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Myth 3

Time for Myth 3 in my summary series of the book “Seven Myths of Education”.

 

Myth 3:  The 21st Century fundamentally changes everything

Theoretical Evidence that this myth exists:

It is claimed that economical and technological change is the reason that we shouldn’t teach facts, that 21st Century kids need a totally different education from the one kids received in the past.

“21st century skills” is the buzzword to indicate that kids need something different.

The skills they are referring to are generally identified as “problem solving, critical thinking, creativity,  and interpersonal communication”.

It is claimed that kids don’t need to ‘remember’ anymore as we have created ‘external storage’ for those things (ie internet/computer), so, apparently, they don’t need to memorise and they don’t need facts.  This frees them up to focus on skills.

We are reminded that industries nowadays are quickly changing and often ceasing to exist all together.  Therefore, whole bodies of knowledge are becoming obsolete.  Eg.  In the 70s, students used to take secretarial classes, but, in many cases, nowadays, computers have replaced the need for secretaries.

Curriculums called these 21st century skills things like ‘core competencies’ or ‘transferable skills’ [or, as in the case of the Australian National Curriculum – General Capabilities]

Economic change is driving educational change.  The idea of a ‘job for life’ is apparently almost extinct nowadays, so, instead, educators are told to aim for ’employability for life’.  To do this, educators are supposed to focus on teaching these ’21st century skills’ because the education of the past, usually referred to as ‘the education used during the industrial revolution’, is apparently not sufficient.

Modern employers desire employees who can adapt, see connections, innovate, communicate and work in teams.  These are the things that are essential for economic success.  These skills are also transferable from one job to the inevitable next.  Hence, educators are expected to teach them.

When talking about new ideas (such as teaching 21st century skills), those that are embraced are generally those that make it into the minds of the public.  Sir Ken Robinson’s views on 21st century skills have reached millions worldwide.  His TED talk, “Changing Education Paradigms“, talks about how educators, in a fast changing world, should educate when they don’t know what the future will hold.  His answer was that students need to be taught collaboration and creativity.  He also has a talk called, “Do Schools Teach Creativity?“.  Basically, Sir Ken says that, since you can’t predict the future, you can’t predict what children will need to ‘know’ in the future.

Another highly popular presentation called “Shift Happens” [original version; 2017 version] makes similar claims – a fast changing society means that what you learn at the beginning of a degree could be outdated before you graduate, hence there is no point in teaching knowledge.  Simply focus on skills.

A teaching association published a paper titled, “Subject to Change”.  It says, “A twenty-first century curriculum cannot have the transfer of knowledge at its core for the simple reason that the selection of what is required has become problematic in an information rich age.”  Basically, we can’t teach knowledge because we don’t know which knowledge to teach, so let’s not teach any.

An organisation for economic co-operation and development says, “As access to information becomes easier and less expensive, the skills and competencies relating to the selection and efficient use of information become more crucial…Capabilities for selecting relevant and disregarding irrelevant information, recognising patterns in information, interpreting and decoding information as well as learning new and forgetting old skills are in increasing demand.” Basically, modern students need to be able to work with information – select it, interpret it, decode it etc – but they don’t need to know or remember the information because they can look it up somewhere.

 

Evidence that the belief persists in Modern Practices:

Modern curriculums are written with the goal of equipping students for societal and technological changes.

The 21st century skills vary slightly from place to place.  The RSA curriculum, “Opening Minds” has 5 essential skills that they use to organise their curriculum – citizenship, learning, managing information, relating to people, and managing situations.  This RSA curriculum does not teach subjects but rather organises learning into ‘projects’.  A school, called “School 21” (to highlight that they focus on 21st century skills), has 6 essential skills – professionalism, eloquence, grit, spark, craftsmanship and expertise.

[The Australian National Curriculum’s 21st century skills are literacy, numeracy, information and communication technology, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capabilities, ethical understanding and intercultural understanding.]

The UK’s national curriculum says that educators must improve the motivation and achievement of students, especially less able students.  They say this can be done by making lessons more dynamic and productive.  They say that the learning should happen in real contexts, for reasons that are made clear to the students and that the learning is relevant to the students’ lives.

