Friday, October 28, 2011

Interesting Communion Quote

Pastor Weedon had this posted this on his blog over three years ago, but I absolutely love the quote, which is from Johannes Bugenhagen, Martin Luther's pastor, and it describes their practice of allowing children to communion in the Reformation era:

"After this confession is made, also the little children of about eight years or less should be admitted to the table of Him who says, 'Suffer the little children to come unto Me.'" (Concordia Triglotta, p. 82)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Under Construction

Yes, I'm messing around with the template. Unfortunately, in my earlier posts, I'd messed around with the font colors, and what I didn't know, is when I change templates, it doesn't change the ones that I had deliberately coded differently. That means that when I change a template, some of these posts are very difficult to read or completely invisible.

Big mess.

So I'm trying to find an option that will keep those things visible.

In the meantime, sorry. This really looks awfully bland to me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Homeschooling and Structure Revisited...again and again and again

When we started homeschooling when Chris was five, I didn't answer the phone during the time I'd set aside for lessons. Nothing interfered, and we went through what we were supposed to and got it done. Sometimes while rocking in a hammock in the backyard, but we got it done.

I remember seeing a title of a book called "Homeschooling is About the Baby." I think it was locally produced But what the author was trying to say is that homeschooling is about life, life has interruptions, and when someone needs you, that comes before a textbook. So things went on hold and worked around naps after we had Maggie. When we moved here, we took a long time to get back into any kind of structure.

We have always been a late to bed, late to wake up family. In some ways this has hurt us, but fighting against that too hard made it more difficult. Though there have been times that I have tried.

My perfectionism also has gotten the best of me, and sometimes I drove myself during times that my kids needed a break, or I did...and regretted it later. And this has led to the other extreme...doing almost nothing.

I have found that sometimes these nothing times, where my children pursued their own interests have been some of the times that they learned the most, and sometimes the very thing that I was pulling my hair out trying to teach them.

For us, though, I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. I have a classical philosophy when it comes to homeschooling, but unlike many homeschoolers, it does not come out in a structured expression. Instead, having my children surrounded by classical ideas, in an environment that values history, literature, and the historical liturgy to a large extent creates a classically educated child. I've seen this in my unschooling friends.

However, I find if we don't have something, I feel like I am pulled around in many different directions, and I go just as nuts as if I am hyper-structured (its not pretty when I am hyper-structured). I think I am returning back to the Charlotte Mason fold.

Short lessons, living books (avoiding textbooks, for the most part...books that are devoted to a particular subject or range of subjects and are clearly written by someone who cares for the topic they are writing about), how things are related (Charlotte believed that education is the science of relations, not merely a conglomeration of separate topics) more emphasis on art and literature, narration to show that the children know the topics, these things have worked well for us in the past, here's hoping they do in the future.

I do struggle with incorporating art into our work, but I think it will help the kids if I figure out how to do it.

So now as the hyper-activity period of September and October wrap up and people stop wanting to socialize with each other and want to hide in their houses, looking at "doing school" becomes more practical.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

That Annoying Little "Commissioned Minister" Status

In the LCMS, we've always had a strong doctrine of what it means to be called. It was a term reserved for our clergy, our male clergy (we only have male clergy).

Ministers have certain protections under the tax system. They balance out the additional penalties that Ministers get because they are regarded as self-employed by the Social Security System, and therefore must pay the full 15%, and are regarded as employees by the IRS, and therefore get no tax breaks as self-employed.

Way back, the Synod decided to invoke the title "commissioned minister" upon our male teachers. Since they don't get paid well, and they have families to support, lets extend those benefits to them. Then, of course as female teachers became more prominent and didn't necessarily stop teaching just because they got married, and because it was sexist and the title was meaningless anyway -- it was extended to female teachers as well.

All of this goes against the good sense of reserving the title of Minister for the clergy. It confuses our doctrine. Since this has happened, the Office of the Ministry has lost some of the respect that it once had.

Now, because of the nebulousness of the "commissioned minister" title, an LCMS school teacher has opened the flood gates and given the Obama Administration exactly what they always wanted, the possibility of applying discrimination and employment laws to the Church. She signed a contract when she received a call as a "commissioned minister" but now argues that she really wasn't so that she can win a discrimination suit. I don't envy her health issues, and am not sure why the church school contracted another teacher instead of bringing in a long term substitute -- maybe one wasn't available, but they shouldn't have contracted a teacher to fill her position for the entire year. But the Obama Administration is using this as an opportunity to argue that the nondiscrimination laws are so unbiased that they need to be applied to church situations as well. Here's another story as well.

And...the school is closed down. They've partnered with another church, but these children are not hearing God's Word, and the battle is before the public eye. I'm sure Satan is happy.