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Fair Grade on Reformed Hymn assignment?


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A little background:  When ds was in 9th grade, he was a skillful writer.   He tested into a junior/senior level class at TPS in the spring and earned an A, so it wasn't just my biased mom opinion.  :D  :o


In 10th, he started his first year ever at a b&m school. The English class was dismal. It didn't take long to realize that what was required for an A was significantly different than what his momma and TPS expected for an A.  So during his entire sophomore year, his writing skills succumbed to apathy. 


Homeschooling again in 11th, I tried desperately to correct this, one concept at a time. I tried to be encouraging and overlooked a bunch in order to rebuild individual skills.  His SAT writing score last Jan disappointed him because he had scored the same thing 2 years prior and couldn't understand why he didn't improve.  I explained the apathy of his b&m year and how I had been trying to help him rebuild those skills. The very next paper, and those for the rest of the semester, were excellent. So he *got* it.  :thumbup1:

And now we are here in 12th.  I had him do the first book in his brother's VP OB level (Chosen by God) to start and gave him the simpler writing assignment (a brief hymn study) with the idea that it would be a good warm up for the year. Oh boy! I have included the assignment, as well as my comments. I would love to get feedback to see if this is a fair assessment of the work, though I suspect it is too tough. Kind of fed up at half effort and figure that probably seeped into my comments, so hoping for some objectivity.  Thank you so much!!  




I know not why God’s wondrous grace

To me He hath made known,

Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love

Redeemed me for his own.



But I know whom I have believed

And am persuaded that He is able

To keep that which I’ve committed

Unto Him against that day


I know not how this saving faith

To me He did impart,

Nor how believing in His word

Wrought peace within my heart



I know not how the Spirit moves,

Convincing us of sin,

Revealing Jesus through the Word,

Creating faith in Him.



I know not what good or ill

May be reserved for me,

Of weary ways or golden days,

Before his face I see.



I know not when my Lord may come,

At night or noonday fair,

Nor if I walk the vale with Him,

Or meet Him in the air.



  1. How is sovereignty  and predestination expressed in this hymn?


  1. Do you think Daniel W. Whittle was intentionally reformed in his thinking and musical expression?


  1. What can we learn about God’s people who do not believe in God’s sovereignty and predestination from this hymn?


Sovereignty is expressed in the first three verses and the refrain, while predestination is expressed in the final two verses. Where? How? Examples?Whittle talks about how God has shown grace, redeemed him even though he didn’t deserve it, allowed him to have faith and then creating that faith, and ultimately giving him peace. Excellent observation of the progression. Be sure to support this with examples.  Whittle writes about predestination in his final two verses, saying that he doesn’t know what’s been reserved for him and that he doesn’t know when the Lord will come or when Whittle will die. Good use of examples.  Are these the only two times in the hymn than predestination is alluded to?

Through the verses of this hymn, Whittle shows a reformed viewpoint in his writing. Why? Can you give examples to substantiate this claim? I think that this was partially on purpose and partially an accident. Interesting. Why? I believe that Whittle knew that grace comes from God alone, cannot be earned, and is not deserved by anyone. Why do you believe this? Where do you find evidence to support this belief? However, I don’t think he fully understood predestination. Why? How does your idea of predestination lead you to believe he did not fully understand the concept? He does mention predestination in verse 4, but only to say that he does not know what God’s will for him is.  Good to note what is mentioned specifically.  Would this be better served by a quote to preserve context?

I think that we can learn some things about those who don’t know about God’s sovereignty and predestination from this hymn. One of those things is that they are not to be looked down on, because as in this hymn, it may be that they simply are unaware of the truth of God’s supremacy. It could also be the case that these people have not heard of predestination before and would be open to receive instruction. So our attitude as we approach these people should be one of loving understanding, not automatic distrust or dislike.  These things could be true of many hymns, making this a very generalized paragraph. Reread the third question. Do you see anything about judgmentalism?  Your response assumes judgmentalism based on surface generalities.  What is the question actually asking?  What have you learned about believers who believe differently? The question is not, “How should we respond to or treat or think about believers who believe differently?† There are times when that may need to be addressed, but that is beyond the scope of what is being asked in this question.




You have written a concise outline of things to consider about the hymn, based on the given questions.   In the first two responses, you have given some good thought to the questions and stated your ideas clearly, but you have not substantiated most of your claims and observations. The third paragraph does not really address the question that was asked, but seeks to answer a different question.



-10 for each paragraph without ample substantiation (Paragraphs 1 & 2) (-20)


-15 for not answering the question asked in paragraph 3     (-15)

Final Grade: 65

Thank you again for those who have taken the time to get this far!!!    :hurray:
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Thank you. Was thinking that by now, he should know better than to turn in a rough draft like this. I asked him 2 separate times if this was his final draft, after he knew I had skimmed it. Both of those times were followed up by, "Are you SURE this is your final draft?" He never bothered to look at it again, just thought about it for maybe 5 seconds and said, "Yes, I'm sure." So not really thinking he should get another chance since he couldn't be troubled to look at it when he had the chance. Wanting to communicate clearly that as a senior who knows how to write, this isn't gonna cut it. And that if he wants the 4.0 he thinks he can achieve, he's actually going to have to *earn* it.


Sorry for the frustration expressed here. I truly appreciate your comments, simply exasperated with this one! Maybe this is part of the letting go process, knowing someone else can assign and decide grades more objectively next year. 😕🙄Maybe make it a 70 and move on... idk! Thanks again!

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I do not see any purpose in giving a low grade for an assignment and moving on. That is necessary in ps because of the setup, but it does not teach the student anything.

I would sit down with him, talk through the weak points, and have him re-work the essay until it meets my expectations. That will teach careful reading and addressing all questions much better than just giving a low grade and forgetting about the essay.

It would also be a viable option to decide that this assignment failed, give him another topic, and work with him until he produces good work.

I teach to mastery and give the A when mastery (to my standards) has been achieved. I do not find it necessary to give grades for the steps along the way.


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