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The Hardest Part

Far and away, the most difficult part of homeschooling for me is narrowing down which of the good things we get to keep on the schedule. There are too many wonderful things out there! How do I opt to leave out philosophy or art? I can't!

This year seems more difficult than any other. My oldest will be a junior and has only two years left to learn all the things! We still need to work on grammar and writing, and will always have a good dose of literature. I have several wonderful programs that help cover these topics, as well as other areas at the same time. But we can't fit them all in.

This week, I must narrow it down from:
  • The Greeks, which combines incredible literature, worldview, philosophy, and writing assignments into 1-2 hours per day. It could also include Art, History, and Geography if I wanted to add in another hour.
  • Philosophy Adventure, which also teaches philosophy, writing, and geography.
  • Brit Lit, which strongly teaches writing and literature.
  • Rod & Staff Grammar
  • IEW, a solid writing program, which is going to be fabulous if we ever decide to finish it.
So far, we have:
Math - Singapore
Science - Chemistry, dual enrollment through our community college
History - Hodge-Podge of Norton, Churchill, and lots of good lit. Geography with Knowledge Quest.
Latin - Visual Latin
Music, which will be a combination of orchestra & music appreciation, especially fun with this this year's modern history cycle.
Language Arts: One of those beautiful programs listed above. Or a combination if at all possible.

In addition to these basics, I really want to get in Art, Astronomy, Economics, Philosophy, Logic, and Theology. But that's just getting silly, now isn't it?

How do you determine what makes the cut?

Several years ago, Andrew Kern joined a discussion on The Well Trained Mind forums. It was brilliant and I copied what he shared to keep in a file that I could read and reread. I forgot about it for a couple years, but recently rediscovered it. Here is the file of the cut-and-paste contributions from Kern. I highly recommend it.

He recommends keeping the focus off of choosing "courses", but instead pursuing wisdom and virtue. Course descriptions are to be gathered from what has been taught, not teaching gathered from what needs taught to meet the goals established from a course description. He has this (and many other brilliant things) to say about it:

"I've been told it's idealistic, but what people often really mean by that is that they don't think it will get kids into college. I totally and vehemently disagree. I agree with Plautus who said:

Virtus praemium est optimum

"Virtue itself is the highest reward"

He then went on to enumerate how everything else depends on virtue. We can't have the everything else that we want without virtue, but we won't have virtue if we seek everything so hard that we don't nourish the goose that lays the golden egg.

And the goose is nothing other than virtue."

From this amazing conversation that I am so happy I stumbled upon, I know that regardless of what curricula I choose, my days WILL begin with a determination to look for the true, the good, and the beautiful, and I will gaze upon them when I find them.

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

While there are many groups participating in this week's blog hop, I'd like to especially draw your attention to this group of ladies, whom I'm teaming up with:


  1. I'm trying to narrow down what type of math program I will use with my nine year.. go the computer route or the workbooks routine or a mixture of the two.... he fits math though he's not bad at it....hmmm.. decisions eh? I do like the focus on virtue and wisdom....

    Annette @ A net in time (

  2. Oh my goodness, our children are all still young, but I already have this problem! I have the "core" set up subjects we never leave out - predominately Math and Language Arts. I squeeze in a variety of other subjects on a whim. Probably not ideal, but it works for us! lol

  3. 1. I love Andrew Kern. He is my favorite.

    2. "A combination if possible" of your literature options - I want to STRONGLY recommend that you just pick one. No reason to add to the insanity. :-)


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