Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Turn!

Hello Fellow TJED-ers. :-) Yes, I am finally responding. And, first I must express my frustrations because I am FINALLY getting ready to comment on Life of Pi (EXCELLENT BOOK) and now you're already discussing TJED. So, therefore I'm WAY behind and HATE being behind in anything. However, I'm sure I'll catch up when you read one of the Cold War books because those may not be TOP on my list to read. (I will try, Andrea!). Anyway, I will comment on TJED for now (because I LOVE the questions) and I've fully read the book more than once! BUT do not be surprised if you find a random Life of Pi comment in here along the lines. So, for me, can you Rasumssens PLEASE slow down!! (j/k)

On to my answers:

How well do you feel you were taught "how to think?"

I'm going to have to disagree with Kami here and say that this actually was not a very silly question! Sad, but true, I don't think I was really taught HOW to think. I think I was taught WHAT to think, but HOW to think was a bit of a new concept for me as I've "grown up". Also, I don't think it's all in what we've been taught. I have one child who is like me, thinks very much inside the box, does only what is told and doesn't expand much beyond that. However, my daughter thinks WAY outside the box and is always thinking of the next step in what we learn. So, I think it's one of those nature vs. nurture things... some of it comes naturally, but it is up to us to then either teach our children HOW to think or to help them expand their way of thinking without limiting them. What has taught me HOW to think? I'd say I really caught the fire from a few sources: Andrea Rasmussen, J. Hathaway, FINALLy getting past general ed. classes in college and focussing on what I really cared about (marriage and family), reading TJED, reading in general, and educating my own children.

Reading on the topic: The Wheel on the School by Dubois and Diffendoofer Day by Dr. Seuss

2. Have you written a personal and/or family mission statement/paper/motto—whatever? Are you planning on doing that? If so, what kinds of things are you thinking about including? I know the Eyres had something about learning themselves and then going forth to serve.

Yes, actually. First of all our Family Motto is "Better Together" because we've learned that it's much easier, quicker and more fun to do everything together (i.e. work and play).

J. and I sat down and wrote out our family mission statement when John was 1 yr. old. We've gone back to change it, but have found that it's perfect for what we want our family to become. So, we've stuck with it. It's up on our wall next to the Proclamation on the Family.

What does it include? Well, here it is for you:

We, the Hathaway Family, as children of our Heavenly Parents, will strive to create and atmostpher within our home which will prepare us to return to our Father's Kingdom by:
Following God through the words of his prophets and apostles
Serving our brothers and sisters, and using our talent to help others strengthen their own
Participating in and planning wholesome recreational activities and performing our labors to the fullest
Seeking knowledge with enthusiasm through study, faith and prayer
Finding joy and happiness in all of Heavenly Father's creations and the many blessing He has given us.

3. Is there a leadership crisis today?

I like what Andrea said about not having a "follower crisis." I think we've forgotten what a democracy means. What it means to have our voices be heard. The first amendment is way overused thus creating no true leadership to follow because the "bashing voices" are too loud.

4. DeMille lists public education as 75% social and 25% skills. Agree/disagree? And the ever popular: So What? If it is 75% social, what impact does that have on our children and society?

I'll talk more of the socializing in the next question: but I do agree that 75% of education is social. This doesn't mean it is the RIGHT kind of social, but yes, when you cram 30 kids in a classroom there's not much else you can focus on other than the social "system" of education (unless you're in Andrea's class of course). Someone once said, "There's a system I think kids need to learn in public school and that is why I put them there." What?! It's true, though. I think there is a social system that goes along with public school and true education can't be the focus. I believe it was in DeMille's writings that you don't necessarily want your 5 year old to be socialized by other 5 year olds (that could be from Raymond Moore?).

5. People constantly point out the need to “socialize” our children. What does that mean? What are we socializing them for? What behaviors do we want to encourage? What social skills do they need for a normal life in our society? Is school the best place to get those skills?

It's funny how socialization is only brought up to homeschoolers! It's actually a very naive question to ask homeschooers only. Aren't we all trying to "socialize" our children by teaching them correct principles and hoping that they govern themselves according to those teachings? This was one of J's big issues while I researched homeschooling. He didn't want our children to become "weird". Ha! Since then, we have both conceded that "weird parents" create "weird children". In other words, it's the parents who ultimately socialize their children. Not the public school system. I, like Kami, want my children to hold conversations well, to be able to know HOW to think in situations, and to survey the needs of others and act upon those needs. Those are my key desires. I have to add this here: My parents were telling me (basically) that our children are their favorite set of grandkids (don't let that get out of this blog!). Why? "Because they actually like us," is what they say. In other words, they hold conversations and talk to my parents. They aren't "brainiacs" or anything like that, they are just social "animals." Now, there are many things my children haven't quite picked up on like sitting in a classroom for 8 hours (+ a little playground time) but I'm sure that will come in time. :-)

6. Can you legitimately criticize homeschools for not socializing?

I think I answered this in the question above, more or less. :-)

7. What is your plan to socialize your child/children (in and out of school)?

I agree with Kami - - Church, good friends & conversation, discussing things at home - - I don't think enough families actually sit and DISCUSS things together as a family. Heck, taking them to the playground is one grand social experience as well. hee-hee

8. What is the advantage of socializing across ages and how do you do that?

Have lots of children!!!!! :-)

I think one benefit of socializing across ages is that it eliminates the "I'm dumb" or "I'm smart" feeling. I think there's more room for "I'm an Individual" beliefs that can happen in multi-age classrooms/situations.

