Thursday, November 7, 2013

And then there is repentance

I have heard both Andrew Kern and Bill St. Cyr (at a talk I attended) discuss the role of repentance in education - really as the bedrock of education.  Allowing yourself to be educated means living on the edge of what you know and it is hard and scary because it makes us feel out of control.  It requires repentance because to learn you have to admit one of two things:

I don't know. 
I was wrong. 

In an unsafe world that wants answers admitting these things is hard to do.  Aren't you supposed to know?  Especially as a homeschool mom you feel like you need to have your ducks in a row. Of course we don't want to be wrong.  This is why it is so important to create a safe space where mistakes are admitted and where we run to Jesus when we mess up.  How else can we learn if we can't say those phrases above?  This is also why it's hard to be a child; you constantly don't know and most of the time you are probably doing something wrong.

I am glad that God seems to answer quickly if I am willing to learn.  I have always thought that I learn pretty well from other's experience - but not when it comes to teaching.  I have to try it out for myself to see if it really works.  Thus I have tried traditional education, Montessori, Classical and flavors in between.

I am now repenting because I have put too much emphasis on memorizing facts.  This past week I finally got around to doing the first trimester testing of my son in an Ambleside fashion.  He did this last year and although he didn't like it, he was able to pull his thoughts together.  This year we have introduced CC and although I have enjoyed the memorizing together, I was really frustrated with his test.  I asked him a general question, "Tell me about the Middle Ages."  He spent all of his time trying to remember the jingle instead of reflecting on the books and stories (King Arthur, The Little Duke, etc.) that we have read about the time period.  I was confronted with the what others keep saying - memorization is not character building education.  It appears that I have short circuited our education by focusing on memorizing. He thought repetition of his memory work was sufficient and the response I was seeking.  Honestly, that is the least important aspect to me.  So, we will be reconsidering how we approach these things.

I have always taken a little pride in having a good timeline in my head, knowing lots of facts, etc. My husband and I are a GREAT trivial pursuit team.  But that is not wisdom and pride goes before the fall.  I am glad to have this revealed now so that I can repent and think about what real education is about.  Thank you to those bloggers who continue to proclaim this message (often because they are Charlotte Mason adherents).  I am getting it!

Memory has its place but I believe that story is truly more formative (Andrew Kern always talks about the 60+ chapters of story BEFORE the law).  Now, I need to make sure that my approach reflects that truth.  I am afraid that he thinks stories are just for fun but real learning is memorizing. Truly, it is the exact opposite.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I too need to get better at admitting when I don't know or when I've done something wrong. I think this is such an important point and I definitely need to spend some time thinking it over.