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  1. Yesterday
  2. KarenG

    After Graduation?

    I think this is an interesting question, but I am going to be highly skeptical of any attempt to answer it in a concrete way. I think there are different levels of classical education--at the high end, you've got the full Greek/Latin language scholars who are reading ancient texts in the originals, and that's great, but that's never going to be the object for everyone. Classical education is subject to criticism for being "elite"--and at this level, it has to be. I tend to think of this as "classical scholarship," and it's not happening in K-12. I suppose you might also consider a deliberate in-depth study of the 7 liberal arts to be the definition of classical education, but again, you're not going to finish that in a K-12 program. "Introduction to the 7 liberal arts" is probably as far as it goes. But then, there's the whole mythos/logos/dialectic/paideia (ala Norms and Nobility) that would have us reading for meaning and taking instruction for the sake of our characters--in an effort to be a more virtuous person. This is what I think can happen during the K-12 years, and I would not call it "receiving a classical education;" I would call it "being educated in the classical tradition." I think I don't like any terms that make it seem like it's a finished business, but rather part of an on-going process. (In Plato's Republic, his full educational plan takes 50 years!) I really like the stuff about paideia in N&N. To me, that's an intellectual awakening--an awareness of the intellectual life, an interest in at least some aspect of it, and the ability to read and learn for oneself, accompanied by the desire to do that. Once you get a person to that point, they can, indeed, do anything. Charlotte Mason thought it could pretty well be achieved by age 13 or 14. It's not a "complete" classical education, but it gets you to a place where you could continue it *on your own* if you wanted to. I'm not sure you can do that by 13 or 14 in our current climate, but surely you can by 17 or 18, at the end of K-12. I'm just enough of a pragmatist to prefer that we focus on what I think is possible, and that is "educating in the classical tradition." If we graduate our students and they never pick up a book again, we probably haven't accomplished it.
  3. Patrick Halbrook

    After Graduation?

    Great thoughts, and I definitely agree with most of what has been said. Depending on the person, different options may be appropriate, and there's no reason everyone should have to do the same thing. At the same time, I still wonder this: at what point do we consider someone to be "classically educated," or at what point has a student really received a classical education to the degree that he or she is prepared to leave and go do other things? We naturally think in terms of K-12 since that's how schooling works in our culture. But if you had a student who attended a classical school for elementary and middle school and then left to go to public school for high school, was he or she classically educated? Or what if the student just spent a few years in a classical elementary school? We'd probably say no, he or she was not really or not fully classically educated, because classical education as we envision it culminates with high school. But why shouldn't it culminate with college? Especially if our model is inspired by the medieval university system? (Of course, there's also a sense in which education is a lifelong endeavor and one must spend their whole lifetime becoming truly educated...I'm planning on continuing my own classical education for many decades to come...but that's a slightly different question...)
  4. Patrick Halbrook

    House System

    I'm glad it's working out well. How many students are in each house, and what grades? We started out by combining middle and high school, which was quite large with about 50-60 students in each grade. We're now doing middle and high school separately, which is working well. We also have a number of students in each house involved in leadership, which involved planning house meetings, coordinating school activities like dances, and doing service projects around the school. Each house plays a different role in the school. We used to have a fairly traditional middle-school-wide and high-school-wide student government program (president, vp, etc.) but this has replaced it, and I think it works a lot better. It's impressive to see the way students step up and lead really effectively.
  5. I find this time of year to be the midst of "spring fever" outside and inside. About this time, mamas and teachers are often feeling the weight of the whole year and ready for summer to get here! We are often looking ahead as well to what we are going to do for next year - or WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO FOR NEXT YEAR??? Do you struggle with this? I am already in the works planning for next year, but we really haven't finished this year. We haven't finished even enough for me to actually have a good gage of what we should do next in areas like math and reading. I am just "feeling" the doldrums of the season, and my children are as well. How do you handle this time of year or when you hit dry spots?
  6. Cheryl Floyd

    Deep Reading Assignment

    I don't think it's just too much analysis, I think there is an age of ability that might need to be assessed. Is it proper to ask for questions of a book at a younger age? Not that I subscribe to "ages and stages" in what neo-classical people have done with Dorothy Sayers essay, but just as we look for readiness to teach reading skills, there is probably an opportune time to begin the skills of dialectic formally. For now, do you think using the skill of narration is better or might be more fruitful? @KarenG thoughts?
  7. Cheryl Floyd

    What Should We Read?

