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Cheryl Floyd

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Everything posted by Cheryl Floyd

  1. I've just been asked to take the students at our co-op and offer them a literature class. What was written to me was "a book a week". But I don't know that that is wholly feasible without storming through them. We only meet once a week. The class time would be one hour. They have a separate writing class, so this would be strictly literature discussion. What would you suggest as 10-12 Great Books OR short stories to step off in the second semester with mostly girls, but some boys, 11-15 years old? I thought my first class we would read the account of Nathan using a story to convict King David of his sin. There is power when truths are clothed in story. then for homework I was going to have them read Tolkien's On Faery Stories. When they came back the next week, we'd review what we learned about stories from Nathan, then Tolkien, and then the last 10 minutes of class I'd start reading to them from The Ransom of Red Chief. Their homework would be to finish it. But I bet they could get through a book like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in a week without going so fast they fail to read "slowly". I'd like to teach them the art of reading slowly, that's why I don't think "a book a week" is a good idea. Since this isn't a school, or for a grade, but is in addition to what kids are already doing, I'm sure I was asked for a book a week as something easy-ish for them to go through. So thoughts? Suggestions? Should I have all the books "go together"? Is it ok for them to be more random?
  2. Cheryl Floyd

    Short but ultimate classical book list

    In addition we are slowly reviewing Tolkien’s essay, “On Fairy-Stories,” and I am reading Tending the Heart of Virtue by Vigen Guroian.
  3. Cheryl Floyd

    What Should We Read?

    I've really only interacted with the Esolen version. But I am using a kindle version, "Cary's translation" to read out loud to my children, and a large "Chartwell Books, Inc." edition with beautiful art for looking at as I read to them. I can't find my Esolen! However, I highly recommend the Great Courses series on The Divine Comedy. The two professors obviously love their work and give amazing insights into Dante's ideas, form, and structure. I used my Audible credit to listen to it rather than purchased it through Great Courses. I have a video set of Esolen also explaining it, but I haven't sat down to go through it yet. Maybe I'll do that a little at a time with the kids too.
  4. Cheryl Floyd

    Jean Valjean and Dante

    How young do you think you can start to introduce classic literature? How do you introduce it? Do you use an abridged version with lots of art first? Do you then have middle schoolers read a more wordy, but still abridged version? And then finally do you tackle the full text in high school? At what age do you think you could read a few lines, explaining as you go to say, 6-8 year-olds? I am reading Les Mis for myself, but I think my kids could listen to the audio and follow along. I am reading out loud to them, Dante' Inferno, I think it's going ok. We are going really slow and reviewing before and after each read. The language is so beautiful. Any thoughts?
  5. you know you are a classical educator when... Every answer to a child's question is question, every story references Homer, and every threat of discipline references Dante's seven circles.
  6. Cheryl Floyd

    What Should We Read?

    Oh, I agree with this. Even for myself, lately, as I am trying to get through difficult reads, I plug my ears and sort of read out loud under my breath. It really helps me concentrate, though I'm sure I look crazy, but I need to hear nothing else but the words on the page in my head - plugging my ears has that effect.
  7. Cheryl Floyd

    Technology for children

    Browsing our ClassicalU forums content I came across this thread: Specifically the short video referenced in the response post. The presenter of the video has specific things to say about children and the effects of technology. I know from observations of myself, I grow in anxiety and distractibility when I use my phone and computer frequently. These days I find I have to purpose to NOT use them. What am I showing my children? This is what it is to be an adult? My own college classes and this forum are online, but I want them to do all their course work through books and paper, and all their socializing in person. I wish I could have the Great Books courses locally and that ClassicalU was a support group downtown, but they aren't. So I compromise and use the computer/my phone. To wind down in the evening I play Words with Friends. I justify this as superior to the Xbox because it is a spelling and strategy game. But the truth is it's still electronic entertainment. It's still solitary. And of course I go on facebook multiple times a day as a "break". Yet I am slightly insulted when I am out with people and they answer or pull out their phone. How do my children feel? Who could be calling or texting during school hours that's more important than what we are doing together? So are there necessary or beneficial uses for electronic devices in education - especially for the young? Is there an age that is too young and other skills and concrete materials ought to be employed first? Is the damage that is coming out through studies and observations, statistics and data enough to warrant not using devices before middle school? That age seems shocking to suggest. But just twenty-five years ago there was hardly anything to use before that time. My 14yo daughter has friends she keeps in contact with from our church camp through social hang-outs. I am glad she is maintaining relationships from camp. But she doesn't have her own computer or phone. She has to use ours and ask to do so. But, she develops a negative attitude when she is denied or we want to do something as a family. So, I see this rejection of the ones who are present for virtual "community" happening. I am sure that is how my kids feel when I have my phone out or am on it while "we" are supposed to be watching a movie. I wonder if this is what happens with books compared with movies, and curriculum compared with online opportunities. Can you imagine if God had chosen to send a program instead of Jesus?
  8. Cheryl Floyd

