Monday, July 28, 2014

Hey, CC Dads! Are You Ready for Cycle 3?

(Note: 2015-2016 Foundations families will be going through Cycle 1 Memory work.)

Hey, CC Dads. July is nearing an end, which means that the 2014-2015 academic year is upon us. In just a few weeks, our wives and kiddos will be loading up in the van once a week to head to the local Classical Conversations campus for their community day. Their summer schedule will end. Their school year schedule will begin, and most of our schedules will continue unabated. We will go to work at the same time every morning and come home at the same time in the evening (unless you work the 2nd or 3rd shift.) The day-in/day-out schedule of a working man is not too terribly exciting, but we’re not complaining; a status quo of work is good to have—day-in/day-out.

This can cause a “disconnect” between us and our families as the new school year begins. After all, it’s their lives that are changing, not ours, right? But what if that is entirely the wrong attitude to have—so entirely wrong that we could call it an unbiblical attitude? After all, the Apostle Paul told fathers “to raise their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4) Our wives have been given to us as blessed helpers, but they’re helping us with the mandate that God has bestowed upon us. If this “disconnect” that seems so intrinsic, so seemingly unavoidable, between homeschool dads and their homeschool families is unbiblical, then it is one that can certainly be avoided.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bloom Where You're Planted, or Don't

bloom where youre plantedIt must have been at least 1,000 times that well-meaning role models told me, “Bloom where you’re planted.” As soon as I started going to youth summer camps and youth retreats and youth groups, everybody and their brother had the same advice. “Bloom where you’re planted.”

Some phrases become cliché over time. This one was born that way, which doesn’t necessarily make it bad advice. It is biblical to compare people with plants. “He is like a tree planted by the streams of water.” (Ps. 1:3) “A good tree bears good fruit.” (Mt 7:17) ” Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2,3) And the list goes on and on. So, “bloom where you’re planted,” is not metaphorically defunct. The analogy is fine.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Introducing, Quite Possibly, Your Next Favorite Book

As the 2014 Classical Conversations Parent Practicum season nears its end, everybody and their brother have probably received their very own copy of the 2014 Classical Conversations catalog. CC hands them out like candy at the practicums. (If you don’t have one, visit to order one, or to save time, view the online catalog.) 

As we get our mitts on each year’s catalog, we might be tempted to flip through the pages and jump right to our areas of interest. I know I tend to do that with Challenge 1 and 2, because those are the Challenge programs that I tutor. Then later, I check out everybody else’s stuff and read the articles. Well, there’s another page near the beginning that doesn’t belong in anyone in particular, because it belongs to everyone reading the catalog (in fact, most of the catalog is not program specific), but the page I’m referring to specifically is page 10: the “Parent Resources” page.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Rhetorical Hit, Theological Miss

In January 2013, Mary Elizabeth Williams posted a column at entitled, “So What If Abortion Ends Life?” The vitriolic nature of the piece prevails from the title to the final phrase, designed to enflame the most seasoned of post-Roe veterans on both sides of the debate. Her flippant handling of what’s often considered a sacred issue does its job. The article was low on fact and high on accusation, but it is still able to accomplish its goal of engendering strife and perhaps, even a little bit of nausea. However, as acerbic as the article is, Ms. Williams makes two salient points. The first is about the use of language in public debate and the second about the arbitrary philosophical distinction in the “life-begins-somewhere-other-than-conception” camp.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dewey’s Pragmatism vs. Poetic Knowledge

Here's a quote from James S. Taylor's Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education:

"[John] Dewey's so-called pragmatism, as it filtered down to the masses who largely never read a word he wrote, fit neatly into the American view of education for the good life. It was perfect, in its popular versions, for the American oligarchic man, that is, the practical businessman seeking not only to retain, but to increase his property and profits. Ideas were important to these descendants of the European industrial revolutions and the new notions of the wealth of nations, insofar as they worked toward increasing the common wealth of the country and the personal wealth of those practical and clever enough to succeed. The typical American businessman had no time for philosophy--he was smart enough to know it required real leisure--but he loved what he understood of pragmatism. Quite often the oligarchic man was honest, hardworking, and fair; he even might quote a poem or two he had memorized and enjoy reciting a verse on special occasions. But how could he ever see the use in pursuing a life of contemplation and leisure, since there was not "use" in these things anyway? And when the needs of oligarchic America begin to be felt in the schools and colleges, when schools themselves became more and more places where the "product" and "commodity" of education was "produced," then what there was of the poetic mode was assigned to the token English or humanities teacher, so that the students would have a practical sense of literature, history, and philosophy. Then, when schooling was finally over, the student could plunge into the "real world." (p. 102)
That's as far as I am into the book. This is not meant to be a review of the book, but the above quote seemed a great summary of Dewey's initiative and the resulting impact it's had on American education and culture. Here's a link to Matt Bianco's full review of Poetic Knowledge on his blog:
Buy the book here.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Rosie's Rainbow

My children regularly remind me that we are those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:2), which is good, because I often forget.

