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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Wobble, wobble

Friday (It seems like such a long time ago) I was invited to join some of the other parents at a luncheon to meet the new candidate for the charter school's head of school position, a position left mostly vacant after the current beloved head developed some unusual neurological problems just before the current school year began and finally had to return permanently to her native Baltimore for treatment. The potential principal's educational philosophy was very much along the lines of Charlotte Mason. She admitted that her rather radical ideas, including eliminating all workbooks and filling out her teacher's planner to satisfy the school's requirement but otherwise ignoring it and covering the subjects her way, had nearly got her fired from some of her early posts, but added that as a beginning teacher she knew she would die if she had to remain in that uninspiring, unfulfilling situation, so she pursued education the way she knew was best. It was exciting to see someone with such passion. I think she will be a good fit for the school.

On the ride home from the spelling bee in Tampa Saturday I had the opportunity to read the latest copy of The Link. There were several good articles including one by John Gatto on this country's need for more entrepreneurial thinkers and fewer uselessly educated college grads (contrary to what Bill Gates, dropout extraordinaire, proposed in his college-for-all speech.) Another column by a returning writer, Catherine Levison, author of several books on homeschooling the Mason way -- I had never paid much attention to Charlotte Mason, seemed a little too touchy-feely for me -- impressed me when she asserted that after dealing with recalcitrant kids and burning out at the end of her first year, implementing a few of Ms. Mason's techniques turned things around and now she's a happy mom with happy kids. And an article on the origins of the word "education" (not derived from "educere" meaning to draw forth, as educationists would have you believe, but from "educare," to nourish, to rear, to bring up) enlightened me.


The eternal question then is: Progressive or Classical?

Make it fun or just make them?

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