Because life is a series of edits

Archive for the ‘Parents’ Category

To Whom Shall Educators Go?

In Educators, Parents, Students, Veritas on April 26, 2012 at 9:55 am

Wednesday was a bad news day.

From the morning edition of The Oklahoman to that night's national and local newscasts, there was a lot I (Craig) found myself sighing over: a middle schooler in Enid gets beaten unconscious at school; a teacher aide (who actually worked with a friend of mine) at Southmoore high school is caught sexting photos of herself to sophomores.

To top it off, I got an email from a colleague at my former school telling me about a senior prank gone wrong. Apparently, the Head of School's email was hacked and the following message sent to the entire parent community:

"We would like to inform you of some small changes that will take place, this year, regarding Junior/Senior Banquet. As servants of God, we strive to protect our community. For this reason, we have arranged for condoms to be available at this event. Every male student attending will have the option of taking a complementary condom at the door. This is to encourage our students to practice safe sex. We hope that by doing this, we can set a positive example, so that other schools may recognize our efforts and take action against sexually transmitted diseases. Thank you, and have a blessed day."

Sometimes it's hard to see God at work, particularly in our schools and especially despite our human capability to really mess things up. And yet I read a quote on Wednesday from United Methodist Bishop Will Willimon that was particularly helpful in the midst of trying to do some good in the midst of that bad news day. Willimon wrote: "Scripture teaches that time and again, God refuses to be stumped by our inadequacies. Therein is our hope."

Indeed, therein is our hope. "Whom have I in heaven but you?," wrote the psalmist, "And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you" (Psalm 73:25). John records that, "Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69).

With four weeks to go, I take comfort that any hope we have cannot be in ourselves – which of us this time of year has anything left to hope in? In the face of what's ahead, let's confess to God, each other, and ourselves where our true and only hope is: in Christ, his love, and his grace. Pray this for yourself, your students, and our families.

This is what I'm praying for all of us these next four weeks.

Veritas Video Goodness

In Parents, Pedagogy, Students, Veritas on April 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Really proud of these videos produced for our Constructing the Vision banquet in March. Thanks to Veritas parent Jody Wickersham and all our parents, faculty, staff, and students for their good thoughts and inspiring examples.

Learning Together

In Parents, Pedagogy on March 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Dunhams 2012 (low res)

Ten months ago, Veritas Classical Academy seemed little more than the name of my (Craig's) new employer. Arriving in June, my family and I made a few acquaintances during the hottest summer on record, but it wasn’t until August – when we began to meet and get to know our families – that I began to understand how God had already been very much at work in the midst of our community.

This, of course, should have come as no surprise, for God has always educated his children:

  • Think of Adam and Eve in the Garden with their sons, Cain and Abel – the first family of homeschoolers (and you think you’ve got angst on homedays).
  • Then there’s God’s Patriarchal class – Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel (and Leah), Joseph and his brothers (how much of a dysfunctional co-op that must have been).
  • Consider Moses and the Israelites in the desert and the self-inflicted unschooling experience, with God shepherding his chosen people despite their disobedient choices to finally arrive in the promised land.
  • Think of how God educated his children Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the public school hallways of Babylon High (and got all kinds of grief for doing so from the Israelites who remained in Jerusalem).
  • Don’t forget God’s instruction of the dispersed and captive nation of Israel by way of the prophets and the first-of-its-kind distance-learning program.
  • Finally, consider how God the Father personally tutored God the Son, for Luke 2:52 mind-bogglingly records that, “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”

What is the Master Teacher teaching us at Veritas? It seems the curriculum is similar to the one Paul lays out for the Corinthians: faith, hope, love – faith in Aristotle’s unmoved Mover, hope in Aquinas’ Cause of effect, and love for each other and the One the Reformers insisted first loved us.

Are we learning? I think so, but as any serious student knows, there’s much to learn. By God’s grace and our parents' partnership, I’m glad we – with our children – get to do it together.

Parents as Teachers

In Parents on February 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm

3rd Grade
I (Megan) dipped my toes into the waters of substitute teaching on Tuesday this week, but then got pushed in full on Thursday. You know what? The water isn't nearly as scary as I was thinking it would be. In fact, I wouldn't mind going swimming again.

At Veritas, we have the unique privilege of partnering with professional teachers in the eduction of our children. Of course, I'm already teaching our own kids at home two days a week, but occasionally agreeing to partner in the education of other kids in our community can be very affirming, for you AND  the school.

Now then, group teaching isn't for everyone; there are plenty of reasons some people are called to be teachers and some are not. But I think, particularly in a blended model of education, there are more of us capable of subbing than we might think. This post is for those people.

Here are six reasons I think parents should consider being on the substitute list:

1) It's a great way to get to know other kids in our VCA community. Believe it or not, even as the wife of the Head of School, sometimes I feel a little on the fringe of what we're doing. Craig takes the girls to school in the morning and he brings them home in the afternoon on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. I'm really not on campus very much.

Substituting this week gave me a small sense of connectedness to the school as a whole. I chatted with more teachers than I ever have before (not a ton, but even three is more than none), and I got to know eleven new kids and, by extention, a little bit about our different families through them. I loved it.

2) We have great kids in our VCA community. Most of us think our OWN kids are pretty great (most of the time), but some might be surprised to learn we have a ton of great kids within our VCA community. They are funny; they are smart; they are respectful; they are lively; they are witty; they are awesome. I really enjoyed getting to know a new set of kids and I was encouraged in our decision to be part of this community. These are kids I want my kids hanging around!

3) It's not as scary as it sounds. Really. It isn't. I was nervous all the way to school on Tuesday, but once I got there and saw the schedule and the plans, I relaxed a lot. I could do this. Y'all, I've BEEN doing this at home all-year long! Sure, it's different doing it with a classroom of kids all the same age, but I don't think that's a bad thing. I loved getting up close and into what the kids are really doing on their school days.

4) You don't have to teach SWR (Spell to Write and Read) to the class. There is help for the hopeless (me). Really, if you know this program well and are comfortable doing it, you can, but if you need help, help is there to be found. Whew!

5) You can earn a little spending money. No, it's not a lot, but it's not nothing, either! And you don't have to do it one day just because your name is on the list.

6) We have great teachers in our VCA community. I mentioned our GREAT kids and it's true! But we have GREAT teachers, too. Unfortunately, sometimes our great teachers get sick, or (because many of them are parents of Veritas students themselves), sometimes their own kids get sick. Honestly, sometimes they need a break, and sometimes they need us to help them.

Our substitute list for all campuses is short, and we really need parents on it. If you're part of our commuity (or if you're at a different but similar kind of school somewhere else), please consider this a plea to sign up to substitute teach.

Really. You can do this.