Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Doh! I've been reading instead of blogging.

Well, goodness.

Thank you all for your thoughtful, encouraging words on my last post. I really do feel supported by kindred spirits -- especially since my followers list is quickly creeping up to the 100th person mark!

I feel like I should have a giveaway in honor of the occasion to thank you for bothering to keep up with me! (And to make up for not posting in over a week -- sheesh!) And, what should I give away?

Why, a book, of course! ('Cause I really can't think of anything better.) Which book, I have no idea yet. But may I tell you what I've been reading while I've been neglecting the blog?

From this week's stack:
  • For the Children's Sake: Foundations for Life and Home, by Susan Schaeffer Macauley. Oh, this was SUCH a lovely book. Macauley beautifully describes Charlotte Mason's gentle, balanced, respectful and absolutely Christian approach to parenting and educating children. Find it, and read it now!
"But what is more important than all, God is no longer the God of one tiny piece of matter which we call the Earth; He is the Creator of millions of stars stretching away into the remotest depths of space. In such proportion as the modern astronomers have enriched our conception of 'heaven and earth' beyond that of the Hebrews, by so much should our generation have increased our conception of the greatness of God."
  • The History of the Ancient World, by Susan Wise Bauer. I've been recently bothered by the gaping hole in my head when it comes to knowledge of history. So, after we checked out Bauer's Story of the World on CD from the library a month ago, I decided to request the grown-up version, too. I'm working through it very slowly, but it's really fascinating.
  • Raising a Left-Brain Child in a Right-Brain World, by Katharine Beals, PhD. Yeah, you read that right. Maybe you've heard of Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World? Well, I suppose what kind of world it is depends on whose brain is making the observations! Beals' premise is that traditional left-brain methods of teaching are being replaced by more right-brained methods, particularly group work, oral participation requirements, and hands-on activities, which pose challenges for smart, introverted, left-brained kids with bad handwriting who would otherwise do well in school.
I could relate to much of what she said from my own experience in grammar school, even though that was 25 years ago. I was often confused by my literal interpretation of badly written test or homework questions; I was marked down on math homework for "not showing my work" even though the answers were all correct; I was frustrated by open-ended projects. And I don't even consider myself extremely left-brained. I could see much more of my husband in this book.

The author, on the other hand, is an extreme left-brainer who makes her points quite clearly, but does not hide her disdain for right-brained educational theories, including project-based learning and non-academic "discovery-oriented" methods! (This, I found highly amusing in my own quirky way.)

I'm sure which kind of teaching happens in a classroom varies quite widely, and probably both books address important issues. I think it's likely that my kids are more left-brained than right, but I'm not sure the line is drawn perfectly straight. Eldest and I are quite visual, we just don't care to express our thoughts in two-dimensional images. Mainly what I took from this book was affirmation that structure and sequential, direct instruction are perfectly appropriate for certain types of thinkers. Surprise, surprise!
Alright, enough blabbing from me tonight. Maybe I'll get to post what the boys are reading before another week goes by!

3 comments:

The Surviving Mom said...

I am with you on books! I LOVE them. So much so my library knows me by name haha :) Have a wonderful week ~Jessica

Lift Up Your Hearts said...

Funny! I was just thinking last night that you hadn't blogged in a bit and I was wondering where you were. :-)

mandy @ bona fide mama said...

Sounds like a great way to be spending your time. And congrats on the huge following. I've noticed my numbers growing ever so slowly and I am terribly thankful!

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