My two older daughters are homeschooling high school, using textbooks rather than living books (their choice, mostly.)
Living books and textbooks
But it is a reasonable choice … it is just that we have to reason through those textbooks!
You see, textbooks are arrogant.
They present their facts as absolute truth.
Pieced together as presentable nuggets of information, textbooks are formulaic.
Read this …, think that …, write this …, memorize that.
Whereas living books act as a voice,
they engage thought,
inspire moral and character choices,
they invite you to go on a journey…
Discussions after we have read a chapter of a living book often involves a personal response ~
Why do you think the character did/ said/ or thought that ?
What would you do/ say/ or think if you were in that situation?
What do you think the reasons for … was?
How do you think …?
You see, narrations are not simply “telling back” facts, they reflect the inner understanding and knowing and reasoning that each person processes when they read living books.
I love these moments of homeschool.
It is not about the mere learning of facts, it is about relating to the life, observations and thoughts of others.
So, you may wonder, why are we using textbooks for our high school?
My eldest will graduate at the end of the year (in December, in South Africa) and she needs to write the National Senior Certificate exams. These exams provide her with a matric (school graduation) qualification. Due to our extreme isolation on our farm, we were limited to the type of correspondence curriculums that will supply her the necessary courses and approach. So, for 3 years we have used the typical government school textbooks, tests, assignments and portfolio work, leading up to her prelim exams and final exams.
Simply, it is a means to an end.
I tutor her. Almost daily we discuss those broad sweeping textbook statements, incomplete or incorrect facts, blatant bias and errors in her study guides. We reason through them. Question them. Notice them.
I wonder how many public school pupils swallow the whole bitter pill without stopping to digest the facts presented? Worse still, they are trained to reproduce those facts to earn marks for their exams without being given an opportunity to reason or relate! I shudder.
Textbooks are a disappointing option for me, but it is a reasonable choice provided we talk through the content. Homeschooling makes this choice reasonable.
My junior high (middle) daughter wanted to copy her sister’s homeschool choices and follow the same curriculums. She needed to work more independently from me and chose the textbook rather than living book approach.
This “pushing away” process started last year and I felt like a complete CM failure. Now I see that it is right for her, and I have released myself from all those lofty homeschooling ideals. They almost become idols. I choose to support my daughters to become themselves and not become carbon copies of what I want. (I even offered her the option of attending a boarding school! Horrors! We are all grateful that she chose to remain at home, but for many homeschooled teens, going to school is an attractive option.)
Right now, I cherish reading living books and CM times with my youngest child. At 11, I realize that these days are very precious. I would love to homeschool into high school with living books, but I hold that hope loosely in my hands before the Lord.
The Lord knows what she needs.
It really comes back to my earliest homeschooling thoughts ~
“Nothing is cast in stone.”
Blessings as you trust the Lord for what each child needs,
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