Monday, October 20, 2014
I stumbled across a photograph today which was supposed to represent homeschooling. A mother was drawing a clock on a chalkboard and in the foreground we see the backs of three little attentive blonde heads of varying ages, no doubt in rapt wonder over the miracle that is time.
And I thought to myself, homeschooling is dreadfully inefficient.
If you want efficiency there is nothing like a school building. All the little students (future products) are grouped together by need (academic or otherwise) in order that one teacher might impart information into several minds at once.
More efficient, were it equally optimized, would be the internet, where there would be no limit to receiving minds. Like a line of cars at the gas station students could arrive en masse and teachers could just fill 'em up.
Homeschooling is dreadfully inefficient. I should be teaching my production line what I know best, and line my own up with all the other little products in the great educational marketplace.
But it is internet education, which is the classroom efficiency blown out of scale, that shows exactly the flaw in the argument. You see, I teach motivated students online. They're adults, and they're engaged. And they learn.
Still, I don't feel they learn as well as they'd learn in a classroom. They cannot see what I demonstrate. Asking a simple question in a lecture is a production. They cannot find study partners in their classes or sense that I am genuine when I tell them they are doing well. They don't have a foundation for staying at the table when they struggle. In short, they don't have a relationship with their instructor or their classmates, and in doing so they lose an aspect of their relationship with the material.
Learning happens best in community, in relationship. Every single anti-homeschooling zealot on the planet will agree to that.
But the internet classroom demonstrates where the relationship flaw lies. Efficiency is the opposite of relationship. Efficiency is quick and task oriented. Relationship is a slow plodding stream of contact hours, conversations and even at times conflict. Relationship is people oriented.
The flaw in the efficiency argument is that homeschooling is the ultimate in relational education. The teacher is trusted and known, the learning and wonder are mutual and shared. Correction and struggle are accomplished in direct relationship. It is slow, plodding education.
Make no mistake, the inefficiency of schooling is at times necessary, at times even preferred. But even then, the element of trust and relationship makes the excellent schools look dreadfully inefficient. We all want schools where we're more than a number, but those schools make demands on our lives that many do not want. Community and relationship are built on the athletic field as much as in the classroom.
By the end of next May I will have dedicated about 2340 days of my life to the formal education of my eldest son. 2340 days, one largely indistinguishable from the one before it, but somehow we plodded along from counting buttons to calculus, from phonics to Plato, one day at a time.
That's no more days than a public school would require, no fewer. But in slow plodding relationship, somehow, a small child became a man. And he doesn't see life very efficiently at all, but he has become a man along the way. And I look forward to the next phase of our relationship.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
I want to apologize for my absence.
And especially for not blogging about the genocide of Christians in Iraq, because it needs to be blogged. I know a lot of you are aware anyway, because you're that kind of readers.
And you probably want to know how you can help, because you're also that kind of readers.
So now, without further ado:
How you can help Iraqi Christians through the Anglican Relief and Development Fund. For those of you who aren't Anglican, that's okay... I know these folks. I trust them. They are making use of a global Anglican fellowship to get aid to those who need it! Nothing less that awesome.
Sunday, July 6, 2014
"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." St. Paul to the Philippians (2:3-4)
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
Treat them royally...
Love one another...
Count others more significant...
Maybe this Anglican experiment might work.
Maybe we can stitch back the fabric of the last thousand years.
Or put otherwise, "we cannot claim that our division is anything less than a scandal and an obstacle to our proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the world." Pope Francis to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
Sunday, June 22, 2014
And I'm encouraged.
And most of what encourages me has to do with the currently difficult topic of women's ordination. Archbishop-elect Beach does not ordain women to the priesthood. But that's neither here nor there. What encourages me is this:
- The folks who felt marginalized by Archbishop Duncan's pro-ordination-of-women stance and practice will feel a sense of returned balance.
- The folks who were uneasy enough to consider walking away from the table will no longer have this as a motivation to destabilize the ACNA.
Those things are good and helpful, but even more importantly, I have already seen and heard encouraging signs:
- Everywhere I looked at today's reception I found bishops who don't ordain women greeting women clergy as friends and respected co-laborers in God's vineyard. Do not tell me these guys are misogynist jerks; these are men who love all people but have discerned through prayer and study that they should not be ordaining women. I may not agree with them, but I sure do respect them.