    What Should We Read?

    I loved these lectures by Josh and I tend to read everything he writes for Circe's blog. I think he said either in these lectures, (I watched last year) or one of his articles, that what he did and suggests new teachers do is be a student with the students, show them your struggle. If a book is new to you too, you show them how it is to approach something new. But he also suggested two books as places to start for background: The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity by John McManners, and History of Political Philosophy, Edited by Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey. He said he used these two resources to inform him for his classes. I imagine books like these are examples for kinds to look for in whatever area of study a teacher is covering. Angelina Stanford said she never teaches a book without a "guide" - she checks to see if Tolkien, Lewis, or Burton Raffel - who was one of her professors - has any commentary or translation on the material. I am going through Pinocchio with middle schoolers, so I looked up Vigen Guroian's, Tending the Heart of Virtue in which he also talks about the moral imagination. I think one of the traps of "knowing" the book you are going to use with students is just that: thinking you "know" it, rather than coming at it with fresh perspective each time. Surely if it's great book there is always something else to behold. I know for me, each time I read Jane Eyre I had predecided, based on my first reading and film adaptation, that I hated the book because of Mr. Rochester. But, upon the 5th reading, Thank God, I accidentally was smacked in the face with Helen. SHE is the Penelope of the whole book. She is the catalyst for Jane's change of heart and her desire to "serve somewhere else." Mr. Rochester is not her "bad boyfriend" she just can't get over, he is her service of love. That was what I discovered anyway, the last time I read it. But it opened my eyes for the need not to be so concrete and dogmatic about the "only" thing a book has to offer. So, teachers ought to be careful when leading students not to ruin their own first or fifth reads.
  9. Cheryl Floyd

    Routines and Liturgies

    This is a really great question that I look forward to hearing about from others. May I ask though, what you intend to mean by the use of the word "liturgies"? We are now in a liturgical church tradition, but we were from a non-liturgical denominational approach. So, four or five years ago, being in classical circles I would have desired a routine to my days that also reflected something of my faith, but I would have thought the "routine" would be the thing that was "liturgical". Now, what I try to make sure is that not only do we have a routine that is rhythmic, but that what we are doing at certain points is sacred or sacramental. So we start our day with prayer recitation and a hymn as well as a "catechism" of reciting together, 55 Maxims for Christian Living before we go to breakfast. Then before we start breakfast we pray, and after we eat we pray. Then when we move into our dining room for the feast for our minds we recite together our prayers for educating our minds and souls. We prayer for and after lunch. And we stop at 3pm to go and recite our afternoon prayer which leads us into 10 minutes of silent contemplation and ends with us giving thanks. We also end our learning day with a thanksgiving prayer. As a routine for our study we begin with all listening to the same texts. I read something from our tradition, whether about what we believe, the church, or heroes of the faith. I also read books like Harry Potter, and have just started The Inferno. Then everyone does their own math - because they are fresh and give their best effort to the hardest subject. Then it sort of devolves with each choosing what to work on next independently. Some are taking piano, some aren't so a lot of their work from this point forward varies. But on Thursday we attend a co-op, and Friday mornings everyone packs up their math and their books to go to 3 out of 5's piano lessons. I'd love to say we do a bedtime story or something in the evenings, but what they all do is take taekwondo from 5:30-7. So we eat when they get home, watch something together, kids clean the kitchen and go to bed independently. I am usually up a little longer doing college class work, or in bed a little earlier to get up to do college work.
  10. Cheryl Floyd


