Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mom Schools

I've now waded through both A Thomas Jefferson Education and the Thomas Jefferson Home Companion. Both contain great information - and lots of it. In many ways, this method of education overlaps with what I've found most helpful in The Well Trained Mind and the teachings of Charlotte Mason. It's not a radically different philosophy, but there are many helpful, insightful pieces worth repeating here. I want to tackle my favorite parts so today I'll start with the idea of the Mom School.

Before reading this book, we found ourselves in a Mom School for the first time this year. (Of course we don't call it that, but after reading DeMille, that's exactly what it is). Every other Friday afternoon we meet to discuss a chapter of Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day. The host mom is responsible for that week's discussion: we have the children do reports, we do the experiments from the chapter, we play games relating to the lesson, we go on field trips. It's amazing! Last week's host mom is a science guru herself, and knowing there may not be time for reports, said it was optional. My girls begged to do one. That's how inspiring this group is (I'll get to the "inspire, not require" part of DeMille's book another time).

Because this group has been so successful - and so much fun - I've decided to start a Liberty Girls Club using the same basic idea. (The Home Companion has lots of ideas for this exact club). We'll read a designated American Girl Doll book, talk about the historical time period, do a craft/project that relates to the book, you get the idea. There's something very important about both the parent and the child being invested in learning together.

"Mom Schools greatly enhance children's education...Through group learning, children share their enthusiasm with each other, strengthen desire for knowledge and enjoy mutual inspiration and encouragement. Adults benefit from combined strength, and we all pull each other up."
A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion


christine said...

I'm in the middle of TJE myself. Glad the science group is going so well for you. I wish we could do science with other people!

Darla said...

How are you structuring your Liberty Girls club? Are you doing one doll/character for several meetings and reading all the books, or just doing a doll a session?

Michelle Waters said...

We're still deciding this. For our first meeting, we're having the girls read Meet Samantha, we'll do some embroidery for our "samplers" and probably have tea and gingerbread with our discussion of the early 1900s.

I'm leaving it up to the group (and other moms) to see if we want to go on and read all the books in this series and stay in this time period, or move on to another one. We're only going to meet once a month, so it would mean six months on Samantha if we decide to read the whole series.

The goal of this group may also be to start with these simple stories this year, and move into a classic books discussion group as the girls get older.