully real post! I have had my fair share of doubts and failures over the years of homeschooling, and I still find myself trying to "work it out" as each child grows up and reaches different stages. "One Size Does NOT Fit All" and I believe that the Holy Spirit leads and guides us if we are willing to wait on Him and look for answers that resonate with our hearts.
    Wishing you every blessing as you gently ease into the precious wisdom and methods of Charlotte Mason!

    1. This was a hard post to write, I appreciate your enthusiastic response. Thanks so for your encouragement and blessings 🙂

  8. "I hate being wrong. And I hate changing plans when I thought I had it all laid out" Yes, this. This is exactly where I am finding myself. It is am incredibly uncomfortable place to be and yet hopeful too. I am right now making the switch, middyear, ditching all of my well laid out very memory intensive, classical, liberal arts plans for ambleside online. I am reading all things Charlotte Mason and taking a deep breath to dive in knowing full well that I have so much to learn. I am so grateful for other women like you paving the way and sharing what wisdom you have gleaned as you've gone along this path. Right now, I am taking encouragement in the fact that you have felt this way too and were brave enough to make the change. I am praying that this is the right move for us. I do think that it will be.

    1. Welcome, Alison. I will tell you that two years on I'm so very glad to have made these changes. I'm also thrilled that you're finding encouragement and help here. Blessings upon your journey.

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