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

Friday, August 17, 2012

Story behind old "oak tree" picture on Blog Header

Image result for image of oak tree in a field
Years ago, I went to a TJEd seminar, where someone told the story of a man during the depression, who was leaving his farm to find somewhere better to farm.  In my recollection, the story goes like this: He was busy out in the field, as his neighbors were are preparing to depart,... planting.  His neighbors scoffed.

"What is it that you are planting?"

"Oak trees," was his short reply.

"Are you crazy?  You'll never live to see the benefit of those trees!"

"No," the farmer calmly replied, "but my grandchildren will, and my great-grandchildren will.  I am planting it for them."

The presenter then asked, "what are you planting now for our future?"

I have thought about this many times since then.  What do I envision for our future?  I envision freedom, a society where the yearnings for liberty are matched by their ability to keep it.  When I saw this personal vision for what I wanted, I had the follow-up thought that education was the best way to do it, as any socialist, capitalist, and communist knows :): education of others, self, and especially our youth.

Hence, my passion for maintaining what I feel is an educational vision based upon true principles to create freedom-minded, liberty-preserving leaders for our future: Vanguard Youth.  Hence, my determination to make these principles and whatever resources I can find available to everyone I can, with no immediate personal gain.

I am planting oak trees of liberty.

For it is only in a free society that mankind can fully develop their unique potential as children of God...and that is something everyone must work towards to make it happen!

Different stages of absorbing and processing information in kids

I came across this great article by Susan Wise Bauer, that helps us understand why our 12 year olds in Vanguard don't reason or process information the same way our 15 year olds do :)...why when we ask them to reason and apply it is so challenging at a younger age, when they are just getting into using logic to reason about what they are learning.  I included the entire first part of the article, and give complete credit to her and her genius with no profit to myself, other than the betterment of the world around me, and therefore a benefit to myself :)...

What is Classical Education?

Classical education depends on a three-part process of training the mind. The early years of school are spent in absorbing facts, systematically laying the foundations for advanced study. In the middle grades, students learn to think through arguments. In the high school years, they learn to express themselves. This classical pattern is called the trivium.

The first years of schooling are called the “grammar stage” — not because you spend four years doing English, but because these are the years in which the building blocks for all other learning are laid, just as grammar is the foundation for language. In the elementary school years — what we commonly think of as grades one through four — the mind is ready to absorb information. Children at this age actually find memorization fun. So during this period, education involves not self-expression and self-discovery, but rather the learning of facts. Rules of phonics and spelling, rules of grammar, poems, the vocabulary of foreign languages, the stories of history and literature, descriptions of plants and animals and the human body, the facts of mathematics — the list goes on. This information makes up the “grammar,” or the basic building blocks, for the second stage of education.

By fifth grade, a child’s mind begins to think more analytically. Middle-school students are less interested in finding out facts than in asking “Why?” The second phase of the classical education, the “Logic Stage,” is a time when the child begins to pay attention to cause and effect, to the relationships between different fields of knowledge relate, to the way facts fit together into a logical framework.

A student is ready for the Logic Stage when the capacity for abstract thought begins to mature. During these years, the student begins algebra and the study of logic, and begins to apply logic to all academic subjects. The logic of writing, for example, includes paragraph construction and learning to support a thesis; the logic of reading involves the criticism and analysis of texts, not simple absorption of information; the logic of history demands that the student find out why the War of 1812 was fought, rather than simply reading its story; the logic of science requires that the child learn the scientific method.

The final phase of a classical education, the “Rhetoric Stage,” builds on the first two. At this point, the high school student learns to write and speak with force and originality. The student of rhetoric applies the rules of logic learned in middle school to the foundational information learned in the early grades and expresses his conclusions in clear, forceful, elegant language. Students also begin to specialize in whatever branch of knowledge attracts them; these are the years for art camps, college courses, foreign travel, apprenticeships, and other forms of specialized training.

Of course, there are kids that are more logical and more ready for "rhetoric" sooner than others, but it can explain the struggle (hence, blank stares) that younger scholars experience when asked to reason and apply what they are learning.

The power of Game night and Outdoor activities

I came across this talk while listening to the radio in my car.  It was a broadcast from BYU on July 17, given by Patti Freeman and titled "Intentional recreation and Things that Matter Most."

Here is a link where, for now, you can either listen to or watch it. (I believe the transcript will be up later.)  I only came in towards the end, but it was incredible...all about the many benefits we get with intentionally recreating as a family (or as mentors with our youth!). 

Intentional recreation and Things that Matter Most

When the transcripts are up, I will try and put in my favorite sections for those who don't have the time to listen to, watch, or read the whole thing.
Here is the link to the talk I mentioned today.