Recently, the Church celebrated the feast of Pentecost, when God fulfilled His promise by giving the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is sent to teach, comfort, and strengthen the Church as we carry out the Lord’s commission (Matthew 28:16-20, Acts 1:8). And, when we see the manner in which God fulfilled that promise, we again hear several echoes and connections with the Old Testament.
If my 37th year had an album title, it would be “Variations on the Theme of Waiting.” And it would be full of surprising melodic turns, and soft resolutions. The returns on investments I didn’t mean to make have been humbling and bountiful.
I have not been particularly patient; I have mostly indulged in worry over these things. But God chose the timing of several aspects of our homeschool, and the fruit of his wisdom nudges me, not as a rebuke, but as an invitation to wonder at its beauty.
God is always right.
Here are some things he has been right about.
I judged Prospero once. However, this morning when I savagely arose from my bed, hunched from achy sleep, my Caliban shell offered a new knowledge. I am Prospero. Even worse, I am Prospero in a Caliban body (as I struggled to straighten myself). In the style of my teen pupils, I offered my spring apprentice essay on The Tempest to my mentor, harshly judging Prospero and his decision to use magic to manipulate people and his surroundings.
What do classical teachers want from headmasters?
They want both leadership and leeway, although just about every employee wants those things. They want brave administrators who aren’t afraid to discipline the sons and daughters of prominent families, although nepotism and favoritism are a vexation to employees in every line of work. Teachers want good pay and benefits, too, but good pay is a universal human desire. So what classical thing do classical teachers want from headmasters and principals?
From the very beginning, God has ordered our days. In the Creation week, He made the sun to rule the day and the moon to rule the night. He rested on the seventh day, giving us a pattern of work and rest to follow in our own lives. Our calendars have, however, become far more numerous and complicated - work calendars, family calendars, and school calendars now direct how we spend our time. Sadly, the Church calendar is rarely the one setting the rhythm of life, even for Christians.
Survey a number of parents on the most important aspect of a school, and the majority will say “community.” Community is a fashionable word. Everyone talks about building community, being in community, or doing life together. Because man is a political animal, this is perfectly reasonable. Yet, like many trends, the word is often used without a sensible definition. Communities are founded upon something. There is a glue which binds them. Much like bricks without mortar, a people cannot cohere without something holding them together.
This week, CiRCE podcasts contemplated Schole’, Graham Green’s The End of the Affair, the nature of things and what usually happens, Shakespeare’s play As You Like It, and life and death during Queen Victoria's reign. Be sure to subscribe, rate, and review, wherever you like to listen to podcasts!
Frankly, I only listened to John Mays because I was painting a cabinet and had at least another coat ahead of me. The last day of access to the Greater Homeschool Convention recordings compelled me to listen as long as I held a paintbrush.
In part one of this series we looked at relationship as a prerequisite to assessment. In his book Norms and Nobility, David Hicks says “Knowledge – the activity of learning – gives teacher and student a common ground for friendship – while accentuating their unequal status.” This friendship, whether between parent and child, teacher and student, or mentor and apprentice, can offer a rich environment for the cultivation of knowledge and skills, and ultimately wisdom and virtue.
Part 2: Response - The Expectations During Assessment
I don’t normally show my children new movies, but earlier this week we watched Tomorrowland (2015) and five days later, I’m still sore about it. While I normally show them classic movies, 80s movies, or movies they’ve seen fifty times already, Tomorrowland looked promising. It was directed by Brad Bird and written by the usually-thoughtful Damon Lindelof, whose work on Lost and Prometheus I admire. And it stars George Clooney, who has a fairly reliable eye for a good script. I took these three names as an auspicious sign.