Educating the Wheelers


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Chronicling the Experience of Educating our Children and Managing our Family

Friday, May 06, 2005

Sonlight

I've been looking into Sonlight Curriculum a bit while trying to learn more about homeschooling. I'm not an evangelical Christian [they are], but it seems pretty adaptable. In fact, I am currently part of two Yahoo groups - SL Catholic and SL Secular - that are all about adapting it to fit other points of view.

Sonlight appeals to me because there are no textbooks. I tend to agree with the more Charlotte-Masony idea that textbooks tend to squeeze the life out of a subject and can turn just about anything interesting into drudgery. I've gone through some elementary level science, math and English texts and they're pretty bleak.

When I was a kid, I was excited about learning and not excited about school. And it eventually occurred to me that perhaps there was something wrong with that. [I ended up leaving high school after the 10th grade and moving to the local community college where things were much different.]

For my birthday this year, my husband purchased Sonlight's Survey of British Literature high school curriculum and I've been working through that while raising Audrey. It's wonderful so far, though slow going.

I'm working my way through Beowulf, and it appears that I have had the wrong idea about that poem. The translator mentions in the introduction how alien the poem seems to modern audiences, particularly in comparison to, say, the Iliad. Even if you don't really know much about Classical Mythology or have never read the Iliad before, basic cultural literacy is going to make many of the names and much of the plot familiar to you. Not so with Beowulf, none of it seems to have wormed its way into our culture. Unless, of course, you watched Firefly and then realized, "Hey! That's where he got the reavers from!" Once you make it over that hump, though, it's a rip roaring good time. It's brash and it's brusque and it feels like it would go well with a beer.

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