Frequently Asked Questions about
Classical and Lutheran Home Education
(All answers compiled from CCLE’s homeschooling parents)
Q: What is Classical and Lutheran Education? How does this differ from Reformed classical education, neo-classical education, or any other subcategory of classical education?
A: We would urge you to read CCLE’s Marks of a Lutheran and Classical School While much of this is geared towards an institutional school, there is also much to be gleaned for adaptation to classical and Lutheran education at home.
You may also be interested in the introductory video on classical and Lutheran education.
For more in-depth discussions, check the booklist.
And see also: About the CCLE
Q: Is a regular ol’ mom really capable of doing this?
A: Yes, with the help of God!
“We are all regular moms and dads. Most of us were not raised with a classical education, yet we strive to give our own children a better education than we received.”
“At the high school level, you may wish to incorporate outside opportunities for debate, discussion, research reports, science labs, seminary exploration, and advanced learning classes as needed; but you are certainly capable of overseeing your child’s classical and Lutheran education K-12.”
“Classical and Lutheran home education requires a great time commitment, but the sacrifice is well worth the harvest in the end. When understood as a God-given and God-strengthened vocation, a mother can approach her children’s education earnestly and seriously. She knows that God will nurture and teach her children through her in spite of her weaknesses. She sits at the table while her children learn math. She purchases (or borrows) books for each child to read and discuss, rather than trying to share one copy. She relegates household chores and personal phone calls to after-school hours and weekends. And she knows that her sacrificial efforts will benefit her children and her family in beautiful and even eternal ways. An inspiring and comforting book on this very Lutheran topic is God at Work, by Dr. Gene Edward Veith, Jr.”
“Homeschooling is efficient schooling. We do not need 8 hours a day, because our children do not ride buses, take attendance, require permission slips, line up for lunch, or have other institutional necessities. Some moms combine housework with homeschooling for greater efficiency. For example, a homeschooling mom can spend 90 minutes in this manner:
- Teach a child his daily math lesson, tutorial style (20 min) Watch the child practice a few problems to demonstrate understanding (5-10 min)
- Assign him the day’s homework review problems to solidify mastery (2- 5 min)
- Set the child’s work timer for 40 minutes, load the dishwasher, toss a load of laundry in the washing machine, check on the progress of the other children’s independent work assigned during this time, and prepare the upcoming group Latin lesson (40 min) Check the child’s completed work and review his errors with him (15 min)
“Remember that home education allows for flexibility. This will help.
“Whenever mom needs a break, likely the children do too. Home education is a long journey, so pacing is essential. Leave ample room in planners every month for spontaneous No-academics-let’s-clean-the-house-for-Dad day, or a It’s-a-sunny-spring-day-let’s-call-our-friends-and-go-to-the-park day, or Let’s-burst-out-of-cabin-fever-at-the-indoor-pool day! Flexibility also allows for a year-round Mon-Thurs schedule or quarterly week-long breaks.”
“Needs for exercise and rest must be accommodated. To help ease the overwhelming pressure some homeschool moms place on themselves, many homeschool families “school” year-round to allow greater scheduling options.
Some alternatives to Monday-Friday “school by Mom” include:
- Study select subjects, such as poetry, art, or science only during the summers to lighten the daily load during the school year.
- Take advantage of new interactive online courses or DVD’s in subjects such as Latin or Logic. See www.veritaspress.com or www.memoriapress.com for sample classes. Though not specifically Lutheran, these classes offer high- quality classical education options.
- Provide “classical education” leisure activities, and teach your children to become independent learners too. Eventually, your child will read good literature or explore great men in history in his free time.”
“CCLE conferences offer great support, encouragement, and tips for homeschooling moms to refresh, recharge, and renew annually. See www.ccle.org for upcoming conference information!”
Q: How do you interest an unmotivated child in the subjects considered to be integral in a classical education, and do it without ripping a love of learning out of him?
A: Great question! Some ideas:
“Make it interactive. You know your child. Does he like to do projects? Watch a video about a topic or learn from a DVD? Can he build something? Dissect an animal to learn more? Design and wear a costume? Give an oral report about what he has learned? He won’t be unmotivated if you can correlate some of his interests with the subject.”
“Stay enthusiastic. An eager teacher produces eager learners.”
“Teach just above your child’s present level to stretch him, but do not teach too far over his head. Children who say `this is boring’ often mean to say, `this is hard!’ Be sure your child experiences success in his academic endeavors.”
“Offer planned or spontaneous incentives. An example, ‘When we finish this study of Twelfth Night, we will have a picnic in the park during the Shakespeare festival and see the play performed there.’ Or for the younger child, ‘When you have achieved 90% or higher on your daily math drills for 4 weeks in a row, we will go for ice cream as a family to celebrate. Or spontaneous, ‘You’ve been doing such a great job with your Latin, you can have a friend over this weekend.’”
Q: How do I teach a high school level curriculum without having knowledge of the material? I have not read or learned so much of what is considered Rhetoric-level education.
A: The key is learning alongside your children:
“I never studied math beyond geometry or science beyond biology; my education in history was woefully lacking. But I learned with my children, expanded my own knowledge, and was able to work through most of the high school curriculum with them. In other cases, by the time they were ready for high school, there were some materials they could work through on their own. We also made use of online courses and classes at the community college.”
