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Cheryl Floyd

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Everything posted by Cheryl Floyd

  1. This was alluded to earlier in this thread: theses seem to be more appropriate at the master's degree level. The seven liberal arts themselves are broad by nature. My understanding is we ought to not use them to explore a plethora of content, but to go deeper with specific content areas. I wonder if a seventeen or eighteen year-old is actually ready to express a thesis of his or her education broadly or narrowly, and do so well. And how do we actually equip them to attain such a level of expression? Why is it needed when it isn't even required of BA graduates? Just some thoughts I am considering. I thought it was strange when it started becoming a standard for high school graduates.
  2. We are God-given the faculty of memorization. It has a place and a purpose within the education of the young. Memorization creates a foundation for later critical thinking as you say. It is so helpful to already know a "name, date, and place" when considering history later. To have several events memorized in chronological order frees up "thinking" space in the mind and the heart to contemplate should questions, cause and effect, comparisons and contrasts, and finally critiques. Catechisms have been a part of Christendom and Judaism since their inceptions. Priests memorized the canon of the Psalms and I think the first five books of the Old Testament. We memorize scripture so that it comes back to us when we need encouragement, hope, guidance, resistance to temptation. This is true of science, history, math, and english foundational facts that will assist us in later stages of learning. I am not an "ages and stages" classical educator, so that is not the definition I am using when I say "stage". But "precept upon precept" is a biblical concept because it is a human way of learning. So is memorizing. Certainly it can be overdone, or cut short by leaning on it alone without developing the ideas associated with the information. These are not reasons to abandon the great aid memorizing can bring to one's education.
  3. That would be a lovely event to attend, but sadly not me either. Let us know all the great things you glean when you get a chance!
  4. Oh, I love the idea of an "I Wonder" book. That is a great way to inspire a spirit of inquiry!
  5. Is it a classical approach to show mastery in one discipline? I didn't realize that is the purpose of a senior thesis paper.
  6. I had the same reactions, Karen. Even as a bachelor's student at my age, I do not feel ready to synthesize everything I have learned into a thesis paper. I thought that was a graduate level skill as well. I like the idea of some sort of "celebration" project that helps a student reflect upon their education, and maybe includes a contemplation of the future. It could be a paper I suppose, or a speech, like a commencement speech? But I'm not sure. What do your projects look like, or what is their focus?
  7. There has been some research I have heard in various talks about the range of people's attention spans. Supposedly 30-45 minutes is the maximum for the most attention an adult (so a teen also?) can give to a topic. Content like math can be beneficially done every day, but sometimes, if you were to do two, 2-session - 40 and 40 with ten-minute break - math classes in a week, the break between Monday and Wednesday, or Tuesday and Thursday gives the brain time to process and see patterns. Same for something like science where there needs to be time to contemplate. History may work better on a daily basis because it is usually narrative and biographical. The thing about saying "11th" grade is there isn't a real reason for why they ought to be studying economics "that" year or ancient or American or world history, or British versus American literature. So... Is it even wise to say that "have" to be in Alg II by that point? I don't know on those accounts. So much of any high school year would depend upon what they had already had. So maybe instead we could build a set of "ideal" content and skills introduced, covered, and mastered from 9th-12th grade? I would say: Mastered Algebra I, familiar with geometry, exposed to Algebra II, bonus any higher math exposure (for general education, not "math" kids) Mastered 3-5 page essay on a work of literature, mastered a 3 page research paper with 3 sources in either science or history Good exposure to ancient, medieval, British - including Shakespeare - maybe including one enactment, and American literature. Some exposure to other world literature/"modern literature" - like C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Chesterton. Understanding of what a plot is, understanding of what character arch is, arch types, protagonist verses hero. Understanding in context of various literary devices. Exposure to short, persuasive essays and speeches, poetry. Mastery of a comprehensive timeline of history where they can plug in any all other content they are exposed to - even math. They should be introduced to the people who discovered or formulated the