This past month, the CC at Home Book Club read Echo in Celebration by Classical Conversations founder Leigh Bortins.
Click here to get the free pdf version!
I think this book is wonderful for moms new to homeschooling, as it is very encouraging and inspirational. Instead of giving you a play-by-play, I'd just like to share some of my favorite thoughts from the book:
I love how Leigh describes a 'home-centered' education. With CC, I'm certainly homeschooling, but I'm not altogether on my own either. Here's what she says:
A Home-Centered Education is one that searches for the middle ground between solitary, do-it-yourself home schooling and an institutionalized education. . . there may be years that you tackle the hard job of home schooling alone and other years when a tutor or a computer is utilized for a greater percentage of your children's education. (p. 13)
We actively pursued other adults' help. Home is the center of our life by not the focus of our life. Serving others and growing in the grace and favor of God and men is our focus. That requires excellent academics, extensive life skills, and a love for adventure. (p. 21)
Leigh also gives a great overview of the three stages of learning and a nice chart of basic goals by years of age. For example, between ages 4 and 8, my child should be trained to clean the house, read phonetically, and study math everyday. Nice.
The focus is on goals that develop a free, competent human, able to confidently confront and conquer new ideas. (p. 54)
I also enjoyed reading the success stories beginning on page 59 (click here for the pdf). These are very encouraging!
My favorite part of the book, the part which I personally found most helpful, was Chapter 6, The Parent: Committing to Basic Principles, which I call the How to Start chapter. Here's what Leigh says:
They (your children) don't know what the world holds for them and what the Lord will expect from them, so they need to be ready to do all things through Christ who strengthens them. (p. 66)
Start by reading aloud daily with your family. . . an hour a day or more. (p. 67)
Home-Centered Education requires consistency. . . Where did this idea come from that learning should be seasonal and only 180 days a year? (p. 68)
So, the first step to success is to act consistently. Everyday we read. Everyday we work math problems. Everyday we learn how to lead a family (I'm assuming this is because she has boys; I don't anticipate my girls leading any families.) Everyday we learn how to rise above our natural tendencies. By acting this way through a few formative years, the pattern is established and our children become part of the team rather than a force that saps our parental strength. (p. 69, emphasis mine)
I suggest you begin by learning to love telling stories and consistently expect some academics to be completed everyday. (p. 69)
After I read this book, we began a nightly read aloud time, and I'm actually surprised how much we all enjoy it! Before I took Leigh's suggestions to heart, I would read a little here, a little there, but never consistently. However, this summer, we've read through Little House on the Prairie, Treasure Island, and we're almost finished with Peter Pan. Mary has requested Wind in the Willows next! It's very exciting to see my girls interested in these classic stories!
If you're new to homeschooling or Classical Conversations, I think you'll really enjoy this short book. Again, it's free to download (that's how I got it, then I took it to Staples and had it spiral bound for $5), and it's just a nice, encouraging read. Go for it!
Want to know more about the book? Be sure to check out Brandy's review at Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood as part of the CC at Home Book Club. And here's Beth's review over at Classical Conversations at Home.