“Education is a lifelong experience. We listen to lectures, read books, take classes, etc., so that we can find out what we don’t know or don’t remember. There are also excellent free resources on the internet to help the parent stay on top of the subject matter.”
“I’m learning Latin with one of my kids….and it is going very well. Just stay ahead of, or at least up with, your child!”
Q: Are there current opportunities for homeschool teachers to become “educated?” I think this is especially important as one more clearly comes to understand Dr. Steven Hein’s slogan, “The teacher is the main event!”
“Every summer, CCLE offers yearly conferences on classical and Lutheran education. They cover everything from the theory of classical education to workshops focused on the more practical aspects of teaching at home and in classrooms. Spending time with other classical and Lutheran homeschooling parents provides helpful support too.”
“Also, CCLE is working on more formal Continuing Education for teachers, possibly even in the form of Teacher [Educator] Certification [NOW AVAILABLE], which would offer excellent classes and resources in both the philosophy and pedagogy of classical education. Look for more information at www.ccle.org. In the meantime, read all of the books listed in the resources section!”
“CCLE also publishes the Classical Lutheran Education Journal. You may wish to read or download back issues from many years of the journal (formerly called Classical Education Quarterly).”
“I’m working on my master’s right now. Instead of its being overwhelming (though it sometimes is), I find that when the teacher continues his or her education, it sets an excellent example for the children. It also gives me new ideas. I’m excited about learning, and that translates into my children’s home education program.”
Q: How can I as a teacher learn to detect those subtle ideas and teach from a Lutheran angle? A person’s theology affects his pedagogy. Most of the classical curricula available comes from Reformed Protestant or Roman Catholic writers. Sometimes their theology is blatantly obvious; sometimes more subtle.
A: We can always improve our own catechesis.
” Here I know of no other way than to be continually reading, studying, listening, and inwardly digesting the Word of God with your children. We can faithfully attend Divine Service, Bible Study, listen to sermons and programs like Issues, Etc.,..”
“Attend CCLE conferences to remind us of the ‘Lutheran’ in classical and Lutheran education.”
“This provides an excellent opportunity to be discerning. We have excellent discussions around the kitchen table about false doctrine and fallacies, whether they are in education or in the media. When in doubt, ask your pastor. There are also many Lutheran homeschoolers and pastors within CCLE available to hear ideas and answer questions.”
Q: Are there creative ways that homeschoolers are partnering with local public schools or Lutheran day schools?
A: We would first refer you to your own state homeschooling laws, which can also be found at this site:http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp
“Some of us live in states where no contact is permissible between homeschoolers and public or private schools, even for sports.”
“We are fortunate to have wonderful cooperation with the school.Although my kids have participated in the schools, we also have been involved in music, debate, 4-H and sports within the community. Homeschooling allows for a more flexible schedule and the ability to drive farther to reach some of these activities.”
Q: Are there any online courses that are worth a homeschooler’s time? Is any work being done in LCMS circles to make online courses (distance learning) available?
A: There are good classical education online courses.
See the “Online High School Classes” link under “Homeschool” for classical and Lutheran online courses available for homeschoolers.
These websites offer online classical education courses for homeschoolers:
“We would like to have a good Lutheran option, but for now my high school children are earning accredited transcripts through Seton, a Catholic online school located in Virginia. We opt out of the religion classes, but overall they have very good classical classes, and allow for some classes to be done independently.”
“My daughter is currently taking an online Christian Latin Readings class through Veritas Press. It has been good, but we don’t like certain things that have to do more with school-setting type issues rather than complaints with the class or what is being taught.”
“I really enjoy the Veritas Press self-study courses. We are doing OT/Ancient Egypt and Middle Ages/Renaissance/Reformation. I haven’t seen any theological problems, except that they spend a great deal of time on Augustine. We haven’t gotten to the Reformation yet, but I can supplement that with CPH materials if needed.”
“Our son took two course with Memoria Press: British Literature and Government. He especially enjoyed the Brit. Lit. course, because it used Tolkien and Lewis’ writings as a starting point. From there they went back through history to explore the literature that influenced them as writers.”
Q: How do I give a thorough classical education to all 5 of my children, who each have different learning styles, without making ME hate or resent the whole process?
A: Step by step!
“Don’t see them as all 5 at once. I am homeschooling 8, but I rotate time slots with kids, one on one with each. I also combine whenever possible.”
“I would recommend combining things as much as possible. Children within two years or so of each other might be able to do Latin together. I homeschooled just two children, but we always did history and science together, going over common material before sending them off to do activities that were more geared toward their age and development.”
“Homeschooling offers flexibility. Find books at each of the children’s reading levels on a given topic and teach science or history topics as a family. Also, literature may be read aloud and enjoyed by the entire family.
“Sometimes Dad will enjoy this quiet time around the fire or with his children gathered around him in the living room. Discussions can involve each child at his level of understanding. Ask fact questions of the younger children, such as, “What was the name of the boy in this chapter?” Ask analysis questions of the older children, possibly after the younger ones have been dismissed for play, such as, “What would you say is the overall theme of this book?”
“General homeschooling books, available at libraries, offer helpful organizational tips that classical and Lutheran homeschoolers with large families can incorporate into their homeschools.”
Q: What resources should I obtain for classical and Lutheran education?
A: Please visit the resource page for great ideas regarding curriculum, websites,and books about classical and Lutheran education.
God’s richest blessings to you in Christ Jesus our Savior
as you enjoy this incomparable journey
for yourself and for your family!