Monday, January 12, 2009

Cross-Training


I just finished the Virginia/Maryland Celebration Tour. It was a lot of fun for me, though very exhausting to hold 4 events in essentially 52 hours, but I loved it all! I will be leaving this weekend for Florida - Orlando and Tampa areas, Friday, January 16 and Saturday, January 17th at 7pm in each location. I'm excitied about meeting the Tampa families especially as I have never been to their area to speak before. Please email all your interested friends and encourage them to attend.

Children are welcome. They can join the adults as we play games, tell jokes, win prizes, and put on skits. I'm ending each evening with a short reading from a chapter of my newest book that examines the theological framework of Christian education and the purposes of Classical Conversations. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the prizes and the opportunity to strengthen new friendships within our classical, Christian, home-centered educators community. (That's a mouthful to say!)

I entitled this blog cross-training because most of us can appreciate the value of cross-training muscle groups for enhanced physical activity, but we forget to apply the same logic to mental activities. As I visited with hundreds of families this past week, about 1/3 new to Classical Conversations, I heard lots of stories and answered lots of questions while eating lots of snacks. I continue to be in awe at the calibur of dedicated parents attracted to CC. Even the skeptics or those that are unsure of the classical model ask very intelligent questions, and push me to continually think through why we do what we do. I've concluded that one of CC's major accomplishments is providing cross training for the mind.

Pragmatically, you may feel utterly convinced that your child will never be a computer programmer. Really, even 40 years from now when computers will invade our lives in ways you have never thought imaginable? You may know that English is the international language of the world today, and everywhere you go it is spoken. So why waste time learning how to learn languages. Well, have you ever heard of Aramaic or Latin or French, languages previously spoken throughout known civilizations? Or are you sure your art enthusiast will never run the accounting operations for an international art distributor? Our children will live so long in so many countries working at so many tasks that they must be prepared for anything. Their minds need to develop a broad, liberal (meaning free to learn) perspective on many realms of God's creation.

So, when your 13 year old wants to know why they are studying Logic or your 14 year old wants to know why they are studying Latin, the best answer, after saying, "Because God created it", is "Because it is hard and I want you to develop the tools to make all obstacles surmountable." The Spirit will guide our children in their call to serve Him and His kingdom. We need to equip them with the ability to do very hard things. Cross-training our minds by conquering algebra, logic, latin, and writing enable us to join Another who conquer injustice, fear, poverty, and degeneration with a different kind of cross. Now we can have the confident hope that we can do all things through Christ if it is for His glory. Anything learned is cross-training for the next cross He will ask us to carry.

My greatest fear is that I will have put all of this effort into CC, only to discover that I totally missed the mark set before me; that my greatest purpose was done in by my own efforts and that I was too self-sufficient and not truly Christ-sufficient. My fear's are eased as I am able to spend time with you at events. I'd like to share the best story I've heard yet. One of our families was withdrawing a very hard-working student from her second semester Challenge due to the economic downturn. The Director was about to approach our leadership team for ideas for raising funds when she received a phone call. The 14 year-old girl would be back because she found a job so she could pay for Challenge herself. How can I ever quit?

Lord, please take the lowly efforts of this feeble heart and turn it all to your good.

Love, Leigh

4 comments:

brian-barker said...

I live in London and if anyone says to me “everyone speaks English” my answer is “Listen and look around you”. If people in London do not speak English then the whole question of a global language is completely open.

The promulgation of English as the world’s “lingua franca” is impractical and linguistically undemocratic. I say this as a native English speaker!

Impractical because communication should be for all and not only for an educational or political elite. That is how English is used internationally at the moment.

Undemocratic because minority languages are under attack worldwide due to the encroachment of majority ethnic languages. Even Mandarin Chinese is attempting to dominate as well. The long-term solution must be found and a non-national language, which places all ethnic languages on an equal footing is essential.

An interesting video can be seen at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8837438938991452670

A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at http://www.lernu.net

Leigh said...

Thanks for your comments on Esperanto. I visited the sites you recommended. They make the language seem very attractive. May the best language in the realm of ideas win!

Made To Organize said...

Dear Leigh,
I'm looking forward to meeting you in Columbia, SC on Thursday (1/22). This has been our first year homeschooling our boys and we are looking forward to joining CC next year, just a mile from our home! I'm bringing my mother with me, in the hopes that your information will encourage her and my dad to be equally excited about the benefits of homeschooling and CC as my husband and I are.
~Audrey

Made To Organize said...

Hi Leigh,
You gave me your book, Echo in Celebration, when I saw you last month on your tour. I can't begin to describe to you the weight that has been lifted from my shoulders since reading it. My boys are 20months, 4, and 6. This is our first year home schooling and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I've stressed myself out trying to find the "right curriculum" to teach my VERY young children science and history. I did not grow up enjoying those subjects, and have forgotten all that I was taught in school. As a result, I've been in a state of panic that I am doing my children a disservice by skipping those subjects (at least formally) this year. I have focused primarily on math, reading, and writing. Little did I know, I was teaching them the most important foundation!! They have been memorizing scripture, familiarizing themselves with flashcards, etc. I'm so excited to join Classical Conversations in August. Thank you for all the time and effort you put in to bring us "lay parents" the very best in home schooling information.
~Audrey Wilkerson