    What I love about the use of narration is it IS assessment. If you ask a class or a student to tell you what they just learned from the book, the conversation, the topic, you will know if they are ready to have a conversation, you will know what conversation you can have, you will know what you may need to review, and you will know what they misunderstand. I think it's David Hicks that says not to answer a question that hasn't been asked. Well, you ought not ask a question about something a student doesn't understand! When once my students have narrated, I look for holes and see if they just forgot or they didn't understand something by using questions. When once I see where we all stand, then I can begin our conversation, and they are none the wiser. They haven't been intimidated into feeling like they don't know enough or the "right" things.
  8. Cheryl Floyd

    What Should We Read?

    I'll be leading a class this fall where this idea will be helpful. Sometimes figuring out what to write for notes, especially in a seminar can be confusing, so this is helpful!
  9. Cheryl Floyd

    When To Start Formal Reading and Writing Skills

    That sounds amazing! Great job, mom, following your children's lead! I don't worry as much about the brain as I do about the soul.
  10. Last week
  11. Cheryl, I found this post helpful and interesting. I love that you called reading "this mysterious faculty." I have taught three of my kids to read so far, and as I think about what the process looked like for each of them, other than the obvious use of phonics, the only common thread was that for each one of them there was a "light bulb" moment that had nothing to do with me, a moment where it all suddenly clicked and they were reading fluently. I feel like because of that, I still haven't really settled on a 'method' or 'way' of teaching reading. In retrospect, I probably started phonics instruction too early with my oldest. We took it slow still, so the damage was minimal. We were using the little Abeka handbook. Then I had a baby during her first grade year, so I put the phonics on pause for a month or two, but everyday while I rocked the baby she would sit and look through books on her own, and after those two months she could read anything she wanted to read. She has been reading voraciously ever since. My second child is a later reader. I could tell from early on that things were going to be different, so I decided that the incremental Orton-Gillingham approach of All About Reading would be the best thing. We inched our way slooooowly but consistently through that. Periodically I would become anxious, and then have to repent of that, over and over. I did my due diligence, ruling out eye problems and dyslexia, etc. Thanks to Sarah Mackenzie's influence, I spent a lot of time trying to find audiobooks and family read-alouds that I thought he would love. I really think that was the most important part of what we did, because he truly does love stories. It might be a coincidence, but he also showed a big improvement around the time he started piano lessons. For him the "light bulb" happened this school year (he'll be 9 next month). My third child is six. At the beginning of this year, he was reading CVC words with instant recognition even though I hadn't specifically worked with him on phonics yet. I did a few weeks of Charlotte Mason-style reading lessons with him, using Discover Reading as a guide and the Treadwell primer for reading material, and he was off and running within a month. He'll read just about anything now, so I just let him practice reading and then we reinforce phonics rules through spelling. I plan on spending some more time trying to understand Charlotte Mason's approach to reading before my next two girls are ready, because of the three processes I described above, that approach was by far the most delightful. (But I will probably keep AAR in my back pocket, just in case!) Where I struggle the most . . . I don't feel like I understand how the brain works in learning to read, and so I don't have confidence in choosing one approach over another. Also, I think it would be ideal for me to have memorized and internalized all the phonics rules so that I could easily teach them "by the way," without a program, but unfortunately I can't recall ever learning a spelling rule in school. On combining reading, handwriting, and composition, I do like a lot of things about Charlotte Mason's approach. We use copywork and oral narration every day, and now written narration for my oldest. My oldest struggled with studied dictation, however, and I felt ill-equipped to figure out why, so I am incorporating All About Spelling, but I really would prefer for everything to be more integrated instead of using different programs for everything. We do a little bit of CAP's Writing and Rhetoric too, because I think it is so lovely and I'm fascinated by the progym approach, but we go at a slower pace with it so we can still emphasize narration without piling on too much extra work.
  12. KarenG

    What Should We Read?

