"Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things."--Jefferson

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Questions to ask while writing inspirements

I think there are four main things to think about when writing inspirements:

#1 and most important--how can I help the students internalize the principle for the month using this lens? How can I help them feel it? explore it? sense it? experience it? deeply discover it? (Look to classics first, classics in all artistic genres: paintings, videography, poetry, literature, scripture, dance, etc.)

#2 how can I use the different steps of "know, understand, and become" to make this possible? Generally, I like to have the knowledge a common base for everyone to do and then open up the understand and become to personal discretion.  However, I have seen it done different ways effectively so don't be afraid to follow your instinct with your group!  Try it and then evaluate how effective it was.

#3 how can I create curiosity and interest through a variety of inspirements to meet the learning styles and missions of different youth?  If you know some of the interests, passions, and missions of the youth in your group, you can write some inspirements thinking of them.

#4 How can I effectively incorporate "core" and "crust" skills? Often, for the different lenses there are different crust and core skills that go well with them (like in Marni's visual for it).  To give the youth specific ideas that are unique to particular skills can sometimes expand their minds to different possibilities of how to approach a principle using that lens.   

However, there is the wise caution from Karen's article on writing inspirements, that we should avoid overwhelming the youth with lists of inspirement ideas.  Rotating through ideas in the different months will help them see the possibilities without overwhelming them.

Karen also mentioned how to write inspirements for the different levels of learning: apprentice, journeyman, master.

Check out her article here.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Sample Outline and First Week of Inspirements

Outline for September 2017:
The Pursuit of Happiness: “DILIGENCE”

Week 1-Leadership Academy: “Diligence”--Word Study, Charlemagne and Power of the SAR (Student Accountability Report)
Week 2-Geo Conquest: Middle Ages—Black Plague, Crusades
Week 3- Eureka: Astronomy & Sir Cumference Math Moment
Week 4- Imaginative Arts: Stain Glass
Book Discussion: “A Door in the Wall”/”The Alchemist”
Movie: “Sword in the Stone” and "Hidden Figures" (with just our family, we have more options :D)
Lazar Tag/Corn Maze
Week 1:
KNOWLEDGE: “Learn”: (do all)
Do a word study on “Diligence”
Image result for image of charlemagne Read this about Charlemagne, one of the great kings of the Middle Ages:
http://www.historyforkids.net/charlemagne.html How was Charlemagne an example of diligence?
Watch “Continue in Patience” by Uchtdorf (the Mormon Message and/or the talk) 

UNDERSTANDING: “Do”: (choose one or more of the following)
-Write a poem about what it means to be diligent
-Do a presentation on someone who was diligent or Charlemagne from above.
-Start reading “Boy Knight” for next week and tell us what you learned about diligence so far.
-Teach a class or devotional on “diligence” and incorporate something from the Book of Virtues or scriptures; tell us how it went and what you learned
-Act out a play about someone who was diligent
-Watch this about Cambry Kaylor and write a review, poem, song or come up with a plan of action that learning about her inspired you to do.  Share what you did with us.
-Find and bring a game for everyone to participate in that requires diligence (clear it with your mentor) or play it before hand and tell us what you learned about diligence while playing it.

BECOME: “Be”: (do each of these)
a) Brainstorm your goals and dreams. Pick at least three of them and come up with one idea for each of them how you can start today to work towards doing them. Write them on your SAR.
b) Pick one of them that you want to be more diligent on and write it down

c) Pick a “running partner” to report to 3 times during the week: the first time, to tell them what your goal is, the second time to tell them how you are doing and the third time to tell them what you have accomplished so far.

Sample Welcome Letter

This is the letter that I just wrote up for my own little Vanguard group in our home, just for ideas:

Welcome, fellow Vanguardians!

The “Vanguard” is the part of an army that leads out, that bears the brunt of the battle, that takes on every challenge to their force head-on.

In Vanguard, we prepare ourselves to take our future head-on, preparing our crust and cores to be strong to serve where God would have us serve and thus attaining the highest degree of happiness that we can attain!

Each of you will follow a unique quest this year as we go through three phases of growth:
  1. Establish who we are and where we stand (the Middle Ages and Chivalry)
  2. Grow through discovery and light (the Renaissance)
  3. Apply what we have learned to move forward (the Age of Exploration)

As you can see, all the truth we learn in the world around us can be applied to change who we are! I am excited to be on this quest with each of you.

In Vanguard it is essential to create an environment of respect, of decency, of commitment. All three of these qualities will combine to make Vanguard a safe and thriving place. I look forward to creating that place with you!

With love and great anticipation,
Mom :D

p.s. As we come together for our first official week of Vanguard, please think of a name that we could use to represent our group, our goals, our vision for ourselves.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Fantastic Lesson Plan Resource for Mentors

Questions about mentor training?  Here you go!

I am training to be a Seminary teacher for my church and in the training, they outline how to make a lesson plan with the purpose of teaching principles so that the youth may apply them. It involved the "crust" skills (context and content) but puts them in their appropriate place as the overall goal of teaching in Vanguard is to change "cores" and strengthen them by helping the students seek for, recognize and identify true principles in all they learn in the world around them.

