This week has been our first full-load week of first grade. Since we are following a fairly rigorous Classical approach, it takes several hours each day. I admit, I was very apprehensive about using a Classical model when Billy asked me to go that route. I envisioned nothing but dry, difficult rote memory and no creativity. I couldn't figure out why people combined the Classical and Charlotte Mason methods, because in my mind Classical equalled rigorous, and rigorous meant intense and boring. Charlotte Mason, in my mind, equalled relaxed and unstructured. Those of you who know your stuff know that those are unfair and inaccurate characterizations of both methods. I'm delighted at the use of living books recommended for History and Science in The Well-Trained Mind. The other curricula we chose has been a delight as well. So far every item we've bought throughout kindergarten and the beginning of first grade has rendered results and been worth the investment.
Is classical education structured, orderly, and rigorous? Yes. But dull and painful, no. Of course I know that education requires hard work and certain subjects may be more difficult or less enjoyable than others. But the more I learn, the more I believe that as my little students enjoy the majority of their school work, the less burdensome the harder work will be.
Here's Elizabeth's very first history narration, from the first page of Leif the Lucky by the D'Aulaires.
There was a man called Erik the Red. He got kicked out of Norway. He sailed to Iceland. He found a wife and it wasn't long before he had to go. He went south and he found ice and behind it he found bears, walruses, and green grass. There were no houses, no people, and he thought it was a good place for Vikings to live there in silent peace. So he went back for his wife and children. He got his neighbors too.