    I think "making honey" is a little bit like what I call "synthetic thinking"--bringing all the ideas together, making connections. That's excellent. The actual pedagogical method that I use (ala Charlotte Mason, don't be surprised!) is narration. Just for fun, I'm going to see how it lines up with Dr. Hess's summary. Here is my summary: A teacher skilled in the pedagogy of wonder would... Recognize the wonder that is inherent in their students--the act of asking a student for a narration is a tacit acknowledgment of and respect for his mind and his ability to comprehend and communicate material. Ask questions that cultivate wonder while avoiding questions that impede wonder--The underlying question that is narration is" "What can you tell me about ______?" It's not the only question that cultivates wonder, but it requires the student to ask himself, "Okay, what CAN I tell?"--and asking yourself questions is at least one aspect of wonder. Facilitate respectful, dialogical, classroom conversations--Narration is so dynamic in a classroom, and for a group of students who practice it together year after the year together, it builds strong relationships that provoke stunning classroom discussion. (I interviewed several teachers who practiced narration in the classroom, and it was amazing.) Consider context and think rhetorically--narration is the magic path to making this happen organically. 🙂 Allow sufficient opportunity for wonder to do its work and then assess their students accordingly--I love the idea of allowing time. The primary purpose of narration is not for assessment, but a teacher can use narration to assess what a student has learned and understood. It's like an essay test, really, and used correctly, it allows a student to tell you what they know, rather than being a vehicle for discovering what they don't know. As we've talked through all of this, I've been wondering (ha!) if narration was the answer, and if it's not "the" answer to what a pedagogy rooted in wonder looks like, it's certainly pretty close. We all know I'm a Charlotte Mason fan, but the reason I'm a fan is that she really did come up with the most effective effective pedagogy to accomplish classical objectives that I have ever seen.
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  14. Paul Dixon

    After Graduation?

    I think classically educated students should and could go anywhere and do anything. I see that as the benefit of classical education. Just as Cheryl and Karen already said, classical education makes a more virtuous, better human being. So, a student should be prepared to go to a secular university, a Christian university, or into the work force to learn a trade. What I don't like to see are students who give up the humanities altogether. Like Cheryl said, too many college programs cut out the humanities after the freshman year, which is tragic to say the least. I like to encourage students to keep taking literature or history courses even if they are going into a more technical field. Most colleges allow students to minor in something unrelated to their majors, so that's a good way to keep reading about being a human.
  15. Paul Dixon

    House System

    We started our house system this year, and, from what I can tell, it seems to be going very well. We wanted to create something to improve our school's culture and to give the students something to rally around. We named our houses after the four major epic poets: Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Milton. We have a "house challenge" every two weeks or so during the lunch hour where the students work on some trivia questions (usually pertaining to something happening in the culture at large, i.e. MLB playoffs, March Madness, the Oscars, etc.) while they eat, then there is some kind of game to go along with it. We also have had some bigger events like a poetry recitation, talent show, and short film competition that we've introduced as competitions between the houses. I'd definitely recommend it to other schools. It's a lot of work and takes a lot of commitment from the teachers (you truly have to own the process), but in our short time with the houses, I think it's brought a lot of our students out of their shells and pushed them to take on leadership roles. I'm looking forward to see how our system progresses.
  16. Jennifer Dow

    Finding a facility

    While I do not have a template I can share the proposal letter I use. Then it's about networking, communication, connections, and calling around and asking. Paideia Fellowship Proposal Letter.docx.pdf
  17. Jennifer Dow

    Liability Insurance for a Schole Group

    Yes, insurance for your group is an important thing. It protects the church, you, and your families. It is also fairly inexpensive. Make sure your agent really understands what kind of thing you are. We are not the typical school!
  18. Donald Hess

    What Should We Read?

