10 May 2011

Tibi Gratias Ago

I've mentioned before that what we're doing for Ada for school right now is this weird, bizarre, awesome hybrid thing-a-majig.  For two days a week, she goes to Jackson Classical, and for the other three days a week, she's at home with me.  We find it to be an amazing balance for us.  She and I get the accountability of other authority figures for her (She cannot just not do her English because it is annoying both of us - she has to to it, because Mrs. Lewis is going to check it; similarly, I have to actually make sure she knows stuff because she's going to be tested at school). 
Ada gets the socializing with and calling to a higher level of achievement that having classmates provides, not to mention forming dear friendships with many of the children there.  I get my week broken up from the monotony of the same thing every day.  We get great academic counseling and test score interpretation help.  And on and on and on.

But, one of the best things about Jackson Classical is not Ada being there for school  (And Eason!  In the Fall!).  One of the best things is that I get to teach there.  For two days a week, I get to go and, from roughly 8:30-3:00, teach young people.  I love to teach.  Or rather, I love to draw things out from my students.  It's amazing to have these great conversations with people who are shorter than we.

In the fall, I'll get to teach:

Critical Thinking


This past weekend, I got together with most of the 'upper school' moms (and right now, our upper school students are in 3rd-8th grades - we're still young!) to talk about the Latin program we'll be using and how best we can work together to teach it to our children.  We had a great Saturday talking about conjugations and declensions, cases and persons and numbers.  We also talked about the book we're using, Latin for Children - it's awesome - highly recommend, and the dialectic or Socratic method of teaching the book to the children.

It is important, in most subjects, especially once a child is 10 or so, not to just lecture.  We teach best when we ask questions.  It is infinitely better to say, "What do you think "Number" might mean when we're talking about a Latin verb?" than it is to say "When speaking of a Latin verb, "Number" indicates how many people or things are doing the action."  Obviously, eventually, you may get to a point in all this questioning when you have to give the answer, but, often times no; oftentimes, the child comes to it on his or her own, and that is so very valuable.

I find myself more and more and more thankful for the Socratic method.  I am thankful for the privilege of teaching and for my daughter's (And eventually sons') privilege to take good, hard stuff, not the pablum provided to most kiddos her age.

But most of all, the other day, I found myself thankful for community; for the encouragement provided by folks on the same road, who want the same things for their children.  For their children to be kind, loved, bright, thoughtful, to have friends who care about them and challenge them.

We have been blessed with a great community.  Thanks be to God.

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