Another teaching association said that we need to focus more on like skills and then seriously wrote a whole paragraph about the life skill of walking and how students need to be aware of the different types of walking necessary for different occasions eg strolling with no purpose, compared to rushing to get to the train on time.

 

Why is “21st Century fundamentally changes everything” a myth?

The author says that these skills, every one of them, are indeed important, but that there is nothing ’21st century’ about them.  Didn’t people in ancient and medieval times also need to solve problems, communicate, innovate, collaborate and think critically?!  So these skills are important and, perhaps, more so than ever before, as less skilled jobs are taken up by computers and robots.  This is to say that children need to be educated more than ever, and that they need the education that the elite received in the past, a traditional education.

Creativity and problem-solving have always been important skills but they are not unique to the 21st century.  In fact, the methodology supported by proponents of 21st Century skills, removing knowledge/content, will most certainly ensure that children don’t receive those essential ’21st century’ skills at all.

There is one way that things are different in this century – technology is playing a larger than ever role.  However, this truth has led to a number of fallacies.  It is falsely believed that there is no need for children to memorise when they can ‘Google it’.  It is also falsely believed that traditional knowledge is outdated, and, what currently isn’t outdated, changes so often that there is no point in learning it.  In the presentation, “Shift Happens”, it says that 1.5 exabytes of unique and new information is added to the world every year and that technical knowledge doubles every year.  It goes on to say that, because of this pace of information creation, information would be outdated before students graduated.  But that’s not completely true.  Lots of this new information does not disprove or supersede the previous information.  It builds on or requires the previous information in order to make sense of the new information.  Foundational information is rarely disproved so the statements on “Shift Happens” are hugely exaggerated.  Archimedes’s principle still holds true, Pythagoras’ theorem is still good and Newtonian physics is doing quite well also.  In fact, in Math, there is even less change, only extensions and refinements.

Given how much new information is being created each year, it is more important than ever to prioritise which knowledge is essential for children to learn.  There is so much information in the world that our students need mentors/teachers, more than ever, to guide them to the foundational information which they should start out with.  A kind of sorting of the wheat from the chaff.

The author also points out that most ‘first’ scientific discoveries for scientists used to happen around the median point of their career, after the scientist had acquired significant amounts of information within their field of study.  Nowadays, that age is being pushed further and further back as more information demands to be learned before those first discoveries can happen.  Therefore, more information doesn’t mean that we need less of it.

Once again, it seems that ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ is essential for continued progress as a civilisation.  Modern folk have benefited from the centuries of accumulated knowledge from billions of people.  The rapidity of achievement, in modern times, isn’t because people are getting smarter.  It’s because of what has been passed down to us and the fact that we stood on the shoulders of these people of the past so that we could see further and do more.  We know things that the greats of the past didn’t know, because they weren’t aware of it, however, we are throwing away that advantage when we don’t teach knowledge to our students.  We can not stop passing down this accumulated inheritance to our children.

The historian, John Roberts says that civilisation is the result of ‘the accumulation of a capital of experience of knowledge’.  If we stop passing on this accumulated knowledge to our children, what does this mean for civilisation?  We are already able to see the beginning of that answer in our current society and schools.

Job-related knowledge and skills do change and outdate, but, the foundational knowledge and skills do not.  Educators should teach this foundational knowledge and leave the job-related stuff to be learned on the job.  One co-founder of Wikipedia said that it was better to learn history than computer programming.  History will stay basically the same but programming will definitely change, probably several times.  It’s also been noted that newer ideas tends to change or become obsolete more often than older ideas.  Older ideas have already stood the test of time and will more than likely continue.  Despite this, current education systems rest in the idea that education must remain constantly new and up to date.  The irony of this is that this idea isn’t even ‘up to date’ or ‘new’.  Educators at the turn of the 20th century were saying exactly the same things.  They wanted 20th century skills to be taught to their students.

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Posted by on September 30, 2017 in Homeschooling Thoughts

 

Myth 2

Time for the next myth.

