Maybe I'm finally in a planning mood for September -- I've even thought of some books and CDs to buy for next year (will post a shopping list another day) -- or maybe it's just rained too much, but the more I thought about it, the more sense the comparison seemed to make.
Here's part of a Home & Country article, and see if you don't think the principles could be applied to curriculum, too. And if you can't, well, nuts to the squirrels. And thanks, hornblower, for getting the percolating started.
"Susan's tips for taking old treasures and reinventing them for a new space:
- Try not to be sentimental. If the piece was once used in a formal setting, dress it down for a casual new purpose with a slipcover or a coat of paint."
- "Remove furnishings from their original context to see them in an entirely new light."
And, it's not a bad idea to look at particular methods of homeschooling, or just a particular method, as a Chinese restaurant menu, choosing one item from column A and two from column B. If you follow The Well-Trained Mind, which is after all subtitled "A Guide to Classical Education at Home", as a mandatory set of requirements, you will tear your hair out; however, if you consider it as a framework or guide, and the books and programs mentioned as simply suggestions -- not to mention remembering that even Susan Wise Bauer doesn't follow the plan to the letter (and she has her mother, who homeschooled her and co-authored the book, living right next door), you and your kids will have a much easier and more pleasant time of it. After all, when you take a trip, you certainly don't stay in every hotel, eat in every restaurant, or visit every site recommended in the guide.
- "Invite a second opinion. Someone less emotionally attached may have a different vision for your favourite chair."
Or, if you are following, say, WTM, don't hesitate to look beyond that book for book and curriculum suggestions. There are a wealth of suggestions to be found from other homeschoolers you know, and online at various Yahoo groups, blogs, and websites; some are listed on the sidebar at right and there are oodles more.
- "Push the boundaries: many contemporary pieces work beautifully in a simple country house full of honest materials and finishes. Likewise, the odd period piece can add interest to a spare environment."
The beauty of homeschooling is that, like furniture and home decor, it's not only flexible but should reflect your family and its tastes. As the article states, what you're meant to do is take "old treasures and reinvent them for a new space," make them fit their new surroundings, which is your own home school. Don't be afraid to try that lamp on the other side of the room, add a little Latin to your life, paint the kitchen purple, unschool science, whitewash everything -- walls and furniture -- (this idea, however, tends to give my husband the shakes), or try a new and different