Sunday, February 7, 2016

On Teaching Homer's Odyssey

The father of Plutarch had him learn his Homer that he might get heroic ideas of life. Had the boy been put through his Homer as a classical grind, as a machine for the development of faculty, a pedant would have come out, and not a man of the world in touch with life at many points, capable of bringing men and affairs to the touchstone of a sane and generous mind.
- Charlotte Mason, Volume 3, p. 152

Plutarch AND Homer in a quote from Charlotte Mason?  Yes, please! And in that quote lies the key to how to go about reading Homer.  Avoid the "classical grind" and keep in mind those "living" goals mentioned - a man of the world in touch with life at many points (science of relations, anyone?) and the ability to bring men and events into correct perspective and the richness of life.

Mason's Parents' Union Schools read The Odyssey (Chapman's translation) over the course of 2 years (8th and 9th grades), covering 4 of the 24 chapters each term.

My favorite teacher resource for The Odyssey.  This little series is excellent!

We have a group of high school students that meets once a month for Chemistry (now Health), Government, Citizenship, Literature, Composition, and a few other subjects.  The assignments and readings are all done at home and we get together to do experiments, share narrations, have conversations, and challenge one another.

We took 6 months to read through The Odyssey.  Here are some of the resources we used and things we did.  First, we read the  Fagle's translation.  Some even used the audio with Ian McKellen reading this translation along with their reading. I had the students fill out this sheet as they went along.  The column labeled "Retelling" was a place to write a reminder of at least one episode from each chapter that they would narrate to the group when we would meet next, which could possibly be 4 weeks later!  The "Chapter/My Title" column was interesting as each student was to give each chapter their own title, other than what the Fagle's translation stated.  That was pretty fun to listen to everyone's take on what was key to the chapter.

Here are some other narrations that we implemented.

1. Write an obituary on a character of your choice.

2. Pick an element of an epic and demonstrate how that was shown in The Odyssey.

3. Draw a picture of a favorite scene.

I think that when we were done, each student had a few new heroic ideas and became more in touch with life at many points.

Retelling that I read with youngest daughter.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

News Bits for the New Year!

  • I have been working on giving my blog a fresh look!  I have a few more things to do with it yet.  What do you think?

  • I have finally begun Living Education Lessons!  Season 1 is full,  but if this is something you might be interested in, sign up at the bottom of this page.  I hope to have multiple classes going by the summer, Lord willing.

  • After working through many obstacles, I am happy to say that my reprint of The Cloud of Witness is now available on Amazon!  Please let your family and friends know who prefer to shop with Amazon.  For those following along, Art Middlekauf has made an accurate church calendar for 2016 showing the corresponding pages.  If you haven't been following along, I wish you would join us.  There is a beautiful camaraderie with those who have been meditating on the same scripture and verses every day. (And if you are so inclined, I would so appreciate you writing a little review on Amazon! Please be sure to mention our edition.)

  • If you wish to be on the Living Education Retreat email list and are looking forward to the flyer and registration coming out soon, you will want to sign up at the bottom of this page.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Self-Assessment Questions for Teachers

from Around the Year by Tasha Tudor

It's hard to believe that our Charlotte Mason Community, Truth, Beauty, Goodness,  is in its ninth year!  What a blessing it has been to all the families involved and what a boon to each of our homeschools, helping us to more effectively implement a full, living curriculum. We always have a planning meeting before each semester of meetings.  So our organizational year looks like this:

1. Planning Meeting
2. 6 TBG Classes
3. Family Night (We used to do this after each semester but now we do it once at the end of the school year.)

I have never written about our planning meetings but I have come to realize that they are part of the key to our success.  I think that is because it is at these meetings that we graciously evaluate each person's subject and methods. Here are the self-assessment questions that I send out to each mom before the meeting so that when we come together, they can be prepared to talk through their evaluation. It's our version of Charlotte Mason's "Crits." (Criticism Lessons) which I will share more about soon.

Teacher Self-Assessment Questions
1. How do you feel this past semester went?
2. Exactly what do you feel went well?
3. What do you think did not go well?
4. Do you think all of your methods were in line with Mason’s  philosophy?
5. Do you think all of your materials were living?
6. What are you doing to further your knowledge about Mason’s philosophy?
7. What are you doing to further your knowledge about what Mason says about your content area?
8.What will you be doing differently next semester?

Other things that we do at the planning meetings are choose the dates and locations for the classes, as well as let the other moms know what we are planning to do for our subject.  Oftentimes someone might have information about that poet, composer, play, etc. that will help or guide that teacher.  For example, maybe I was going to teach Hamlet for Shakespeare but then someone else tells me that there is a production of Macbeth coming to town, so I might rethink my choice.  Things like that.

Most importantly, each meeting is prayed about and each meeting begins with prayer.

I hope you find something helpful here about how we go about our meetings that you can apply to your own community or maybe just within your homeschool.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Reader's Journal 2015

Here are my reads for the year, starting with my top 5 picks.  If you wrote a list of the books you read this year, please feel free to link to it in the comments below. (My list doesn't include my Bible reading, CM's 6 volumes, or the books I read in our school. )

1. Charlotte Mason: 'a pioneer of sane education' by Marian Wallace Ney
"Marian Wallace Ney (1923-1991) produced a manuscript on the work of Charlotte Mason which went into storage.  A librarian, Victoria Waters discovered the work and felt it was a significant contribution  to the literature."  Thank you, Victoria!  In this book, Ney compares Mason with Dewey, Piaget, and other 20th century educational figures.  Very interesting and helpful.

2. The Time Mom Met Hitler, Frost Came to Dinner, and I Heard the Greatest Story Ever Told by Dikkon Eberhart
I so enjoy memoirs and this one didn't disappoint.  The people he met, the Minnesota connections,  and where he ends up is a story worth telling.

3. In the Land of the Blue Burqas by Kate McCord
This helped me understand how our Western way of talking about faith doesn't work well in the Middle East.  Her thoughtful approach to a people group she loves, and a people group we all should love, is timely and daring.  I may have my high schoolers read this one.

4. Anne of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
What's better than reading stories about Anne as a mother in a lovely, old home?

5. Simply Good News by N.T. Wright
Simple, but brilliant.  Explaining the Lord's Prayer by highlighting it in reverse order helped me think through it afresh.  I need that.

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
Walking With Kathleen Norris: A Contemplative Journey by Robert Waldron
Transforming Leadership by Leighton Ford
Over the Earth I Come: The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862 by Duane Schultz
Simply Good News by N.T. Wright
William Blake by James Daugherty
Holman Hunt and The Light of the World by Jeremy Maas
Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
The Fragrance of God by Vigen Guiron
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
How Dante Can Save Your Life by Rod Dreher
Minds More Awake - The Vision of Charlotte Mason by Anne E. White
The time Mom met Hitler, Frost came to dinner, and I heard the Greatest Story ever told by Dikkon Eberhart
Amy Carmichael "Beauty for Ashes" by Iain H. Murray
In The Land of Blue Burqas by Kate McCord
Anne's House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Charlotte Mason: 'a pioneer of sane education' by Marian Wallace Ney
At BBC Corner I remember Amy Carmichael by Margaret Wilkinson
Anne of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery


Past lists of reading goodness: