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jld

Low expectations?

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Here is I think what might be at the root: if everyone knows the same things (assuming we're still talking about a high school education here, and that not everyone is going to go to college, so the high school education constitutes the base we're talking about), everyone's knowledge will come from inside a particular cultural box or point of view. Who is going to give a wider perspective on that view? Who is going, for instance, to compare Henry II and Becket to what was going on in China or India at that time?

 

The people who have continued learning those sorts of things outside of school or at college would, I suppose. If the people involved don't have that high school shared education (something with connections made, not the unrelated bibs and bobs type education I received,) the conversation wouldn't get started in the first place. At least that is my experience.

 

And please -- this does not automatically or necessarily means we have no commonalities or overlap in the things we read about or learn, either. There is a huge middle ground here.
Most of the time, the middle ground seems to be sport and sitcoms. :(

 

Maybe, for those of us who don't like sports and sitcoms, it would be easier to find people we have something in common with, if we'd thoroughly learned a shared body of knowledge in school. As it was, we thoroughly forgot the shared body of unrelated, unconnected bits and pieces they taught. But this is only my experience, and a frequent topic of conversation with my younger brother who comes to me when he wants a proper conversation. Me, his older sister who is a stay at home mum of toddlers and is often sleep deprived without two brain cells to rub together. :confused: He works and is out and about in the world, he *should* have more interesting people to talk to!

 

I understand -- or at least, I think I do as much as I can, coming from a country that is so wackily different -- the importance of transmitting a coherent cultural heritage. The US educational system has gone to great lengths to attempt to insure that kids here get a similar understanding; in fact, awareness of and knowledge of the wider world is almost completely neglected in favor of rah-rah patriotism and year after year of classes about Our Nation's Founders and our wonderful open-armed society. Yet real understanding is sorely lacking, and I think this is because of our tendency as a nation to put ourselves at the center of the world and to think so highly of our (selective) heritage. This is why I feel such a need and a desire to widen perspective. To me, Ester Maria's model puts Italy at the center of the world in a similar way. And I think any culture that does this is doing something potentially dangerous, in that it gives itself an overinflated sense of position and worth at the expense of knowledge about others.

 

You know, it doesn't seem to me that Ester Maria and Regentrude's styles of education teaches them that they are the centre of the world, nor does it seem to leave them ignorant of the rest of the world. It seems to me that it teaches that *home* is the centre of the world and I think that is perfectly reasonable! My home is the centre of my world! I don't think my home is the centre of THE world, and is of greater intrinsic value than anyone else's home, but it is certainly the centre of my world and it really is necessary for me to understand what's going on there before I move outside to everyone else's space. There is nothing wrong with thinking highly of one's own culture and it doesn't necessarily follow that we will develop some sort of superiority complex. I had Australian history shoved down my throat for years and years, but I haven't come out with a cultural superiority complex. I haven't come out with a cultural inferiority complex either, fortunately. And anyway, if Ester Maria's classical education involves Greek, she's not being completely Italian-centric, is she? Now Australia and America are a different situation to European countries, thanks to our colonial histories. I don't know American history well enough to comment, but I can comment on Australia. I think a real understanding of Aboriginal cultures, as real as non-Aborigines can manage, would do a great deal to balancing out the "centre of the world" focus, and enable us to learn about home without becoming arrogant about it. One reason I intend to do Australian studies alongside world history (most of you do similar things, I think) is that it allows us to learn about home because home is important to us, while showing that we really occupy a very small place in the rest of the world and that rest of the world has much to offer. But perhaps the Australian experience is different because even without studying the rest of the world at school, we know we play a very small role, whereas you Americans know you play a large role on the world stage.

 

 

It's perhaps easier to see clearly in the US, where an inner city immigrant from Somalia or the Philippines is asked to consider that the story of the white, male, wealthy ruling class (political, commercial, military) is somehow supposed to become THEIR story, that its productions are an educational gift to them; the history of what their nation has brought to the US doesn't even merit a footnote.

 

I think it kind of does become their story eventually. I'm pretty sure there are no Australian aborigines on this board, or I would say any of this, for a few reasons, and I am going to hide in case any indigenous Americans want to step in and do their job for them! But in Aboriginal culture/religion, ties to the land are hugely important and they belong to the land even more than the land belongs to them (well, their tribe, not individuals.) All these centuries later, I do feel as though I am entitled to a small part of the Aboriginal tradition (not the insiders stuff, because I'm not an insider) because I am here and I do belong to this land and it belongs to me and I feel a bit irritated when that is suggested that I don't feel that way, can't feel that way or have no right to feel that way. So, probably not in the first generation, but eventually, your countrymen from Somalia and the Philippines will probably feel that parts of the American White Guy story has become part of their story. Never their whole story, of course, but a part of it. What choice does the school have but to teach that, anyway? How could a bunch of White Guys teach a Somalian kid the Somalian part of their story?

 

This is what bothers me when a particular canon is constructed by and for elites (be it in history, literature, science, etc.) and then propounded as the best and most vital, and everything outside it is perceived of as a lowering of the bar, compromised, second rate, or even just "supplementary."

 

It seems to me that having a coherent core, however arbitrary it appears to be, is better than not having one. Having and old fashioned, fuddy duddy but still coherent core means it can evolve and drop some things in favour of other things that now seem to be more important, like the issues you mentioned in the paragraph about your sister. If there isn't a core, that process can't happen because there aren't enough people to chew over the same ideas together. If you don't hold that core information, you can't be part of that evolutionary process because you're outside the conversation. Just like here when we trip over a spin off thread, we all go running back to find the original ;)

 

I don't think I'm expressing myself well this morning, but I hope I'm making some sense. I hope I'm even right about some of this :D

 

Rosie

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To me, Ester Maria's model puts Italy at the center of the world in a similar way. And I think any culture that does this is doing something potentially dangerous, in that it gives itself an overinflated sense of position and worth at the expense of knowledge about others.

I'm not sure how am I supposed to respond to this.

 

On one hand, you're right and of course that you're right as it's only natural things are that way - since what do we expect Italian education to deal with and be based on, i.e. grounded in, if not in Italian experience? I find that most of the elements of education are particular, rather than universal, as I already stated. There is no such thing as "neutral" education, I find it only normal that the Italian education would pose Italy as its landmark.

 

However, I don't think having a stable landmark means neglecting the rest of the world - at least not the rest of that "culturally congenial" part of the world. Italy did not develop in a vacuum; the forces, political and cultural, that formed it, came both from the inside and from the outside, and much of its identity was established in relation with the "others". As a result of that, there are actually some French works which are a lot more fundamental for Italian culture than some Italian works, as controversial as it sounds, as the "canon" from the "standard package" is not organized in a purely ethnical musical key, but by the logic of the dominant cultural influences and self-selected "representations" of our cultural genesis, if that makes sense.

 

That's one of the beauties of Europe, actually - it's nearly impossible to close yourself in your little country, since everything is so intertwined. When you study history, you necessarily study it in the broad Western context, as you otherwise don't understand it. You necessarily open yourself up a little for the East, since otherwise you don't understand the whole Arab / Jewish / Ottoman element, etc.

If we speak about literature, that also means a certain amount of "cultural intertextuality" is going to be needed, and literacy beyond Italian experience. If we speak of languages, the best educational experience will certainly include the knowledge of the (ancient) origins, as well as literacy in one or more European languages, not only to expand your horizons, but also to understand yourself better. That is, in order to be a "good Italian" (God does that sound poorly, but you get my point) you need to know a lot more things outside of Italy and before Italy - and the school system takes that into account. Literature and philosophy readings include nearly as much non-Italian readings as Italian ones.

there's the further issue that the heritage being lauded and propounded is exclusionary.

While I give you some credit here, I don't think you can make quite a parallel between America and Italy here, between a culture that was originally made out of many different elements and a culture that grew out of a nation in an almost mystical organic unity (yes, there are minorities in Italy too, I belong to one of them, but there is still something of an organic unity of Italian culture and Italian people).

 

However, where you see the institutional dictature of cultural exclusiveness, I see something quite democratic: the lessening of the class barriers, because now every child can be given the chance of education as if they belonged to that upper class which sets the canonical knowledge. From the point of view of class, I find American education to be much more segregative and the barrier to be much stronger, especially in the light of a much older and much more prevalent Anglo-American tradition of the private education of the elites. Many European countries, while their best schools follow the educational models that were originally designed by the elite for the elite, actually open up those schools and that culture to everyone, and thus it becomes a shared heritage even if it wasn't before to that extent. And while there is an ongoing problem of the general exclusion of women, I do think that the canonical selection is pretty representative of the key points of the Italian cultural genesis - and that's what the system is looking for. I also find that the consensus about the key elements of the canon (Virgil, Dante, Mazoni, etc.) is so strong that you might not believe it, coming from a culture where all of that literary "canon" is in flux and being redifined and where the "national identity" isn't so organic and so tied to certain things.

 

A lot of times when discussing these issues with you, I've actually wondered whether you have a point for a distinctly American education, and whether the "system" that America needs is actually a lack of system rather than a relatively strict selection as agreed upon in some other places. It may as well be the case, after all, each nation has a system that they deem the best. My problem with it is that I just don't see how can the lack of a clear structure and rootness in one's historical genesis as a culture (and America still is a part of that Western heritage) produce a well-rounded individual, even if I admit it may produce great experts at specific things. Which is exactly why I use the word intellectual: I know many American experts, but very few American intellectuals, if that makes sense. I am constantly amazed by it, in fact - maybe I circle around wrong people or consider irrelevant things, but most people I've met aren't the type of people you can rely that they'll be familiar with bits of everything, what they know are isolated areas, even if many isolated areas. I literally met a guy who knew almost everything there is to know about Pushkin (and I applaud that), but almost nothing about romanticism. That's exactly what I find so tricky here, that knowing "lots about something", even in many areas, still won't compensate for a lack of clear structure in your mind on the historical development of your culture in terms of ideology, art, politics, important influences, etc., or for the basic structure of scientific literacy - those things are reduced to bits of trivia knowledge rather than an organized systematic unit because of the way they're approached in the school system: not as a unity, but as many disconnected areas. And even if people know a lot about many disconnected areas, it's still expertism rather than being that which was traditionally considered "an intellectual". It's still fachiditiosm, only, to say so, "of a higher level", and not so obvious as your typical caricature of a computer geek.