    You're right Karen, you got us started with these two questions: We've gathered a lot of "pollen" ever since, and perhaps it's time to start making honey. After perusing the subsequent posts, here is what I collected: 😧 A pedagogy of wonder is rooted in questioning C :Teaching children how to question in contemplation, in submission to a thing first, in delight of mystery, and in submission to maybe not finding the "answer" or the whole of the matter… K: I think the act of wonder, on the inside, is a little bit like getting on your knees. 😧 If a pedagogy of wonder is rooted in questioning, then what kind of questioning? 😄 We have lost the art of dialectic and the pursuit of a conversation that may not end up with "one side's" insight "winning" over the other. Just a meandering of wonder, delight, or inquiry is missing in some of our deep conversations. How do we win it back? J: Questioning is rhetorical, and being rhetorical, questioning is particular, and being particular questioning requires a context. K: I sort of feel like the root question in wonder is "what does it mean?" J: How does one use questions that inspire wonder rather than defensiveness/fear? To that I still maintain that thinking rhetorically is helpful, because it accepts the possibility that a soul may need something other than "the questions wonder asks" in order to be provoked to wonder. K: From a pedagogical standpoint, do you think our hyper-focus on assessment is a help or a hindrance? Can we leave our students alone long enough for wonder to do its work? J: …most activities need a form of assessment, but the form must match the purpose of the activity….I think that a certain kind of assessment gets naturally evoked from the right line of questioning. ************************************ Here is my summary: A teacher skilled in the pedagogy of wonder would... Recognize the wonder that is inherent in their students Ask questions that cultivate wonder while avoiding questions that impede wonder Facilitate respectful, dialogical, classroom conversations Consider context and think rhetorically Allow sufficient opportunity for wonder to do its work and then assess their students accordingly
  19. Here is the link that works: http://insideclassicaled.com/1461-2/
  20. JTB_5

    What Should We Read?

    No need to apologize! Diverging paths often make up part of a good conversation. I'll admit that I still often struggle to evoke wonder in the classes I teach (with ages ranging from 13-18). Often it is the questions I ask, and sometimes, even with a good question, it is a failure to set up the context in which the question will flourish. Speaking of good questions, that's one! Assessment is one of those words that means so many different things, and the meanings are not all equal, or all good. I'll elaborate below, but my short answer is that most activities need a form of assessment, but the form must match the purpose of the activity. I am reminded of an anecdote from David I. Smith's lecture on Teaching and Christian Practices, where he talks about his son's theology assessment. The unit was something like the ten most important theological words in the New Testament. David was asking his son questions like, "What does Justification mean? How is it different from Sanctification?" and his son, after growing frustrated, exclaimed, "but we don't have to know it that deeply, we just need to be able to match them" (or something to that effect). A matching list for an assessment obviously retards wonder or contemplation by its very nature--Smith even showed how you could change the font to Wingdings, memorize the patterns, and still score perfectly on a matching assessment. Assessment like that certainly impedes wonder. On the other hand, I think that a certain kind of assessment gets naturally evoked from the right line of questioning. In the same lecture, Smith talks about a lecture he used to give to his German language classes about German culture. If I recall correctly, what caused him to formulate the lecture was his frustration with German language textbooks, which used phrases and situations that were mainly consumerist and tourist in nature. They did not invite the students to understand the German people through their language, and thereby have a chance to love their neighbor in any particular way. So he had the students come into class silently, with some quiet music playing (I think) and, in a darkened room, spend a few minutes looking at a picture of several people projected on the board. He then began to ask them questions about what they saw. When they would get hasty, he would slow them down and cause them to think again. By having them attend carefully to the picture, he allowed their curiosity to build so that they became naturally interested in what was going on, who the people were, and so on. He then told them something about the people, who turned out to be German students who had formed a resistance against the Nazi party in Germany during WWII. I think that sort of lecture invites self-reflection (a kind of assessment) that can then be returned to in a more formal way (a reflection paper, a journal entry, a research project, etc.) that goes deeper into that original experience of reflection and can be assessed both in terms of the skill (writing, research, etc.) and the virtue (growth in perspective/charity toward others).
  21. KarenG

    What Should We Read?