math they use - it might make it more humane. Working knowledge of ancient- medieval, Renaissance-Enlightenment, and then Exploration-American, and then modern-current events history. Ideally this is done chronologically and the other classes coincide. Government and economics don't have to be a separate class. The most important things about those two topics are not the modern formulae and bureaucracy, but the ideas that shape the two, those coincide with history, and some with literature and even theology. Science for me is a mixed bag. I am unsure as to why it has to be "biology" "chemistry" and "physics" but that leaves a fourth year for perhaps in depth nature study (for freshmen probably), maybe a semester devoted to local flora and fauna with local guests as lecturers now and then, or classically, astronomy - this would be great during the ancient-medieval history cycle. I'm sure there are a lot of electives and other things that could be fleshed out and included. But that is what I worry about: that we shove too much "great" content in to a schedule and it comes across mediocre because young minds are ready for the level of the material at the level or delivery and the level of expected retention and comprehension. Generations ago had such a great handle on what could be expected of students, and all of society fit together in such ways as to ensure the preparation and comprehension. Then we somehow got way off the rails. Now we are almost blinded, and lamed in our ability to assess what we ought to be offering, and what they can actually handle. And in the end students have to "want" to receive, they have to pick up the fork and eat, and have an appetite, a large enough appetite, and then they have to exercise those "nutrients" into their minds and souls. All of that we cannot do for them. I feel as though most of the time, students these days are doing educational what I did when I was 4 and 5 years old: say I am eating then at the first change feed my food to the dog or hide it under the china cabinet behind me. And my mom wondered how I was staying so skinny. I wasn't trying to be skinny, I just didn't want that food, or was full. How do you keep juniors and seniors interested in life-long learning?
  8. Maybe. Would you include some research on what their favorite foods were or what would have been served during their times? Or is it just the place cards? I would make the cards for your real dinner! Maybe 2-3 a night? Or a week? Get a chair and a plate and everything! He can learn place-settings too.
  9. Oh, names are tricky! So many various root languages. But, I was just thinking the other day, as the guy at the coffee place spelled my FIRST name completely wrong - why don't people know how to spell names any longer? I am sure it has to do with technology. I had to WRITE my friend a note on paper ever day if I wanted to "text" her. And I always started with her NAME. Or I would WRITE the name of the boy I liked on my book covers. Or I stalk him in the year book - so I had to be able to recognize his name. I guess people look up people on facebook and see their names. But on instagram people often use something totally different as their designation. I don't know, but having him learn how to say and spell the president's name is a great thing!
  10. My priest taught us that the Greek for "God created the heavens and earth" uses "poeta". God is a poet! Poetry is meaningful and mysterious, not scientific and analytical. It is playing with and loving the puppy, not killing it and cutting it up to say what makes the tail wag. IF you can figure out "what" biologically makes the tail wag, cutting it up you will never find out "why" the tail wags. To possibly do that, the puppy must live. You must live with the puppy, and play with the puppy, and train the puppy, and clean up after the puppy. AND THEN. MAYBE you will START to find out SOME reasons why the puppy wags his tail. And you will not be puffed up with presumed knowledge, but you will be humbled by relational understanding. That is "why" you study poetry.
  11. Now that I am further into Les Miserables I see this would be too intense and too long for my children, even my older ones! There is so much that is extraneous! What have you done if you started a book with your children and figured out in the middle of it it's not right, or there are things you wouldn't want them exposed to? Would you just stop? Would you try to read ahead and abridge yourself? Would you push through? I usually know ahead of time what we are going to read, but sometimes I take a chance with something. I'm glad I didn't start reading Les Miserables to them! I think if I did, though, now, I would just read up to where Jean val Jean has his epiphany. That could be a beautiful story all in itself. That's what made me think I could read it to them! Dante I know is going to have hard themes, but they are so crouched in poetry that I wondered if I couldn't just read through it anyway, and just stop on the parts I do want to expound upon.
  12. Yes, the want to is the key, but what to do in the meantime right? Just do it anyway I suppose. May God bless your efforts!