Why do they learn about the works of great men without being asked to consider why the works of women were dismissed, scorned, lost -- or at times not given the circumstances to even be completed? You know, it's not simply that women were not that good as writers.

But are they not asked? The fact that something "stayed" and as such is a part of a standard package doesn't mean students aren't made aware of the forces behind the formation of the standard package.

It just means that there is no time to cover ALL, that some things will have to be delegated to free time and special interests, because the primary function of literature lessons is acquiring cultural literacy with regards to those which are visible and recognized things. Everybody knows, Karen, that those are tips of the icebergs, and that icebergs are very complex, and that they're often not even the best possible tips (with regards to the debatable and intangible concept of "artistic value"). Professors aren't stupid, and kids aren't stupid either - those things are understood and recognized. But you've got to work with what you have, rather than fix all that's wrong with history and society in a classroom - you've got to trasmit that which you have. And that which is landmark, no matter why it became that way in the first place.

I think she would agree that she'd far rather have learned about issues she'd be confronting as a voter in adult life, issues that affect the health, safety, security of her family, issues that place the US in a very complicated global situation; how to research and think critically about the information she finds on these topics; how to evaluate competing claims.

See, this is utilitarianism speaking. Is education merely a preparation for workforce and voting, merely a daycare for kids while their parents are working, or is it a certain model of transmitting of a cultural heritage, much of it for its own sake?

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I wonder: what would have served her best in high school? I think she would agree that she'd far rather have learned about issues she'd be confronting as a voter in adult life, issues that affect the health, safety, security of her family, issues that place the US in a very complicated global situation; how to research and think critically about the information she finds on these topics; how to evaluate competing claims.

 

.....

 

Going in circles now; time to get off the computer. Anyway, just some thoughts.

 

I'm glad you put down your thoughts and mostly I agree. The problem that I see though is in relation to what you would want people to be able to do, as it seems like they need a foundation of knowledge, not just thinking skills. Without historical knowledge, for example, it is actually harder to make wise decisions about the present. I'm speaking in generalities due to lack of time (bedtime here)....One of my sisters is in the same position and I think it is partly her lack of foundational knowledge which makes it hard for her to do some of the evaluations you discuss, while she is quite skilled at managing her household. I'm just not sure that you can completely separate the two.

 

I remember when I visited Rome without having studied Ancient History at the age of 26. To me the place was a pile of stones with no meaning and too hot and full of traffic. Thanks to SWB (and her mother), history has taken a much more important place in my children's education and they were able to appreciate Rome while in primary school. They can already think about democracy in comparison to Ancient Greece and start to see things in a broader light, not just through the lens of current events and TV hype (well we don't even have TV, but can see some clips on the Internet), which as you say is so nation-centric.

 

That's one of the beauties of Europe, actually - it's nearly impossible to close yourself in your little country, since everything is so intertwined.

 

Ester Maria, I was almost going to say something similar but then caught myself when I remembered some of the situations I've encountered, even in your country (ETA I do not mean to pick on yours as I've seen it in other European countries as well. I just say it because at the same time, a certain percent of the people are receiving a very good education. But who voted for Berlusconi? The educated Italians? Maybe there is something I am completely missing about the guy...), which were so provincial. So there is the educated European populace, and the, I don't want to say un-e so I will say unexposed European populace, that could just as well be living on an island as we do in the US (though I'm not there at the moment, I still consider it an island type experience and I was quite affected by it).

 

I'm lacking time for coherency here but hope you can glean something from the mishmash.

 

Joan

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To me the place was a pile of stones with no meaning and too hot and full of traffic.

Rome a pile of stones?!?! *faints* :D

(I agree about the traffic, though. We all hate it - and the key in surviving it, sadly, seems to be in becoming just as rude as the others are.)

Ester Maria, I was almost going to say something similar but then caught myself when I remembered some of the situations I've encountered, even in your country, which were so provincial.

There are such things in every country, I'm afraid. There is a certain percentage of population - possibly even quite a big one - that even a high quality education won't do them much good in a sense of a serious impact on character, values, taste, horizons, etc. They still receive that education, of course (maybe not the best option, but they do go to school and are technically exposed to some things), but if it's not paired up with a home culture and appreciation of education, or if it's just that type of personality, they do remain in their bubble... What can you do. C'est la vie.

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Then, the Greek scholars strung it up and went back and forth to the internet, following step-by-step instructions for cleaning the dead deer. He said it took him 2 1/2 hours. His friend, our neighbor, thought this was hilarious because he hunts and it usually takes him (neighbor) "about 20 minutes".

 

I do not understand what this is supposed to prove. It would probably take me also hours and the help of the internet to butcher a deer. OTOH, I have areas of expertise where I would guess it might be impossible for your neighbor, even with the help of the internet and many hours, to accomplish a certain thing that takes me twenty minutes.

What is the point?

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Regularly, dd is trying to make the connections you talk about. But it takes time. You have to stop what you are doing, think about it, talk about it, and research it. Then a subject or two doesn't get done. She refuses to just plow through a subject just to get it finished. Some would say she is slow and should be pushed to go faster. Why, so she can just cram the facts into her head and not do anything with them? But, the stopping and thinking and talking about and connecting translates into less actual coverage of the material (meaning we don't finish the book).

 

So which would be low expectation: getting tons of work done with little understanding of what was done, or doing some of it and really understanding it and making connections between it and other things that have been learned. I think the stress many feel on this board is that we try to do more material with more understanding.....there usually isn't time for both.

 

My daughter, (15.11) is exactly like this. She gets it from her father and I've spoken many times here about my particular frustration with her. She processes very slowly--not a learning disability, but that she will take a long time to read. BUT what she reads is almost memorized. She has some classes outside the house and her grade is 96.4. Her teachers call her The Textbook. I had to learn to slow down a lot with her. I gave up the larger TWTM reading list --then I gave up all of it and we switched to Ambleside Online. Those small weekly bites-two pages of Plutarch's Lives ie, is not as overwhelming to her as 8 heavy books. But she's on schedule to read one life a term and one Shakespearean play per term and that's a great thing.

 

 

That goes toward the Slow Homeschool type movement I was talking about in another thread.

 

Slow and steady wins the race. :001_smile:

 

Who is going to contrast the marvelous, stirring St. Crispin's Day speech (which I assume most people remember from the movie rather than the original text...)

 

I think what I'm getting at is that I'd rather have people bring a variety of heritages, backgrounds, and bodies of knowledge to the table, even if that means I can't recite a particular speech along with everybody else and feel that particular type of bonhomie for the moment.

 

The older I grow, the more I realize I don't know, can never possibly know. Even the most magnificent, high-powered education is inevitably limited. If I value dialogue, diversity, flexibility, creativity, being made to think outside my point of view -- which I do, and which I think are some of the fundamentals of our culture -- then I need people to bring vastly different experiences, bodies of knowledge, and points of view to the table.

 

Another sheepish look-Dd 15, ds 11 and I are making our way though Henry V right now as a part of AO's term play.

 

The second part, the variety. God, I glory in it. Really. I have Vietnamese friends, Chinese friends, Indian friends and Turkish ones. I adore them all and I am richer for knowing them. But I would not be able to appreciate half of what we talk about had I not educated myself on my own country's history, sciences and literature first.

 

Agreed, agreed, agreed.

Before I can compare and contrast my culture of origin with somebody else's cultural heritage, however, I need to have a firm understanding of the history that shaped my home country, my part of the world, my value system. I, for instance, find it important to understand German history and literature before Chinese history, because the latter had rather little impact on the thoughts and theories and happenings that shaped my home country.

 

In order to understand the country I live in now, I have gone back and learned a lot about English history - if you can't trace US history back to the puritans, many things and views are completely impossible to understand for somebody who did not grow up here (it may be different for you natives - I don't know)

 

This said, I always find it fascinating discussing with educated Indians, for example, who come from an entirely different cultural background and I enjoy learning about their views and their culture. But I feel the need to start "at home", so to speak.

 

Maybe the very different takes are routed in the fact that the US is an immigrant country, and that there has not been time to develop a deep cultural American identity (and educational canon) as in a nation that has been unified by a common culture for many more centuries? Just thinking out loud here, I have never really though about this before.

 

 

I think this is what I was trying to say before, up thread when I talked about America not having any "American" rites of passage (It was in the we hours of the morning and I was having trouble with my words coming easily).

 

The East Germans accomplished a lot 40 years, but weren't they closed off? America is still the nation of immigrants and it's not stopping. (Not that I would ever wish it to- The New Colossus: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores). I think, especially now, we need something that unifies us because we have no shared heritage, but we do have a shared history if we choose to make our permanent homes here. Because America's history starts in Europe and Europe's past, of course we study it, and so I wouldn't readily agree that we are nation centric.

 

From the point of view of class, I find American education to be much more segregative and the barrier to be much stronger, especially in the light of a much older and much more prevalent Anglo-American tradition of the private education of the elites.

[snip]

My problem with it is that I just don't see how can the lack of a clear structure and rootness in one's historical genesis as a culture (and America still is a part of that Western heritage) produce a well-rounded individual, even if I admit it may produce great experts at specific things.

[snip]

It just means that there is no time to cover ALL, that some things will have to be delegated to free time and special interests, because the primary function of literature lessons is acquiring cultural literacy with regards to those which are visible and recognized things. Everybody knows, Karen, that those are tips of the icebergs, and that icebergs are very complex, and that they're often not even the best possible tips (with regards to the debatable and intangible concept of "artistic value"). Professors aren't stupid, and kids aren't stupid either - those things are understood and recognized. But you've got to work with what you have, rather than fix all that's wrong with history and society in a classroom - you've got to trasmit that which you have. And that which is landmark, no matter why it became that way in the first place.

 

See, this is utilitarianism speaking. Is education merely a preparation for workforce and voting, merely a daycare for kids while their parents are working, or is it a certain model of transmitting of a cultural heritage, much of it for its own sake?

 

I agree, I so agree.

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When I enter into this kind of discussion I often think of my younger sister -- neither she nor my brother went beyond high school. I look at her life, her particular struggles, her sources of pleasure, and I wonder: what would have served her best in high school? I think she would agree that she'd far rather have learned about issues she'd be confronting as a voter in adult life, issues that affect the health, safety, security of her family, issues that place the US in a very complicated global situation; how to research and think critically about the information she finds on these topics; how to evaluate competing claims. .

 

But for that, she needs a rigorous education!

To make choices about health and to evaluate claims, she needs a thorough understanding of the biology of the human body.

