When I published my summer course catalog focused on middle and high school students I had no idea what was coming!
Many adults asked, “What about me?” and “How about my curious elementary-aged student?”
So, by way of clarification and expansion:
Elementary/Grammar Stage Students:
I am happy to adjust (or create) courses for younger children. I homeschool my children ages 5 and 8.
It’s never too early to read poetry together and talk about the images it creates in our mind, how those images affect us, and how poets feel, notice, think, and write. I particularly love Robert Louis Stevenson’s, A Garden of Children’s Verses; it’s even illustrated by the illustrious Tasha Tudor. Of course American history, natural history of the Northwest, creative writing, and drawing all have their place along the trail.
While I appreciate the Trivium, I do not completly agree that children are buckets to be filled with facts during the “Pol Parrot” stage as Dorothy Sayers and other advocate (You know who you are, Susan W-B!).
I strive to offer balanced nutrition to body, soul, and mind especially at this young age because I agree with William Butler Yeats:
Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire.
In young students, so eager to soak up the world around them, I find the ideal kindling for starting fires that will last a lifetime.
Middle School/Logic Stage Students:
I love bringing students full of enthusiasm and information to consciousness about their own and other’s thinking.
What’s worth thinking about?
How do we think clearly and not (logic and its fallacies.)
I also enjoy introducing some of the complexity of being human at this age, revealing the human side of heroes, the possiblility that two clear-thinking, strong-minded, good-intentioned people might honestly disagree without the world grinding to a halt or jumping into battle. 5-paragraph essays, dialectic, and debate all find fertile ground during these years.
High School/Rhetoric Stage Students:
Refining teenager’s ability to convince others that, in fact, they really DO know everything provides great opportunities to learn by example from master thinkers and writers. Only when teens try to convince others of their innate genius do they begin to take their responsibility for riorous research, thinking, and composition seriously.
Giving teenage writers and thinkers an audience of serious readers, adults and peers, sets the stage for their life-long intellectual success. Close readings and discussions offer young writers the opportunity to see the effect of their work on others. Nothing motivates more than moving your peers!
Content areas include more dramatic and conflict-filled adult themes. Gone are the days of fantasy, in my experience high-school students are eager to look into life’s darker corners, to take the full measure of what it means to be human, both good and bad. Of course, students are guided in these adventures to take value from even the most difficult experiences of others with humility and empathy.
Life-long Learners/Adult Students:
Adults often say, “I wish I had an education like the one you offer.”
What’s lacking is often:
- Dedicated time to pursue studies.
- A clear plan of study that’s motivating.
- A safe place to know what you know and learn what you want to learn without self-consciousness.
Working out is easy, all we have to do is walk out the front door and keep going and yet, personal trainers exist because a combination of encouragement, kind instruction, and accountability yeilds greater results for most people than “Just Do It.”
- Do you wish you understood current events, history and geography better?
- Do you miss the fine literature you read in college?
- Do you wish you could capture the moments of your life more beautifully in words or in photographs?
- Do you fear becoming one-dimensional with the focus your work requires?
What would you like to learn?