Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Charlotte Mason Principles

Summary/Rewording of Charlotte Mason's 20 Principles
1. Children are born persons.
1. Children are born persons - they are not blank slates or embryonic oysters who have the potential of becoming persons. They already arepersons.
2. They are not born either good or bad, but with possibilities for good and for evil. *see note
2. Although children are born with a sin nature, they are neither all bad, nor all good. Children from all walks of life and backgrounds may make choices for good or evil.
3. The principles of authority on the one hand, and of obedience on the other, are natural, necessary and fundamental; but--
3. The concepts of authority and obedience are true for all people whether they accept it or not. Submission to authority is necessary for any society or group or family to run smoothly.
4. These principles are limited by the respect due to the personality of children, which must not be encroached upon whether by the direct use of fear or love, suggestion or influence, or by undue play upon any one natural desire.
4. Authority is not a license to abuse children, or to play upon their emotions or other desires, and adults are not free to limit a child's education or use fear, love, power of suggestion, or their own influence over a child to make a child learn.
5. Therefore, we are limited to three educational instruments--the atmosphere of environment, the discipline of habit, and the presentation of living ideas. The P.N.E.U. Motto is: "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life."
5. The only means a teacher may use to educate children are the child's natural environment, the training of good habits and exposure to living ideas and concepts. This is what CM's motto "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life" means.
6. When we say that "education is an atmosphere," we do not mean that a child should be isolated in what may be called a 'child-environment' especially adapted and prepared, but that we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions. It stultifies a child to bring down his world to the child's level.
6. "Education is an atmosphere" doesn't mean that we should create an artificial environment for children, but that we use the opportunities in the environment he already lives in to educate him. Children learn from real things in the real world
7. By "education is a discipline," we mean the discipline of habits, formed definitely and thoughtfully, whether habits of mind or body. Physiologists tell us of the adaptation of brain structures to habitual lines of thought, i.e., to our habits.
7. "Education is a discipline" means that we train a child to have good habits and self-control.
8. In saying that "education is a life," the need of intellectual and moral as well as of physical sustenance is implied. The mind feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous curriculum.
8. "Education is a life" means that education should apply to body, soul and spirit. The mind needs ideas of all kinds, so the child's curriculum should be varied and generous with many subjects included.
9. We hold that the child's mind is no mere sac to hold ideas; but is rather, if the figure may be allowed, a spiritual organism, with an appetite for all knowledge. This is its proper diet, with which it is prepared to deal; and which it can digest and assimilate as the body does foodstuffs.
9. The child's mind is not a blank slate, or a bucket to be filled. It is a living thing and needs knowledge to grow. As the stomach was designed to digest food, the mind is designed to digest knowledge and needs no special training or exercises to make it ready to learn.
10. Such a doctrine as e.g. the Herbartian, that the mind is a receptacle, lays the stress of education (the preparation of knowledge in enticing morsels duly ordered) upon the teacher. Children taught on this principle are in danger of receiving much teaching with little knowledge; and the teacher's axiom is ,'what a child learns matters less than how he learns it.'
10. Herbart's philosophy that the mind is like an empty stage waiting for bits of information to be inserted puts too much responsibility on the teacher to prepare detailed lessons that the children, for all the teacher's effort, don't learn from anyway.
11. But we, believing that the normal child has powers of mind which fit him to deal with all knowledge proper to him, give him a full and generous curriculum; taking care only that all knowledge offered him is vital, that is, that facts are not presented without their informing ideas. Out of this conception comes our principle that,--
11. Instead, we believe that childrens' minds are capable of digesting real knowledge, so we provide a rich, generous curriculum that exposes children to many interesting, living ideas and concepts.
12. "Education is the Science of Relations"; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of--

         "Those first-born affinities
       "That fit our new existence to existing things." 
12. "Education is the science of relations" means that children have minds capable of making their own connections with knowledge and experiences, so we make sure the child learns about nature, science and art, knows how to make things, reads many living books and that they are physically fit.
13. In devising a SYLLABUS for a normal child, of whatever social class, three points must be considered:

    (a) He requires much knowledge, for the mind needs sufficient food as much as does the body.

