Friday, May 8, 2009
This year we've been using Tapestry of Grace for many of our subjects. Part of the program includes a time of discussion over what they've retained from their reading. It holds them accountable for their comprehension and then gives me the opportunity to help (the older ones, at least) start to make some mental connections. We discuss the ramifications to certain belief systems, talk about the correct Biblical response to certain things in history and many other next level of logic thinking. Thankfully, I have a wonderful teacher's manual that walks me through the Socratic method of "teaching by asking questions".
This discussion time has the potential to really be a drag because it makes them really mentally work for the information. No multiple choice or true/false here! They have to synthesize, analyze and then present (in complete sentences) orally their case for what they've learned. It can take a lot of brain power! So, I instituted Tuesday (or sometimes Thursday if we had a heavy reading week) Tea. I break out all my wedding china, make some fancy luncheon sandwiches (really just PB&J cut into 4 triangles!), put out some hot water for their tea and we have our discussion over tea. It has really caused the discussion time to become a highpoint in our week. They look forward to having something to say that makes them sound knowledgeable.
I love that we are creating memories and learning at the same time. And, it really is giving me a window into their minds. I love that I can see them make big, mental connections to heavy weighty topics. It is spurring them on in their convictions and causes them to wrestle with their worldview. We've covered some pretty meaty stuff like: how to witness to a Buddhist, the understanding of covenants, persecution in history and how it could be our future, the danger of humanism, the effect of the desire for power, and my favorite- their personal faith testimony. It was interesting to see them be honest and transparent as they questioned their own faith to see if it was true.
I wouldn't trade these moments for anything!