Sixth Grade

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Today was the first day of sixth grade for my eldest! I can’t believe I have a middle schooler. Time goes by incredibly fast. My baby has become a young man:

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But this is my annual “What resources are we using?” post, so on to our choices. I will note what is new and what is a hold-over, and give a brief description as to why we are using each this year.

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A glimpse of crime in local schools

This must be the “socialization” people are so worried about homeschoolers missing. From a local paper:

“This week brought the last day of school in Guilford County. While that may bring visions of students hugging friends and saying goodbye to teachers and staff, there is another side of our schools. Schools in Greensboro not only saw tests, dances, awards and football games. They also experienced rape, arson, drugs, assaults, fights and overdoses.”

  • “There were rapes reported at Mendenhall, Kiser, Allen, Smith, Aycock, Greensboro Middle College and Grimsley over the past school year.”
  • “Kiser and Allen Middle School reports show two rapes were reported at each during the past school year.”
  • “Over 100 assaults occurred at Greensboro schools and nearly 100 more fights took place as well.”
  • “Some 267 larceny cases were reported along with nearly 40 ‘armed subject’ instances and more than 60 narcotic reports.”
  • “(T)he most criminally active school in Greensboro is Grimsley High School with 245 reports of the school requesting police assistance. Smith High School came in second with 239 requests for police service.”
  • “Jackson Middle School had the highest number of crime among the middle schools with 162 reports of police activity.”

No thanks; we’ll pass.

Classical Education and Four-Year Cycles

I’m hoping this will start to disabuse people of the notion that classical education is all about 4 year development cycles. The classical tradition is about inquiry, ideas, and character rather than intellectual achievement.

My introduction to classical education came through twentieth-century authors. I was encouraged to read contemporary authors who based their ideas largely on Dorothy Sayers’ essay The Lost Tools of Learning, but she also was a twentieth-century thinker. I knew that if her ideas were right, I should be able to find the roots of them by reading the classical authors. I read Plato, Erasmus, Quintilian, and others, and when I found no correlation between their ideas and Dorothy Sayers’ about stages, I felt that “classical education” was an undefinable, nebulous idea that could not be understood.

Ironically (and yet, not ironically), it was another twentieth-century author who shed light on the classical tradition for me, and allowed those nebulous ideas to coalesce into a solid foundation upon which educational methods could be built. When I read Norms and Nobility, I was able to see that classical education was more than I had previously perceived.

Suddenly, Plato, Milton, Erasmus, Comenius, and Augustine spoke in unison—-not because they prescribed the exact same process or curriculum, but because they shared a common desire to educate men to be the very best that it was possible for them to be—-to make the best humans they could be. What ought men to do? What ought men to think? What is right for a man to know? What knowledge can man not do without? These kinds of questions should be asked again and again, in every generation, and the answer should be sought because it is both new and old—-old, because men have answered it before, and new because the answers act as a germinating seed in the heart of every thinker and learner who seeks them, producing new ideas and avenues to explore.

Karen Glass:

(Remember that these were written in response to specific other posts, and I’m not including those comments, so if my remarks seem a little disjointed, that’s why.)

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Crimes of the Educators: Why Education Is More Screwed Up Than You Think

Tom Woods just did an episode about education with Alex Newman, author of Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians Are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children. Here is the episode description:

How bad is American education? Worse than you think. Alex Newman walks us through the crazy math, the crazy reading strategies, the behavioral drugs, and the historical origins of it all.

A link to the episode.

This is truth that most won’t want to hear, but I am glad they went back to Dewey to show the history of how we got here instead of just saying, “Common Core is bad”. I’m also glad they brought UNESCO into the discussion and their goal of having a one world order, global education curriculum. Common Core is just the beginning. World Core is the end. It already exists, there just hasn’t been the big push for adoption, but it is coming.

My biggest fear about education is that the establishment will eventually tire of people opting out of the system and make it illegal for us to do so. The system will not work while there are people educated outside of it to point out its flaws. Total compliance is required. If these trends continue unabated, we will lose our legal right to homeschool.

Philippians 4:6-8

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

This is the passage we have been studying in Bible in homeschool this week and I have been thinking about it a lot. It’s really easy to read it, agree that it is a good idea, and then go about your day; but the implications of actually putting it into practice are staggering and humbling. I think this homeschool thing is more of a blessing for me than it is for him.