    (b) The knowledge should be various, for sameness in mental diet does not create appetite (i.e., curiosity)

    (c) Knowledge should be communicated in well-chosen language, because his attention responds naturally to what is conveyed in literary form. 
13. In devising a curriculum, we provide a vast amount of ideas to ensure that the mind has enough brain food, knowledge about a variety of things to prevent boredom, and subjects are taught with high-quality literary language since that is what a child's attention responds to best.
14. As knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced, children should 'tell back' after a single reading or hearing: or should write on some part of what they have read.
14. Since one doesn't really "own" knowledge until he can express it, children are required to narrate, or tell back (or write down), what they have read or heard.
15. A single reading is insisted on, because children have naturally great power of attention; but this force is dissipated by the re-reading of passages, and also, by questioning, summarising. and the like.

Acting upon these and some other points in the behaviour of mind, we find that the educability of children is enormously greater than has hitherto been supposed, and is but little dependent on such circumstances as heredity and environment.

Nor is the accuracy of this statement limited to clever children or to children of the educated classes: thousands of children in Elementary Schools respond freely to this method, which is based on the behaviour of mind
15. Children must narrate after one reading or hearing. Children naturally have good focus of attention, but allowing a second reading makes them lazy and weakens their ability to pay attention the first time. Teachers summarizing and asking comprehension questions are other ways of giving children a second chance and making the need to focus the first time less urgent. By getting it the first time, less time is wasted on repeated readings, and more time is available during school hours for more knowledge. A child educated this way learns more than children using other methods, and this is true for all children regardless of their IQ or background.
16. There are two guides to moral and intellectual self-management to offer to children, which we may call 'the way of the will' and 'the way of the reason.'
16. Children have two guides to help them in their moral and intellectual growth - "the way of the will," and "the way of reason."
17. The way of the will: Children should be taught, (a) to distinguish between 'I want' and 'I will.' (b) That the way to will effectively is to turn our thoughts from that which we desire but do not will. (c) That the best way to turn our thoughts is to think of or do some quite different thing, entertaining or interesting. (d) That after a little rest in this way, the will returns to its work with new vigour. (This adjunct of the will is familiar to us as diversion, whose office it is to ease us for a time from will effort, that we may 'will' again with added power. The use of suggestion as an aid to the will is to be deprecated, as tending to stultify and stereotype character, It would seem that spontaneity is a condition of development, and that human nature needs the discipline of failure as well as of success.)
17. Children must learn the difference between "I want" and "I will." They must learn to distract their thoughts when tempted to do what they may want but know is not right, and think of something else, or do something else, interesting enough to occupy their mind. After a short diversion, their mind will be refreshed and able to will with renewed strength.
18. The way of reason: We teach children, too, not to 'lean (too confidently) to their own understanding'; because the function of reason is to give logical demonstration (a) of mathematical truth, (b) of an initial idea, accepted by the will. In the former case, reason is, practically, an infallible guide, but in the latter, it is not always a safe one; for, whether that idea be right or wrong, reason will confirm it by irrefragable proofs.
18. Children must learn not to lean too heavily on their own reasoning. Reasoning is good for logically demonstrating mathematical truth, but unreliable when judging ideas because our reasoning will justify all kinds of erroneous ideas if we really want to believe them.
19. Therefore, children should be taught, as they become mature enough to understand such teaching, that the chief responsibility which rests on them as persons is the acceptance or rejection of ideas. To help them in this choice we give them principles of conduct, and a wide range of the knowledge fitted to them. These principles should save children from some of the loose thinking and heedless action which cause most of us to live at a lower level than we need.
19. Knowing that reason is not to be trusted as the final authority in forming opinions, children must learn that their greatest responsibility is choosing which ideas to accept or reject. Good habits of behavior and lots of knowledge will provide the discipline and experience to help them do this.
20. We allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and 'spiritual' life of children, but teach them that the Divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits, and is their Continual Helper in all the interests, duties and joys of life.
20. We teach children that all truths are God's truths, and that secular subjects are just as divine as religious ones. Children don't go back and forth between two worlds when they focus on God and then their school subjects; there is unity among both because both are of God and, whatever children study or do, God is always with them.
~ Charlotte Mason
~ 2004 L. N. Laurio

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Multiple Intelligence & Quotes from Howard Gardner

Howard Gardener Quotes

"I want my children to understand the world, but not just because the world is fascinating and the human mind is curious. I want them to understand it so that they will be positioned to make it a better place."