 

Myth 2:  Teacher-Led Instruction is Passive

Theoretical Evidence that this belief exists:

The author of “Seven Myths of Education”, states that many theorists are hostile towards teacher-led instruction, calling it passive and dehumanising.  They believe that teachers should arrange the environment and allow children to ‘discover’ the facts for themselves.  

Rousseau says that children find questioning tedious and tiresome.  He claims that their attention drifts and that questioning as testing is useless. He doesn’t believe that teachers should ‘teach’ reading, but, rather, arrange a stimulating environment, so that children are motivated to ‘pick up’ the facts they need for learning to read.  He writes that Emile (a fictitious male that carries the message in his books) taught himself to read through a ‘desire’ to read the little notes sent to him. 

Dewey also believes that children’s interests should dictate and dominate the learning of all things.

Freire says that education should be based upon discussion, dialogue and inquiry.  He says that inquiry is integral to being a human.  So, rather than transmitting knowledge, teacher and student should engage in inquiry and dialogue to co-construct knowledge.  Freire also says that the teacher should not be an authority, that both child and adult should be simultaneously student and teacher. 

Rote learning and memorising is heavily criticised by many theorists and educators.  “Drill and kill” is the derogatory term for memorising.  Rousseau says that Emile will learn nothing by heart as memorisation does not lead to understanding.

Learning facts by heart is thought to damage children by turning them into passive receptacles.  It is also thought to be ineffective as theorists claim that what the children learn is meaningless to them and that children are simply regurgitating facts.  More effective teaching methods are thought to be discovery focused; being a ‘guide on the side’.

 

Evidence that the belief persists in Modern Practices:

People assume that there is too much ‘teacher-led’ instruction in classrooms and that this explains why so many children are failing in the UK.  One UK university professor published research saying that one-third of uni students couldn’t learn independently.  He believes that this is the result of teacher-led instruction in schooling.  However, the UK Ed Dept requires classrooms to be child-led, not teacher-led so this assumption is faulty.  The UK Ed Dept has a lot of power and inspects schools and observes teachers.  It can close schools and punish teachers who aren’t teaching in the required way.  Hence, the assumption of ‘too much teacher-led instruction in UK classrooms’ is incorrect.  It’s suggested that the failure of students is the result of something other than teacher-led instruction. 

What is it that the UK Ed Dept demand of their teachers?

* little direction given to students

* limited talking from teachers

* students not given information

* students to discuss and share viewpoints

* students to find things out for themselves

* lots of group work

The UK Ed Dept does not support teachers teaching or imparting facts/knowledge to students. 

 

Examples are given of ‘ideal’ Ed Dept lessons where students ‘discuss’ content they already know in order to practise a ‘skill’ that the teacher desires to teach.  No new content is explicitly taught.

* Children write a radio broadcast script on an familiar issue of their choice.  The focus is on the skill, which the teacher is allowed to teach.  They do not, however, teach any new content.

* Children are asked to write a letter about school uniforms.  The topic is opinion-based and teaching is focused on how to write a letter. 

* The goal of the lesson is to learn about angels.  No content is given, however, the children are asked to discuss with their group what they think and these opinions are recorded as learning. 

* Children are given an assortment of newspaper articles to select from.  They select and read one that interests them and then create a presentation for the class.  Teaching  is given on the presentation skill but not the content. 

* Children role play various people effected by the logging of a rainforest.  Viewpoints are shared and assessed but no fact gathering is done. 

Lessons that focused on gathering information were criticised.  Instead, lessons where children spent time discussing issues, with limited input from the teacher, were praised.

 

Why is “Teacher-Led Instruction is Passive” a myth and not supported by evidence-based current research?

The practice that schools use is illogical.  They assume that learning independently is best learned by learning independently, that is, without direct, teacher-led instruction.

There are some abilities that we acquire naturally, simply by being exposed to them; for example, speaking and understanding what is spoken.  No one has to teach us these things; we only need to be exposed to them.  However, there are other abilities that are abstract inventions of civilisation and, hence, these require explicit teaching; for example, reading and writing.  Children exposed to the printed word may not necessarily learn how to use it correctly.

