Parents have another reason to think twice

Parents as a rule want the best for their children.  As we continue to witness a massive upheaval in social and moral norms, what is right can sometimes become fuzzy, particularly as we are bombarded with rich media pushing the “new norms” day in and day out.

Chicago kindergartens this year are giving parents another reason to think twice about sending their kids to public schools.

Conscientious parents who have children under 5 years old should take the time to pause and reflect.  You are facing a big decision.  Take the time to read and study the curricula and teaching methods being used in public schools today.  Discuss them together and evaluate whether they really meet your expectations.  Check how well they are aligned with your own values.  See if they make good common sense.

More and more parents are finding that homeschooling is an excellent option.

Classical vs Lutheran: What’s the deal?

Are “classical education” and “Lutheran education” the same thing?  Dr. Steven Hein suggests that what many refer to today as a classical education is in fact the traditional Lutheran education.

“When we think in terms of the history of education in the Western world, it was actually Luther who, for the very first time, blended together an education that united the traditional liberal arts education of the Greco-Roman world with Lutheran catechesis, and this was the education that Luther instituted there in the 16th century, not just for pastors, but for those of all vocations – boys and girls alike.  So rather than talking about a classical AND Lutheran education, we are simply trying to advocate going back to the original Lutheran education, that Luther and the reformers in Wittenberg instituted, that eventually took over the model for what education ought to be also in Reformed and Roman Catholic camps all throughout Europe.”Hein also touches on critical reasoning skills, language skills, worldviews, Latin, and more in this informative program.

Listen to the episode heard on Issues Etc. on Feb 15, 2013.

Upcoming Conference in Fort Wayne

The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education invites all homeschoolers, classroom teachers, pastors, school administrators, and anyone interested in exploring classical Lutheran education to CCLE XIII hosted by Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, July 16-18, 2013.

Kramer Chapel

Entitled “Practicum for Classical Lutheran Educators,” this conference will feature for the first time 3-day intensive in-service opportunities. Such as:

  • How to teach Latin, three days with Joanna Hensley
  • Logistics of classroom design and management, three days with Jackquelyn Veith and Melinda Heine
  • Christian and non-Christian Worldviews, three days with Rev. Dr. Steven Hein
  • Classical Lutheran Pedagogy, three days with Rev. John Hill

In-service and break-out sessions include The Distinctively Lutheran Home School, Teaching Science Classically, Law & Gospel, Teaching Music Classically, Principles of Biblical Interpretation, and Teaching Children’s Literature. Speakers include Dr. Gene Edward Veith, Dr. E. Christian Kopff, Dr. John Nordling, Claudia Nieminen, and Cheryl Swope. For more information, visit www.ccle.org or contact Cheryl at clsmm62@hotmail.com. Registration for CCLE XIII is $175. Early registration before May 31, 2013 is $150 and includes a complimentary CCLE Resource Guide CD. Registration information will soon be available at our website. All instructional sessions will begin early Tuesday morning, July 16, so plan to arrive in Ft. Wayne on Monday.

At CCLE XIII, we will announce the new CCLE Educator Certification Program for classroom teachers, college students, homeschoolers, and anyone wishing to become certified as a CCLE Classical Lutheran Educator. Much more information on the substance and process of CCLE Educator Certification will be provided at CCLE XIII, July 16-18, 2013. We look forward to seeing you there.

Source: www.ccle.org

CBC’s Anna Maria Tremonti misrepresents homeschoolers in mocking skit

On The Current, a CBC radio program, dated November 14, 2012, host Ms. Anna Maria Tremonti decided to air a “last word” mocking homeschooling, casting mothers who teach their own children as uneducated and incapable, and children who learn at home as unchallenged and resentful.  It was a funny skit and played to the tune the establishment likes to hear.  The only problem is, she described a fictional scenario quite divorced from reality.  Masked in humour, her message in this segment was all the more insidious.

Listen to it here, starting at 27:30.

