Spring Break

Last week we were gone for a week. We took a 5-7 hour bus ride up into the mountains and stayed for several gloriously peaceful days in a dorm we essentially had entirely to ourselves at a friend of a friend’s small private seminary/college. I planned a few posts in advance, but I haven’t been able to get back to posting regularly for various reasons, one of which is my internet again.
I’ve been working or days on my ‘What I did on Spring Vacation’ post, but it’s too picture rich for this process to go smoothly, and the area was too gorgeous and interesting to skip the pictures.

So this is a kind of place holder, save the date, preview post- look at that picture. More is yet to come.

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Charlotte Mason Reading

CM’s methods are knit together.  The work done in spelling, picture study, and copywork contributes toward building the skills of attention and retention needed for reading longer and longer passages in a single sitting while grasping the essentials and being able to narrate them immediately, then days later, and then weeks later.  HEre’s a great summary of how to work on all those things and more, and the pitfalls to avoid.

When it comes to narration, there are also pitfalls to avoid, and useful tips to implementing narration fully.  You will find several here on my blog, on websites for CM’s methods all over the internet, and in this post on Karen Andreola’s blog.

Have you only discovered CM’s methods when your student is already a teen?  Here are some helpful ideas for implementing CM’s methods with older students.  Here are some more.

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Don’t Dumb Down Shakespeare

I’m sharing a link to and excerpt from an article I found interesting, amusing, thought-provoking, and intelligent. I was going to preface this excerpt by acknowledging that it’s a bit old, but still relevant. Then I caught myself with some horror- ‘old.’ Old? It’s 11 years old. If we were putting this on a timeline it would be current.

Ranting aside, here’s the link.
Here’s the excerpt:
“This language is also entering our schools. Instead of simply teaching, teachers are now being invited to make a “personalised learning offer” to children. It’s more than just a dreary piece of business-speak. It implies that a child is a client or a customer, the figure to whom the “offer” is made. The children, in turn, are invited to be “co-investors with the state in their own education”.

Come again? I reckon if a child came up to me and said she saw herself as a co-investor with the state in her own education I’d have serious worries about her welfare. I’d start wondering whether management consultants have begun to form sinister sects, grabbing kids in playgrounds and indoctrinating them in business-speak.

And yet when it comes to giving our children a taste of Shakespeare and English at its most beautiful, then suddenly we’re all terrified. Might, like turn off the kids… know wha’ I mean. Instead they are offered alternative texts, issued by educational publishing houses, that supposedly make our greatest writer more palatable.

Here’s a taste. Take a few original lines from Macbeth:

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
the handle toward my hand?

Compare them to the guide version:

Oooh! Would you look at that.

Yes, I know it sounds as if I’m making it up, but you can check it for yourself.”

Don’t do this to Shakespeare.
Don’t do this to your kids.

Look at the Shakepeare version- is it really that hard? Dagger is possibly the most unfamiliar word, but how challenging is it really to describe a dagger and then your child has a new word, a new image, in his vocabulary.

Words paint pictures in the mind, they give life to images and ideas- or they should. What life, what image can be drawn from ‘Ooo, would you look at that?’ It is so vague it’s meaningless- you could say the same thing if you were talking about a fancy bit of legwork in a dance, a juicy apple, a cute K-pop star, a beautiful frosted cake, a great pair of shoes or a hideous pair of shoes.

Use the first version, and you are opening wide a door for your children, or a window to wider horizons. Use the second version and you are slamming them shut in a windowless, airless room.

Posted in Charlotte Mason, shakespeare | 5 Responses

The Flaws in Wrinkle in Time Movie Are Deliberate

REad here.

“In an interview with Screen Rant, writer Jennifer Lee explained why she took out the Christian themes and Bible references from the book. “It wasn’t removed, it was just opened up in language that wasn’t exclusive, guardian angels versus stars, are they the same thing? Maybe,” Lee said. She emphasized “inclusivity,” saying, “Since we’re not limiting, we’re not picking some religion, but we’re saying we all feel, we can feel that you’re a part of something extraordinary and the messages are the same.”

This helps explain why the film ditched the book’s explicit Christian themes, trading them for vague New Age spirituality that failed to deliver the depth of the original story. Furthermore, it is the exact opposite of “inclusive” to excise all Christian historical references, even to Jesus, Copernicus, or Michelangelo.”

I’m not ‘boycotting’ the movie.  I’m just not spending money to see it for a number of reasons- partly because I prefer to spend my money not paying somebody for actively trying to destroy the culture of Christianity.  I don’t understand why so many professed believers  are perfectly willing to lay down their shekels to reward people who hate them, hate what they stand for, hate the Christ to whom we owe allegiance and are hell-bent, and I use that term deliberately, on erasing all the the marks that distinguish Christianity from current culture in the name of being ‘inclusive.’

What I understand even less is the way the same people who are willing to pay for the privilege of being entertained by being scorned and erased are also willing to scorn and mock their brethren who take a stand against such treatment.  However weak or weird that stand may be, you know what? At least it is one.  You don’t have to agree with it, but to mock it, sneer at it, and censor it and make sure everybody knows you’re not like *those* idiotic sorts of Christians… it brings to mind one half of a pair of sinners praying aloud in the temple in a lesson Jesus shared, and I don’t mean the tax-collector. 

I’ve been on the wrong side and the right side of boycotts. I’ve boycotted things that were a waste of my time and energy and I’ve not boycotted things I should have.   I’ve heard people justify this stance or that on the basis of being salt and light.   I don’t think a boycott is either, regardless of whether it’s the right decision or not.

But I’ve come to believe the biggest error of all is to mock fellow Christians to unbelievers. That marks you as neither salt nor light, but as a traitor, a person more loyal to having the approval of those who do not love the Lord you are supposed to serve than to His fellow servants.

Yes, some of them, some of us, are dumb, awkward, more embarrassing than spinach in your teeth on school picture day.   You can make yourself seem superior in the eyes of a few other worldlings.  Do you really think that it’s making you look better to God?

Posted in Culture and Counterculture, Movies | Tagged , , | 4 Responses

Cross cultural communication fail

I really had this conversation with a Filipina woman about my age, a very nice, kind lady. She was asking me how my language studies were going and I said I really was botching the grammar completely, and there were some words I consistently mixed up- tukod (to build) and tahud (reverence or respect). “Oh, I can help you,” she said.
I waited eagerly for her advice. “When you want to say to build just think about tukod, don’t think of tahud. Tukod is to build.”

Well. Yes. If I could remember that, then I would not be mixed up about them. So I laughed, because from point of view, obviously, I thought she was joking, but I think I hurt her feelings because she was serious. Her advice was from the standpoint of somebody who is a native speaker. She can’t see why I can’t see how helpful that is, and I can’t see why she thinks it is helpful. And laughing, well,that was just rude from her POV.

Chances are, if you’re 3rd culture, you can see what happened and feel sorry for and amused by both of us.
If you’re a westerner, you think she’s more to blame than I am. If you’re an easterner, you may see why her advice wasn’t helpful, but you feel more strongly that I definitely should not have laughed.

And that’s kind of an allegory for cross cultural communication.

Posted in Davao Diary | 2 Responses

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