  13. I agree with some aspects of what you are asserting. Certainly our pacifist attitudes as a culture are not working to soften, slow, or stagger bullying. confronting, or standing up for one's self is a good thing. I don't know that I advocate MMA and that sort as a necessity. I also don't believe that parents and school authority should not be involvement. It has to be all-inclusive. We go to Heaven together, and we confront Hell as a community. Part of the problem is we are so disjointed. Parents are not involved in their children's lives. And as you also pointed out, they are too quick to defend their children - victim or bully. Both don't need coddling. Both need loving confrontation. All are made in the image of God. I also don't agree with the disuse of physical discipline for young children as a parent. I don't know if that is what you were referencing when you said that a parent should never strike a child. When corporal discipline was the cultural norm (for thousands of years), there was less bullying and less "psychological" issues among most children. Respect for parents and grandparents and adults in general were much higher. Parents respected their parents even if they were far less than perfect. But children were raised at some point without discipline and expectations of respect, and it has transferred into a culture-wide epidemic of hysteria, neuroses, and violence. People speak and act more violently than ever. We are at least three generations in to Dr. Spock's non-disciplinary malware. I don't believe our problems are because people were abused by their parents in the last couple of generations. Unless by abuse we mean the neglect of discipline. It is unloving to ignore a child's bad behavior.
  14. I came across this article that credits one of my favorite educators, John Taylor Gatto with the following information: “Keep children under surveillance every minute from dawn to dusk. Give no private space or time. Fill time with collective activities. Record behavior quantitatively.” “Addict the young to machinery and electronic displays. Teach that these are desirable to recreation and learning both.” “Remove as much private ritual as possible from young lives, such as the rituals of food preparation and family dining.” “Grade, evaluate, and assess children constantly and publicly. Begin early. Make sure everyone knows his or her rank.” “Honor the highly graded. Keep grading and real world accomplishment as strictly separate as possible so that a false meritocracy, dependent on the support of authority to continue, is created. Push the most independent kids to the margin; do not tolerate real argument.” “Forbid the efficient transmission of useful knowledge, such as how to build a house, repair a car, make a dress.” “Remove all significant functions from home and family life except its role as dormitory and casual companionship. Make parents unpaid agents of the State; recruit them into partnerships to monitor the conformity of children to an official agenda.” 7 Ways Schools Are Creating Empty Children What do you think? Do you use grades to rank your child's educational work or progress? Why or why not? Do you allow your children to have some private time or unstructured play time? How much is too much? How much is too little? How do you find ways to "transmit useful knowledge" such as cooking, building, sewing, fixing things? Do you sit often to a meal together, or how do you protect and cultivate family functions, times, and traditions? We do NOT eat at the table any more. For no real reason. Lord have mercy. We eat at various spots in the kitchen or ::GASP:: in front of the TV watching a show together.
  15. In having to use Peter Kreeft's Socratic Logic text for a class and also taking an economics class I came away thinking every teacher should have to take Logic and Economics! They wouldn't be directly teaching either, especially to young students, but they would begin introducing the concepts through the conversations in the classrooms: Johnny, it doesn't follow that you said A and then B happened so D is what you did about it. Sarah, if you choose this option, that is going to take away this other option - is that worth the cost? Jim, how much is the difference between these two decisions worth to you? What happens if we add one more aspect or take one away? That sort of talk and mindfulness. Then when they get to middle school and high school they will have been prepped for the terms and formal ideas that accompany logic and economics. I agree that it must be done carefully or else "damage" can be done to young hearts and minds.
  16. I am so sad I couldn't attend, but I'd love to hear about any insights anyone gleaned! What were some good take-aways, or musings that came forward?
  17. I agree! My mom was a voracious reader, but to herself. I don't remember her reading to me, so if she did it must have stopped before I was old enough to remember. But I do remember HER always reading a book. I don't find my children reading to themselves hardly at all, but they ask ME to read to them most mornings if I forget, or the groan if I say we don't have time. So, I pray they will get the bug to read for themselves, but I am so glad they like when we all read something together.
  18. 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?
  19. 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?
  20. 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.
  21. 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!
  22. 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.
  23. Yes! I have been told that when I try to use questions in a conversation, my friend feels like I am interrogating her or inferring something. Is this because I have still not mastered the art of the dialectic, the spirit of inquiry, and the ways of wonder? Probably mostly. But could it also be that like most of us, questions were used against her through her schooling, she has observed questions used on news programs or interviews to "trap" a person, or NO questions were used and the "right" answer was spoon-fed to her and others she observed so that now, a dialect conversation is uncomfortable for her. It could be a little of both. 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?
  24. Yes. But these days people use questioning as interrogation and to be skeptical, don't you think? 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, these may be parts to a "wonder-directed" pedagogy.
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