Homeschooling families, as a rule, think about education much more than the average parent, and they tend to take their responsibility of raising the next generation of thoughtful, contributing citizens very seriously.  Far from being dysfunctional as portrayed in the skit, homeschooling families are a model of normalcy.  Because the parents spend a great deal more time with their children than the average, the relationship between parent and child is most often one of mutual understanding, honour, and respect.  The values that are taught and modeled at home begin with humility and gentleness, which later blossom into self-esteem and independence gained through genuine learning that usually far surpasses the requirements of any published curriculum.  The kind of conversation this segment portrayed would be unlikely to occur in a homeschooling family.

It is not just homeschooling parents who are voicing concerns with the public education system.  As we’ve pointed out on this blog, Maclean’s recently ran a cover story on elementary education titled, “Stop Brainwashing Our Kids: How educators are hijacking the classroom to push their own political agenda.”  Industry leaders are complaining that graduates cannot think for themselves.  The Canadian Council on Learning, in its publication “Post-Secondary Education in Canada 2008-2009,” reports that 20 per cent of university graduates in 2006 were below Level 3 on the prose literary scale. (Level 3 is the internationally-accepted minimum literacy level required for coping in a modern society.)  That’s 20 percent of university graduates!  Too many of our young people are falling through the cracks, and our society is suffering for it.  Should we not take a stand and declare this state of affairs unacceptable?  The list goes on, and truly inquiring minds can readily find information on this subject.

Regretfully, Ms. Tremonti did not take the opportunity to engage in a real debate about the state of education in this country.  Instead, she demonstrated exactly the kind of “close-minded” and “prejudiced” thinking of which she believes others to be guilty.  Is committing this kind of logical fallacy not an embarrassment for a nationally-broadcast radio host?

Maclean’s asks: Why are schools brainwashing our children?

Why are schools brainwashing our children?  “Protesting oil pipelines, celebrating polygamy: is the new ‘social justice’ agenda in class pushing politics at the expense of learning?”

I remember grade 6 about 20 years ago in Toronto.  It was the first time I attended a public school.  At that time, environmentalism was the main emphasis in the classroom.  All of our class projects drove this topic home, literally.  We did projects on “acid rain,” the evil of landfills, the destructive forestry industry, poachers in the 3rd world, and tigers on the verge of extinction.  I remember watching two videos on how “clear cutting” of forests would lead to an insufficient oxygen supply on Earth, and at least four David Suzuki videos.  These topics are almost the only ones I remember from that short year (my parents pulled us out of public school after four months because they noticed such a negative impact on our behaviour, although I think that was more from peer influence than the teacher’s agenda).

That was 20 years ago.  And it’s likely that my teacher was pushing her agenda more than other teachers did.  So the question is, what kind of special projects are kids doing in school today?  How is this social justice agenda showing up in your home?  And most importantly, what kinds of things can you do as a parent to counteract the influence?

Home devotion resources

The way we have done our daily family devotions has been gradually changing to meet the needs of our growing children.  It has surprised us how much children can absorb when they are challenged.  Our latest practice has been to read the Scripture verse-by-verse, going around in a circle between our 4-, 6-, and 8-year old and parents.  We stop often to discuss and to answer questions.  It seems they are able to give their full attention much longer with this interactive method.

We generally follow the orders of Daily Prayer for Individuals and Families on pp. 295-298 in the LSB, although by this point no one needs to refer to the hymnal anymore.  Mom usually leads prayer in the morning and at noon as part of the schoolday, and Dad usually leads prayer at the close of the day.  Here is a list of the resources that we are making use of in our family right now.

What other resources are people using out there?

Missouri Synod founders motivated by Christian education

Why did 750 Saxon immigrants leave their homes, farms, and businesses in 1838 Germany to settle and build a new life in America?  Dr. Tom Korcok has unearthed evidence that the founding members of the Missouri Synod were driven by their urgent desire to pull their children out of rationalist schools in Germany.  He writes in Lutheran Education: From Wittenberg to the Future,

Persecution was felt most acutely in the classroom instead of the parish.  Repeatedly, pastors involved in the emigration pointed to their concern over the educational environment of their children as the primary factor behind their decision to leave.