To understand about the global political situation, she needs to have a comprehensive history knowledge not only about the US but also about the world, including comparative religion.

To evaluate the reality of global warning, she needs to understand physics, chemistry and atmospheric science.

To evaluate the financial security of her family, she should understand how mortgage calculations and cumulative interest works and be familiar with the properties of the exponential function.

What you say is all the more reason to make highschool more rigorous.

This started out as a thread about expectations - nobody said that literature is the only thing students should learn. they should also learn all those things I mentioned above.

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See, I knew people were going to respond that I was arguing for no common foundation regarding content or that kids shouldn't have to know any of the "classics." I agree that many people have been inspired by them and continue to find them relevant to a larger public conversation. I agree totally that critical thinking does not occur in a vacuum, with nothing to base itself on. But I also think that this larger public conversation is still limited if it is confined to a list of texts that "tradition" has codified or given its blessings, particularly if there is no discussion of the historical contingencies of canon formation in general.

 

Neither did I say that knowledge of one's own national heritage, however that is defined, is unnecessary or that it precludes other forms of knowledge about other places and peoples. I said it CAN, and in the US often does, lead to hyperfocusing and overemphasizing the glories of our culture, giving it a position of centrality that makes it easier to overvalue one culture or one canon or one body of knowledge. Of course it doesn't HAVE to have this effect. That is the either/or thinking I am specifically trying to get around. I think we need to be aware that it CAN lead to these things so that we can try to avoid cultural/historical arrogance, to which I think the US is quite prone.

 

Avoiding what I see as an unbalanced emphasis on US culture and history is something I see TWTM as doing very well. I like how SWB folds the emergence of the US as a nation into the larger context of world history; that's what cutting edge historians are doing at the moment in academia, positioning the US as part of a much wider global engagement in issues of government, empire, individual value, thinking about property, etc. Like her, I include writings like The Federalist Papers or the Constitution or The Rights of Man in this larger global struggle, The similarity of our approaches in this area is one of several reasons I'm on a board like this one, because to me that is a crucial element of her vision and one I largely agree with, although I'd probably include elements of class and gender in the concept of nation-making that she does not.

 

And I' will say one more time, and then I'll just give up: I am not arguing that everyone should only study one little area of what they like or that everyone should become specialists. I have never said that or anything resembling that. I have said that I believe a number of different educational models are valid, rigorous, and produce individuals able to think clearly and critically, with a broad knowledge base -- that knowledge base just might not coincide with your particular list of what's essential. It might look more like a Venn diagram with overlapping circles, not only in what people choose to do outside of official school, but even in what they do within its boundaries, if you're the kind of person who likes those boundaries clearly established. It might choose philosophy, or architecture, or linguistics, or sociology, or any of a number of other fields of thought as its central organizing discipline. This doesn't mean that is all that goes on, that a hypothetical high school student whose leanings are toward viewing the world through the lens of socioloigy, for instance, never reads Shakespeare or takes calculus. For Pete's sake.

 

On the other hand, I most likely would not agree with "everyone" that the reason Great Works stick out of the water is because of their innate meaningfulness for all or universal relevance over time, because i have studied the historical processes through which canons are formed and changed and I think these are relevant indeed. I might consider, on the other hand, that someone educated classically might be troublingly unaware of enormous areas of the historical and literary roles of women, and that not studying the history, experiences, contributions, and thought of half the world's population might be considered a problematic gap.

 

And I will never, never agree that educating students to be knowledgeable about world affairs and cultural points of view, or about how the media works, or how politics is funded, so that they can make intelligent and fair decisions about whether to go to war, about how to make decisions about who gets life-saving transplants while others do not, about disparity in education and health services, about the safety of our food supplies, or any one of a number of other pressing issues, is "just" utilitarian or "economics-based" and therefore somehow problematic. In many cases, it's life or death -- if not for you, for someone's child or parent.

 

Okay, I'm all done; I'm now taking my alien brain elsewhere.

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There are such things in every country, I'm afraid. There is a certain percentage of population - possibly even quite a big one - that even a high quality education won't do them much good in a sense of a serious impact on character, values, taste, horizons, etc. They still receive that education, of course (maybe not the best option, but they do go to school and are technically exposed to some things), but if it's not paired up with a home culture and appreciation of education, or if it's just that type of personality, they do remain in their bubble... What can you do. C'est la vie.

 

....ummm....Bush, anyone?

 

 

Avoiding what I see as an unbalanced emphasis on US culture and history is something I see TWTM as doing very well. I like how SWB folds the emergence of the US as a nation into the larger context of world history; that's what cutting edge historians are doing at the moment in academia, positioning the US as part of a much wider global engagement in issues of government, empire, individual value, thinking about property, etc. Like her, I include writings like The Federalist Papers or the Constitution or The Rights of Man in this larger global struggle, The similarity of our approaches in this area is one of several reasons I'm on a board like this one, because to me that is a crucial element of her vision and one I largely agree with, although I'd probably include elements of class and gender in the concept of nation-making that she does not.

 

It might look more like a Venn diagram with overlapping circles, not only in what people choose to do outside of official school, but even in what they do within its boundaries, if you're the kind of person who likes those boundaries clearly established. It might choose philosophy, or architecture, or linguistics, or sociology, or any of a number of other fields of thought as its central organizing discipline. This doesn't mean that is all that goes on, that a hypothetical high school student whose leanings are toward viewing the world through the lens of socioloigy, for instance, never reads Shakespeare or takes calculus. For Pete's sake.

 

On the other hand, I most likely would not agree with "everyone" that the reason Great Works stick out of the water is because of their innate meaningfulness for all or universal relevance over time, because i have studied the historical processes through which canons are formed and changed and I think these are relevant indeed. I might consider, on the other hand, that someone educated classically might be troublingly unaware of enormous areas of the historical and literary roles of women, and that not studying the history, experiences, contributions, and thought of half the world's population might be considered a problematic gap.

 

And I will never, never agree that educating students to be knowledgeable about world affairs and cultural points of view, or about how the media works, or how politics is funded, so that they can make intelligent and fair decisions about whether to go to war, about how to make decisions about who gets life-saving transplants while others do not, about disparity in education and health services, about the safety of our food supplies, or any one of a number of other pressing issues, is "just" utilitarian or "economics-based" and therefore somehow problematic. In many cases, it's life or death -- if not for you, for someone's child or parent.

 

Okay, I'm all done; I'm now taking my alien brain elsewhere.

 

I wholeheartedly, 100% agree. I always add in women's literary works, feminist studies and such. When we get to the Civil War, we'll be reading AA authors. I must because it is so important, but on the foundation of the classics that I've laid. All I'm saying is that at the *least*, lay the foundation.

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I cannot participate in this thread at this point (too busy getting ready to go on vacation), but I do agree that I might be classically romantic, which, btw, sounds like the name of a CD of love songs that you'd find being sold on TV late at night! ...Precious and few are the moments we two can share. :D

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And I' will say one more time, and then I'll just give up: I am not arguing that everyone should only study one little area of what they like or that everyone should become specialists. I have never said that or anything resembling that. I have said that I believe a number of different educational models are valid, rigorous, and produce individuals able to think clearly and critically, with a broad knowledge base -- that knowledge base just might not coincide with your particular list of what's essential. It might look more like a Venn diagram with overlapping circles, not only in what people choose to do outside of official school, but even in what they do within its boundaries, if you're the kind of person who likes those boundaries clearly established. It might choose philosophy, or architecture, or linguistics, or sociology, or any of a number of other fields of thought as its central organizing discipline. This doesn't mean that is all that goes on, that a hypothetical high school student whose leanings are toward viewing the world through the lens of socioloigy, for instance, never reads Shakespeare or takes calculus. For Pete's sake.

 

On the other hand, I most likely would not agree with "everyone" that the reason Great Works stick out of the water is because of their innate meaningfulness for all or universal relevance over time, because i have studied the historical processes through which canons are formed and changed and I think these are relevant indeed. I might consider, on the other hand, that someone educated classically might be troublingly unaware of enormous areas of the historical and literary roles of women, and that not studying the history, experiences, contributions, and thought of half the world's population might be considered a problematic gap.

 

And I will never, never agree that educating students to be knowledgeable about world affairs and cultural points of view, or about how the media works, or how politics is funded, so that they can make intelligent and fair decisions about whether to go to war, about how to make decisions about who gets life-saving transplants while others do not, about disparity in education and health services, about the safety of our food supplies, or any one of a number of other pressing issues, is "just" utilitarian or "economics-based" and therefore somehow problematic. In many cases, it's life or death -- if not for you, for someone's child or parent.

:iagree:

Thank you for saying this.

 

Jackie

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There is a certain percentage of population - possibly even quite a big one - that even a high quality education won't do them much good in a sense of a serious impact on character, values, taste, horizons, etc. They still receive that education, of course (maybe not the best option, but they do go to school and are technically exposed to some things), but if it's not paired up with a home culture and appreciation of education, or if it's just that type of personality, they do remain in their bubble... What can you do. C'est la vie.

 

I'm sorry, and again, all due respect to you and your view of the world; but I can't imagine thinking it is perfectly fine to dismiss the human potential of "possibly quite a big" percentage of the population by saying basically that a high-quality education is wasted on them. This is perhaps one of the fundamentals which underlie our differences of opinion about what is essential in education and how we define what constitutes high or low expectations. Wow. It's a pretty big difference. Censoring myself with all my might. Swearing off this thread now.

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I'm sorry, and again, all due respect to you and your view of the world; but I can't imagine thinking it is perfectly fine to dismiss the human potential of "possibly quite a big" percentage of the population by saying basically that a high-quality education is wasted on them. This is perhaps one of the fundamentals which underlie our differences of opinion about what is essential in education and how we define what constitutes high or low expectations. Wow. It's a pretty big difference. Censoring myself with all my might. Swearing off this thread now.

Once more, Karen, you must read things in context, rather than read into my words things I never said.

 

I don't think an education is "wasted" on anyone and I'm all for giving everyone a good shot at it; I'm just stating a fact that there is a certain percentage of population which won't be as affected by it as the education "aims" to affect people (in terms of morality, worldview, taste, broadening horizons, becoming a responsible citizen, etc.). They will go through the system, some of them even in excellent schools and some of them even end up with fancy degrees, but will remain fundamentally intact by what they received. Is it a personality issue, a conformity issue, a home culture issue, carelessness and lack of interest, a mix of all of that - it depends from case to case. But to deny that that segment of population exists in every nation and every place is just deceiving yourself. Not everyone loves to learn, not everyone is interested in developing themselves as persons, a whole lot of people are only interested in "livin' it up" and in things which only directly concern their daily lives. It's how things are, whether you like it or not. And those people do affect the political dynamics of the nation, which was the original context in which that remark was made in the first place.