    My Minor Prophets professor at Faulkner University recently said he was looking into the idea "worldview". It got me thinking about how much that term comes up in Christian classical/homeschooling circles. What are your thoughts on "worldview?" How do you go about talking about worldview ideas with your students? How do you incorporate your ideals about worldview when choosing curriculum and topics? Here are a couple of my favorite articles on the topic: Andrew Kern of Circe Institute - Christian Classical consulting group: https://www.circeinstitute.org/2009/02/worldview-thinking-reconsidered Marin Cothran - Memoria Press Christian Classical curriculum company, he also has fought for legislature and spoken before the Kentucky legislature and local government on moral issues: https://www.memoriapress.com/articles/what-christian-worldview/ Here he lists some books that help with the concept: https://classicallatin.org/exordium/what-is-the-christian-worldview/ Here Rod Dreher addressed a talk he heard about the effects of applying worldview analysis and then the next link is Heidi White addressing some of his concerns: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-problem-with-worldview-education/ https://www.circeinstitute.org/blog/defense-viewing-world What are some of your favorite resources when contemplating this idea? Is this age/grade range a good time to start bring these ideas to the forefront of discussions or do you start earlier or later?
  11. Cheryl Floyd

    For all the lurkers out there

    How can we promote this post?! 👏 👏👏
  12. Nobility (1849) by Alice Cary True worth is in being, not seeming,— In doing, each day that goes by, Some little good—not in dreaming Of great things to do by and by. For whatever men say in their blindness, And spite of the fancies of youth, There’s nothing so kingly as kindness, And nothing so royal as truth. We get back our mete as we measure— We cannot do wrong and feel right, Nor can we give pain and gain pleasure, For justice avenges each slight. The air for the wing of the sparrow, The bush for the robin and wren, But always the path that is narrow And straight, for the children of men. ’Tis not in the pages of story The heart of its ills to beguile, Though he who makes courtship to glory Gives all that he hath for her smile. For when from her heights he has won her, Alas! it is only to prove That nothing’s so sacred as honor, And nothing so loyal as love! We cannot make bargains for blisses, Nor catch them like fishes in nets; And sometimes the thing our life misses Helps more than the thing which it gets. For good lieth not in pursuing, Nor gaining of great nor of small, But just in the doing, and doing As we would be done by, is all. Through envy, through malice, through hating, Against the world, early and late, No jot of our courage abating— Our part is to work and to wait And slight is the sting of his trouble Whose winnings are less than his worth. For he who is honest is noble Whatever his fortunes or birth.
  13. Cheryl Floyd

    Technology for children

    In the first paragraph universalizing a whole generation is criticized, then the author goes on to mostly site his own limited experiences as his counter-argument. 🤨 Especially for young children, electronic interfacing on a regular basis over a long time has statistically proven bad for their judgement, social skills, attention span and concentration. It is addictive for a variety of reasons. As far as adults, we could set a better example, and many of those issues pertain to us as well. Anxiety issues have also been linked to too much electronics/online exposure.
  14. Cheryl Floyd

    Teaching History - Primary Sources

    Thank God! He does redeem our faculties, our loves, our intellects. And he is redeeming education in our lifetimes! Thank you for loving history and choosing to bless students with your faculties and affections!
  15. https://www.npr.org/2019/01/02/677722959/why-millions-of-kids-cant-read-and-what-better-teaching-can-do-about-it The discovery is that nothing is new! We have taken so long away from phonics that we now how teachers that are shocked it would and does work. I will say, in my measly twenty years of teaching only my own seven children, there is a bit of a combination that is necessary. If there is a rule for explaining "do" and "so" and "shoe" and "does" and "friend" then I haven't known it. I have taught a small set of sight words but with the primary focus being on phonics. Our language is a phonetic language. It seems to be when one of the interviewed teachers is shocked and never thought to explain language to her students, that this is evidence of a falling away from the knowledge that students are human beings with the faculties of intellect and reason. Now they are underdeveloped, but still present. They will perceive patterns and use inductive and deductive reasoning to intuit how to begin to pronounce and comprehend words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. I loved listening to my children figure out prepositions and adverbs before we named and studied them: "Zip up it." Technically that's correct! When up is used an a preposition, it must have an object. "Zip it up" is not incorrect or just a way we say it, it's that "up" is an adverb in this case. If you have taught your children to read what strategies did you use and what struggles did you encounter?
  16. Cheryl Floyd

