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Patrick Halbrook

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Patrick Halbrook last won the day on April 15

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  • Location
    Cary, NC
  • Favorite Authors
    Christina Rossetti, George Herbert, C.S. Lewis, Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • School Name
    Cary Christian School

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  1. Good thoughts on teacher development: John Mark N. Reynolds, "Some Strong Roots for Classical Education" (Patheos | March 21, 2019) https://www.patheos.com/blogs/eidos/2019/03/some-strong-roots-for-classical-education/.
  2. Stephen Shipp, "Today’s Schools Should Emulate The Education That Produced Abraham Lincoln" (The Federalist | March 14, 2019) https://thefederalist.com/2019/03/14/todays-schools-emulate-education-produced-abraham-lincoln/
  3. GREAT article: Mark Hemingway, "Do You Want Your Kids To Go To An Elite College Or Get An Education? They’re Not The Same Thing" (The Federalist | March 14, 2019) https://thefederalist.com/2019/03/14/do-you-want-your-kids-to-go-to-an-elite-college-or-get-an-education-theyre-not-the-same-thing/
  4. For some reason, at our school students go on a lot of field trips in grades K-5 but hardly any after they reach middle school. I don't think this is intentional, but I can think of a few reasons why this may be, and I suspect the same thing happens at a lot of schools. Do your middle or high schoolers go on any field trips? If so, where, and which have been the most successful?
  5. This is a great list..it reminds me of Anthony Esolen's really good book, Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (https://isibooks.org/ten-ways-to-destroy-the-imagination-of-your-child-2188.html).
  6. We discussed this topic recently and one of our teachers remarked something to the effect of, "A sense of wonder can usurp the lesson plan at any time in our classroom!" It was such a great way of putting it. We talked about this idea on our school's podcast a month or two ago using that idea as our starting point. Here's a link:
  7. Leland Ryken (of Wheaton College) has written some great books introducing various works of literature. I'd also recommend Invitation to the Classics by Os Guinness and Louise Cowan. In my own history classes, I draw a lot from my college-level humanities textbooks, Culture and Values and The Humanistic Tradition to put works of art and literature in historical and philosophical/theological context. (You can get older editions of these books for pretty cheap--mine are from almost 20 years ago.)
  8. Our high-schoolers take six 55-minute classes plus one 55-minute elective every day. We tried block scheduling with 90-minute periods a few years ago and it didn't go too well so we switched back. Some teachers liked it better and some didn't, but the main lesson I took away is that you probably have to stick with it for a few years to get it right. I do think it's easier to do in humanities classes than in science and language classes where daily practice is much more essential. Our curriculum is posted online if you want to see what our juniors take: https://www.carychristianschool.org/prospective-families/upper-school/ (link is toward the bottom of the page).
  9. Khan Academy has some great resources. From what I've seen it's better for teachers than to show to students, but I haven't watched that many. As far as other resources go, it was Francis Schaeffer's How Should We Then Live? book and video series that first got me interested in art and its connection to history. I still love the connections he makes between particular artists and works of art and the history of philosophy and theology, though I think a few of his specific interpretations are wrong. Some of my primary resources continue to be some of my college humanities textbooks, Culture and Values and The Humanistic Tradition in particular. They do a great job connecting the dots between art and ideas and historical events in a way similar to Schaeffer. For more detailed analysis of specific works, I've been enjoying using Art Explained, and I've also been enjoying 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know. I also take my students on a field trip every year to the NC Museum of Art (we just went last Thursday) where they get to spend the day seeing a really great collection of works from the periods of history we've studied in class. The Rethinking Rhetoric panel sounds fascinating. As we're continuing to rethink our own thesis program, it looks like something I'll find very helpful.
  10. A recent article in Forbes described the difficulty with which students today struggle to think for themselves, placing the blame on a culture of standardized testing and multiple-choice assessments. Peter Greene writes: Whatever has gone wrong in education can be attributed to much more than the advent of standardized testing, but I think the author is definitely onto something here. The way we construct our assessments has short-term and long-term consequences: 1) in the short-term: it communicates to our students the outcome we expect from their lessons, and 2) in the long-term: it cumulatively trains students specific ways of thinking and encountering the world. The difficulty, of course, is that the best assessments are typically the most difficult to grade. Even a computer can grade millions of multiple choice test without a problem, but it takes a skilled teacher to explain to a student how well he or she has expressed wisdom and virtue in a creative essay. It also takes a LOT more time, something teachers are typically running short on. The multiple-choice worldview is pervasive. When my kids were preschool-age they'd sometimes watch a somewhat-lame-but-not-too-terribly-awful PBS show called Super Why! which was supposed to promote reading (the kids/superheroes would travel into fairy tales to learn lessons that would solve problems they were having). Then, as they try to figure out what to do next, the viewer was given a multiple choice question to answer about something that was happening. Grownups can't get away from it either. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (which I just discovered, after a quick Google search, is still on TV and in its 19th season) revolves around winning a million dollars by succeeding on...a high-stakes multiple-choice test. As classical educators, how do we construct assessments for our students that help to train them to think? When are multiple-choice questions appropriate? (And how do those of us who teach a large number of students every day, or homeschooling moms with dozens of other responsibilities, find time to grade them?)
  11. I'll be attending the ACCS conference this summer (I think it will be my 4th or 5th?), and I'll heartily second that about Schlect, Turley, and Gibbs. Their talks are always very thought-provoking. I also love hearing from Grant Horner, though he isn't speaking this year. I am actually on the ACCS speaker list this year, and I'll be giving a talk on "Teaching History Through Masterpieces of Art." (Unfortunately, they've scheduled me for the same time as one of Chris Schlect's talks, so I'll have to listen to the recording of that one since I can't be at two places at once. Actually, most of the time at ACCS conferences I wish I had the ability to be at four places at once, since there are so many great topics and speakers.) I'd love to attend a SCL conference at some point, but have not had the opportunity.
  12. Great article! This is such an important question...I thought I'd put in a link to the good discussion we had a few months ago in another corner of the Forum:
  13. I like both of these distinctions, Karen and JTB...."receiving a classical education" vs. "being educated in the classical tradition" vs. "classical scholarship" and "content" vs. "method." I'm seeing just how inseparable my question is from the question of what the ultimate goal of K-12 classical education should be, which is really about what a human being should be in light of who a person is capable of becoming by the time he or she is 18. If an intellectual awakening has occurred that sparks the desire for further learning, and if he or she has been prepared to profitably pursue that learning for years to come, then I agree that something has gone very right.
  14. I can't speak from the perspective of homeschooling specifically, but I can say that at our school the senior thesis project is one of the highlights of the year, and that a great deal of the value of a thesis project could definitely translate into a homeschool setting. We emphasize that the thesis is an unprecedented opportunity for students to explore and research topics in which they are interested in great depth. Once the thesis has been written and an oral presentation has been prepared, the senior thesis then becomes a contribution to the intellectual life of the school when it is presented and discussed before classmates, teachers, family, and friends at the thesis defense. As to its origin, I suspect a lot of classical schools started it simply because Dorothy Sayers wrote about it in "The Lost Tools of Learning." Here's an article I just wrote last month on the senior thesis for our school's blog (it includes a lot of quotes from students on what they got out of the project): https://www.carychristianschool.org/learning-how-to-learn-the-senior-thesis/
  15. 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...)
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