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a whole lot of people are only interested in "livin' it up" and in things which only directly concern their daily lives. It's how things are, whether you like it or not. And those people do affect the political dynamics of the nation, which was the original context in which that remark was made in the first place.

 

You know, I think there are those whose lives revolve around living it up in all educational strata. There are those who party to excess while spouting poetry and political thought knowledgeably.

 

What I think is being missed is a whole group of folks who live their lives without academics because they do not value them. My dh's side of the family is full of folks who never graduated high school, but they started small businesses and made small inventions and worked in machine shops that became Medtronics and otherwise did things that they feel made a bigger difference in the world than their college educated children who are still dependent on them in order to keep a roof over their heads.

 

They will say that the history they know is the real history, and the same for economics. They will tell you that America has protected you and me from world aggressors in the great wars because we were able to pump out machinery and to work hard and to come up with new ideas that were not learned in schools. There are some self-taught poets and writers and artists in my dh's family, but for the most part the others will tell you that poets and writers and artists are self-absorbed and know nothing about what is good and true, especially if they are famous, and they would listen to them no more than they would listen to rich movie stars.

 

I'm not taking sides but I'm just saying there are sides.

Julie

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EM, everyone is going to interpret everything that is said. That's just how people process what they read.

 

I think what may make some of what you write hurtful to people is that people that you may think an education is wasted on, people that to you and your family and friends might just be the workers and general servants in life, may be family members and co-workers and neighbors to the rest of us. We may not think education is wasted on them, and we may not think it's wasted on us.

 

At the same time, it's probably best that you say exactly what you think, exactly the way you feel like saying it. It really is better for people to be themselves. We probably learn the most from people when they are authentic.

 

I'd just like to thank everyone, again, for participating in this thread. It has truly been thought-provoking.

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I think what may make some of what you write hurtful to people is that people that you may think an education is wasted on, people that to you and your family and friends might just be the workers and general servants in life, may be family members and co-workers and neighbors to the rest of us. We may not think education is wasted on them, and we may not think it's wasted on us.

For Heaven's sake, where did I say education is "wasted" on anyone?! Do I leave an impression of the kind of person that would consider learning - any learning - a waste in any case?

 

It's not a mere "interepretation" of what one reads, and I agree that it some cases it's easy to misinterpret nuances of one's thought; but in other cases, it's a DIRECT EISEGESIS into somebody's words. And it's not the first (though it might as well be the last, as I'm slowly but stedily losing patience for this, and I'm not sure I'm willing to be portrayed in the spirit of certain "qualities" that are being imputed to me so often by "misreading" my words) time it happens.

 

Saying that some people, in lack of a better expression, don't "profit" so much from the education that was given to them for a plethora of reasons (personality issue, etc.) is a VERY different thing than saying an education is "wasted" on them or implying they shouldn't be given their fair shot at an excellent education. The first is stating the fact of life - not a particularly "nice" one, but the facts of life aren't dependent on whether we find them nice or no; the second one is intellectual arrogance and elitism par excellence.

 

With regards to the "general servants in life" comment and an attempt to ascribe me that sort of elitism - I'm speechless. Quite shocked in fact.

 

(I'm leaving open the option that now I'm misreading you, but seriously, no patience left.) Goodbye.

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I have not read EM's posts in that way. I think what she was saying was that there are people (and they could be quite wealthy people) for whom a great classical education will not make them better people for some reason. "Better" as in "more moral."

 

I'm just stating a fact that there is a certain percentage of population which won't be as affected by it as the education "aims" to affect people (in terms of morality, worldview, taste, broadening horizons, becoming a responsible citizen, etc.).

 

They could get an education and still be narrow-minded, still think it's OK to rip off poor people, still have no qualms about committing treason, etc. That's how I read her statements. I think that some of you have misinterpreted her.

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Oh, and I had just got my hopes up that this thread hadn't died after all.

 

It is a really good idea to read a whole paragraph before making decisions on the first sentence. Ester Maria in particular structures her writing so that the thought that will make our eyes bulge and our brains start shouting "Not Fair" comes first. If we read the rest of her thoughts, our eyes will usually resume their proper positions and our brains will quieten down and mutter "oops, that's wasn't what she meant."

 

I realise this is hard to do when doped up on cough medicine, because that makes our brains shout "I feel lousy and don't like ANYONE." Please, though, can we at least make an effort, once we've posted, to re-read and edit anything we've flown off the handle about?

 

Rosie

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Oh, and I had just got my hopes up that this thread hadn't died after all.

 

It is a really good idea to read a whole paragraph before making decisions on the first sentence. Ester Maria in particular structures her writing so that the thought that will make our eyes bulge and our brains start shouting "Not Fair" comes first. If we read the rest of her thoughts, our eyes will usually resume their proper positions and our brains will quieten down and mutter "oops, that's wasn't what she meant."

 

 

 

Rosie

:iagree::iagree: This has been my experience too! It really makes a difference to read a WHOLE post, even twice.

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Gee, I always suspected I got my PhD -- in literary analysis and critical reading -- as a pity pass from my committee.

 

Seriously: when someone uses the words “taste†and “worldview†to determine in what ways others do not “benefit†from a particular model of education, that’s politically charged; it’s a language of class and status, not morality.

 

I try not to lay out positions but to engage in dialogue; however, here’s a position I do hold. Educational issues are political. The language we use to talk about education has political implications. You can be unaware of this and its effects on others, but nevertheless, those effects are real.

 

I know my views are a minority on these boards, which is perfectly fine with me. I don’t need everybody to agree with me. Much of the time I’m just thinking as I go, throwing out alternative ideas to consider from a number of different angles. I don’t have everything all figured out and I like to try out new ways of looking at an aspect of education and hearing what other people have to say.

 

What isn’t fine, though, is that true engagement and dialogue are being shut off here in a number of ways. If my post is immediately jumped on as misreading, misinterpretation, refusal to acknowledge what everybody else out there in the real world must inevitably know is true, what room is left for dialogue? What space is left for me to question my own ideas and assumptions, think aloud, have someone pull on the end of one idea and ask, where does this lead us, and was it meant to do that? If I apologize, as I have in other threads in the past, for becoming defensive and coming across as more polemical than I ever intended – and I realize I have done this again here and become defensive of ideas that were meant only as openers for further discussion – or if I state outright my respect for another’s educational model or point of view, and these things are not reciprocated or even acknowledged, what does that do to the supportive and inclusive atmosphere for a discussion among equals that this board is supposed to be?

 

Which leads me to what I consider the real issue: I wonder how many of you know that I have more than once received private messages from women (more than one) who are afraid to post their agreement with me on the relatively public stage of the threads. It isn’t fine that any women on these boards feel unqualified to join in, fearful of being attacked or dismissed, fearing that because they don’t have the same formal academic credentials as some of us they will, however indirectly, be criticized or have their ideas shot down. Everyone brings something wonderful to contribute, and I’m grateful for those who play peacemaker, who build bridges, who ask for clarification, who provide counterexamples without negating what another is saying. I personally have a long way to go before I consider myself at their level in these regards, and I’d like to use the threads to work on that; but I can’t if it all degenerates into accusations that I alone have misread or misinterpreted, I alone have fallen prey to mistaken thinking, I alone will not face up to the real state of affairs in the world, I alone need to work on understanding someone else. It’s almost funny, except that there are a lot of things at stake – and I’m not talking about for myself, but for the people who are feeling silenced.

 

So, if this is unilateral disarmament here and the response to this post is yet more of the same about how I am misreading, I’m not interested in continuing. But if anybody else is willing to think about how to make every single woman on these boards feel safe to express her thoughts, then back up and try out some of the ideas on this thread again, I’ll be here.

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I wonder how many of you know that I have more than once received private messages from women (more than one) who are afraid to post their agreement with me on the relatively public stage of the threads.

I've received the same sort of "thank you for saying that" PMs from people who, for whatever reason, do not want to post it publicly, and I've received similar PMs with regard to similar threads in the past. Like Karen, I find that sad.

 

I agree that we should try to give each other the benefit of the doubt, but I would also say that if someone is being continually "misinterpreted," then perhaps that person may want to ask why. If one frequently chooses to use phrases like "creme de la creme" and "top of the food chain" with reference to one's own education and social strata, then perhaps one shouldn't be too shocked if others perceive that as elitist or as denigrating those who do not have the same education or travel in the same social circles. And if, say, ten different people all have that same "misinterpretation," maybe it's got nothing to do with whether someone is too doped up on cold medicine to "read" it properly.

 

Jackie (thinking I'd better go find my flame-proof suit)

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Corraleno, the only flame proof suit I know of is not to post and believe me, I delete half or more of the posts I write for the high school board after working on them for a while. Slowly, I have realized that I am wasting my time. I used to get flamed heer for having standards and for being a classical homeschooler even though this is a classical homeschooling board. You'd be surprised how many classical homeschooling WTM'ers no longer post to the high school board or only rarely. Now, if I have something to say about my kids achievements or something exciting that has happened in our homeschooling, I post them mostly on the general board which in and of itself, can be a bit of a stew pot, but by in large, everyone is very supportive.

 

This board was not always like this. Several years ago when I first found the forum and was on the high school board a lot (different screen name) this was a very supportive, friendly board. But, I would also say it was more like minded. Pretty much everyone was a classical, rigorous homeschooling parent and so there was a lot more agreement than disagreement. Now, I would say that there are far fewer classical homeschoolers than those who use other methodologies. I've found that just saying I'm a classical homeschooler gets a lot of others automatically assuming I have an elitist attitude...at least it happens a lot IRL and it happens a lot here!

 

I hope you find a flame proof suit. I haven't.

 

Faith

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I try not to lay out positions but to engage in dialogue; however, here’s a position I do hold. Educational issues are political. The language we use to talk about education has political implications. You can be unaware of this and its effects on others, but nevertheless, those effects are real.

 

 

 

speaking of education being totally political, did you read Michelle Rhee's article in Newsweek? What I've Learned? Good article.

