Saturday, September 12, 2009

... with regard to Classical Education

Our Bible verse for the week has been from Psalm 111:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
a good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
His praise endures forever!

It was chosen because we are currently meditating on the commandments and their meanings, and talking about the purpose of the Law and how the sanctified life is wrought by God.

I noticed today the context of the verse. The whole psalm talks about God's covenant, God's promises, God's righteousness, God's gifts. The wisdom and understanding in this verse is to know Him, to be united to Him, to trust in Him to provide what we cannot do and to make us into what He wants us to be.

Some who promote classical education use this verse and others like it to promote academic wisdom and scholarly understanding. It makes me mad! We can certainly value academics and education and the achievements of the world without demeaning God's wisdom in Christ and the "knowledge" of faith & trust. Not only that, when I see these kinds of misapplications of God's word, I wonder what else the classical-ed adherents might be misstating.


So I am, once again, helping my 14-yr-old wash and RINSE her long, thick, curly hair and detangle it. And she asks,

"Why didn't they use this as one of the ways to torture people during WWII?"

I think she may have a job someday -- running Gitmo according to Congress's pleasure.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Great Quote

On our way home from APT today, we were listening to Belling. The topic was politics and how we tend to lose objectivity and rationality when it comes to politics; we believe what we believe, we hear what we want to hear, and the facts don't matter much.

As he discussed this "faith" he was trying to explain that we need some logic mixed in with faith. One example was the creation of the world. Some people believe that God created the world in six days. Others believe that the Big Bang started it all. But (as Mark asked), "What banged?" Something had to be there to explode, and logic requires an answer. Mark said that he's a creationist and he believes that God created the world in a week as the Bible describes. He said this is logical for a Christian to believe because ...

Why would God lie to us about how the world began? After all, the Bible is His word, and if the world began via a Big Bang and evolution, then why wouldn't have God said that in the Bible???

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


In the ongoing saga of how King David is set up to look like Christ, but not quite ...

In today's story from 1 Samuel 23, David hears about a city of Judah that's in trouble from the Philistines. God tells him to go save the city. David's men are afraid, but God assures them that the enemy will be delivered into their hands. David goes and saves the city.

Saul hears about David's location and goes to capture him. The men of the city are afraid of King Saul. They will hand over David to Saul. How come I never realized before that not only are these David's countrymen, but they had just been rescued by him? And yet, they hand him over to be killed?

What punishment so strange is suffered yonder?
The Shepherd dies for sheep who love to wander.
The Master pays the debt His servants owe Him
who would not know Him.

Caramel Bars (aka "The Best and Most Evil Dessert")

I made a half-batch of Glenda's caramel bars on Saturday afternoon. With self-control, we made them last until after church on Sunday. We made a slightly-tweaked full batch on Sunday to take to the pig roast on Monday. The bars were as popular there as here. Some people were disappointed to find an empty pan when they went back for seconds (or was it thirds? or fourths?).

The top and bottom crust is flour, oats, brown sugar, and butter. (Sounds caramelly already, doesn't it?) That is filled with chocolate chips and caramel. Glenda's recipe calls for 1 cup of chocolate chips. I thought the bars were delicious but could be improved by a bit less chocolate. So on my second try of the recipe, I reduced the chocolate to 3/4 cups, added 1/3 cup chopped pecans, and added a couple of tablespoons of Skor butter toffee chips leftover from a recipe way back when. Mmmmm.

(By the way, for those of you who, like me, don't usually buy caramels, the 42 caramels called for in the recipe equates to about 14 ounces. I had homemade caramel in the fridge and had to do the math to figure out how much of the caramel to weigh out in my kitchen scale. The amount for the recipe is about half a batch from the Better Homes and Garden recipe book.)

Today's Laugh

There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed a desire to become a "great" writer.

When asked to define "great" he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, wail, howl in pain, desperation, and anger!"

He now works for Microsoft writing error messages.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Today's Laugh

George was trying to reassert himself as head of the family, king in his home, a strong man. He came home and slammed the door open. His told his wife Trudy that he was the man of the house and his word was it! "I want you to make my supper, a special meal that my mother always made. I expect you to have the newspaper ready for me. Then you better get my shower ready with just the right water temperature. And guess who will have my clothes ready and comb my hair when I get out of the shower?" Trudy quickly answered, "The funeral director."

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Definition of Unschooling

Unschooling. Child-led learning.

Letting the kids do "whatever they feel like"???

When most people hear about unschooling, they imagine kids who are indulging every lazy fantasy. They imagine loads of tv, video games, comic books. Couch potatoes in both body and mind. Because, after all, that's what they'd do if they had oodles of free time to do "whatever they wanted."

Is it possible for kids to thrive academically when unschooling? Common sense (especially from those who have been raised in conventional schools) says "no." But many of us have seen that children do thrive and learn and excel in unschooling. Why is that?

"Unschooling" is how most of us learn most things. We have a need, we find a way to gather information or gain skills, and off we go. We learn to walk without formal lessons. We learn to speak our native language without grammar lessons or vocabulary flashcards. We learn to ride the bike with help from Grandpa or Mom or training wheels, some of us learning in 20 minutes and others of us learning over the space of 2 months. We learn to cook. We learn to swim. Even though we have academic classes for drivers' ed, learning to drive is a hands-on activity; the classroom part is there to teach about braking distance or seat-belt use or penalties for DUI's.

Much geometry is learned through quilting or woodworking. Baking requires the use of fractions and measurement. Even video games [gulp!] can be educational: Age of Empires teaches players about various kingdoms throughout history. Some formal academics (at the right time) can be very helpful for those who have been unschooling: in a short time, all that divergent material can be summarized and presented in an orderly fashion.

Formal academics, textbooks, workbooks, and lessons is the way most of us experienced schooling. It has its strengths and it has its drawbacks. But it is by no means the only way to learn.

Why do we assume that reading, writing, math, history, and science cannot be learned in an unschooly way, as are talking and driving and gardening? Is it because we assume that no child would be interested in learning to read or do math or discover how societies functioned in previous centuries? Do we not recognize that people are created to learn and to think? It is sad to find people who can't conceive of a student who would learn for the sheer joy of learning.

Today's Laugh

If we weren't supposed to hunt animals, then why did they make them out of meat?