Monday, April 27, 2015

Is your curriculum really all that different?

I've mentioned some of the things we want to accomplish with the Scratch curriculum. But you may still be wondering if it will really be all that different from all the curriculum that's been written before. Here's a little more info with the why and how I'm designing this curriculum differently to accomplish transformational education:

  • Integration: Something everybody in education talks about but nobody does. All of life is integrated, such that everything somehow depends on everything else (the butterfly effect is coming to mind), so why do we try to teach in comparmentalized subjects and refuse to give them up? Education is only as effective as students can use it, so why don't we have students building on the basics of learning across all "fields"? Besides having the students build projects that present facts they're learning in other subjects, our curriculum outline has them practicing their composition and math skills in their "computer" class. 
  • Relationships: Did you know that the grade system was designed by John Dewey as part of his effort to destroy Christianity? In early American education, all the kids in town were in the same schoolroom learning together. The older kids would help the younger kids learn. Dewey knew that the more he could separate children from their elders, and even from older children, the quicker he could change the thinking of coming generations. We're working to reverse that by building in projects in which older kids present to younger kids and teach them. We also encourage the schools to schedule a day for the parents to come see what their kids have accomplished. God teaches us through our relationships, and so this curriculum is designed with that in mind. 
  • Worship: We can talk about a Christian education all day long, but it doesn't amount to anything if the kids aren't learning to do everything they learn to the glory of God. I've included artistic programming projects designed to give kids practice using the computer to compose worship pieces.

Please continue to pray for me as I correspond with ECWA and develop this curriculum, for continued wisdom and enabling.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Choppy waters

I like to think I'm pretty fearless, at least when it comes to things I should be able to get my mind around. I am quite friendly with spiders. I've enjoyed shooting and martial arts classes. When I'm getting stuck with a needle, I watch with interest. I can speak to a crowd. I can go to a not-so-safe part of Africa with no anxiety greater than "did I get all my paperwork right?" I've subbed classes of sixth graders.

But I don't care for thrill rides. I'm not afraid of them; I'll get on them for the sake of socializing. I just don't like the feeling of g forces and adrenaline. Maybe it's from being prone to motion sickness.

That's sort of the feeling I get when life gets uncertain. I know God has a plan, and that He will work it out for the best if we trust and follow Him. But there's still that tightness in the stomach, the sense of strain.

Oswald Chambers (I believe; can't find the reference) said, "Huge waves that would frighten the ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them." Sometimes I get that. I can be excited about things that dismay a lot of people. But other times, I'm gritting my teeth.

TEN3 is looking at some rapid changes in the coming months. We will probably be losing some important personnel. I certainly can't say I feel good about it; I greatly value my colleagues and will miss working with them. And it also makes me wonder, we've been such a small and in some ways weak organization already, struggling to get things going … how will we continue?

Lord, teach me to so trust You that I can embrace every wave, knowing that though things may be lost, You will see us exactly where You want us. Teach me to recognize and trust Your hand in all the ways You work. Teach me to rejoice always, and pray without ceasing.