Friday, February 26, 2010

Using MT to Promote Discussion

Yesterday, very late, 10:45, I finally called everyone together for MT. We began with prayer concentrating on Nathaniel who is apprenticing in a nuclear plant this month.

Because Christopher, my senior, needs to get the show on the road, I decided to go straight to grammar after prayer.  I pulled out my vintage Mother Tongue II and we discussed transitive and intransitive verbs. We orally analyzed several sentences together and then individually.  Then I let Christopher leave to finish up That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis.

One of the reasons I skipped several items during the morning is that I had been away last week, and I just wanted to reassert things slowly. Therefore, we did not sing. We sound terrible, so it is always a temptation not to sing but I am determined that we WILL sing on most days. Today we will sing 2 songs. Yesterday's Coram Deo by Judy Rogers and today's Crown Him with Many Crowns.

Then I read EX 20:1-17 as our review passage.  Plenty of fodder for the mill in that. We first discussed the idea of taking God's name in vain and how God will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. We also discussed covetousness.

 Then we headed over to review and relearn Gen 1:1-5.
Which reminded me of my Morning and Evening devotional so I pulled that out and read it.  It was based on the verse Ezekial 34:26  "I will cause the shower to come down in his season: there shall be showers of blessing."  I used this as a socratic jumping off spot and we defined the terms in the verse. Everyone participating. We defined Cause, Season, Showers and Blessings.  In the end we concluded that since we are not God and cannot control the weather, it was a sin to complain about the weather but maybe not a sin to be disappointed in the weather. My real goal was to stop the baseball players in the family from being dramatic weather watchers for the next few months. Weather can wreck havoc on a baseball season and I just wanted to establish where it came from. By the way, Christopher was not far off reading and he participated in this discussion.

We then went on to read Worldliness edited by CJ Mahaney. We are on the end chapters on modesty so it is more pointed at Emily. Not too fun for her, so I make sure that I make connections to masculine modesty also.

I am continuing to read through 101 Famous Poems with the children. We discuss one poem a day and the poem we discussed yesterday was:


Abraham Lincoln Walks at Night (In Springfield, Illinois)  by Vachel Lindsay

We are not huge Lincoln fans here so I wasn't sure how the poem would go over but it turned out to be an excellent poem in which to discuss modernity which is the time period my high school students are studying. 

We concentrated on these three verses from the perspective of the time period the poem was written in which was 1914. Significant. We discussed Lincoln, the Civil War, the beginnings of WWI,  The League of Nations and mostly all that was meant by :The Workers' Earth. We discussed 'The little man" the "working man" etc. We discussed socialism at great length noting that we know more about it now than they did in 1914. We were able to bring most of this discussion down to a simple concept that Alex could understand. We ended our discussion on the topic of self-government.

The sins of all the war-lords burn his heart.
He sees the dreadnaughts scouring every main.
He carries on his shawl-wrapped shoulders now
The bitterness, the folly and the pain. 
He cannot rest until a spirit-dawn
Shall come:--the shining hope of Europe free:
The league of sober folk, the Workers' Earth,
Bringing long peace to Cornland, Alp and Sea. 
It breaks his heart that kings must murder still,
That all his hours of travail here for men
Seem yet in vain. And who will bring white peace
That he may sleep upon his hill again?    

At this point the remaining High-schoolers were dismissed, after I decided that we would not read Coriolanus in either Shakespeare or Plutarch during the morning.

Alex and Andrew and I continued reviewing All the World's a Stage and I had Alex act out the 7 seasons as we read. He balked at sighing like a lover.

We also reviewed Breathes by Walter Scott which we are relearning.

I reviewed the US Oath of Citizenship which they mostly know and told them to write it out for their narration for 2 days and then Friday I would test them on it by having them write it from memory.

We reviewed the 1st Amendment and discussed the 5 rights guaranteed by it.  We also discussed the Constitution and what the Bill of Rights actually were. This came in handy as while we were reading aloud America Grows Up we learned about the 1st Continental Congress. We decided that it would be fun to visit Mount Vernon on our trip to Washington this summer.

We then went on to read aloud The Light Beyond the Forest which details the search for the Holy Grail.

The Light beyond the Forest: The Quest for the Holy Grail (Arthurian Trilogy, Vol 2)


America Grows Up which I already mentioned and:

The Silver Chair (Narnia)  by CS Lewis

I hope you can see the richness of having these sorts of discussions every single day. The thing I absolutely love about it is that the younger students are being stretched while the older students are learning. I let all participate equally and of course, I draw out those who are quiet. We do laugh a lot and our family can be a bit brutal sometimes. We all love to hear what Alex, the youngest, has to say before any concept is defined. Andrew seems to have a better grasp of grammar than my high school students but then again he has had 3 years of Latin at a younger age. I say 3 years of  Latin for Children but we only get through 2/3 of a book a year.

The one other beauty of this method is that it helps children learn how to make connections which is the heart of intuition.

As you can see, I did not let the schedule dictate the time. I dropped things off in order to fully grasp the moments that arose naturally.  Finding this balance is often difficult. If you are the type that must get through the LIST then teach yourself to embrace the moments of discussion that arise. Don't ever rush those until they deteriorate into frivolity which they inevitably do.  That is some part of the art of teaching, I think.

1 comment:

Average Terran said...

C.S Lewis is one of the best writers ever and I would be truly honored if you gave your poetic advice on my blog of poetry and follow it.


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