Here’s an article on the small Charlotte Mason-based private school in our neighborhood that is one of the two schools in town I might be tempted to send my 10-year old to.
I wish all Catholic school administrators and pastors would read this article and understand that Catholic education could look like this, too. WHY DOESN’T IT. There is a sizable potential student population for this type of school, Catholic classical schools, Catholic Montessori schools and so on. Some of which exist, scattered about the country, but which, in general, are too far outside the box for your basic Catholic school superintendent or pastor to take seriously or not be threatened by. Many people are staying away from Catholic schools, not only because they are open to life, having large families and can’t afford tuition, but also because what they see around them are schools all striving after the same goal: the achievement-oriented Blue Ribbon school with lots of computers and a winning sports program.
Well, guess what. There is an another way..lots of different ways and it is too bad that mainstream Catholic education can’t or won’t see this. The lack of imagination and courage in the Catholic education establishment is discouraging, if not surprising.
A Facebook friend linked to my post on this article and someone wrote on her post that she was sending her child to a local alternative school because all the parish school was doing was bragging about how much homework the kids would have at night.
Maybe we need a ……SYNOD to deal with this!
Formal schooling gripe of the week – and not just mine (for those catching up – I homeschool a 10-year old, older kid is in HS) , but shared by others whose kids are in other schools as well:
Some of us work really hard to restrict screen time at home.
You’re not helping when the assignments you give necessitate screen time in either the research, the composition, the presentation or the submission.
But…It’s what they’ll need to know in the workforce!
Nonsense. They won’t be in the workforce for ten more years, probably, and who knows what they’ll need to know then – and whatever skills specific to their job they’ll need to know? Yeah, they’ll be taught on the job or what they need to know will be transmitted through the diodes fixed in their scalps by the actual office drones. What they need to know is how to think, how to read and write, and how to problem solve.
Three more years and three quarters to go…..
I might have written last year – not that you remember – about going to an open house at the monastery boarding school up the road. Unfortunately too far for us for day school, and no way we’re doing boarding school – I’m not interested in my 14-year old moving away yet.
Anyway, there was a mom and daughter at the open house who had traveled from Missouri, the main reason being that they wanted to switch schools now because the school the girl was attending at the moment had gone all I-Pad for all texts and all work.
They knew that wasn’t right. They knew that wasn’t the best educational practice.
And they wanted to switch…now.
Research is starting to bear that out – which doesn’t surprise me. Back when I was in the classroom, ages and ages ago, not a few of the interminable in-services we had to attend concerned differing learning styles, and it was continually emphasized to us that learning happened best when as many learning styles as possible were engaged, including kinetic – that is, learning styles which find physicality helpful. And so we are learning, it is true – the act of holding a book, turning pages, associating the information on the page with a physical place in the book, in the universe, is helpful. The act of writing, for whom that act is not burdensome (and it is for some, I know, and for them keyboards are a Godsend), helps reinforce retention and is an aid to creativity. More and more professors are banning laptops and other electronic devices from the classroom not only because their absence (not surprisingly) helps their students be more engaged, but also because physically taking notes, and the synthesizing that that process requires (as opposed to the taking-dictation-mode that a decent typist can bring to the job) helps, again, in retention and understanding.
So no, don’t tell me about your high-tech school …
Oooh! The Gif posts were popular !
Well, I was going to follow up on Monday, but I was so exhausted – in every way – by the whole wretched Synod Scene and a super fast trip back and forth to Charleston that I easily found better things to do with my time.
When you don’t feel like a miserable failure of a homeschooler because your son thinks it would be amusing to leave this in a dresser drawer in the hotel room.
Speaking of Charleston (where we have family), this time we discovered the very small, but FREE Mace Brown Natural History Museum. It’s on Calhoun Street, just a couple of blocks down from King Street, on the second floor of a College of Charleston building. As I said, it’s small – really just one quarter of a floor – but it’s got a lot of good fossil specimens and situates them very well in the context of the Southeast. So if you are in Charleston, especially with kids, consider it – it’s open 11-4 during the week, but check the hours before you go.
The main “better thing” is a project, and yeah, I indeed need to be working on that instead of scouring the Internet for amusing Veep gifs that match up to the irony of bishops who are Supposed to Be Smelling Like Their Sheep in an Environmentally Responsible Creation-Lovin’ Way instead burning carbon credits like crazy on flights to Rome and spending a month away from their Sheep in order to vote on a document that says “Families Are Good” and “Families Need Support.”
But -hey, Sheep – they’re back!
So we’re good!
Oh, wait! Did I overstep my boundaries? In talking about that Synod thing?
Because I only have an MA in Church History so that means I sure don’t have a Ph.D. or STL or what have you, so I probably should just shrink back into my proper place.
Eh. It’s not the New York Times here, so no one w̶i̶l̶l̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶j̶e̶a̶l̶o̶u̶s̶ ̶o̶r̶ ̶r̶e̶s̶e̶n̶t̶f̶u̶l̶ cares.
But do you know what? Here’s the thing.
I have been writing these book things for fifteen years now (The Loyola Kids Book of Saints and Prove It! God were the first two, written in 2000), and most of them, with a couple of exceptions have been assignments. That is, a publisher has contacted me and said, “Hey, we need a book on >>>>>>>. Would you write it?” (The exceptions are Here. Now. and The Words We Pray). Almost every time I’ve said yes, because what I have felt is that in request from a publisher, God is responding to me. Every suggested project has been on a topic that I needed to be exploring at that very moment. My research, the process of writing, the reflection on that given topic seemed to answer the questions central to my life at the time.
So it is with this current project, which, among other subjects, involves St. Catherine of Siena.
Okay. Thanks, God!
Really delving into her life and writings in a way that I never have before is giving me the opportunity to make some connections, to think in honest, tough and critical ways about the current modes of thinking and discourse prevalent in Catholicism, as well as the chance to reflect on the crazy, curious history of the Church and the role all of us – lay, ordained and religious, educated or simply wise and experienced – have to play in that history.
For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!