The same goes for scientific discoveries.  Newton discovered gravity when he saw an apple fall but how many others saw apples fall but did not discover gravity.  Archimedes worked out the principle law of buoyancy when he saw water displaced after an object was submerged in it.  Many others had seen the same thing but never made the connection that Archimedes made.  Once these breakthroughs are made, we can easily understand them if someone teaches them to us.  However, if we are left to ‘discover’ them ourselves, many people simply won’t discover them or will have imperfect understandings of them. 

Discovery is considered a highly inefficient method of learning.  Even theorists who support discovery learning call it “the most inefficient technique possible for regaining what has been gathered over a long period of time” (Jerome Bruner said this)

As Newton said, “we learn by standing on the shoulders of giants”. 

Practically-speaking, it is more difficult to learn new information when we have minimal guidance; this is due to our limited working memory.  Looking at a new topic or task can completely overwhelm the working memory when not given guidance.  When engaged in an inquiry-based task, working memory must search for relevant information from long-term memory to assist with the problem.  As the task is new and the guidance is minimal, the task draws fully on our limited working memory.  While working memory is completely engaged in this task, it can not use working memory to move anything into long-term memory i.e. learn anything new.  Therefore, giving students new complex problems and asking them to work them out on their own, physically prohibits new learning.  Research uniformly says that students should be explicitly shown what to do and how when given a new task.  So, basically, students can not move information to long-term memory (ie learn) while they are trying to make sense of lots of new information on their own.  Nor will the students be able to solve the problem without the relevant information in long-term memory to draw into working memory. 

Inquiry-based tasks are only suitable for students who have an extensive knowledge of the topic.  However, if they have been ‘taught’ using inquiry-based tasks, it’s unlikely that they will have extensive knowledge. 

New information combined with minimal guidance does not lead to effective learning.  It leads to confusion, frustration, and misconceptions.

Research shows that guided, teacher-led instruction is one of the most effective teaching methods.  The researcher John Hatti found that direct teacher instruction was the third most powerful factor of learning.  The other two factors that were higher were factors that are involved in direct teacher instruction – feedback and quality instruction.  Siegfried Engelmann started a highly successful teaching program based on these findings in the US in the 60s.  It was highly controversial as it contradicted the popular theorists of the day (theorists which are still held up today although research does not support their ideas).  Despite the outpouring of research pointing to the success of teacher-led instructions, trainee teachers are still taught constructivist (discovery-based) teaching methods today. 

An argument against teacher-led instruction is that it’s boring and demeaning.  In the wrong hands, it could be.  But if the teaching is not too hard and not too easy, then students will experience success and that leads to further success, which research has shown leads to high scores on affective measures (things such as self-esteem) compared to students in non-direct instruction environments.  The instruction should also be short and frequent so as not to bore the students. 

The author gives a quote from the biography of Winston Churchill, who repeated one grade level three times and was considered a fairly terrible student.  He describes being drilled daily and thoroughly on English grammar and, because he got three years of it, he says, “Thus I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence – which is a noble things.”  Hence, drilling and other teacher-led instruction turned a boy who was considered a dunce into one of the greatest orators the world has ever known. 

 

(In case you were wondering, each chapter of “Seven Myths of Education” is followed by pages and pages of references to research studies.  The author is not merely giving her opinion but summarising current research).

Our house is definitely not child-led or discovery-based.  However, I think we are more knowledge-led than teacher-led.  I rarely have the answers, so we read for knowledge.  So, it’s really printed-teachers, books, that lead our homeschool.  Even Ethan’s computer skills were teacher-taught.  I just wasn’t the teacher.  He learned from books, videos and others.  However, it was his passion that made him seek out those ‘teachers’…and I got to pay for them.  🙂

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2017 in Homeschooling Thoughts

 

Myth 1

I’ve recently been reading a book called “Seven Myths of Education” and a friend asked me about it, so I thought I’d summarise it, chapter by chapter, here.  Enjoy.  🙂

Myth 1:  Facts Prevents Understanding

Theoretical Evidence that this belief exists:

Rousseau is believed to be the earliest to say that children shouldn’t be taught facts but should instead gain experience for themselves.  He says that children might be able to recall the facts, but they can’t ‘use’ them or ‘understand’ how to use them in different ways.  Rousseau says it’s immoral to waste children’s childhood that way.