"You learn at your best when you have something you care about and can get pleasure in being engaged in."

"The Goal of Education is to Help People Use Their Minds Better."

"We've got to do fewer things in school. The greatest enemy of understanding is coverage... You've got to take enough time to get kids deeply involved in something so they can think about it in lots of different ways and apply it."

"Kids make their mark in life by doing what they can do, not what they can't... School is important, but life is more important. Being happy is using your skills productively, no matter what they are."

"What we want... is for students to get more interested in things, more involved in them, more engaged in wanting to know; to have projects that they can get excited about and work on over long periods of time, to be stimulated to find things out on their own."

"Teachers must be encouraged - I almost said 'freed', to pursue an education that strives for depth of understanding."

"Stories are the single most powerful weapon in a leader's arsenal."

"Creativity begins with an affinity for something. It's like falling in love."

"Freud's convictions about the importance of infantile developments also colored his view of creative activity. Freud was impressed by the parallels between the child at play, the adult daydreamer, and the creative artist. As he once phrased it:

Might we not say that every child at play behaves like a creative writer, in that he creates a world of his own, or, rather, rearranges the things of his world in a new way which pleases him?....The creative writer does the same as the child at play. He creates a world of phantasy which he takes very seriously-that is, which he invests with large amounts of emotion-while separating it sharply from reality."

"If you are not prepared to resign or be fired for what you believe in, then you are not a worker, let alone a professional. You are a slave."

"An individual understands a concept, skill, theory, or domain of knowledge to the extent that he or she can apply it appropriately in a new situation."

"Knowledge is not the same as morality, but we need to understand if we are to avoid past mistakes and move in productive directions. An important part of that understanding is knowing who we are and what we can do... Ultimately, we must synthesize our understandings for ourselves."

"Most people (by the time they have become adults ) can't change their minds because their neural pathways have become set... the longer neural pathways have been running one way the harder it is to rewire them."

"We need to focus on the kind of human beings we want to have and the kind of society in which we want to live."

"If we were to abandon concern for what is true, what is false, and what remains indeterminate, the world would be totally chaotic. Even those who deny the importance of truth, on the one hand, are quick to jump on anyone who is caught lying."

"Now intelligence seemed quantifiable. You could measure someone's actual or potential height, and now, it seemed, you could also measure someone's actual or potential intelligence. We had one dimension of mental ability along which we could array everyone... The whole concept has to be challenged; in fact, it has to be replaced."

Notes from his book on multiple intelligences
 (for more info read my post

The 8 Mulitiple Intelligences (you can see these are related to our senses)
* words: mouth (linguistic intelligence)
* numbers or logic: brain (logical-mathematical intelligence)
* pictures: eyes (spatial intelligence)
* music: ears (musical intelligence)
* self-reflection: feelings/observations of self (intrapersonal intelligence)
* a physical experience: body (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence)
* a social experience: feelings/observations of others' (interpersonal intelligence), and/or
* an experience in the natural world (naturalist intelligence)

Knowledge = Facts
Understanding = Applying Facts (in real life)

Education is to develop understanding through application of knowledge
0 to 7 years Exposure (in context to do basic principles found all over to)
8 to 14 years Specialization (one focus in each area mastery in something before ready for a big location)
14+ Comprehensive (such as classics or inter-disciplinary, apprenticeships or "museum school" approach)

Windows to Learning
There are five entry points or five "windows" through which children can see new knowledge and information. A skillful teacher opens many of these windows on one same concept, allowing children to get deeper understanding to different perpectives.

