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Everything posted by megandunham

  1. As a staff, we read The Liberal Arts Tradition together in the fall. The book is, of course, excellent, but I will need to reread it about six times before I really understand it. My introduction to classical education came around 2005 when I picked up a copy of The Well Trained Mind. I'm looking for more books along this line that give method along with practice, particularly as I work alongside a teacher this year who is very new to classical education. What books do you all recommend for those just starting to step into this world for the very first time?
  2. megandunham

    Sad, Sad Week at Our School

    That has proven to be exactly the case. The kids actually requested to come back to school the very next day after their dad died and they've been at school all this week. We had our monthly grammar school recitation this morning and their entire extended family came for it. Later in the day, almost our whole school joined them for their dad's memorial service. We are not the church, nor do we try to be, but we are a tight community and a close family and those kids needed that from us this week. And will continue to need it in the coming weeks after all of the craziness of every family member being in town and living with them and once the quiet settles and they are alone with their grief. But, gosh, it's hard.
  3. Last Thursday, one of the dads at our school was killed by a train when he couldn't stop his truck in time due to ice on the road. The family has three kids at our school: 7th, 6th, 2nd. The youngest was in my class last year. I think our community is handling things well, but, gosh, how do you ever REALLY handle something like this well? We pray. We cry. We hug the kids. We repeat that over and over. Have any of you experienced something like this in your communities? How did you navigate things? Come, Lord Jesus, Come Megan
  4. Do your schools do any type of entrance exam for incoming first graders and would you be willing to either share a copy with me, or give me a good idea of what you put on it? We're in the process of revamping what we want ours to look like and I'd love to see what other schools are doing. Thank you! You can email me if you'd rather send it that way: megan@petraacademy.com
  5. megandunham

    Coming up for air

    Well, whew! Sometimes it's hard to get going again after an extended break and this one was even harder. My oldest daughter got married just before Thanksgiving. We plowed through to finish school before Christmas, then traveled over Christmas, then came back to start school only to have my youngest daughter need shoulder surgery on the second day back. I'm here to say - nothing questions my current role as a first grade teacher like one of my kids really needing me at home and I struggled last week. I am grateful to have two college-age daughters who pretty much cleared their schedules to help care for my youngest (who is 15) on the days I couldn't be with her during the day. But these are the times I really do miss homeschooling (but don't get me wrong - I'm grateful for the teachers they have for high school speaking into their lives alongside my husband and me). I just miss the single purpose of life it seemed I had then. Ahem. Guess this would be more appropriate for a random musings forum. All that to say that I've been a little MIA around here for a few weeks. Life is starting to return to a little more normalcy than it had before. Hope to see more of you around a little bit more now that we're back in the thick of things! Megan
  6. American Girl Bitty Baby will never be the same. My 9th grader is dressing up as the cauldron from MacBeth tomorrow. I'm not sure if I'm more proud of her education, or more disturbed by it right now. These are two of the items inside the cauldron. At least she promises the baby will go back to normal after tomorrow... *grin*
  7. megandunham

    Shakespeare Festival Tomorrow

    Thanks for your gracious replies, both. It seemed worth posting at the beginning, but after I did I SERIOUSLY second guessed it and, well, there you have it. I'm glad that episode is over and I'll see how I do at talking my kids into some of the fairy roles next time... *grin*
  8. Just curious! I'd love to start some more conversations here, but wondered if there are any other teachers who are teaching at this level who check in here?
  9. Do any of your K teachers do a food groups unit? The K teachers at my school are looking to revamp what they are doing and would love to find out what other schools are doing for it.
  10. This seems so basic, but I still can't seem to get a handle on this. I bring so much of my day home with me every single day and spend almost an entire day on the weekends planning out the next week. I thought I'd be better this year (year 2) and there are some aspects that ARE, but overall, I just can't seem to not bring a lot of my planning and prep home with me. What are your tips for best practice here? How can I better make my home and family my priority when I'm not at school?
  11. megandunham

    Shakespeare Festival Tomorrow

    This post is so disturbing to even me. The pictures loaded SO big. I'm trying to delete it, but apparently there isn't any way to do that. Sorry! Hopefully it will get buried by more worthy offerings soon!
  12. I'd love to hear what some of your schools have done for fundraising needs. What have been the most effective things you've done and have been able to repeat with consistent results?
  13. megandunham

    How do you keep school at school?

    We do spend a lot of time at school already. Some background: my husband is the headmaster. We have four daughters, two of whom have already graduated, and the other two are in 10th and 9th grades. Between drama and sports we manage to be there until 5:30 most days (2 hours after school ends). I usually have at least 30 minutes of planning each day, but that time is all taken by current in-class admin needs (quick homework checks, sorting papers, etc.). I try to do as much as I can in that window, but inevitably end up bringing some things home. I'm seriously hopeful that year three will see more of a settling into things. One can always hope!
  14. megandunham

    Teaching Reading

    What do your schools use for phonics/reading/spelling? Have you been happy with it?
  15. megandunham

    "Why do you read all these books by pagans?"

    Here's a video our Academic Dean did to answer this question for our families:
  16. megandunham

    How do you keep school at school?