Dewey also said that children need to learn by doing.  He believed that children should be active learners; the implication being that fact learning is passive.  He says that facts are meaningless and without context.

Paulo Freire’s 1970 book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” (which is still popular among educators today) says that facts prevent understanding.  He implores teachers to avoid filling kids’ heads with content devoid of experience.  Freire is famous for his banking analogy – teachers depositing facts into students who receive, memorise and repeat those facts.  He says that children are ‘able’ to play this role but that it inhibits their creativity.

Even Charles Dickens chimes in with these educators with his school scene in his book, “Hard Times”, where the deplorable teacher, Gradgrind, says to give only hard cold facts to students.    The scene describes the children as little ordered vessels, ready to be filled to the brim.  Dickens holds a similar idea to these other educators – that children should not be passive receptacles.  The story goes on say that children who experience this type of teaching become broken or heartless.  Although not an educator, Dickens is held up as an inspirational educationalist.  (To be called a Gradgrind is an insult to a teacher; it implies someone who does emotional damage.)

All these people set facts against understanding, imagination, and creatively.

Evidence that the belief persists in Modern Practices:

Given the focus on testing in schools, you could be forgiven for thinking that modern educators are filling children with facts.  However, evidence shows that this is not the case

The author uses the UK National Curriculum as evidence of what is taught in schools as the curriculum is mandated by law.  She noticed that what was taught from 1999 was seemingly reduced in 2007, but a closer look showed a great reduction of subject content and a great increase of skills (skills such as “reflect critically on historical issues” and “use a range of historical sources”).  The UK National Curriculum explicitly claims to have less focus on facts and knowledge, and more on ideas and processes.  The Director responsible for the organisation who created the curriculum said that education should not be the transmission of knowledge, that the learning of facts should give way to the nurturing of essential transferable skills.

Bloom’s taxonomy also puts “knowing” at the bottom of his hierarchy of learning, promoting higher order thinking and implying that knowledge has less worth than higher order thinking skills. 

Modern educators certainly seem skeptical of facts and knowledge.

Why is “Facts prevent Understanding” a myth?

The author is by no means criticising higher-order thinking skills but stating that “knowing” (facts and knowledge) is not opposed to these higher order skills.  Instead “knowing” is an integral part of learning.  It is the foundation of learning.  Without “knowing”, you can have no higher order thinking. 

Rousseau, Dewey and Freire’s belief that ‘facts prevent understanding’ has been refuted by research in the last 50 years, so basing educational practices on their ideas is misguided.

Herbert Simon, a pioneer researcher of human intelligence, attempted to make a thinking machine; his ideas have been refined and honed over the years by others.  They’ve proved that facts, from long term memory, are vital to cognition. 

In recent years, we have gained a better understanding of long-term memory.  It is not a passive place to deposit isolated facts for later retrieval.  It’s a central, dominant structure of cognition.  Everything we experience or think is dependent upon and influenced by long-term memory.

When we want to solve a problem, we use both short-term (working) memory and long-term memory.   Short-term or working memory contains what we are conscious of.  To be conscious of facts from long-term memory, we have to bring them into short-term (working) memory.  So, to solve a problem, we need to have all the facts in working memory.  However, working memory is limited.  Recent research suggests that we can only hold 3 or 4 items in working memory at a time.  However, there are ways to stretch the limits using long-term memory and chunking.  Long-term memory has a vast capacity and can aid working memory.  Eg Remembering 16 random numbers in a hurry is impossible, however, remembering 16 letters presented as “The cat is on the mat” is easy.  It utilises chunked meaning from long-term memory.  Mentally solving 46×7 is possible because most of the information we need can be taken from long-term memory – the process of multiplying larger numbers, and the times tables.  Without these chunks from long term memory, it is impossible to mentally solve such a problem

Having facts in long-term memory, enhances the function of working memory.