1. Narration: introduce the story about the concepts in question
2. Foundation (philosophical): explore type comparisons or definitions at the root
3. Logical-Quantitative: show numbers patterns charts to study
4. Aesthetic: artistic/sensory approach such as music or pictures
5. Experiential: hands-on with materials (that directly embody/convey the concept)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Focus: Truth, Goodness & Beauty

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue and beauty.”   Shinichi Suzuki

“The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with joy are goodness, beauty, and truth.” 
― Albert Einstein

“No one can give a definition of the soul. But we know what it feels like. The soul is the sense of something higher than ourselves, something that stirs in us thoughts, hopes, and aspirations which go out to the world of goodness, truth and beauty. The soul is a burning desire to breathe in this world of light and never to lose it--to remain children of light.” 
― Albert Schweitzer

“We need limitations and temptations to open our inner selves, dispel our ignorance, tear off disguises, throw down old idols, and destroy false standards. Only by such rude awakenings can we be led to dwell in a place where we are less cramped, less hindered by the ever-insistent External. Only then do we discover a new capacity and appreciation of goodness and beauty and truth.” 
― Helen Keller

“Pacing doesn’t matter if you are sacrificing mastery and love for truth, goodness, and beauty.”
― Sarah MacKenzie, Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace

What is 
“Our job is to integrate these various truths into the whole truth, which should be our only loyalty.” Abraham Maslow

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” 
― Henry David ThoreauWalden

“I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I'm a human being, first and foremost, and as such I'm for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” 
― Malcolm X

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” 
― C.S. Lewis

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” 
― Marcus AureliusMeditations

“There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.” 
― Maya Angelou

“Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.” 
― Walt Whitman

“Love truth, but pardon error.” 
― Voltaire

“Three things can not hide for long: the Moon, the Sun and the Truth.” 
― Gautama Buddha

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” 
― Søren Kierkegaard

“Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?” 
― Carl Sagan

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to 
succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.” 
― Abraham Lincoln

“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.” 
― Marcus AureliusMeditations

“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.” 
― Leo TolstoyWar and Peace

“The high-minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think.” 
― Aristotle

“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” 
― René Descartes

“When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth.” 
― George Bernard ShawBack to Methuselah

“All should be laid open to you without reserve, for there is not a truth existing which I fear, or would wish unknown to the whole world.” 
― Thomas Jefferson,

“Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.” 
― Blaise Pascal

“Those who have failed to work toward the truth have missed the purpose of living.” 
― Gautama Buddha

“Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.” 
― Albert Einstein

“To love truth for truth's sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues.” 
― John Locke

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” 
― Albert Einstein

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” 
― Albert Einstein

Goodness... (virtue)
“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” 
― Albert Einstein

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.” 
― Albert Einstein

“She began to see that character is a better possession than money, rank, intellect, or beauty, and to feel that if greatness is what a wise man has defined it to be, 'truth, reverence, and good will,' then her friend Friedrich Bhaer was not only good, but great.” 
― Louisa May AlcottLittle Women

“Above all, do not lie to yourself. A man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he does not discern any truth either in himself or anywhere around him, and thus falls into disrespect towards himself and others.
― Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Brothers Karamazov

“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.” 
― Albert Einstein

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” 
― Confucius

“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” 
― Franz Kafka

“The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies.”
Sarah Mackenzie, Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” 
― Marcus AureliusMeditations

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” 
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” 
― Edgar Allan Poe

“The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.” 
― Louisa May Alcott

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.” 
― Ralph Waldo EmersonEmerson's Essays

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all 
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” 
― John KeatsThe Complete Poems

“the voice of beauty speaks softly; it creeps only into the most fully awakened souls” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Beauty is not caused. It is.” 
― Emily Dickinson

“Beauty is a sign of intelligence.” 
― Andy Warhol

“Whatever the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth -whether it existed before or not” 
― John Keats

“Beauty awakens the soul to act.” 
― Dante Alighieri

"Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all are come."
-- Michelangelo

“The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection”

“Beauty is the purgation of superfluities.”

