Aside

EdChat Radio (podcast): Discussing Racial Topics in School

I worry this is a limitation of homeschooling, especially homeschooling more on the unschooling side of the spectrum: that topics that are uncomfortable will go untouched.

One of the reasons we do things as a community effort is to contend with perspectives outside of our own. I guess “socialization” could be an umbrella term for it, but this is such a contentious term in homeschooling circles that it might not be useful to apply to the issues I’m considering here.

http://www.bamradionetwork.com/edchat-radio/3999-discussing-racial-topics-in-school-why-what-how-when

More:

https://departmentofparenting.simplecast.fm/episodes/48621-how-to-talk-about-race-with-your-kids

http://mashable.com/2016/02/18/how-to-talk-about-race-kids/

Aside

Codeswitch (NPR): A Letter from Young Asian Americans to their Families about Black Lives Matter

BLM has been really the most misinformedly maligned political movement of late, but as such it’s done a real service in provoking hard conversations about our country’s history and current racial realities (as has Standing Rock).

Asian-Americans often stand in a uniquely liminal space in these conversations.

http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/07/27/487375314/a-letter-from-young-asian-americans-to-their-families-about-black-lives-matter

Related:

Catechism: Good-Natured

Standard

Q9. What is creation?

Creation is God’s making everything out of nothing by His powerful word in six days — and all very good.

Exposing kids to nature is a trendy topic in education and child-rearing these days, perhaps as a reaction to our technologically-dominated environment. Yet nature has always had much to teach us. About the power of the God who created all of it from nothing. About His intelligence and care. About the fragility and resilience of complex, interdependent systems. About our heavy role as stewards. About the fruits of intense study. About the still blessed abundance of beauty, surprise, and pleasure in a fallen and savage world. About the simultaneous big-ness and tiny-ness of it all. About faith in things unseen. About the grace to witness marvels.

It is not enough to read and read about and listen to and even converse with a great artist, no matter how articulate or self-reflective they might be. You must see the art. You may study the biography and investigate the context and parse through all the erudition, but you lack for something until you see the art, even if it is marred by time and circumstance. There is some connection, some sensory understanding, that is irreplaceable without confronting the thing made.

I’ve started watching on Netflix the documentary Fannie’s Last Supper, where Chris Kimball and a crew picked off from America’s Test Kitchen attempt to meticulously re-create a 12-course Victorian dinner. He argues that going through the trouble of actually making this food and then tasting it unravels constant insights about the period, and about Farmer herself.

I think that’s why we have this impulse to create, to invent, to make. We learn so much when we engineer a solution or express an inchoate internal state. But we also risk congratulating ourselves and looking not up to He who made us but only down to the worlds we have made. Reflecting in nature helps take us out of that.

So I encourage you to take the kids outside, wander through a park, crouch down to see some bugs, test some tree branches, spot an animal, and consider what’s so very good about it.

Pop Quiz, Hot Shot

Standard

In an episode of The Department of Parenting a listener provided the following parenting quiz (taken from Freakonomics). Try to determine which option in each pair is suggested (according to currently available research) to have a significant impact on a child’s long-term welfare while the other option seems to have a negligible effect:

A B
1. highly educated parents family being intact
2. quality of neighborhood socio-economic status
3. age of mother (30 or over) mother staying at home (not working) from birth to kindergarten
4. pre-school attendance (Head Start) low birth weight
5. English spoken at home regular visits to museums
6. use of corporal punishment being adopted
7. parent involvement in PTA frequent screen-time (TV)
8. parent regularly reading to child existence of many books in the home

Continue reading

Catechism: Nature and Nurture

Standard

Q8. How does God carry out His decrees?
A: God carries out His decrees in creation and providence.

First, a re-post from two years back:

…God is not only the First Mover and the Great Clockmaker who set the universe in motion with an awesome design, but very much a God involved and invested in history and human lives. He is not only a God of order and consequence, but a dynamic, relational God who is willing to disrupt creation itself to show His glory.

As parents and ambassadors, we must take pause here and reflect on whether we telegraph this truth in our lives. Do we give God the credit out loud? Do we recognize his sovereignty and purpose both in creation and in active intervention? Does his Name only get invoked in our households on Sundays and meals, or is he ever-present in our discussions and chatter? Is he seen as Author and Lord and Friend, a Savior for once and for every moment thereafter?

This may be something that we must constantly repent for: that our children does not yet clearly see what we tell them to be true — our utter dependence, gratitude, and love for Him.

This time around, my thoughts turn to epigenetics and the ever-roiling debate of nature versus nurture. Is genetics destiny? How crucial is it that we live in the right neighborhoods, send them to the best schools, give them access to museums, summer camps, tutors, and extra-curricular activities? Does it matter that we pack their lunches, give them hugs, or have family worship?

It’s helpful for me to reflect that God is both Creator and King. He set the environment — and made us as we are — but he also actively intervened in his providence. He made covenants, enforced consequences, provided vision, and even sacrificed His life.

It is instructive to know that God in his omnipotence and perfect design could not prevent us from falling astray. And in his love, he would not relent in restoring us.

It comforts me to know that our fate is, and has always been, in His capable hands, not ours. We can relax the anxiety of our grasp — and enjoy partaking in His decrees.