 

As far as the thread goes, I'm pretty easygoing. I know it doesn't seem that way sometimes, but I'll give a person on a forum a wide window of asshatery before I disengage.

 

I think you both made some awesome points, and I agree with a lot of what you both said. That's probably the INFJ in me. I'm not totally wedded to my own views as every year of schooling changes things up. I've only got 7 years under my belt and I'm just starting to get the hang of it. :001_smile: If there is one thing I DO know, it's that there's never a perfect way for any two people. Vive le difference.

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"Top of the food chain"? Wow, I missed that one.

 

I honestly didn't know this thread would get so deep. I really feel like a shallow thinker in comparison to the giants on these boards. I cannot tell you how grateful I am, KA and Jackie, for your efforts here. You challenge my thinking and open up a much broader view of education than many of us have ever even imagined. And you do it standing alone. You are brave.

 

I am confused, though, about how you integrate what you find valuable about traditional education with your more, I don't know, holistic? ideas. I don't know how to do that. Could you direct me to other threads where you've talked about this? I don't want to ask you to say it all again.

 

Thanks again for enlightening me, and, I bet, others, too.

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I used to get flamed heer for having standards and for being a classical homeschooler even though this is a classical homeschooling board. You'd be surprised how many classical homeschooling WTM'ers no longer post to the high school board or only rarely. I've found that just saying I'm a classical homeschooler gets a lot of others automatically assuming I have an elitist attitude.

 

This is sad, too, because I think all of us are drawn to this board by something that speaks to us or works for us from WTM. It itself is meant to be a flexible template, to be adjusted to individual kids and individual families, for visual learners or families whose academic center is music/art or whatever. Sometimes it gets stretched pretty far.

 

I'm sure it's clear from my own posts that I find the variety on the boards one of its highlights. But I do acknowledge that it can be difficult and isolating to feel that there aren't a lot of others around who share your particular values or approach, and I know how it feels when a wonderful group of like-minded people seems to melt away.

 

I often feel as though when I talk about how we work at our house that I'm in a minority on the other end of the spectrum, so that I have to bend over backwards to validate what we do.

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And if, say, ten different people all have that same "misinterpretation," maybe it's got nothing to do with whether someone is too doped up on cold medicine to "read" it properly.

 

And if ten other people don't have that "same misinterpretation," what does that mean?

 

It might just mean that the people misinterpreting are, actually, misinterpreting. Before we get our knickers in a twist over that, there's nothing shameful about misinterpreting someone and it's pretty easily fixed by assuming no one meant to be horrible even if it sounded that way, and a few posts to clarify.

 

Which leads me to what I consider the real issue: I wonder how many of you know that I have more than once received private messages from women (more than one) who are afraid to post their agreement with me on the relatively public stage of the threads. It isn’t fine that any women on these boards feel unqualified to join in, fearful of being attacked or dismissed, fearing that because they don’t have the same formal academic credentials as some of us they will, however indirectly, be criticized or have their ideas shot down.

 

This is interesting, isn't it? Posters here are doing their very best to be welcoming. We know this because they say so and it would be a weird thing to lie about. Now, if despite all that, women still feel too intimidated to join in, I very respectfully suggest that they need to take responsibility for that. Passing that responsibility (if indeed they are) to the posters who do their best to be welcoming, even while being enthusiastic about their subject matter, is really giving up power to people who haven't asked for it and don't want it.

 

Now before we get our knickers in a twist about that. I am not suggesting that all people who lurk here and doing so because they are handing their power over. I fully understand that some people are particularly sensitive to conflict (and there's no shame in that either, it's just a hassle) and others lurk because they like to. Even I occasionally send PMs because I don't want to post in a thread, and you all know how reluctant I am to stick my beak in.

 

KarenAnne, I don't think you fluked your way into your PhD and I doubt you think any of us really think that. I do think if you'd done your assessments under the influence of medication, you wouldn't have scored as well. You said you were taking meds and weren't thinking too clearly. I'm sure you said that with the expectation we'd take that into account so I'm a bit surprised that you've reacted badly to my taking it into account. But anyway, but the looks of the thread atm, (subject to change/ people posting while I'm asleep tonight) we seem to be over that issue now and hopefully we're able to get back to the meaty stuff we've been enjoying.

 

 

 

Rosie- popping a :chillpill:, ;)

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It might just mean that the people misinterpreting are, actually, misinterpreting. Before we get our knickers in a twist over that, there's nothing shameful about misinterpreting someone and it's pretty easily fixed by assuming no one meant to be horrible even if it sounded that way, and a few posts to clarify.

 

 

What I find interesting is that I am constantly being told that I need to make allowances for Ester Maria's Europeanness or her way of saying things, but the women who feel intimidated are just supposed to grow up, hitch up their big girl pants and get on with it.

 

I also find it interesting that acknowledgments of misinterpreting seem to run only in one direction here.

 

And by the way, I was posting at one time after I took a Benedryl; I don't really think the effects lasted over a couple of days.

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I am confused, though, about how you integrate what you find valuable about traditional education with your more, I don't know, holistic? ideas. I don't know how to do that. Could you direct me to other threads where you've talked about this? I don't want to ask you to say it all again.

I think one problem, which Karen alluded to, is that when people argue the "other side" they tend to imply that those of us who incorporate interest-led learning are "indulging" our kids, or "catering to their whims," and that we're suggesting they shouldn't study foreign language or should drop math altogether and we advocate just letting our kids do whatever they want whenever they want. And obviously that's not true, or we wouldn't be on a classical homeschooling forum! I doubt that my homeschool really looks all that different from most people's here, except a few of the subjects might be a bit different, or the emphasis might be different. My DS does math and science and English and Spanish and Ancient History, just like any other middle schooler. He will do the "usual" subjects in HS, including calculus, because he plans a double science major. If I argue that not every student really needs to take calculus in order to be considered "educated," I'm actually arguing on behalf of other parents, whose kids may not need/want/be capable of calculus, and who start feeling like they (or their kids) aren't "good enough" because they're not taking calculus and four languages and translating Latin at 14.

 

I fundamentally disagree with the notion that not only is there is a single corpus of knowledge that one simply must cover in order to be considered an "educated person," but that this educational ideal should be modeled on what people in a certain social class commonly learned at a certain period of history. Nor do I think what typically passes for a "rigorous" education in American high schools today (i.e., as many APs as possible) is best for every kid — or even most kids. I think schools focus far too much on memorization of specific content in discrete subjects, and far too little on true understanding and analysis and making connections between disciplines. That's why I plan to incorporate subjects like philosophy, history of science, and the "history of ideas," even if that means maybe we drop Milton and Melville and read Husserl and Merleau-Ponty instead.

 

For example, instead of doing the standard American Lit course with US History, I plan to do Utopian/Dystopian Literature, and focus on concepts of the "ideal society" throughout history. In conjunction with that, I plan to do a semester combining study of the American Revolution with the French, Russian, and Chinese Revolutions, to look at similarities and differences in the ideals and methods. We may end up skipping many of the books on the "standard" American Lit list, or only covering them at a "cultural literacy level" (meaning knowing what they're about and why they were important), but we'll also read a lot of books that I consider equally if not more important. My goal isn't to check off titles on a list of Great Books assembled according to someone else's tastes and beliefs, nor is it to score a 5 on as many AP tests as possible. My goal is to produce adults who can think critically and analytically about the world around them, who have a deeper understanding of both the past and the present, and who actually remember and use what they learned in HS because it was meaningful to them. And, in many cases, what will have made it meaningful for them is the fact that they were allowed significant input into their education, and allowed to find and pursue their own interests and passions as part of their education, not just something they could do in their spare time after they finished their "real" coursework.

 

Jackie

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And if ten other people don't have that "same misinterpretation," what does that mean?

It means that the posts were interpreted in different ways by different people.

 

However, if ten different people all took the comments the same way, and the poster is shocked that anyone could have read them that way, then perhaps the language being used carries connotations the poster should be aware of.

 

Jackie

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You have lucky kids, Jackie. What an education they're getting.

 

I have to admit, I really didn't get what you and KA were getting at earlier in the thread, but the more posts I've read, and reread, the better I'm understanding you. And you're both blowing my mind! I guess that's the advantage of a really long thread; there's time to really hash things out and let the mind stew long enough to generate some interest in change.

 

Thanks for explaining more just now, with examples. Maybe I didn't need to start that other thread!

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What I find interesting is that I am constantly being told that I need to make allowances for Ester Maria's Europeanness or her way of saying things, but the women who feel intimidated are just supposed to grow up, hitch up their big girl pants and get on with it.

 

Maybe I suggested (and note that word "suggested") that because I already know Ester Maria tries her best. Maybe the word "suggest" is actually means "suggest" not "absolutely 100% true and anyone who disagrees or views the situation differently is a (fill the blank.)" I provided a whole paragraph of disclaimers, did I not?

 

I also find it interesting that acknowledgments of misinterpreting seem to run only in one direction here.

I find it interesting that you missed the part where I acknowledged that acknowledgments of misinterpreting go both ways. My last post contained more disclaimers than actual post! It really isn't my fault if someone missed them because two paragraphs of disclaimers is going beyond the call of duty.

 

It means that the posts were interpreted in different ways by different people.

 

However, if ten different people all took the comments the same way, and the poster is shocked that anyone could have read them that way, then perhaps the language being used carries connotations the poster should be aware of.

 

Certainly. And (note that word "AND" there please people) perhaps the ten people who took the comments in a way the original poster said she didn't mean, should be aware of the possibility that they are being overly sensitive even if they don't think of themselves as overly sensitive people because this phenomenon happens to the best of us. It is plausible, after all. Perhaps some members are being clumsy with their language AND some others are being overly sensitive. It could be both, couldn't it!

 

Would our communication problems be solved if we assumed everyone who appears to be saying something jerk-worthy isn't being a jerk? We would then be free to reread and try to imagine how that jerk-worthy comment might not be jerky. I used to read theoretical papers at uni, feel sure they were stupid and have to ask my theory-enthusiast friend why they weren't. Sometimes she even convinced me. This leads me to conclude that this is occasionally possible if we let our imaginations have a try. I would also hypothesise that people who know they use language in ways others find (insert negative word like blunt or offensive) aren't offended when someone says something like "That made my jaw drop to the ground in disbelief, would you mind rephrasing that to help my jaw recede." Heck, we have enough euphemisms on this board already, maybe we need another one to cover this situation. "Please help me cook the beans for this dip" perhaps, lol.

