Friday, April 21, 2006

Teacher leave those kids alone....
I just finished reading for the second time Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto. I probably read it the first time in 1999 perhaps 1998. The subtitle is The Hidden Curriculum of Complusory Schooling. The author, New York State Teacher of the Year and this book sheds so much light upon the public school system that half way through the book you know that it is not necessary to "do school" to get a real education. In fact, JT Gatto contends that "education and schooling are, as we all have experienced, mutually exclusive terms."
This slender volume packs a powerful punch. Don't take my word for it. Read the book. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:
"Curiosity has no important place in my work, only conformity."

"School is a twelve-year jail sentence where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned."

". . . networks, even good ones, drain the vitality from communities and families."

"It's just impossible for education and schooling to be the same thing."

"By preventing a free market in education, a handful of social engineers - backed by the industries that profit from compulsory schooling: teacher colleges, textbook publishers, materials suppliers, et al. - has ensured that most of our children will not have an education, even though they may be thoroughly schooled."

"Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die."
Since Mr. Gatto taught school (not english as he thought he was going to) in the NYC school system, he is basically outing compulsory schooling and taking us behind the scenes illuminating a philosophy of education which has little to do with learning. As I continue to travel the road that I am on with my husband and children, more and more I see how this little book had a great impact on our freedom to educate our children at home and to live by the spirit and not by man-made schooling philosophies.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Yesterday, we watched the end of the Nabisco Classic LPGA Championship....(just hang in there with me if you are not into golf - ladies) Lorena Ochoa had been leading the whole tournament until the last back nine, Michele Wee, Natalie Glubis and Karrie Webb(a verteran who was the first LPGA player to ever earn $1 Million) were in the hunt. Karrie Webb approached the 18th and chipped it in for eagle from 116 yds. to take the lead at 9 under. The other 3 were on the 16th fairway and it was if Karrie said, come and get me girls. Ochoa ended up tying with an eagle herself. IT was sudden death playoff back to the 18th Tee. Karrie won leaving the young ones to gear up for the next tournament.
What captivates us? It wasn't so much the golf...although it is more enjoyable when you understand the sport.... it was the drama of it all........the let's step it up girls and give it our all....let's give the crowd what they came for... a great performance.....and the message for this warrior of the King, daughter of Zion was that when I am given a task to do or take on anything that I do it whole-heartedly. When we are willing to listen, the message can come from any place.
Thank you Lord. We can not put you in a box. CM

Sunday, April 02, 2006

"When you understand what Jesus means when He says that you must follow Him, you finally realize that this is not a cattle call. He is not calling you to the same life that everyone else will live. He's not even calling you to the same path that every follower of Christ will walk. Your life is unique before God, and your path is yours and yours alone. Where God will choose to lead you and how God chooses to use your life cannot be predicted by how God has worked in the lives of others before you."
The Barbarian Way by E.R. McManus
Mr. McManus is talking about our Christian life, pilgrimage, His will for our life....for me as a follower of Christ - a pilgrim who educates her children at home along with her husband will contend that this is just as true about why and how we educate our children. My philosophy of education is to be as individual as my walk with the Lord. In fact, I believe that how and why we educate our children at home is an extention of our spiritual life. If someone were to have looked at my life from beginning to age 23 (when I had my first child), a number of people (including spirit filled Christians) would say that I was NOT a good candidate to be a "home educator."
Recently, my children and I were some place where a number of homeschoolers were and one of mine said, "everyone but us is doing this." I said, "that's right." It was simply an observation. And it is simply an observation in this post.
It does not mean that you can't encourage me and I can't encourage you in your path . . . in fact, we do need to encourage one another however, there will be times when the road seems long and lonely but we are to remember that Jesus says "Follow me." The Lord will always be with us as we walk with Him..Remember when Peter was speaking to Jesus after the Resurrection. He said to the Lord, "what about him (meaning John the beloved)?" In paraphrase Jesus said, that is none of your business. YOU follow ME.
It is so easy to be overly concerned about what others think of us. The proverb writer says that it proves to be a snare. So, I want to encourage every follower of Jesus Christ to continue to follow HIM even when the herd you have been traveling with starts heading in a different direction. I will end with another quote from Mr. McManus:
"We are called to a path filled with uncertainty, mystery, and risk."