I have had many people ask me, "How do I seek for principles and teach them?"
This is the way.
Check out the learning videos: New Teacher Training Resource 
I would focus on lesson #9.  The lessons can be time consuming if done in their entirety but you can skim over them to get the gist.  In fact, if you review the lessons #5-8, you will see that they have taken the three step approach of knowledge, understand and intelligence and expanded it a bit, but it is the same basic idea, incorporating the core and crust concepts as well (without identifying them as such :).)
  • Understand the context and content-crust
  • Identify important doctrine and principles-knowledge-core/crust
  • Understand the doctrine and principles-understanding-core
  • Feel the truth and importance of those doctrines and principles-deeper understanding-core
  • Apply the truths in their lives-intelligence-core
 I love this!
In the above trainings, it suggests that you identify the different segments of material you want to cover and then determine which depth you want to take each one during class, since rarely can you cover all your material to application (at least I can't, by the time you want to add all those cool object lessons and application simulations :)!).

The following chart is fantastic and I can see so much potential in applying it in Vanguard!  For those who have been uncomfortable "winging it" (as I seem to do), here is a great way to start and for those of us who wing it because we feel like we have to, this is a remarkably concise way to organize and direct our lesson preparation to make it more effective.

handout, Determining What to Teach
Lesson Plan Outline

Not only would mentors benefit from this but think about what would happen for our youth if they were able to take the material they were covering and weigh and apportion inspired depth with their different areas of study!

Ahhh...the possibilities.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sample overview of Journeyman and Master content for different lenses

I thought I would throw this out for anyone who wanted an idea of what it could look like.  We insert classics (people, books, poems, videos, etc.) wherever they fit.

Leadership Academy

1) 7 Habits discussion
2) Simulation to reinforce concept of month
3) Biography

1) Whatever Happened to Justice?
2) Application to real world
3) Civility discussion
4) Fallacies discussion

1) Focus on a continent (i.e. Feb-Africa and Australia):presentations

2) Map and timeline
3) Focus on monthly theme/principle: biography, group of people, historical event, etc

1) Geo-conquest game
2) Services in area/Application project for monthly theme
3) How many countries can you name on the map? (optional :)...)

1) Dr. Posin’s Giants
2) Math game
3) Experiment based on principles

1) The Math Book--brief sharing moment where the youth share one thing that happened during that time frame
2) Deeper experiments about the principle--more youth led

3) Math classic project/discussion

Imaginative Arts
1) Artist focus--learn about the history of art 
    a) picture study 60 seconds--study, think about it, notice, etc.
    b) principle to practice (i.e. use of lines, shading)
2) Spiritual Lives of Great Composers
3) Art project
4)  Lit/Poetry project/book

1) Bring their own art and showcasing what they did
2) Specialty classes
3) Literature--short story, poetry, language
4)Bring together all that was discussed during the month about the monthly theme/principle

What is the difference between the Vanguard Method and a Vanguard Group?

The Vanguard method is simply the collection of principles and truths that I have gathered with the help of others to achieve my personal goals for the education of my children:

(1) Encouraging faith in God as their ultimate mentor
and source of truth through the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ
(2) Helping them find value in their own unique mission and introduce the
to various communication styles so that they may communicate that mission to the world
(3) Helping them come face-to-face with greatness as they study the world,

history, people, and science in order to to prepare them to become future leaders in their homes, communities and society.
(4) Creating an environment of respect, decency, trust, and confidence
(5) Teaching service-oriented leadership

The principles and truths that have been put together under this umbrella term of "Vanguard method"  are universally available yet uniquely combined.  That is why I have distinguished this collection of ideas by a name...not to claim exclusivity or rights to them, but rather just to allow for a term to identify them by.

Image result for image of group of youthA Vanguard group is a formal group, typically for youth, that implements all the different principles and ideas outlined under the "Founding Principles" tab.  They may be implemented using methods and techniques that are as unique as the group needs.  However, the methods and techniques a group uses should always honor those principles to be considered a Vanguard group.  It is up to the individual to decide if their group that has been identified as a "Vanguard group" supports them in a manner that satisfies their family's needs or is true to the name.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Some Advice for Starting a Group

I wrote some advice about this on my blog, but I thought it may be of help here so I am changing a few things to apply it specifically to starting a Vanguard group in case my experience is of help to some...

A couple of my friends from our homeschool group are moving.  They are looking to start a Vanguard scholar group in their area when they move.  As I think about the most important advice I could give them, I decided to write a blog post about it in case it may be of some use to anyone else thinking of starting a scholar group.

1. To narrow down the focus of your group, prayerfully figure out what is most important for your children to get from their education and focus on those things.  Each lens has many areas of focus and there is more out there than any one person can learn in quite a few lifetimes - choose the most important aspects of each lens and focus on that.  It can be tempting to make Vanguard feel "all-comprehensive" since you have these different subject areas, but it is important to target your resources on what will have the most impact.

