Sunday, October 6, 2013

Can Formality be a Form of Respect?

“‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.

When I was growing up my mom insisted I call some adults Mr. or Mrs. with their family name.  Mr. Geek grew up calling nearly all adults outside his family Mr. or Miss with their first name.  He also was taught to say Sir or Ma'am, where I was not.  Even the family titles of Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa also carry an element of formality important to teaching respect.

I believe this was a good thing.  When children learn to address their elders formally it becomes easier for them to learn to show respect.  I believe the two go hand in hand.  I say this with the assumption that the parents are already demonstrating respect in their home.

There is a woman in my church who teaches middle school science.  During Sunday School today she was talking about how disrespectful her students are with her.  If they're disrespectful with her then they are also disrespectful with other teachers, and authority figures in general.  

When I was in high school one of my classmates insisted on calling the teacher by her first name instead of her formal name.  He rarely did as she asked and showed her little respect in her own classroom.

On the flip side, I was in the grocery store a few months ago and got to witness an exchange between the young man bagging my groceries and the cashier.  He called her Miss <name> and said 'yes ma'am' and 'no ma'am'.  I couldn't help but be impressed with how well his parents taught him to show respect.

Mr. Geek and I are trying to teach our son to show respect through elements of formality.  I hope we do as well teaching Monster as the young man above.

1 Peter 2:16-17

16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Homeschooling Conversations

I know this picture doesn't completely match the post, but I thought a picture of my son and husband doing their father & son date at Lowe's Build and Grow was too cute to pass up.

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

My husband and I have an ongoing conversation about how to best school our son when he is ready to start kindergarten next year.  It's not a conversation we've had with too many people in our extended family, yet.  In some cases, it's not a conversation I particularly look forward to.  In a post from So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler she talks about being prepared to explain to our friends and families about our homeschooling decision.  So, in light of that I am going to practice what I would like to say.

Many of the public schools in the city we live has police officers walking the halls.  Mr. Geek and I agree that we don't want our son in that type of environment.  And our finances don't allow for private school, so that leaves homeschooling.  My reasons go deeper than that.  I want my son to do better than I have in a hundred different ways.  

I want him to have a close walk with the Lord from a very young age all the way through his life.  It's not to say that he can't have that same walk if he were in public schools, it's just that it would be harder.  Sometime down the road someone will fill his ears with the lies of this world.  It just should not be while he is a young, impressionable child.  My hope is that when that time does come he will have knowledge of the Bible to back up any lies he may be told.

No, I don't have a degree or teaching credentials.  But according to research homeschooled kids score at least 30% better on standardized tests than their public schooled counterparts.  I find that very reassuring considering I have a high school diploma, but no more.

My Monster is very smart.  He may not be a genius or a gifted learner, but is intelligent for his age.  I want him to not only know what is being taught in the public school systems, but my hope is for him to far surpass it.  I want him to have a love for learning to carry him throughout his whole life.  And I want him to understand what he learns.  This 8th grade exam from a century ago required the students to answer the questions in sentence form.  This ensured the students understood what they were taught.  I remember very few tests from school that weren't true/false or multiple choice.  I knew the material well enough to pass the tests but understanding the material may have been a different story.  That was evident when I took Economics in high school.  I failed all my tests that required long answers, but the tests that were multiple choice I passed.  

I have great respect for public school teachers.  I really do.  They have to teach a classroom full of children, usually around 25 to 30, while maintaining discipline.  But one teacher, or one teacher and an aide, teaching that many children gives little or no room for going back over material that the students may not understand, deviating very much from standard teaching practices, or individual attention to students who may need it.  Add to that the additional requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Common Core standards, while both noble in their intent, make the teachers' job seem impossible and, sadly, the students would be the ones to suffer.   

And, of course, the dreaded question that every homeschool parent gets; socialization.  Which would be better: a child who learns to run with the pack and does whatever he can to fit in? or one who learns to show respect and courtesy to everyone he meets?  Yes, I know this trait can be taught to a child who is public schooled, but I see it more evident in kids who have been homeschooled.  The Homeschool Scientist has a great post on this.

Do you homeschool?  How do you handle inquiring minds?
Deuteronomy 6:6-8
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.