    Sorry about that. I think I did get a little lost in this discussion. I ended up going pretty far back to reexamine the original questions. We were wondering what a pedagogy rooted in wonder would look like, and Dr. Hess suggested that it would be a pedagogy of questioning, which naturally gave rise to a lot more questions. I think having a solid grasp of the mythos, as well as the logos, of what we want to teach might keep us from losing wonder. That's the thing that educators really need to nail down, to start with, I think. We are educating children who have a natural sense of wonder, and we want to cultivate that so that it can be a force in their pursuit of knowledge. Way too many pedagogical methods kill wonder. I have literally illustrated for hundreds of people what that might look like, and in fact, it was asking the wrong kind of question. The kinds of questions we ask children in their lessons lay the groundwork for the mental habits they will form. From a pedagogical standpoint, do you think our hyper-focus on assessment is a help or a hindrance? Jesus was content to let that young man go away and wonder until it might make a difference to him. Can we leave our students alone long enough for wonder to do its work?
  22. Earlier
  23. I've recommended to all our incoming co-op families to read this helpful article but my link no longer leads to it. Has it been moved? I have it printed but would really like to find it online again!
  24. teamstrovas

    Seven Liberal Arts vs. The Humanities

    Hi Alexandra, The struggles and dynamics you describe are two main reasons why our Schole Groups community chose not to include math or science on community day. We plan to include a two hour Humanities block (classic literature rooted in a specific era and also English Studies/Composition), an "elective" hour (Latin or a non-Latin option) and an oratory hour. This means some aspects are left to each family but most of us are coming from a rigid, highly structured program with no flexibility and we are really desiring some structure but also an element of freedom to account for our unique family's needs. Most of our mom's and several students are a little to a lot burnt out and just barely holding onto their desire /ability to keep homeschooling. So thankful for the concept of Schole Groups! Karissa
  25. JTB_5

    What Should We Read?

    You misunderstand me. Invoking Socrates as an example of using rhetoric isn't an advocation for employing rhetorical techniques or becoming polished rhetoricians. Insofar as Socrates understood the souls of his interlocutors, the difficulties of the subject of inquiry, and the context of the exchange--to that extent he is understanding rhetorically by his own definition (enchanting the soul by means of words). The question I was responding to, as I understood it, was what sort of questioning can provoke wonder rather than create defensiveness or fear. Your response to me identifies something else, which is what sort of questions that wondering asks--this is different! Cheryl's conundrum with her friend illustrates the problem I was trying to address--Cheryl was pursuing questions that characterize wonder (your response to me), but her friend took it as suspicious interrogation. How does one use questions that inspire wonder rather than defensiveness/fear? To that I still maintain that thinking rhetorically is helpful, because it accepts the possibility that a soul may need something other than "the questions wonder asks" in order to be provoked to wonder. Sometimes a display of wonder in one persons sparks it in another. Sometimes a rebuke can spark wonder (I can imagine this as the response of the Rich Young Ruler to Jesus's line of inquiry--he goes away sad, but perhaps wondering about himself as he has never done). And the difference between sparking wonder in a 2-year-old and a 45-year-old will look very different.
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  27. KarenG

    What Should We Read?

    I don't think formal rhetoric techniques, led by the teacher, is what happens with wonder. I sort of feel like the root question in wonder is "what does it mean?" Nobody is going to give you a pat answer for that, so you have to explore side-questions to see meaning (what could it mean? does it mean this? does it mean anything to something else?...no end of possibilities--where that imagination comes in, maybe?), but wonder grows, I think, out of an inherent sense that it does mean something, and we care enough to give it our attention and ask, even if our asking doesn't find specific answers. We ask because we care, and our asking becomes a desire to know, seeking for knowledge. But I see this happening at a very foundational level--2 year olds wonder (and ask "why" endlessly because they are sure that everything means something)--and not something that is the domain of polished rhetoricians. I do agree that the art of questioning is the art of rhetoric, but I don't think wonder fits that paradigm.
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