 

Edit:

Mission statement (ha ha, attempted humour): I acknowledge that you, KarenAnne, are defending yourself and those who share your opinion. I, whether it looks like it or not, understand that as I am doing the same. You feel that some of the lurkers (not to mention your worthy self- and that is not snark) need to be defended because their feelings are hurt. I am defending Ester Maria because her feelings are hurt too and it won't do her any harm to know she's not the only person on duty in her fort. Has all this been clarified enough so we can send our armies home? (Not a snark either.)

 

Rosie

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I have several times in this thread thought that Ester's comments might not be so emphatic or dogmatic about education if she were living in America. (Pardon me for not knowing EM's entire life story to know everywhere she has lived.) I find EM's comments interesting to read. I just don't see how the perspective of one person has to apply to the whole GLOBE. I don't even mean to single out EM, except that she happened to become the hot point here.

 

I don't know what to say on the validation thing for Karen. I mean really, you ARE on the fringe. :) That doesn't mean your thought process or methodology or finds can't help others. It doesn't mean people don't ADMIRE you. Many people can't intellectually or time-wise put in the amount of effort you do, even where they'd like to, if only for one subject. The only accountability that really matters is you with your dd and her future path. If you meet that ghost and all is well, then you did fine and are validated. Our opinions don't matter. Nan in Mass, Jenn, and others have been doing things differently all along and are very thought-provoking. Perhaps the high school board should have an elitist subcategory and then just the regular page? I mean mercy, at some point people have to get along. The smart ones have to figure out people aren't all alike. I think the ones with differently-abled (or just not quite as smart as the others') kids have already figured that out. Our feelings are so tied up in these things, that our own insecurities make us very susceptible. We ALL want to do a good job, and good job looks different for different kids.

 

I was joking about that elitist high school sub-board btw, which I think was obvious. I'm not sure why classical has to be so homogenous to get along. I think the middle school board is a fair sign that more people will be on the high school board (and doing high school) in the future. The flavor will change 30 times, just as it has on the elementary board. We may even be seeing a healthy shift, an evolution in classical homeschooling, as people sort out how to balance what "the book" tells them with what their hearts and their children need. I haven't looked, but isn't it the case that WTM didn't even HAVE a section on working with kids with learning differences?? I should go check.

 

I think threads with divergent opinions are GOOD, because we can compare our ideas and methodologies to others and see if we are firm or not. That's ok. Doesn't mean we all have to lie down and become philosophical wet rats lying in the gutter, waiting to be trodden, lured by cheese, or shot. (These are very large rats, lol.) It's a big world, big enough for Ester's ideas and Karen's and Nan's and everyone's, and big enough for them ALL to be right.

 

That's what I say.

 

I don't have a Ph.D.

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I think one problem, which Karen alluded to, is that when people argue the "other side" they tend to imply that those of us who incorporate interest-led learning are "indulging" our kids, or "catering to their whims," and that we're suggesting they shouldn't study foreign language or should drop math altogether and we advocate just letting our kids do whatever they want whenever they want. And obviously that's not true, or we wouldn't be on a classical homeschooling forum! I doubt that my homeschool really looks all that different from most people's here, except a few of the subjects might be a bit different, or the emphasis might be different. My DS does math and science and English and Spanish and Ancient History, just like any other middle schooler. He will do the "usual" subjects in HS, including calculus, because he plans a double science major. If I argue that not every student really needs to take calculus in order to be considered "educated," I'm actually arguing on behalf of other parents, whose kids may not need/want/be capable of calculus, and who start feeling like they (or their kids) aren't "good enough" because they're not taking calculus and four languages and translating Latin at 14.

 

I fundamentally disagree with the notion that not only is there is a single corpus of knowledge that one simply must cover in order to be considered an "educated person," but that this educational ideal should be modeled on what people in a certain social class commonly learned at a certain period of history. Nor do I think what typically passes for a "rigorous" education in American high schools today (i.e., as many APs as possible) is best for every kid — or even most kids. I think schools focus far too much on memorization of specific content in discrete subjects, and far too little on true understanding and analysis and making connections between disciplines. That's why I plan to incorporate subjects like philosophy, history of science, and the "history of ideas," even if that means maybe we drop Milton and Melville and read Husserl and Merleau-Ponty instead.

 

For example, instead of doing the standard American Lit course with US History, I plan to do Utopian/Dystopian Literature, and focus on concepts of the "ideal society" throughout history. In conjunction with that, I plan to do a semester combining study of the American Revolution with the French, Russian, and Chinese Revolutions, to look at similarities and differences in the ideals and methods. We may end up skipping many of the books on the "standard" American Lit list, or only covering them at a "cultural literacy level" (meaning knowing what they're about and why they were important), but we'll also read a lot of books that I consider equally if not more important. My goal isn't to check off titles on a list of Great Books assembled according to someone else's tastes and beliefs, nor is it to score a 5 on as many AP tests as possible. My goal is to produce adults who can think critically and analytically about the world around them, who have a deeper understanding of both the past and the present, and who actually remember and use what they learned in HS because it was meaningful to them. And, in many cases, what will have made it meaningful for them is the fact that they were allowed significant input into their education, and allowed to find and pursue their own interests and passions as part of their education, not just something they could do in their spare time after they finished their "real" coursework.

 

Jackie

 

 

The thing that I find the weirdest about this thread, is that what EM espouses and what you are saying really isn't all that different. They're both deep, they're both intellectual and both engaging for your kids. All the kids are probably very learned.

 

Maybe EMs kids really enjoy what and how they are learning and they are fully engaged and thriving? And, though you like to allow a lot more choice and wiggle room, I'm willing to bet your kids are engaged and thriving, too? And I'm willing to bet that she has the same aspirations for her kids and the fact that she is homeschooling that she's disengaged from the AP wheel is proof of that, no?

 

And, I'm not a slave to a great books education, either. But I DO think that people should have a 'cultural literacy' of some books. That doesn't mean how I teach is going to be rote or dry, or that I'm checking off boxes and my kids are wailing and moaning about it. We're reading Plutarch's Lives, Caesar, and it's pretty darned funny. Turn on CNN and you'll see the same thing playing out today and we talk about that. It's analyzing, thinking critically and laughing at politicians because the play is still the same all these years later.

 

And, I really hate the, "People have PMed me." That happens on boards all over and it's brought out as this "We're in the majority" but the knife cuts both ways. Many people here feel they can't post how classical they are because they get attacked by the eclectic schoolers, and the eclectic bunch feels as if they're being thought of as less 'rigorous' -god I freaking hate that term.

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The thing that I find the weirdest about this thread, is that what EM espouses and what you are saying really isn't all that different. They're both deep, they're both intellectual and both engaging for your kids. All the kids are probably very learned.

 

Maybe EMs kids really enjoy what and how they are learning and they are fully engaged and thriving?

I don't doubt for a minute that EM's kids are engaged and thriving, or that she's providing them with the best possible education for them. I've never said anything negative about the way she is educating her children. And I agree that in some ways what we're doing may look similar. The difference is that I don't think the way I'm educating my kids is the only way to provide a rigorous education.

 

What I object to are the numerous negative comments about parents who choose to educate their children according to different values and processes: that tailoring a child's education to their strengths and interests is "a dangerous thing," that parents who choose to do so are "closing the world to [their] child," isolating him in a said little "utilitarian-hedonist bubble," producing an intellectually-limited "Fachidiot." Those are not emotionally neutral words! The effect of that, whether intended or not, is to make some people feel as if the education they're providing their kids is not "good enough," because it doesn't follow one particular model.

 

I don't believe for a second that I'm turning out sad, isolated, little utilitarian Fachidiots, so her opinions don't intimidate me, but they do intimidate other people, and that bugs me.

 

ETA: I just want to clarify that I'm not in any way denigrating classical education, and in fact I consider myself a fairly classical homeschooler. My DS knows more about Greek history at this point than most American college students, and I'm currently reading Aristophanes as our lunch-time read-aloud. I just think there are many paths to providing an excellent, rigorous, and even classical (or neo-classical) education while incorporating a child's interests and allowing them to find and pursue their passions. I don't think those two things are in any way antithetical. And if there are classical homeschoolers who feel too intimidated to post, then that bugs me, too!

 

Jackie

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Reading this huge thread over the past few days has been very eye opening. It's definitely hit some nerves with people. The thing I don't understand is that some think that there is one way to educate "classically." From what I've read over the years WTM is neo-classical, so even if we are following the reccommendations in WTM to the letter we aren't necessarily educating our children "classically."

 

What drew me to WTM in the first place, over 10 years ago, was that the educational philosophy described in the book was a challenging program. I was not happy with the style of homeschooling I saw in the area in which I live. I wanted more for my children. Ds#1 needed a change from PS, but dh wasn't happy for us to remove him unless I could offer him a better education than the PS. WTM gave me a framework to make sure the basics were covered, & covered well. When my dc reached their teens, we began to individualize their program to best suit their career goals. Doesn't WTM suggest a senior project toward the end of highschool? We allowed our dc time to follow their passions. Does this mean I should not be part of the Highschool board as I don't expect my dc to cover the same subjects as many/most of you do? I learn a lot from the posts. Do I wish my dd had covered a bit more science & maths before beginning tertiary study? Probably, but if we didn't give her the time to do what she did she wouldn't be doing what she is now. Do I regret doing Latin, etc. with ds#1 as he'll most likely never go to uni? No, as the Latin we did has made a difference in him even if he never gets to read ancient texts in the original. Ds#2 is off to PS in February. He got to choose two electives & he chose Classical Studies & Graphics. His third choice is Latin, if one of the others is full. This is from a kid who's life desire is to be an auto mechanic. All 3dc know more history than PS honor students here. Students in NZ can go through PS & never have to take history at all! :scared: MY dc have developed a love of learning & don't associate learning with bookwork. To quote ds#1 when he heard that ds#2 was off to PS next year, "I would only go to school to see my mates. I don't need to go to school to learn. I can do that anywhere."

 

Blessings,

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I think I went to bed around page 15?, so I'm waaayyy behind on this thread.

 

Has anyone mentioned yet that Ester Maria is not writing in her native tongue?

 

Or that she (and Rosie, and Peela, and many, many other people here and, heck, me for that matter...) aren't operating under American cultural mores? It makes a HUGE difference in what one views as "acceptable" in the educational realm.