"My soul can find no staircase to heaven unless it be through earth's loveliness." 
-- Michelangelo

“The most common form of despair is not being who you are.” 
― Søren Kierkegaard

“This above all: to thine own self be true.” 
― William ShakespeareHamlet
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” 
― Socrates

“What I'm looking for is not out there, it is in me.” 
― Helen Keller

Monday, March 28, 2016

Usborne vs Barefoot Books

Usborne books
You will find Usborne and Kane Miller books the most exciting, engaging, and educational books on the market today. They are high quality, innovative, lavishly-illustrated and best of all they are the books kids love to read. Enjoy browsing through the almost 2000 bright colorful and fun titles covering a wide variety of subjects. 

30 years ago Peter Usborne pioneered a new generation of books that prove that it is possible to create books that compete with the vast media that attracts children today.  From activity books, to neat fiction series, to internet-linked science and history encyclopedias, Usborne does books better. 

Kane Miller books come from all over the world to bring a different feel, culture, or just a silly story that kids everywhere can enjoy. Fantastic fiction series make Kane Miller a wonderful choice for the readers in your life. 

  • Illustrated classics, myths, Shakespeare, etc.
  • Intro to deeper, academic subjects: science (the body, space, animals, etc.), math, 
  • Activity books and cards: sticker books, how to draw, dress up, etc. (a cool Victorian doll house or castle building set with book)
  • Cute and engaging toddler books

Barefoot books
We empower you to share stories, connect with families and inspire children.
What’s childhood for, if not exploring?
From finding butterflies in the garden, a famous landmark in a far-flung city or a new favorite story character, every day brings the children in your life a door to adventure and discovery. The door just waits to be opened!
Every Barefoot book is designed to open kids’ hearts and minds, to launch little people on big adventures.
  • Folk and Fairy Tales
  • Activities: yoga cards, puzzles, games, puppets, etc.
  • Books with cd (music or story)
  • World cultures (music and books)--bilingual too!
  • Nature-based and Healthy lifestyle books
  • Life lessons books

So, the way i'd summarize the two different book companies is to say both are great! They just serve different purposes and audiences. So as a general statement: if you're looking for exposure to subject matter in simple, engaging ways....go Usborne. And if you're looking for world or more nature-based exposure through experiences and stories, rather than facts, go Barefoot (you can take that literally or not). :)

Some of my favorites off the top of my head, since I've never written them all down...
Usborne: Classic dickens for kids, ballet stories, intro to classical piano music, some great collections too, the Victorian doll house or the castle kits, etc.
Barefoot: yoga pretzel cards, childrens poetry, earth tales, animal tales, any of the collections!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Symbolic Hebrew Foundations

We are learning symbolic Hebrew this year.

What is Symbolic Hebrew?
Look at the first column and see the pictures? Ancient, or early Hebrew was symbolic. The picture represented not a sound, like modern alphabets, but rather they focused on meaning. You can see how over time the pictures were changed to more unrecognizable forms, then changed to Latin and Greek and appeared merely as lines to represent sounds. There was a diminishing attention of meaning, until it all disappeared altogether. Now we teach our children "A" says long a, short a, etc. But this doesn't hold meaning for our children. Our modern day English is flat, not to mention confusing, in comparison to the beauty and depth of the symbolic language of the past. (similar to comparing business writing to poetry--which holds a depth of rhythm and feeling).

But what if we could teach our children a greater depth, relevance, and understanding of the symbolic hebrew, that leads to a greater appreciation for and understanding of Latin, Greek and modern English?

This is a helpful char to understand the gist of how things changed over time. Though it's one person's interpretation, so bits I've noticed a few errors and pieces differ from what he's got on here. But again, the general idea is super helpful to see.

We can...it's super cool!

So each month I get to focus on one Sumbolic Hebrew letter/number (for they were one and the same..no distinction back then). Each symbol carries with it basic principles and meanings, along with a number, letter, shape, etc. Each one holds a wealth of information. But how?

