Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Book review, educational diversity, and responsibility

Now that's a mouthful of a title, isn't it?

Back in high school, I was in the "honors" or "college prep" track, mostly. Except for the last two years of math and science, that is. I graduated with six years of English and three each of math and science. Even then, I knew my strong suits.
I had Shakespeare in my background, honors government, four years of French, even a year of drawing as an elective. The Late Great Christina had very similar courses.

Years later, she ranted about our high school--"I had a high school diploma and didn't know how to balance a checkbook or shop on a budget!"
I was taken aback. I never learned to do those things, either. I didn't even know where I was supposed to have learned them. Did such classes exist?

In my subbing years, I learned they did. In our high school yet. However, they were filled with those kids counting the days until they could drop out, or deemed not academically grounded enough for more challenging classes, or suchlike. Those kids I passed in the hall, whose names I sort of knew, but never really had enough in common with to actually talk to.
Why did those kids need that information and I didn't? Did college-bound students have a greater likelihood of not needing to know?

I've come to the realization that it's not up to the schools to teach children everything they need to know to be successful in life. That little ideal died off a long time ago--before my time, for sure. It's not up to the teachers, the catechists, the troop leaders, or peer counselors.
It's up to the parents.

Which is another reason we're homeschooling. (When will this get to the book review? Momentarily.)
Don't get me wrong, I love Kolbe Academy. Their curriculum is the framework I work with in book selection and time frames. However, they are all "college prep" and not much "vocational" or "practical"--what used to be called Home Ec. I realized that if I didn't pay attention, my kids could grow up and never learn to sew on a button or mend a rip--even an easy one on a seam.
That's where Catholic Heritage Curriculum comes in. We recently ordered our new spellers and grammar books (which I love), but I got myself a book:
Sewing with Saint Anne.
This gem starts with the very basics--threading a needle, both with a needle threader and without. There are a couple dozen projects, all rated in difficulty from beginner to advanced. The clip-art illustrations throughout are classic. The explanations and history are wonderful; technical terms like "weft" are explained and there's even a glossary.

I'm not worried now about my kids having a well-rounded education. They will be able to discuss Greek mythology while making quilts, Catholic theology while changing the oil in the car, or Aquinas while making a healthy supper. And I'm okay with that.

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At 5:47 AM, Blogger Catherine said...

I am so going to get that Sewing With St. Ann book! I taught myself how to replace a button, and I can do counted cross stitch, but that's it. I want to learn to sew so badly, but I'm too embarrassed to ask people that I know to teach me and too cheap to take a course (and I have no time!) If that book can teach me to sew a straight seam, I could start quilting (with another book I already have). Thanks!

I was on the college prep track like you in high school. Thankfully, my father taught me to balance a checkbook and my mother let me learn to cook on my own. I agree that parents should teach that stuff. I just wish more parents were home to do so.

At 5:54 AM, Blogger Heather said...

It's well worth the money! Don't be surprised that it's about the size of a 100-page notebook or that it's spiral-bound. I think CHC spiral-binds everything. Very nice for the textbooks, let me tell you!

Enjoy! :)


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