We can store thousands of facts in long-term memory.  Related facts are gathered together into a ‘schema’; new facts are assimilated into their related schema.  Adding new facts to pre-existing schemas is easier than learning facts about totally new concepts.  Therefore, to have good conceptual understanding, children need more facts, not fewer.  Facts are not in opposition to higher-order thinking skills; they are integral to them.  These higher order thinking skills (or critical thinking processes) are intertwined with facts from long-term memory (and not merely from the environment or google!)

Bloom’s taxonomy of higher and lower skills implies that they can exist in isolation from each other.  In reality, knowledge and skills are intertwined, somewhat like the yolk and white in scrambled eggs.  Eg.  When learning to read, a child must learn facts – recognition of letters, sounds connected to letters, sounds connected to combinations of letters etc.  Learning these ‘facts’ enables higher-order meaning making.  As more phonetic facts are moved into long-term memory, the child’s ability to read and comprehend improves. 

Shakespeare, fed by rote learning, was not stifled by facts, but, instead, nurtured into a highly creative man.  All the knowledge he learned at school – history, language, speeches – was used creatively to produce thrilling theatre.

“Discovery favours the well-prepared mind”  and the ill-prepared mind (one without facts) will be devoid of higher order thinking skills.

Knowledge should be in place before you require higher-order thinking tasks.  Eg.  If you ask a child before they learn anything about rainforests, what it would be like to live in one, they might say that it was rainy.  However, after learning facts about rainforests, they could give much more sophisticated and informed answers.  When the knowledge base is not in place, you struggle to develop an understanding of the topic. 

Therefore, the author states that facts are essential to understanding

So, what do you think?  I happen to agree with the author.  I think her book is wonderful.   I highly recommend it.  🙂

 

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2017 in Homeschooling Thoughts

 

The Week That Was

Gosh, the weeks are just flying by.

I can’t believe it’s the holidays already!

This week, we spent a day with our favourite little people at Dreamworld.

(How do you get a 16 year old on a carousel?

Get a four year old to say ‘Pleeeeease’ in her sweet voice, with her head tilted to one side.)

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Isn’t this wee one sweet?!

Okay, so the ‘look’ is because I turned her hat sideways to get a cute photo.

She has an opinion now that she’s 18 months old.

Yes, that’s a book that Aunty Tracey bought her.

I’m pretty sure that Aunty Tracey has filled an entire bookshelf of books for her sweet little nieces.

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We did lots of things at Dreamworld that we hadn’t done before.

For the first time, we went to the shearing show.  It was worth the visit.

I wish that Dreamworld invested more time and money in entertainment and experiences like the shearing show,

rather than the thrill rides that only a limited group of people enjoy.

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We also saw the second tiger show.

We usually head to the morning session, where the tigers play in the pool.

But we heard that the afternoon show was different so we made a point of visiting.

It was different!

They demonstrated a number of skills that the tigers are trained to do that help with various things, like medical exams.

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Oh and just in case you are ever chased by a tiger…

don’t climb a tree.

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In the evenings this week, we’ve been watching the doco, “The War That Changed US”,

which was about Australia’s involvement in the first World War

and, in particular, how it affected the lives of several specific Australians.

The production was very well done.

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Of course, we’ve also been reading.

Yes, this is a picture book, but I bought it because the topic caught my attention.

I hadn’t even thought that graphs were ‘invented’.

Of course, they had to have been but it’s just something I hadn’t given a thought to.

So, I had to buy the book and find out more.

After reading it and becoming curious, we went and hunted for further info about William Playfair.

(See, there’s nothing wrong with picture books for teens if they move them to appropriate action.)

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We also read “The Language of Angels:  A Story about the Reinvention of Hebrew”.

Yet another topic that startled me and forced me to buy it.

Why did they need to reinvent Hebrew?

I didn’t know that Hebrew had been virtually lost.

Fascinating stuff.

Because of this picture book, we now have a biography on Eliezer Ben Yehuda coming

and plans to watch several documentaries on him as well.