Let's illustrate the first symbol: Aleph -- ox-head
This symbol, ox-head, represents an ox. It can represent strong, powerful, leader, #1, etc. It is the predecessor to the Greek Alpha, or letter A.
Image result for aleph ancient

This chart below shows how it has changed over time...

Here's the Second symbol: Bet -- tent/house
This symbol represents a house, family, or being inside. It can also represent 2, as there is a division inside (for a man a woman...also could mean partnership). It is the predecessor to the Greek beta, or letter B.

If you put them together the Greek ABBA is just sounds that create the name of a famous music group--haha, or it could mean Alphabet--the series of 26 letters we currently use (Alpha-beta), if you just take the first half.

But in Hebrew, ABBA means Father. And symbolically the meaning could be interpreted a variety of ways, such as...The Strong, powerful leader, of the house or family.

Wow! How much more beautiful and powerful is being able to grasp the meaning behind the name and letters/symbols? Hebrew definitely puts God back into our Education!

So, how do I learn this?
Like I said, each month I focus on one symbol/letter. We enjoy trying to guess what the symbol represents and looks like. We play and guess and recreate it with our fingers and such. Then we read a story that illustrates many of the principles behind the symbol. This gives our children a chance to discover the meaning for themselves, so it sticks deeper and feels more wonder-filled for them. Then we sing a short, simple song that goes along with the basic principle--a type of affirmation of sorts to stick in their head whenever they see the symbol. Then finally we allow the principle to be discovered during the week and month as we play and notice those principles in our daily lives. And while we do that, we recall and retell the story and principles through playing with toys that go along with the story.

For Example. Aleph --ox-head
We talked about the ox and how people back then used them for--their value to society. We then told the story of Ollie the Ox who wanted to be powerful and strong like his dad and lead the other oxen. And we sand the "I am Powerful and Strong" diddy. Then that month I put out a red ox beanie baby and let my kids retell the story and such. And when someone helped carry in groceries and was showing strength I'd point out "Wow. you are powerful and strong!" Little things like that and singing the song a lot.

Side note: Later in the month I did point out that the letter A looks like the oxhead, upsidedown. And they thought that was amazing. I explained that pictures and meanings were the foundation of our alphabet and help it make more sense. And now I see a greater appreciation for letters and numbers.

And here are some other photos I made to help instill the principles of the next three symbols.

Bet - Differences/partnership
Gimel - service in action
Dalet -  the door
Anyway, the way I do this is through a Symbolic Hebrew curriculum that was created by Katie Hansen--after lots of research of various hebrew sources and through great prayer and effort/desire to bring something of truth and beauty to the world. And it is great. (though it may seem foreign to those of us who were unfamiliar with hebrew, esp symbolic Hebrew, like I was initially.)

It's purpose includes teaching these foundational symbolic principles and building a morally strong character, as well as other purposes. It is full of tons of helpful ideas for further exploring these principles though other books, movement, activities, etc. She even includes a dance and emphasis on a different culture for each one. There are art projects and games and all sort of things. But at this point in my life I just try to sneak in a 15 minute fun focus once a month during a FHE and that's all we need for now. Just the principles 1-8 for this first year (of the 22 total--which would take 3 years total at that rate). As we continue to grow we can build deeper and deeper on these great foundational principles.

If you are interested in learning more you can check out her website. She has a simple online membership, you can try for one year. Or you can buy the online + the parents guide books (which are online, but you'd have to print everything on your own). I have a binder I print and put stuff in, with an overview in front. I like this for having just the story, song, symbol and words in...but if I wanted everything...I'd rather just buy the books. They are beautiful and make it so easy. (she also has a blog of other info if you wanted to read other stuff)

I also found this interesting article on the evolution of hebrew: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_One/History/history.html

The Call for Moral Education and More

So...Have you ever tried building a Ship in a bottle?
Image result for ship in bottle
It's one thing to have the pieces, and another to start putting it together. But you also have to understand the sequence of how to put it together. And most importantly, how to do it within context of the bottle! IF you don't get that last piece, you can't navigate the building within the bottle. IT doesn't work to build the ship and then try to get it in the bottle!

What does this have to do with education....?