 

The rest of the world does not run their educational system in the same manner as does the United States. I'm not saying it is better or worse, it is simply different. I am having to prepare my kid for the European, the UK and the US university systems, as we don't know where we will be living, and he doesn't know where he will be studying. They each require a very different mental approach, aside from the academics. He has to have Ester's approach for a European uni; everyone of his classmates would have that mindset. Otherwise, he would flail. For the US, he would need a different mindset (one he currently struggles with, unfortunately). He is probably best suited for a UK uni, so we are focusing our efforts there.

 

I found it easy to point and say "oh yeah? Well, you're WRONG!" to many things before I was shoved out of my comfort zone, out of my language, and out of my mother culture for an extended period of time. I realize that I seldom change anyone's mind, but I have had my own eyes opened to just how much is "lost in translation" both in words and in actions. I am now much more likely to give people the "benefit of doubt" and assume the best, rather than the worst. I am also more likely to assume they have much more information about themselves and their family than I ever possibly could.

 

JMO

 

 

asta

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Well, I was going to reread this entire thread in order to understand just what exactly people are upset about, but I got to about page 10 or so and decided that there are better uses of my time. :001_smile: Like maybe raising my expectations of my children?

 

I find it interesting that no one actually commented on my admitted low expectations. (In fact, nobody really commented on anything I said, except in the - gasp! - PM I received. ;)

 

Philosophically, I suppose that I lean more towards Ester Maria's point of view, while in practice, it becomes more of the interest-driven POV espoused by others. But I've always felt this way about education, even back to high school, which is why I've never unschooled. I do think it's necessary and beneficial to be exposed to things that you never would have chosen to study on your own. I remember in a high school history class, we were discussing "innocent until proven guilty" and I realized that, LEGALLY speaking, you are innocent even if you are the guiltiest person on the face of the earth, until the prosecution PROVES you guilty. I didn't say this in class, but I did tell my dad when I got home, and we discussed it more. I can guarantee that I wouldn't have been sitting around thinking about the legal system on my own.

 

My oldest's education was not what either of us wanted it to be. We had twins during his sophomore year, and I was unable to do what I wanted with him. This summer I redid his transcript according to what SWB suggests, though, and I still think we did a decent job for someone who clearly wanted to major in English:

 

4 years English (which included a lot of British and American lit and extensive journalism experience)

3 additional English/lit credits

 

Saxon math through completing the Advanced Math book

 

2 years Latin

3 years German

2 years Spanish

(this is where having the twins most affected us - I was going to do 5 years of German with him, and at least 3 of Spanish)

 

3 years science/2 years history

(can you tell that these are the areas he doesn't like? :D it was like pulling teeth to get him to complete minimum requirements)

 

various electives and PE

 

Why didn't we put him in school? There was no way he was going to our public school - we would rather have had him home and do nothing than go there. There was a charter school he could have gone to, and this might have been a good option, except for that this boy lived for football, and putting him in school would have meant that he couldn't play on the homeschool team he was a part of. I was not willing to make that choice. I also, looking back on it, don't know that he would have gotten any better education there, and he would have been exposed to things we didn't want him exposed to. (BTW, I taught at that school his senior year, and I do really know what I'm talking about here.)

 

I think we did the best that we could at the time. Is it up to EM's and the "rigorous" crowd's standards? No. Was it up to my standards? No, not really. What we finished with was acceptable to me, though. Was it up to the standards of the interest-driven crowd? Probably. Was it up to the standards of the colleges he applied to? Well, he got into his number one choice, and got offered a full scholarship at another. And when he got into college, he found it easy. He studied abroad in Poland his second semester freshman year and had to take graduate level courses about economics and the UN because that's what was available. And he did well (and told me that if we had studied the history of Taiwan, he would have liked history better! :) Gosh, don't know why I didn't think of that!) So I think he was prepared well, and it helps that he's a good test-taker LOL.

 

Well, my dh is up now so I'll stop rambling. :)

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I had to give up reading this thread too, in its entirety, and have only glimpsed parts since page 13 or 15 or somewhere around there.

 

All I'm going to add is we've tailored our education to our boys while also providing some basic grounding in all subjects I care about (which does NOT include Latin - gasp! - beyond understanding the basic roots, etc).

 

My boys are in the process of turning out just fine, so I'm perfectly happy with the paths we've chosen. :D

 

I see plenty of others on here who have children turning out just fine too. :D:D

 

Come to my school or head to a few homeschooling groups people have talked about, then we might see "low expectations" and have people to "worry" about should we care to worry about others. Personally, I feel for those who are likely to end up in jail or on welfare without a skill - SOLELY because their parents did nothing (it can happen even with good parenting!). I'm thrilled that parents on here care, that so many do well, and that they are doing well in diverse fields both academic and not. More people like those on here will make this world a better world.

 

That's my two cents. :tongue_smilie:

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One reason I don't even want to get into this is due to the fact I simply do not value what other people might. I think my kids are awesome. ;) I just do. Their interests are terribly different, as are their gifts. Some look are academic, some are more artsy. I am certainly not going to worry about what anyone else thinks, since I know we've respected our children as individuals.

 

My oldest children are nearly grown, and I can see they are very cool, thoughtful, thinking, and autonomous people, and there isn't (really ;)) anything I would change about them. I can see, too, that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't keep him from peeing it out.

 

:D

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The rest of the world does not run their educational system in the same manner as does the United States. I'm not saying it is better or worse, it is simply different.

I lived in Europe (UK and France) for 10 years, and my DH is British; I realize that most European educational systems are very different from the US — in fact, that's one reason we moved back to the States. There are things about the British system that I do incorporate (like multiple sciences studied simultaneously), and other things I specifically avoid. I don't think everyone should do things my way, though, and I wouldn't have joined a British homeschooling board and then told people "you're doing it wrong" because they don't follow a more American model.

 

I am also more likely to assume they have much more information about themselves and their family than I ever possibly could.

Exactly, which is why I say "This is what my I'm doing with my kids," or "This is what I think about education," not "This is the best way to educate children, period, and to do otherwise means you are 'giving up' on them and sentencing them to an intellectually-deprived life as a Fachidiot."

The idea that one must have a fairly rigid framework which must be derived from what the "creme de la creme" of society study, that all other interests must be relegated to the child's free time, and that to do otherwise is actually "dangerous" and "sad" and "closing off the word to the child" is not, IMHO, a helpful way of expressing one's own preferences.

 

There are many people here from other countries who somehow manage to express their own preferences and ideas about education without conveying that those who choose different educational models are "giving up" on their children.

 

Jackie

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I can see, too, that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't keep him from peeing it out.

 

:D

 

 

:lol:

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One reason I don't even want to get into this is due to the fact I simply do not value what other people might. I think my kids are awesome. ;) I just do. Their interests are terribly different, as are their gifts. Some look are academic, some are more artsy. I am certainly not going to worry about what anyone else thinks, since I know we've respected our children as individuals.

 

My oldest children are nearly grown, and I can see they are very cool, thoughtful, thinking, and autonomous people, and there isn't anything I would change about them. I can see, too, that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't keep him from peeing it out.

:iagree:

 

I don't care what other people think about how I educate my own kids, either, but there are a lot of people here who don't have that confidence, and don't feel like they have a good handle on what is best for their kids. There are people struggling to implement the WTM, feeling like they need to drop something, or modify this or that, or do a particular subject at a lighter level, just to keep their heads above water. I frequently see people panicking because they've taken on too much and and it's not getting done but they're afraid to drop something lest they somehow ruin their child's life. And those people are intimidated when someone posts that dropping any subjects, or modifying the schedule & syllabus to suit the child, are "dangerous" things which will sadly limit a child.

 

And that's why I keep tilting at this particular windmill.

 

Jackie

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Creekland, I think your kids are turning out great. And you make a good point about how much kids in school struggle in ways a lot of us (well, me at least!) probably don't even realize. Thanks for bringing us back to reality.:)

 

Cathmom, you make me lol! You are so honest! It sounds like your son did a great job, even with surprise baby brothers! Now that sounds like an education . . .

 

And next time I will remember to comment on your posts . . .

 

LL, it would be interesting to hear more about your experiences with your kids. I have read bits here and there, but they always leave me interested in hearing more. Thanks for contributing when you do.:)

 

Jackie, thanks again, so much, for your contributions here. I appreciate your patience, your intellect, and the articulate way you cut right to the heart of an issue. Thanks for sticking with us!

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One last thing.

Those are not emotionally neutral words! The effect of that, whether intended or not, is to make some people feel as if the education they're providing their kids is not "good enough," because it doesn't follow one particular model.

The problem that I see here is that, for whatever reason, certain people feel "called out" when others say something which are rather general remarks (Fachidiots, utilitarian approach, etc.) - you take out of the context of the whole reply certain remarks and read them as though they directly applied to your situation, rather than serve to provide a broader context for what's being said in the reply. I wrote many things the way that I tried to contextualize what I thought, i.e. write not only what I thought, but also much of the mental process that led there.

 

If I wrote about the importance of having a solid knowledge base regardless of whether it corresponds to one's interests - becuase it's a knowledge base expected out of people in a certain culture - I put it in the context of not allowing the education take the path of whims and fits which would completely redirect the stream from building a system of knowledge towards leading to a mishmash of mutually unrelated chunks of areas one happened to have been interested in.

The next step in the discussion, somebody imputes to me that I consider their children's interests whims and fits (what the heck?!), that I speak against taking into account one's interests when schooling (again, what the heck?!), and - the best of all interpretations - they take it as a completely personal attack on them even if no correlation was established whatsoever between what they say about how they educate their children and those remarks - which are usually very general, not aimed at anyone in particular, not aimed at any concrete situation, not to say at times purely theoretical "musings" added for the sake of context. Why added in the first place? Because I like to write where I come from. What I fail to see why some people constantly seem to feel "called out" by those and whence that paranoia stems. If you had doubts, the chances are, I wasn't writing about YOU specifically.

