Matthew Carpenter Dec 27, 2019

December is a time of year when teachers (and students) are ready for a break. We have taught for several months and, after grading exams, need to recharge. Discouragement fostered by fatigue could easily set in if not for the hope of Christmas and the anticipation of communing with family and friends.

But what about all those other times of the year when you give everything you have to teaching and it seems like little good comes from it? At those points we need someone to come alongside us and offer encouragement. That’s where Augustine of Hippo comes in.

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Jonathan and Laura Councell Dec 23, 2019

When each of us were young, our mothers and/or caretakers instinctively amplified the musical qualities inherent within our native languages. Infants are surrounded by an entirely foreign, complex system of communication. They exist in a state of wonder and we draw on and interact with that state by engaging them with musically creative speech. We exaggerate the natural melody of our speech, and use rhythmic patterns, repetition, simple forms, and catchy tones of voice to increase their interest, comprehension, and connection.

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Elizabeth Do Dec 20, 2019

Why do we love a ghost story at Christmas? How does the ghost story speak to the eternity in our hearts? Out on the Mira, perhaps, around a bonfire, there we expect the “witches and werewolves and Oak Island gold.” But why now, as we celebrate starlight and the birth of a baby?

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Jonathan and Laura Councell Dec 18, 2019

“Handel is the greatest composer that ever lived . . . I would uncover my head and kneel down on his tomb.” —Beethoven quoted by Edward Schulz, "A Day with Beethoven,” The Harmonicum (1824).

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Richard Marsh Dec 16, 2019

I’m no longer ashamed to admit that I own and wear Christmas Pants, and I think you should too. My understanding of how to celebrate the Christmas season has changed recently, and I’ve had to rethink how I comport myself and how I manage my classroom in December. Do you own a pair of Christmas Pants?

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Jonathan and Laura Councell Dec 15, 2019

All great orchestral concerts begin with a small but important musical moment. The concert master stands and the principal oboist continuously sounds A-440, until each player has tuned all the notes of their instrument to the frequency of that tone. Then the conductor takes the podium, lifts his or her arms, the concert begins, and the instruments resonate in pure clarity.

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Kristen Rudd Dec 13, 2019

My daughter, Mary Judah, has very strong opinions about paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe. MJ cannot stand O’Keeffe’s work.

We did the audio tour for the O’Keeffe special exhibit at San Francisco’s De Young Museum years ago. One of the stations on the tour included a recording of O’Keeffe herself talking about art and what makes good art. She said something along the lines of how good art has fewer and fewer details and distractions.

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Jason Barney Dec 9, 2019

In my previous two articles I discussed narration as a tool of learning and as embodying the classical principle of self-education. I bemoaned the departure from this principle in much of modern education. At the same time, it’s worth recognizing the value of modern research in neuroscience and cognitive psychology, especially where it is confirming the validity of traditional educational practices like narration.

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Kristen Rudd Dec 6, 2019

“The campus of Justin may be a haven from the war, a haven from reality, but when reality is so grim, to be a haven may be a virtuous thing. Soon, only too soon, reality will burst the walls and swell the gutters of the school to boiling livid streams, but the interim is ours and is not the interim as real as reality?” —Louis Auchincloss

A common critique lobbed at homeschoolers is this: Homeschooling shelters children from the “real world” too much. I shouldn’t have googled this concept. That’s a rabbit hole I wish I hadn’t gone down.

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Jason Barney Dec 2, 2019

In my last article, I submitted Charlotte Mason’s practice of narration for consideration as another lost tool of learning. My main contention in its favor followed Charlotte Mason’s claim that narration is a natural gift of children as persons made in the image of our storytelling God.

For those coming late to the party, narration is a simple and elegant teaching tool containing two parts:

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