Interest Led Learning Within a Classical Framework


I cannot commit 100% to a specific homeschool model. There are good points in each, and to limit our homeschool to one approach seems short sighted. 

The Classical model, however, works for the MAJORITY of our learning. It provides a framework and structure to our days. Being in Classical Conversations gives us direction and stability.

There are times, however, when we just have to take off on an interest led tangent.

This year I am figuring out how to incorporate interest led learning within a Classical framework. Today's Collage Friday post is a peek into this part of our homeschool.

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Classical History/With an Interest Led Twist

For my youngest, the spine of our days revolves around the memory work in Classical Conversations. Memorizing history sentences, science facts, grammar concepts, math facts - and so much more - has been effective and challenging.

As we were memorizing the history sentence about World War I this week (and looking ahead to WWII next week), we were watching YouTube videos and researching the war in general. My son started being interested in the planes of WWI and the innovative battle methods during the war. 

I also wanted to incorporate more silent reading into his days, as well as spend time reading aloud to BOTH children.

I read aloud When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (what a beautiful, sweet, funny, and tragic book this is - it's one of my all time favorites!). While listening Grant colored planes out of a WWI airplanes coloring book. He also built LEGO airplanes. 

While at the library he picked out a Childhood of Famous Americans: Harry Houdini - who was living during WWI and performed for the troops overseas.

Perfect. We memorized our history sentence and worked on the CC timeline. I let Grant take the lead on further study into the war and it turned out beautifully.

This is why I love homeschool. This is how I wish I could have learned and the way I feel all children should be allowed to learn. 

  Classical Geography & Science in Middle Grades

I began writing this week about homeschooling "big kids". This will be a series  on the blog, so please check back next Wednesday for another post.

While Anna's curriculum doesn't leave a lot of time for "wiggle room" or "extras", I do like that she can explore some things more deeply at her discretion.

Currently she is learning how to draw Asia freehand and from memory. Each day she draws the continent and labels all countries. She uses Quizlet (oh we LOVE Quizlet!) to study the capitals and other geography terms. 

Our two large whiteboards and Expo markers get a workout daily... you can see in the first picture below that she's getting good at drawing most of Asia. I challenge you to do this yourself - then imagine doing the ENTIRE WORLD this way.  {That is the geography final exam in Challenge A - draw and label the entire world from memory.}

For science her Challenge A group is learning about several different body systems (using this book of reproducible lab sheets - a great resource!) Last week was the respiratory system and this week is the mouth and teeth. Again - she draws the diagram freehand and from memory and defines terms. Each week she has two particular terms  she researches in detail and then reports to the class on these. 

We've found videos and lapbooks to go along with this study of biology, and Anna is personalizing her learning in this way. 

Somehow - and it's hard to describe to you unless you are going through Classical Conversations - all of this knowledge snaps into place with what my younger child is learning. It's amazing to watch, really. I'm seeing my children receiving a deep, rich, and thorough education and I am so excited by that! 

Composer Study - Paganini

Of course we use SQUILT as our primary study of classical music, but I love to incorporate living books and lapbooks into our composer studies, too.

Enter Opal Wheeler's biographies of famous musicians. Last year we studied Wagner and this year we are learning all about Paganini. And -- I am SO EXCITED - we will be going to see a Paganini Violin Concerto at the Atlanta Symphony tonight. This concerto is described as "FIENDISHLY DIFFICULT" and will be played on a Stradivarius violin. It's an early Valentine outing for all four of us. 


We've been reading the book, completing the lapbook pieces, and listening to the music. 

I read a chapter to Grant while Anna was working on some of her school work and she was disappointed that she had missed it, so from now on we will be reading this all together.  


Our week was busy and full - here's a final glimpse:


  1. Anna invited a couple friends over to watch the Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate on Tuesday. It was good to have a lively discussion with them. We are thankful for friends, a great CC tutor, and a rhetoric seminar that is teaching Anna to defend her faith.
  2. "Mom, come see! There is an X in the sky!" I'm happy we have slow days and can just take time to look at the sky and appreciate it. 
  3. Trying to do home improvements when you are homeschooling isn't always easy. I am in the process of collecting estimates for new floors in our downstairs. This week I had a laundry list of little items knocked out by a handy man and I feel better - a freshly painted front door can make you feel so much better!
  4. A certain little boy got ahold of my phone when I wasn't aware - when checking pictures for Collage Friday I found some of him... I liked the one he took of his eye. 

No Spend January is over, and now we're into February. I haven't made my personal challenge public, but I will share it with you at the END of this month. It's very personal and I don't want to report until I see how the month has gone. How's that for VAGUE?

Tell me about your homeschool style - what method do you prefer? Are you eclectic or a mixture?  

I'm thankful for the chance to come to this place each Friday and read so many encouraging words from all of you, and then visit your blogs and read about your weeks, too. It's my favorite time of the week. 

I do hope you'll join me!  

If you'd like to link, you can do so in a couple of ways:

  • Enter your link below. Be sure to link to your post with photo collages and link back to this post (or include the Collage Friday button on your blog).
  • Share your photo collage(s) on Instagram, FB, G+, or Twitter - use the hashtag #collagefriday so I can find you!