 

If I wrote about the importance of certain tracks in European school systems to set clear academic criteria about who can enter (remember the thread about the kid in Germany whose parents were shocked he was "written off" because he's a bit immature or whatnot, while I was arguing that the school was simply adhering to their academic criteria for target student population?), I didn't write about 2E kids, and next thing that happens, somebody says something along the lines "you wouldn't believe, Ester, but many Aspies are very intelligent". Well, sure they are - but was that the topic? Were we discussing 2E kids, was that kid 2E in the first place?; were we discussing giftedness, whether the acceptance criteria are set wrong in the first place (though please not that the criteria were academic), etc.? No, and I was writing under the assumption we all know not only what we were discussing, but also what we weren't discussing. We discussed a concrete situation, of a concrete child, where parents wouldn't believe that the school doesn't deem their child as suitable for gymnasium (based on academic criteria, concrete grades and testing, not some vague "impression"!) as they deem him. I argued that the school was right in a system that's set up that way (without even entering into whether I consider it the best way a system can be set up!), so, of course, I ended up portrayed as some sort of inflexible heartless person that doesn't take into account a child's strengths and possible different way of processing things, etc.

Only, well, it wasn't the topic. The topic was whether the child was a suitable candidate for a school with certain criteria - and the answer was no.

 

If I wrote about the right of (selective!) schools to stick to their modus operandi with regards to ways of learning regardless of whether that suits all of the prospective students - and about their right to cater to their target population and for that target population (of a SELECTIVE, I repeat, not all-inclusive school!) to receive the kind of education they need and that school is openly set up to help them there, I didn't write about class elitism, that there aren't children who are capable of working on equally high level in a different setting... Just that those schools might not be the places for those children, and we might acknowledge the right of selective, especially if private schools, to dictate their way of learning. And that maybe, some children weren't suitable for it in the first place, academically and abilities-wise, if they do so poorly. Hence "their place in the food chain" comment, which I agree was worded in a very non-PC fashion and a very poor choice, but heck, at the end of the day, I only stated a fact of life (unfortunately, by saying out loud some things which are still taboos): not everybody is smart or academically gifted, and those schools aren't for everyone. (Also note that I was not taking away the possibility that there are many children who could handle the rigor, but not the way of learning - but neither they are target populations of those schools. I found it one of those unnecessary disclaimers.) Does that mean people can't have plethora of other qualities, receive meaningful different educations? No, but that wasn't the topic, why should I discuss that?

Next thing that happens, somebody imputes to me that that was a class remark, reads selectively and "combines" it with another casual contextualizing-remark which merely stated that I expect of my children to education-wise fulfill some tacit expectations of the social circles they come from (don't we all do that?! or are we purposely educating our children to be out of sync with what's "expected" to know around us?!), and then I end up portrayed an elitist, in a class sense, who teaches to "impress" her "social circles", which are again imputed a class distinction way more than an educational one.

 

Somebody comes, asks a question about Italian, mixes her categories completely, and I tell her she has no idea what she's talking about. I don't leave it at that, and that remark - which was meant benevolently, a sort of correction with a smile! - is not the purpose of itself, I go on and explain a thing or two to her. I even added a smiley for the sake of clarification of my "motives".

Next thing that happens, a bunch of comments about Ester showing off, patronizing, acting as if she were superior. Maybe I could have handled it without that comment, I agree, but ultmately - the discussion again went into a completely irrelevant direction.

 

Emotionally neutral words... That's something to work on. Some terms are probably too "charged" to be used nonchallantly - but that's where you get to protest the label rather than making a conjecture about the idea behind the label. Ask. Argue for a better wording. Send a PM. Prove why the wording is inadequate and nonsensous or why the parallel is wrong. You really think people haven't done all of that before, and we haven't ended up agreeing on many things behind the confusion of labels and examples?

 

However, I will add that as a general rule, people can't really make you feel inferior, let alone intimidated, without your consent and that many times, if people do end up hurt in all sorts of communication, they end up hurt because of those conjectures they come up with in their minds. Reading, however, is automatically an act of interpretation, so I see how easy it is to come up with them, as one usually reads a post in the "musical key" of their own life and surroundings, which may not only not correspond to the key it was intended in, but it may also mean some elements will necessarily get a whole new meaning in combination with other things you take into account when reading, but the writer didn't consider them when writing, etc.

 

Finally, if I did involuntary hurt somebody in all those discussions we had - I apologize. Happens, even with no ill intentions.

Also, thank you (pl.) for those critiques, not only in this thread. Even if my instinctive reaction is tossing them back at you saying those notes and undertones you "hear" and I don't "play" are only in your head, it will certainly be worth considering - when I "chill out" ;), outside of the format of the forum - whether it may be more than a single person's impression and whether I may really come across as a person who spreads so much negativity as I seem to, at least as some people claim to.

 

I may only hope that in midst of all that negativity I seem to have brought about, there were also some brighter vestiges or potentially helpful points that may have given you an insight into one obviously somewhat different perspective on education, children, Latin pedagogy, whatnot. As in everything in life, I hope mature persons have decided to select what's useful to them from the discussions we had, disregard the rest, maybe even laugh off some things rather than get long-term frustrated about them or personally "hit" by them.

On a personal note, that's how I handled most of disagreements and most of the things that, for whatever reason, stung, and in all that I still had a great time and learned a lot from all of you (and thank you for that :)).

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One last thing.

 

 

However, I will add that as a general rule, people can't really make you feel inferior, let alone intimidated, without your consent and that many times, if people do end up hurt in all sorts of communication, they end up hurt because of those conjectures they come up with in their minds. Reading, however, is automatically an act of interpretation, so I see how easy it is to come up with them, as one usually reads a post in the "musical key" of their own life and surroundings, which may not only not correspond to the key it was intended in, but it may also mean some elements will necessarily get a whole new meaning in combination with other things you take into account when reading, but the writer didn't consider them when writing, etc.

 

Finally, if I did involuntary hurt somebody in all those discussions we had - I apologize. Happens, even with no ill intentions.

Also, thank you (pl.) for those critiques, not only in this thread. Even if my instinctive reaction is tossing them back at you saying those notes and undertones you "hear" and I don't "play" are only in your head, it will certainly be worth considering - when I "chill out" ;), outside of the format of the forum - whether it may be more than a single person's impression and whether I may really come across as a person who spreads so much negativity as I seem to, at least as some people claim to.

 

I may only hope that in midst of all that negativity I seem to have brought about, there were also some brighter vestiges or potentially helpful points that may have given you an insight into one obviously somewhat different perspective on education, children, Latin pedagogy, whatnot. As in everything in life, I hope mature persons have decided to select what's useful to them from the discussions we had, disregard the rest, maybe even laugh off some things rather than get long-term frustrated about them or personally "hit" by them.

On a personal note, that's how I handled most of disagreements and most of the things that, for whatever reason, stung, and in all that I still had a great time and learned a lot from all of you (and thank you for that :)).

 

I don't have a dog in this fight, but I would like to disagree with this part of what you said. I can't stand it when people claim words can't make a person feel inferior without his own consent. To me, it's merely another excuse for impolite behavior.

I think EM knows exactly what she's saying, and is very savvy about her choice of words. It was a very interesting thread.

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I don't care what other people think about how I educate my own kids, either, but there are a lot of people here who don't have that confidence, and don't feel like they have a good handle on what is best for their kids. There are people struggling to implement the WTM, feeling like they need to drop something, or modify this or that, or do a particular subject at a lighter level, just to keep their heads above water. I frequently see people panicking because they've taken on too much and and it's not getting done but they're afraid to drop something lest they somehow ruin their child's life. And those people are intimidated when someone posts that dropping any subjects, or modifying the schedule & syllabus to suit the child, are "dangerous" things which will sadly limit a child.

 

And that's why I keep tilting at this particular windmill.

 

Jackie

 

 

If there is one person on this board who talks about tweaking WTM and slowing it down and taking stuff out and just dropping such and whatnot, I do. I do in almost every post I make. BUT I also believe in MAKING a kid memorize their multiplication tables and lots more cranky stuff.

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I don't have time to read all the posts under this one, so I am posting my comment here to mark my place.

 

I've been thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of teaching western history and classics (as a US sailor, I don't understand why western is the correct term but it seems to be what people use when they are refering to the Mesopotamian/Egyptian/Greek/Roman/Mediterranian Christian/European Christian/English body of knowledge). So many people were taught from this basis and there are so many references to them, and yet, they ignore and leave out so much. Assimilate or die. Sigh. What sort of message does it send to a Native American or African American or Asian American or a girl child when we teach them this body of knowledge? It is worth asking. And yet, the stories cross over. The africans who were taken from their homes and brought here in slavery found that the new religion they were supposed to adopt also had stories of a people who were slaves in a foreign land. One could make the argument that it is better to teach one system of history and stories in depth, even if it isn't the one that is tied to your particular roots, than it is to try to teach little bits of many threads. And so the argument goes round and round. It reminds me of the depth versus breadth argument. And the argument about whether it is better to help children new to the US to become literate in their old language or whether it is better to get them asimilated as quickly as possible so they don't become second class citizens. The answer is probably to do some of both, but there isn't time to do both. This also reminds me of the argument about unschooling versus more formally taught academics. Again, there are advantages to both. I think often times, the argument isn't about which should be done, because there are obvious advantages to both, but which should be done first.

-Nan

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I can see, too, that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't keep him from peeing it out.

 

:D

 

Ok, I have a new mantra here. :lol:

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And, I really hate the, "People have PMed me." That happens on boards all over and it's brought out as this "We're in the majority" but the knife cuts both ways. Many people here feel they can't post how classical they are because they get attacked by the eclectic schoolers, and the eclectic bunch feels as if they're being thought of as less 'rigorous' -god I freaking hate that term.

 

I really hesitated about posting this for these reasons (although I don't think I ever mentioned anything about a majority), but I think that the issue of some women feeling silenced was big enough to bring out into the open and have us look at how we can create a more mutually supportive environment. I couldn't really do that without saying how I am aware that this is an issue.

 

I think one way to do that is starting to be aware of the kind of loaded language that is used and its effects. Another is for me to see what is making me defensive and try dealing with it differently so I don't get drawn into precisely this kind of argument in the future, but create more of a dialogue. One further is for people to stop telling others what they must know is the true state of affairs. Some threads do all of this really well; they become places for people to work out a line of thought, to grapple with dilemmas and think all around them. Others degenerate into opposing camps.

 

And please, I'm not offended or upset personally by any of this. I posted because I was truly saddened that anyone should feel shut out of a discussion and I want that not to be the case. Like Corraleno, I am aware that many people on the boards are overwhelmed, struggling, confused, unsure, looking for suggestions or ways to think out of the corner they feel they're in, and I'm sometimes in that place myself. I don't think it's helpful -- or kind -- to tell them to get over their feelings of intimidation, or blame them for somehow being partially at fault in their feelings, as some responses have done.

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