For me, this was: 
-A testimony of Jesus Christ, His gospel and His love for them
-Knowledge that He has a work for them to do (core)
-The ability to find true principles in anything they read, see and experience and apply those principles to themselves (core, journeyman and master)
-The skills to take that truth and share it in a way that changes hearts (journeyman)
-A love for all people (historty/geography), and of freedom (leadership academy), beauty (imaginative arts), and order (Eureka)
-The ability to think spiritually (core), from other perspectives (history/geography), creatively (imaginative arts), symbolically and logically (Eureka) 
-The desire to serve

I do know tests and making money is important, but I believe if my children have the abilities and skills listed above, they will be able to quickly learn what they need for any test and be able to provide for their families.  Besides, learning to think logically often involves doing some math...

2. Decide what you want to do at home and what is best done in a group setting. (For example, for us, math is best done at home, but group discussions are a powerful way to learn to find principles and see their evidence in the lives of our peers, fun group games can motivate skills and knowledge, etc). This year I am asking parents for volunteers to teach 3 BONUS classes outside of Vanguard, but after or before it (to save driving time): Writing Structure, Apologia Science and History (chronologically) on a weekly basis. We could do these at home, but these subjects seem to work well in a group and we don't have time to do them justice in during Vanguard. Plus,  I don't want to take away from the more important purposes stated above.

3. Pray for God to send you people who you can serve and who can help you with the vision He inspired you with.

4. Set up an information meeting (look for yahoo groups or other homeschool websites in your area) to tell people your vision and to let them know you are looking for people who like your vision and would like their youth to  participate and would like to help you see it through. Then read great books together and some of the resources on this blog and find true educational principles you want to apply to your group.

5. Learn and focus on true educational principles (and teach them to your students)
Such as the foundational principles on the top tab that incorporate some of the following:
-The Spirit is the real teacher - our job is to invite Him to teach us
-Going to class prepared to discuss invites the Spirit into our hearts and edifies others as we share the truth we learned. (This applies to teachers, but especially to students)
-Inspire as much as possible - students learn best when they choose to do it. Never force.  Sometimes ask for obedience when you see a need that the student does not yet see.
-Writing and speaking open communication channels to others and also to God.
-You can't inspire if you are not living the truth you teach (including a love for learning more than you already know and aspiring to live it)
-Extrinsic rewards (grades, treats, social time, etc) can distract and overpower intrinsic rewards. Use them very sparingly for skill or knowledge acquisition. Never to inspire a love of learning.
-Seek an education for the purpose of blessing others
-The deeper you follow a truth, the more connections you will find.  If you go deep enough, it will connect to all subjects or disciplines of study
-Classics teach you to think. A lot of curriculum focuses on information. In this age of google, youth are right when they feel they are wasting their time regurgitating information.  They must learn to sift through the data to find the nuggets of truth that will benefit them and others. Classics help them learn to do this.

6. Only plan assignments, lessons and activities that support your purpose, don't get distracted with all of the other good purposes out there. The methods listed on the top tab here are only suggestions. For example,  your may find your group's needs are different for the types or amount of ativities. Or maybe the focus of your Eureka lens is to show how science alighns with the word of God and that when it doesn't it's because we don't have all the pieces and another group may focus on symbols/shapes and numbers to teach symbolic thinking.  Decide what your purpose(s) is/are for the year and don't try to cover everything.

7. Be okay with changeL you may have found the perfect system for a semester, but it may need to be changed to fit different needs the next semester.  It is okay, and perhaps for the best, for your group to looks different every year.  Just measure your changes against the true educational principles you know and be okay with changing the application of those principles as you are inspired or see a need.

8. Remember the principle of a council. As you lead a group, choose carefully who you want in your governing board, choose those who are close to the spirit and who live the truth they know. Then counsel with them when you need to make decisions.   Remember Elder Boyd K. Packer's words, "I have a deep, even a sacred, regard for councils; inspiration is evident in them.  If ever another course has been followed, trouble has followed as sure as night follows day. If we are to meet the great challenges...we must respect these principles. The Lord has said, 'I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine."

My favorite books or sites for finding true educational principles a lot of these are listed under the foundational principles tab above)  - just remember to apply them in your own way:
The Scriptures
Teach the Children by Neil Flinders
A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille
Norms and Nobility by David B. Hicks
Educating Zion
Increase in Learning and follow up books by Bednar
D&C 88 and 93
Gateway to the Great Books Introduction
The Great Conversation by Hutchins
Teaching Videos
Teacher Training
Arm the Children by Arthur Henry King
Ten Boom Institute

The list may look overwhelming, but the good news is most of the principles are the same in each book :-)  And it is hard to apply more than one principle at a time so just get started and apply the principles as you come across them.  Then the next time you come across one, you will see a way you can apply it even better, and you can just keep progressing in your educational journey :-)

Our youth need a great education. Schools are often (not always) failing them in this. Too often they are training instead of educating our youth. I think a grassroots effort to help these youth get a real education may be the best answer to this dilemma.

I love learning about learning.  If any of you are embarking on the great adventure of building community and helping one another inspire your youth, I am happy to help by sharing my experience if I can.  I don't claim to be an expert, but I do believe there is a need for better education out there and so I am happy to help in this endeavour when possible.  Have joy in your journey!