- And then I turned to Facebook and heard from the other side of the equation, as women priests, who I also love and respect, who have long been conditioned to fear an archbishop who might not support them, poured out their support and kind words for Archbishop-elect Beach. This election was not about their rights to an ordination (no one has a right to be ordained) but about the good of the church and goodwill among Christians and even respect for godly authority.
And so today, both sides are showing their best sides. And I'm encouraged. Maybe we can keep it up all week, by God's grace, and enjoy the upcoming Assembly on a high note. Oh there will always be internet trolls, no doubt, but if we don't feed them, they will have to be quieter.
And after all, now we can say:
"Life's a Beach... and so's the Archbishop."
Congratulations, Archbishop-Elect Foley Beach. Here's to the next five years!
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Transgender priest to preach at National Cathedral
The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, the Episcopal chaplain at Boston University, will be a guest preacher on Sunday. He'll be the first openly transgender priest to preach from Canterbury Pulpit at the cathedral.
The Right Rev. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, will preside at the service. It's part of the cathedral's celebration of LGBT pride month.
The service will also include readings and prayers from members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the cathedral, says he hopes Partridge's appearance "will send a symbolic message in support of greater equality for the transgender community."
(borrowed from Foxnews.com)
You know, just when I think enough has been said, the world has moved on, and what's done is done... something like this happens to remind me that liberals are throwing the rest of the church under the bus day by day.
None of these names are new to me. Cameron Partridge is surely setting him/herself up to be the first gender confused bishop of TEC. That's neither secret nor surprise. The Attention-Deficit church of what seems like a good idea at the moment is looking for its next starlet.
Pride itself being one of the seven deadly sins, 'goeth before a fall' and most clearly cometh along right after a fall also, has no place in a "national" cathedral. Sexual sin has no place flaunted about in a church.
Anyway, I guess I should leave the commentary to the pundits. I put this here for your information, nothing more.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
*The math teacher, who was a brand new teacher this year, has decided to quit and become a nun. (Not kidding!)
*The boy conned the History teacher out of a broken down electric water cooler on the last day of school. You should have seen him dragging it across the parking lot in the rain shouting "Hey, mom, look what Mr. ***** gave me!!!"
*The religion teacher, whose exams were always cheerfully entitled "Nice Little Quiz" doesn't teach 7th grade, so we'll miss him next year.
*The Latin teacher does teach 7th grade, so he's probably spending the summer taking up drinking. He also has a new baby in his house, so perhaps he should make it a double.
*The building is still standing. Though the construction on the new place is not done, at least the boy's damage impact has been minimal.
*He has stained a total of four dress code shirts, lost one gym shirt, and outgrown every single pair of pants (including gym pants) and shoes that he started the year with. I won't count the notebooks destroyed, plus a couple of backpacks (thankfully none of those started the year new... I know this kid) and two pairs of glasses (the first under warranty, thankfully, and the second was about the right time to just get a new prescription... whew). Sixth grade boys grow like that plant in Little Shop of Horrors... I remembered that from my first kid.
So on towards 7th grade. Look out world.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
A conversation with my eight year old...
revealing the importance of being shaped by the insanity of our forebears....
M: I need to spray oil on this. I'll use this cocoanut oil. Can you open it for me? Which side does it spray out?
Me: The side with the hole in it.
M: You mean with the red dot?
Me: Yes, there's a red dot there to make it more obvious so you don't miss it and spray oil all over yourself... like your great-grandy did, only paint. She accidentally painted herself.
And so I ended up telling my youngest about how his great-grandmother somehow missed all the cues on the spray paint can and instead of spray painting the furniture she was aiming for, painted her face and hands in one fell swoop. And then, in perfect Grandy fashion, she couldn't get the door open (paint on her hands) and so ran screaming toward the kitchen window to alert (read: Frighten the heck out of) my mother so she would let her in to wash up.
My parents told me family stories growing up because they were 1. utterly hysterical and 2. often a fabulous example of what not to do. My dad talked about "teaching a dog to drive" and taking apart his gym teacher's car to reassemble it on the school balcony. Yup. My mom told about the goofy things her mother did and how dad's teaching a dog to drive was more successful than anyone attempting to teach Grandy to drive.
And except for my mom, all the main characters in those stories are gone now. And my kids don't know these people who, for better or worse, still impact their lives.
And so I'm glad my parents told me stories.
I try to remember to tell my kids.
And I put this here as a reminder to you to do the same.
And be careful which way the spray can points. You just never know....