Neil Flinders, who use to be both a professor and head of the BYU's McKay School of Education. Also writes and speaks on the need to teach our children morals and in context of something greater than just ethics and social relativism. Two of his books are entitled, Teach the Children, and Creating a Moral School. In those he shares his thoughts about the essential pieces of planning education with morals, within context of something greater. (An apparently this is a foundational document for the Thomas JEfferson Educational Model!)

 The Path/Elements of Education:
(He mentions schools mostly focus most on content and process)
  1. Context- why/meaning of teachings (when ignored, ends become means; if not understood, there will be confusion. This influences and ultimately determines the next three steps)
  2. Content- what you teach
  3. Process- methods of teaching
  4. Structure- order/sequence of what is taught

Then Flinders shares the evolution (or should we say digression of our national education system). Here's the timeline of how it has changed.

He goes on to say that "We can learn more about true education by studying the life and character of Joseph Smith, that by reading all the books on education." In fact, Flinders wrote a book about Joseph Smith, called America's Greatest Educator.

Here is a view of the system of Education, from Joseph's Smith (vs. the Common Core's View)

Joseph Smith (vs. common core)
1. An individual obligation (state, government)
2. A family obligation (local/tax-payers)
3. A church responsibility (teacher/administrator)
4. A state interest(individual/family)
        (concern?...)(now teacher-Union)

Here are some more notes from his PDF on Creating a Moral School

Education is Growth and Development
He describes the balance needed in the following areas in order to grow and develop fully:
1. Physical -Bodily desires control the intellect, causing the person to ignore morality, and become blind to the spiritual. The physical dimension is not evil, but it requires appropiate control, subject to reason and moral order. When an individual lacks such selfrestraint , growth and development will diminish.
2. Intellectual -The adage "mind over matter" expresses the ability we have to govern our physical being to serve the powers and interests of our intellect. This intellectual governance leads to a higher and more versatile existence than one following human passions, but it may occur independent of the ability to recognize right or wrong, good or evil. Intellectuality is not a synonym for morality and people can become slaves to their intellect as they ignore needs of the body and other principles of morality and spirituality.
3. Moral (and Socially responsible) -requires that both intellectual and physical capacities be subjected to pinciples that protect the rights and welfare of all. Moral conduct requires us to identify and choose right over wrong and good rather than evil in our actions. A pre-requisite to spirituality.
3. Spiritual -the awareness of victory over one' s physical and intellectual selves; it is the sense of being in harmony with moral law.

The Role of Loving and Caring ("Actions= Behavior + Intent")

  • For the Leaner. To distinguish between action and behavior and to recognize the influence of caring and love are especially important. When we desire to be like other people, to acquire their skills, attributes, and abilities, we must obtain their point of view.
  • For the Teacher. Parents and teachers can also apply this principle for effective communication. Caring and loving are the legitimate means for reaching out and into others ' lives. In order to penetrate the barrier of behavior, we must envision the intent behind the act; we must put ourselves in the other person' s place. We must see things from another ' s perspective. This process helps us to understand people as they are, improving our ability to communicate with them.
A difference in educational strategy occurs when we shift from emphasizing action to focusing on disposition . To make this distinction clear, we need specific definitions for two common words-decisions and choices. Our particular definitions of these two words are important to understanding a significant point: In this context, one should think of a decision as the private expression of intent. A choice can be considered the public expression of that private decision.

Theory of Discipline:
Love them, correct them, and prepare a way for them. In a single phrase this is our theory of discipline for the home and school.
  1. First, love them. Parents must first love their children, teachers must first love their students; and by this they make it possible for their children or their students to love them. 
  2. Second, correct them. Mutually accepted standards must exist in a healthy relationship that communicates knowledge and wisdom. Otherwise everything becomes arbitrary and relative, impulsive and chaotic. Confusion and disorder rather than success and satisfaction prevails. 
  3. Third, provide a way. Children and students need help. That is why parents and teachers are to assist the child, the student, by helping them discover or provide the right thing for them to do. It need not be perfect, but it should be personal. It may not be totally adequate, but it should be appropriate.