From Part Two:
"However, the trouble with following a premade plan, even a good plan, is that you can get caught up in the plan itself, and miss the bigger picture. 'I just want to get dinner on the stove' is a practical approach, but we miss out on something important if we never wonder what we're eating, where it came from."
Are we eating well?
Are we eating enough, not too much?
To reverse the education/food analogy, is our (literal) eating part of a "great conversation" of human history, agricultural practices, heritage, ecology? Does it celebrate the earth God made and the things that grow on it? Does it inspire stewardship, community, joy, and gratitude? Does it make us want to come back for another meal?
Are we teaching well? Are the students getting the right mind-food? Enough, not too much? Are we teaching celebration, community, ecology, the great conversation? Or is it just "math on the table?" And what does that have to do with use-what-you-choose, whether we buy packaged curriculum, follow someone's plan in a book, scrounge through online freebies, or create something completely original? (Which might then become a book for someone else to follow...)
I could repeat what others have said about the meaning of education, but I want to offer a couple of links instead. Brandy at Afterthoughts is running a 31-day series of Charlotte Mason posts, and today's post on the Three Educational Tools fits in well with the questions I just asked. There's a recent post at the Archipelago blog called Studying the Principles Behind the Method. To homeschool our children with sound educational principles in place means that, though the materials might seem random or ragtag, the philosophy and methods are not.
It means that we homeschool with more than a twenty-year-old B.A., a pile of thrift-shopped books, and a limited amount of time on You-tube. We have principles, tools, and a whole world to explore.
It means that we can stop worrying what the lady at church thinks.
It also means that we have a greater understanding and purpose when we do choose learning materials.
Part Four is here.