    Short but ultimate classical book list

    I like the the introduction of the skill of seeing a story in a bigger context than itself. That's what we are! Stories and seeing them in light of each other, history, logic, theology, the Bible, the Tradition, helps us see ourselves in God's story as well.
  17. Cheryl Floyd

    Short but ultimate classical book list

    @Patrick Halbrook I LOVE Antigone! There are terrible things that happen in it, yet it is not shameful to read with students! It is tragic but not nihilistic you know? It is so human in drawing out one's compassion for another person. I started my class with sharing with them the account of the profit Nathan approaching King David about his sin. He didn't just point his prophetic finger at the King and say, "You adulterous, murderer!" He used a STORY to capture his conscience! Once David said what the verdict on such a man as would take the sheep of a man who only had one, which he loved as a pet, to simply feed a stranger, ought to be death, THEN Nathan could said - you are that man! All David could do was agree. Aristotle said myth is a truth clothed. Then I had them look up "moral imagination" and start reading Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories". We'll read that in the background while going through Pinocchio and then Wind in the Willows. These may seem like lesser stories for middler schoolers. But I want to use them to practice the skills and tools to approach books like Out of the Silent Plant, The Hobbit, or Father Brown with. I used to think we often as a nation have been starting too young with certain works and skills - like annotating. But what I noticed as I-I-I have been trying to learn to annotate in my old age, is that good, personal annotating happens with lots of practice, and little self-criticism. So, as an adult I'm worried about doing it "wrong". But these junior high girls aren't worried about highlighting "wrong"! Thank God! They aren't ruined yet with that mindset. Introducing them to beautiful works with abridged versions, or illustrated versions, or going slowly through harder works together has the same effect. If we can build confidence and "strength" in their "literary muscles" then they will have the confidence and fortitude and affection for the greater works as they mature. It was a great first class anyway. We'll see in a few more weeks.
  18. Cheryl Floyd

    Self-care for moms?

    How do you handle being a full time mom? What do you do when you are stressed or come to the end of yourself? Or if your child(ren) are having a hard day? A facebook post quoting Charlotte Mason drew my attention to these questions the other day: "If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play! If she would only have courage to let everything go when life becomes too tense, and just take a day, or half a day, out in the fields, or with a favourite book, or in a picture gallery looking long and well at just two or three pictures, or in bed, without the children, life would go on far more happily for both children and parents." Sometimes it isn’t a manicure or a coffee date we need, but an attending of our own souls with the true, good, and beautiful. This is a schole’ solution. Teaching littles, or having littles along with having to teach older children is HARD! But sometimes we can make it easier if we would do something restful like Charlotte suggests - make cookies together! Sometimes it’s attending to our homes: Organize the garage. That’s still learning. Name all the plants in the yard. If it’s raining outside watch Singing in the Rain! - homeschooling should be about making memories and relationship too. If you have a baby or toddler their should be “school” time that includes PLAY WITH THE BABY/TODDLER TIME! Education IS an atmosphere, a discipline, a life! It should be a lot more “real-life-looking” than what happens at a formal school. Do you struggle with stress and burn-out or how do you handle rough days?
  19. Cheryl Floyd

    Teaching History - Primary Sources

    ALL my junior and senior high history teachers were coaches - that’s what they actually were. “History” was the thing they had to teach to save the district money for sports. We read aweful texts like that and then took ridiculous notes off the chalk board just as bad. And the a multiple hoice test. 😢
  20. Cheryl Floyd

    What will you read in 2019?

    That sounds wonderful! How often as educators, Christian educators, are we bypassing our History for "history," especially in American. The world was running ages before our nation was founded, and The Church was alive, defending, crafting, and constituting our Faith. I know until the last couple of years, I had "facts" parrot-memorized in my brain, but never took time to relate them or contemplate their affects on today.
  21. I agree, that really is reflected "taste and see" "sweetness and light".
  22. Cheryl Floyd

    Homeschool Catechism?

    Oh! Is it possible to share your catechism? It sounds great!
  23. Cheryl Floyd

    Literature Teachers!

    I like both those authors, but I wonder if their work would be appropriate for junior girls (I ended up with all girls) who have not been delving into great literature previously?
  24. That is great! I love the term, "poetic knowledge" though it's fullness is foggy to me. As two of the noblest things, I think of sweetness as innocence, and light as perception - which is really truth. Lovely things to contemplate!