9. “Leadership curriculum is individualized.” Do you have any examples in your own schooling of a teacher doing a good job individualizing the curriculum? Was that helpful?

There was no individualized education for me my whole life! And, even having my own five children has made me realize just how tricky that can be. So, I don't blame anyone for this. I think it comes down to the individual individualizing it for themselves. That's what I want to teach my children - - YOU are incharge of YOUR education!

10. According to DeMille, depth and breadth are both vital in education. I feel that I missed the depth part until I got my masters—and now, I feel like I should, as a person with a master’s degree in history, know more about history than the underlying premise of masculinity during WWII. Talk about no breadth! Do you feel the same way?

I wish I knew more about everything in depth, but it's just not possible! I think that if you don't have breadth, you do not know what questions to ask, where you want to go in your individualized education, and what all there is to know. For instance, I don't think the average kid even knows what majors you can take in college or what jobs are out there?!? No clue! I'm sorry, but when I played the game M.A.S.H. I did not list "statistician" as my husband's job. AND all growing up, all I wanted to do was be a teacher. Teacher, doctor, lawyer, dentist...what more is out there? I think that's one problem with not enough breadth. As for depth, as I've tried to teach my children I've recognized that depth really isn't all that important in some areas at this young age. As kids get older I feel it's more vital to go into more depth with the things that THEY are interested in...but they can't know what that interest is without the breadth first.

11. DeMille wrote: “The conveyer belt education system has made us more highly trained as a generation, but less educated.” Do you agree?

I think as a whole population, yes.

12. What is on your classics list? What do you think it is imperative that your child read?

My goal is to read all Newberry Award Winning books. :-)

On my List: The Robe, The Giver, Charles Dickens, Little Women, Around the World in Eighty Days, Anne of Green Gables series, C.S. Lewis, The Woman in White, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Gone with the Wind (of course!), The Hiding Place, To Kill a Mockingbird, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Wheel on the School, Shakespeare, A Girl Named Disaster....

What is imperitave? I agree with Kami that I just don't want them to read "fluff" - - I want them to read things that will inspire them HOW to think rather than WHAT to think.

13. Do you aspire to having “wise” children, or are you okay with children who are happily settled into good careers? Is there a difference? Is the question leading and biased?

Leading and biased? Yes. BUT it is not a dumb question. I think it's one we all need to ask ourselves...What am I really wanting my children to become? I want wise children. I want children who can survey the situation and make a choice that would make them happiest. If we first train them to be wise, then they will not just be "happily settled" (does that make sense)? I guess what I'm saying is that I don't want them to settle for mediocre simply because reaching higher is "too hard" or seemingly unattainable.

14. DeMille claims that we learn about human nature through the classics. Do you agree? Have an example? Is learning about human nature important?

It's not the sole way to learn about human nature, but it is definitely one way to expose them to the breadth of thinking and living. A variety of experiences leads to learning about true human nature. I think there is much to be learned about being unique while reading Anne of Green Gables; about what you really think about God and your desire to live in Life of Pi; about making wise decisions in Charles Dickens' writings; about the joys of imagination in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe; and the thrill of an adventure and exploring from Around the World in Eighty Days! These values taught in "good reading" (i.e. classics) fosters discussion between friends, parents & children, co-workers, etc...that leads to developing one's own view of the world around them and who they want to become in the midst of it.

15. DeMille wrote: “Learning is difficult but the process is not complex.” Agree?

Sure - it's only complex as we make it.

16. DeMille wrote that one goal for an educated person is the ability to define a problem. He maintains that almost anyone can solve a problem once it is clearly defined, but it is difficult to get to the heart of a problem. Agree/disagree? Do you think leadership training in a DeMille style program the most effective way to produce such a thinker?

First of all in response to this question I encourage you to read this wonderful article by Elder Pinnock entitled, "Ten Characteristics of an Educated Person." It is superb!

All I can say is DeMille opened up a whole new way of thinking for me, so I know it does work! I think that it truly can be the basis of learning in a home. And, I do feel that that is what I am trying to do for my children, train them to assess the situation, define the problem and solve it. Sometimes figuring out what is wrong is the hardest part, but once you know the problem it's simple to solve. It's almost like when we are trained in MFHD classes how we need to figure out the heart of the disagreement rather than the topic of the argument. For instance, when John doens't flush the toilet, does it really bug me that he doesn't flush the toilet, or that he doesn't think of other people coming in after him OR does it actually make ME feel bad because I am the mother who should be training him to use the toilet properly?! And, when my children misbehave in public, am I thinking more of their actual behavior and that's why I get so upset, or is it more the thought "what will others think of me"? So, I guess I agree with this statement.

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