    Oops - I left a comment about a family I thought went to your school, but I think it's the other guy on here. I need to fact check myself before posting.
  17. Our entire staff just completed a staff training book discussion on The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education by Ravi Jain and Kevin Clark. There has been, of course, much discussion over many aspects of how our school does things in light of what the book is suggesting, but the thing most recently on my heart and mind (and fresh from a conversation with our Kindergarten teacher), what does piety look like in the pre-grammar classroom. What *should* it look like? How can a school best ensure that classrooms have a measure of unity and continuity in this area, particularly when teachers are coming from various denominational perspectives?
  18. Just today I started making a few subtle changes in the way I remind my kids to obey our class rules, in large part to some of your counsel above. For instance, we're not just lining up straight and silent because I asked them to, but because they are being a blessing to our whole class when they do so because we get to go where we're going right away and we don't have to wait for the one or two who are goofing off at the end of the line. I mentioned to our whole 1st-3rd grade the reasons why we need them to clean up well after themselves at lunch is so the kids coming in after them are blessed by a clean and prepared place to eat as well. Just little wording changes, but over time I hope helps bring about much of what we're discussing here.
  19. Did you end up figuring something out? We're pretty old-school with this. There are spreadsheets at the front office organized by teacher and time slot. Parents sign up there.
  20. Thanks for your thoughts on this! It helps to rehash some of these things multiple times for me. In truth, I think our school does do a lot of this, it's just easy to second guess things once presented with a new (to me) set of vocabulary. I really do love the thought above to frame everything in terms of love and make that clear to my young ones. Good things to think over here!
  21. Your thoughts here are super helpful and I will confess - this was a difficult read for me. There's a GOOD chance I'm mixing my areas up. Of course, all that you said is accurate and are things we're striving for throughout the grades. I may be wondering more on the theology side of things - there are some things that seem dependent upon our own belief systems and what our churches have taught us over the course of time that will come out in our classrooms, even subtly (the children will become what they behold, and all that...). So if I'm coming from a reformed Christian perspective and the next teacher they get isn't, what does that ultimately bring about in their lives? And all of this knowing full well that what is happening at home ultimately trumps everything we're doing at school. At any rate, I'm rambling and I'm out the door for another day in the first grade. I'll try to be more coherent about this later on. Thank you!
  22. megandunham

    Where are you from?

    I searched and searched for something like this last summer and couldn't really find anything for teachers at classical schools! There's plenty out there for classical homeschoolers, but no good place for classical school teachers to collaborate. I started a Facebook group for grammar-level teachers of primarily ACCS schools, though others have since joined. It's been helpful, but I'm glad to see this forum come about as well. I teach first grade at Petra Academy in Bozeman, MT. I started out as a homeschool mom to my four daughters (thank you, Well Trained Mind) and from there moved into Classical Conversations (I started the first St. Louis, MO group and directed it for three years) and have now found myself teaching full-time in a pretty great classical school in Montana (I'm finishing up my first year now). Just curious where the rest of you are from and how long you've been teaching?
  23. megandunham


    This is an interesting idea for me. The lunch period I'm part of is made up of all of the students in our first, second, and third grades. We are *primarily* trying to help get the kids focused on eating and finishing their lunches. So much of our day is structured, I'm honestly pretty grateful for this period of time where the children can converse with each other freely, though we do have to put parameters on it. Our classes enter the lunch room and wait standing behind chairs until everyone has entered. We pray and sing the table prayer together and then require the first five minutes of the lunch period to be silent. The objective in this directive is so that kids will begin eating. So many of our kids would just spend the whole 25 minutes talking and then never eat their lunches before we started this. I'm glad for the idea, though, to be incorporating loving the true, good, and beautiful in all aspects of our day. I'll be mulling this one over for a bit.
  24. megandunham

    School Blogs / Newsletters

    I know we've tried a few things as well. We have a blog on our school website with content posted periodically from various teachers/admin: https://petraacademy.com/forum/ Last year, I posted snippets from Dr. Perrin's An Introduction to Classical Education at the end of my weekly newsletter, along with links to the article online. I didn't get the sense that any of the parents in my room last year were reading it. This year, I sent out the link to that pdf in my beginning of the year information packet, but I haven't been including snippets on a weekly basis. I'd so love to figure out how to pass on a true vision of classical Christian education to the parents in our school. Some of them really do get it, but most of them really don't.
  25. I came to classical Christian education quite by accident. I started out firmly committed to the homeschool journey with my four daughters, and I began blogging at about that same time. I started following the blog of a lovely woman whom I now consider to be a friend. She posted about her experience homeschooling and utilizing The Well-Trained Mind. I bought a copy, had my husband read it to, and our journey took a little turn in a classical direction. To make a long story short, I eventually directed a Classical Conversations program in St. Louis. My husband began teaching Bible in a small classical school. He was then asked to move in a headmaster direction and we moved our family into a hybrid-school scenario in which they attended classes part of the time and were home with me the other part of the time. Three years ago my husband was asked to lead another school, this one a full-time classical Christian school, and we moved to Montana. Our girls have attended and I began teaching in the first grade last year. I keep wanting to delve into ClassicalU, but probably need to do it in the summer when life slows down just a touch. Megan