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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Kristen Rudd Nov 29, 2019

Last year, I spent the Sunday night after Thanksgiving in the ER.

My husband, Joshua, had been battling persistent pneumonia for months and had finally been cleared right before the holiday weekend. That Sunday, a mere ten minutes before friends arrived for a Thanksgiving leftovers dinner, Joshua started not feeling well. He became nauseated, had trouble breathing, and started having violent chills and a fever.

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Jason Barney Nov 25, 2019

The concept of a tool of learning will be familiar to many from Dorothy Sayers’ famous essay “The Lost Tools of Learning.” The underlying idea is derived from the medieval conception of the liberal arts as rational skills or practices that enable a person to fashion knowledge. Just as a skillful carpenter can use the tools of his trade to produce a beautiful and serviceable chair, so the master of the liberal arts can produce new knowledge by means of those arts.

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Matt Post Nov 15, 2019

A lot can change depending on whether you focus on sight or hearing. When I teach Plato’s Republic, we spend weeks discussing whether beauty is real or not. Our students generally regard themselves as counter-cultural. They will tell you they utterly reject the moral relativism and atheism that they see in the broader society beyond their family and community. And yet they will always say, with remarkable confidence, that “beauty is completely subjective; it’s in the eye of the beholder.”

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Jill Courser Nov 6, 2019

What is the purpose of our leisure? This question has been simmering in my mind since I first encountered the idea of schole several years ago. It’s a lovely concept, particularly appealing to us homeschool moms whose days are typically busy, demanding, and, if we are not careful, chaotic. Many of us are thus inspired to order our days around a “liturgy,” implementing periods of work and rest in the pattern of our weeks and years and sharing in a “feast” of good books, music, and art with our children, and all are good and noble pursuits.

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