words

But I, of all people, know that sadness is an easy path to walk, once you set your foot on it. It travels down, and down, and down, and people tramp it with their possessions on their backs like a pack, the weight pushing them along faster and faster and faster, until they cannot stop. They cannot look up. They do not know that the secret is to lay down the pack, turn off the path, and go a better way.

The path behind is only the path ahead, if you walk backward. Do not let yesterday use up too much of today.

words of Sesay in Lisa Wingate’s Beyond Summer

2.3.11

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Fallacy Detectives

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Our family tried something new this fall. One morning per week, we joined other families in our local home education association for co-op classes.

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Somehow I was crazy enough to volunteer as teacher! A dozen students registered for the Logic course I suggested. Mostly young men!

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We gathered for an hour each week in the attic of a church building. [My dear son, Christian, was attempting to hide under the table in this last pic.]

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My informal course description:

A *new* class option is being offered for 7th & 8th graders during the 11:00 hour. I will lead a Logic class based upon The Fallacy Detective written by Nathaniel Bluedorn & Hans Bluedorn. Students will learn to spot common errors in reasoning. Authored by Christian homeschool graduates, this book was designed for students ages 12 and up. The Fallacy Detective is loaded with applicable cartoons, including Dilbert, Calvin & Hobbes, and Peanuts. We’ll use many of these illustrations to facilitate our discussion.

I purchased The Fallacy Detective this summer with plans for Christian to read the book independently. Plans change, of course! At first, Drama was the only class being offered for the 11:00 time slot. While Rebecca was enthusiastic about the Drama class, Christian’s reaction was less than positive. To alleviate the panic on his face (and likely that of other young men in the same age group), I found myself stepping forward in an uncharacteristic manner.

These 12 weeks undoubtedly stretched me. I enjoyed the course material, which was mostly humorous and mind-stimulating. I enjoyed seeing many students grasp knowledge and apply that knowledge enthusiastically. There were some things I did NOT enjoy, but I won’t detail those issues here. If you’ve ever been blessed with the presence of a group of 7th-8th grade young men, I think you’ll understand 🙂

If you are comparably insane, and you volunteer to teach logic to a group of young people, please contact me. I am willing to share my experience and improve your learning curve. Since most of the students in my class didn’t have access to the book, I literally taught the material. I created definition pages for all 28 fallacies and propaganda techniques. Each week I pinned the relevant definition and example pages to a bulletin board. I’m willing to share that Word document with you also—if you’re interested.

Whether you teach this book or simply assign it to your child, I highly recommend it. As the authors suggest, I would not teach it to students younger than 12. Although my children (with 18 months age between them) learn most subjects together, I consider logic (like math) best taught at their separate levels.

11.18.10

Drastically Different Despereaux

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Some changes are inevitable when books are made into movies. But with the enormity of variance in this instance, I am perplexed that author Kate DiCamillo endorsed the film.  Both were artfully produced.  Just drastically different.

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Check your library for the audio book. We listened to it during mealtimes over the past couple weeks. And then, we were blessed to view the movie inexpensively at our local cinema. We rarely step foot in the cinema; but a special film festival offered youth tickets for free, and my adult ticket for only $2.50!  By the way, The Tale of Despereaux film is rated G.  You may read a review here.

On our way home from the cinema, Circuit and Button mentioned several significant differences they noticed. Too many to count, really. I won’t mention specifics here. We encourage you to read/listen and watch to evaluate them for yourself.