For example, a few weeks ago after a rain, my daughter, Rose, and I were strolling down our driveway on the way to Grandma's house. (She lives next door.) As we traveled east, the light from the sun setting behind us was broken down into a glorious arc of the visible spectrum, cast onto the sky before us. We were walking straight into an ever-increasingly visible rainbow. Instead of being suspended, it stood on the hills: two feet firmly planted on the horizon--a complete arc in between.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Narcissism Upside-Down

And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.   Matthew 22:39
The greatest commandment: love God.
Next: your neighbor.
In what manner? Like you love yourself.
girl-looking-in-mirrorWe’re each at the center of our own universe. It does actually all revolve around us. No matter where we go, there we are. Relatively speaking, we’re all ubiquitous to ourselves.
 I can’t make a single decision without wondering WWID: What Would I Do?
I can’t speak a single word without wondering: What would I say?
I can’t eat a single meal without consulting my appetites, or make a single purchase without considering my desires.
We know how to love ourselves. In fact, if we hate ourselves, we go against the very course of nature. “No one has ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it.” (Eph 5:29)

C. S. Lewis and Winnie the Pooh

transcribed by Marc Hays

The following quote is taken from the lecture, “Shelf Life: Reading, Thinking and Resisting the Tyranny of the Urgent,” by Dr. George Grant, who granted permission for such a lengthy quote:

This afternoon, my talk is going to be, essentially, an exposition of a passage. I’ll read the passage first, and then, we’ll launch into the exposition therein.
pooh_99_“Well, I’ve got an idea,” said Rabbit, “and here it is. Look, we take Tigger for a long explore. Somewhere he’s never been. And then, we lose him there. And the next morning, we find him again. And mark my words, he’ll be a different Tigger altogether.”
“Why?” said Pooh.
“Because, he’ll be a humble Tigger; because he’ll be a sad Tigger; a melancholy Tigger; a small and sorry Tigger; and an ‘oh, Rabbit, I’m so glad to see you’ Tigger. That’s why.”
It’s a wonderful scene, isn’t it? Pooh and Rabbit talking about Tigger, who is always so… …pompous. Always so full of ideas.
You know, Pooh doesn’t have a brain, as he constantly reminds himself and everyone else. And Rabbit, well, he’s a bright one, but he’s small and he knows he’s small and he can’t dominate the world. Tigger, he’s even more pompous than Rabbit, because he knows so much. He’s so clever. He’s like an academic. So, Rabbit and Pooh come together to imagine a way to make Tigger more bearable. And they hatch this scheme that will somehow bring Tigger to a place of repentance.

When Are You Ever Going to Grow Up?

“When I became a man, I put away childish things…”

Norman-Rockwell-Taller_thumb2For decades, American culture has been pushing the threshold between childhood and adulthood further and further from birth. This is being done in the name of science, which supposedly is just analyzing the data and then reporting the facts. A myriad of professions, from psychiatrists to psychologists to neurologists to anthropologists, are making the claim that the period of “adolescence” continues to lengthen. As many of these professions are built on evolutionary assumptions, the data is often treated as though this is simply the way things are. Perhaps it is simply the next stage of human evolution; the next stage of progress being a state in which the human being no longer wants to progress.

Lily Stepped Out of the Boat

 This article was originally published in April 2013.

And ne’er shall April 10th go by, from this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be remember’d. We few, we happy few, we band of home-schoolers. For he (or she) who competes in mock trial this day shall be my brother (or sister), be they ne’er so vile (or rather fearful), this day shall gentle their condition.  And other students in other tutorials will think themselves accursed they were not here. And hold their rhetorical skills cheap, whiles any speaks, who tried a case with us on April 10th.
Okay, maybe that’s a little over the top, but needless to say, yesterday was an amazing day.  Of all the rotations we make on God’s good earth as she hurdles around the sun, only a handful actually qualify for the statement, “I’ll never forget this day,” but yesterday was one of those days. Yesterday, my 13-year-old daughter, Lily, participated in a Classical Conversations mock trial held in the Justice A. A. Birch Building in Nashville, Tennessee, where the honorable Judge William E. Higgins presided.  But it wasn’t the ornate building, the friendly judge, the winning of the verdict, or the ice cream party afterwards that made the day unforgettable.  It was that Lily had something hard to do, and she did it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy: Quotes and Links

Here is the quote from G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy that we read at the CC Parent Practicum. I know it went by too quickly for many of you to write it down, so here it is in full.  Also, I have included some other quotes from the same book, as well as some links to follow if you'd like to become better acquainted with Mr. Chesterton. Most of work is found in the public domain, so it is free all over the place. All it will cost you is your time, which will be better spent reading Chesterton than many other writers. He has a logically imaginative way of thinking that is uncommon among men. I am always challenged, while at the same time encouraged by reading his work:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Power and Mystery of the Spoken Word

618px Eugen_Rosenstock HuessyEugen Rosenstock-Huessy was born in Berlin, Germany in July 1888. He received doctorates in law and philosophy from the University of Heidelberg. In 1917 he served as an officer in the German army and fought in the trenches of The Great War. Upon Hitler’s ascent to power in 1933, Rosenstock-Huessy immigrated to America, taking a position at Harvard, then later at Dartmouth College where he taught social philosophy until he retired in 1957. He died in 1973.

This being an internet blog post, you’re probably not planning on sitting here all day, so I’ll cut to the chase. The rest of the post will be a couple of quotes from Rosenstock-Huessy to set his flavor on your pallette, hopefully whetting your appetite for more. I’ll wrap it up with some thoughts about Rosenstock-Huessy by James B. Jordan.

This first quote is from his book, Magna Carta Latina: The Privilege of Singing, Articulating, and Reading a Language and of Keeping It Alive, which he co-wrote with Ford Lewis Battles, who translated and indexed Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can tell by the subtitle that this is not your average Latin grammar. The following quote is also a distillation of the second chapter of his book Speech and Reality.