Never doubt the value of a good quality picture book.

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We’re also reading this book called “Red Madness:  How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat”;

another book that piqued my interest and simply had to be read.

Have you heard of Pellagra before?  I hadn’t.

It’s a devastating disease of deficiency

and all the way through the first chapters of the book,

you are kept wondering, “What on earth causes it?”

Suffice it to say, if you are studying nutrition,

this would be a good book to add to your booklist.

Nope, I’m not going to tell you what causes Pellagra.

You’ll have to find out for yourself.  🙂

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Oh and this darling book…

I bought “The Snatchabook” for my nieces

and it was almost a disaster.

When I started pre-reading it, I thought, “Oh boy, this is going to scare the girls half to death”,

but I kept reading and was simply delighted with the ending.

So I gave it to the girls with the warning that they can’t give up half way through,

they have to read to the end.

They did and they loved it.

Then, of course, since I loved the book so much, I had to go and buy another copy for myself to keep.

Yep, I’m weird like that.  🙂

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In my own reading, I finished reading “Married to a Bedouin” this week.

It’s about a New Zealand tourist who falls in love with a Bedouin man, who lives in a cave in Petra,

and decides to marry him.

It was a GREAT read.  I highly recommend it.

It caused me to put Petra, Jordan, on my dream list of places to visit.

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Oh and my friend Sarah’s book just went live on Amazon recently.

She adapted Edmund Spencer’s “The Faerie Queene” into prose to make it more accessible.

But, at the same time, she kept true to the plot and language and created an adaptation that is well suited to teens.

I wasn’t actually expecting my boys to enjoy it.

I mean, a book with the words “fairy” and “queen” in the title isn’t usually high on a boy’s list of ‘must reads’.

But it was full of medieval battles, bold knights and evil to be defeated.

If you love Christian allegories, you’ll love “The Faerie Queene”.

My boys thoroughly enjoyed it…and so did I.

Having read Sarah’s adaptation, now I feel like I have the confidence to go forth and try reading Spencer’s original.

Yep, I definitely recommend Sarah’s adaptation of “The Faerie Queene”.

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We also went to the movies this week.

We saw the Emoji movie.

What can I say?

Meh.

Yes, the poo jokes were amusing.

Yes, the commentary about social media was spot on.

But, all up, this movie was pretty mediocre.

It reminded me of “Inside Out”, only the setting was inside a phone instead of inside a head.

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I scored some great shopping bargains this week.

I’m not usually in the stores enough to stumble across bargains like these

but I was certainly lucky this day.

We found this huge Lego set on a clearance sale for 50% off!!

It’s being stashed away for Christmas for a certain Lego lover.

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I also found an Usborne Picture Book Gift Set for 50% off an already bargain price.

My nieces will be getting these books.

Usborne books are great

and I always give the girls books for special events.

Okay, let’s be honest.

I don’t need an event to buy my nieces books

and they know who their literary fairy godmother is.  🙂

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Yes, we did some schoolish stuff too.

The highlight would have to be our soldering lesson.

We’re working through Jaycar’s “Short Circuits” volumes

and we’ve come to the part where you need to learn to solder.

Thankfully, Grandad knows how so we, of course, went to Grandma and Grandad’s house for that lesson.

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I got Dad to show me how to solder as well and I was simply terrible at it.

It’s not as easy as it looks.

You need steady hands to hold both items in the one small location until the solder has melted

and I do not have those steady hands.

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This is how Brayden’s circuit board turned out.

You can see his shonky first attempts

and his improvement.

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And what did all this soldering make?

Two alternating flashing lights.

Hey, we were thankful that it worked at all!

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In the mail this week, I received the book, “Seven Myths About Education”.

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You should check out some of her Daisy Christodoulou’s presentations.

This was one of my favourites as it gives a bit of an overview of what she believes.

She also gives the opposition a run for their money in this debate about whether facts should be taught in schools in this modern age.

Well, that was my week; a bit of a hodge podge.

I wonder what next week will hold.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2017 in Family Life, Homeschooling Days, My Library