The first president of Missouri, C. F. W. Walther, wrote: “The care for the future of their children with respect to church and school had been for the Saxon Lutherans precisely the strongest motive for their emigration to America.” [underlining original]

Furthermore, another pastor who emigrated, H. G. Löber, wrote: “It was above all most important at our immigration that we protect our children from unchristian schooling.”  Löber also wrote, “We will also now hold fast that aim [of establishing pure Lutheran schools] in our eyes, and will – if God will – as long as we live, not sway from it.” [All quotations cited from Korcok]

What, dear friends, are we to make of this?  Have the founders’ wishes come true?  Have we succeeded in protecting our children from unchristian schooling?  Are we carrying the torch forward in our day with unwavering conviction?

Lutheran high school bites the dust

Yet another Lutheran school falls apart due to lack of interest from Lutheran parents and lack of support from the church at large.

Canadian Lutheran: Concordia High School To Close Permanently

CBC has a slightly more enlightening article on the closure (HT: Reg): CBC News: Edmonton Concordia High School Closes

Pestalozzi, Fröbel, and Dewey would be thrilled about this news (read more)!!

CCLE XII: Day 3

The conference may be over, but the effects it will have on my thinking about Lutheran education and my practical approach to teaching and parenting will continue long after I get home.

I have met many interesting people this week. It was a great privilege to talk to and learn from some of the leading thinkers within the Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education. This organization has contributed so much to the Lutheran education movement. As Dr. Tallmon pointed out in his recent article in the Lutheran Witness, and reiterated in his breakout session today, classical Lutheran education is the key to unlocking the Scriptures. If we want our children, who are not only the next generation of our families, but also the next generation of the church, to understand the Scriptures, we need to equip them with an education that will enable them to do that. Furthermore, the future of the Lutheran church and its ability to defend the Truth and proclaim the Gospel in a post-modern world depends on pastors and lay people that can think critically, identify logical fallacies in the heresies that the devil will continue to throw into our midst, and make persuasive, well-reasoned arguments against them. The Lutheran church needs classical education.
I have a few other thoughts running through my head that I want to share here, but since my flight is boarding, I will write those in a separate post.

CCLE XII: Day Two

I am writing this late in the evening from my hotel room. I am sitting here at my computer, trying to put into words the day’s experiences. We have heard and learned so much; it will take some time to really digest it all.

After Matins, Rev. Todd Wilken gave the first half of his plenary address entitled “What Lutheran Education Need to Teach Regarding the Gospel.” Although the second half of this two-part lecture was given later in the day, I will summarize both parts at once.

Rev. Wilken stated that the Gospel is (1) historical, (2) textual, and (3) personal. The Gospel is historical because the death of Jesus on the cross is a real, historical event. In fact, the death of Jesus on the cross is the centre of human history, and the purposeof human history. He said that the Gospel is historical in a way that no other historical event is historical. It is the only historical event that is still accessible to us today. This pivotal event in human history, the fulcrum of human history, is brought forward in time to those who hear the Gospel. Rev. Wilken pointed out that the essence of Lutheran theology is the presence of Jesus Christ. In other words, Lutheran theology is a sacramentaltheology. (Rev. Wilken quoted the words of our Lord at the end of Matthew 28: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”) Jesus is present every time we receive His Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Altar. The Sacraments connect the historical event of Jesus’ death to us here and now. Therefore, we need to teach our children that the Gospel, even though it is a historical event, is found on Sunday morning in church.

The Gospel is textual because it is found in the words of Holy Scripture. We know no Jesus apart from the one we find in Scripture. He explained the term “plenary verbal inspiration” of Scripture. “Inspiration” means “spoken by God.” “Verbal” refers to “words.” And “plenary” pertains to “all.” Therefore, the Lutheran understanding is that all words in the Bible are spoken by God. Each word is important, especially the little ones! This really speaks for the importance for pastors to study God’s Word in its original languages as they prepare their sermons.

The Gospel is personal. By this Rev. Wilken means that the Gospel is the person of Jesus Christ.

It was a very thought-provoking lecture, and what I will be left pondering for the next few days or more is what this all means in the context of schooling our children.

I will not go into detail about any of the breakout sessions right now, but will hopefully have a chance to blog a bit more about some of them when I get back home. I do have some excellent news for all those who are interested in hearing some of these sessions, including the two by Rev. Wilken: all of today’s sessions were recorded! I believe they will be made available sometime after the conference on the CCLE website.