Names Of Things

I wish people would say “hard” or “difficult” instead of “challenging.”

It’s impossible to tell what someone means when they say something is “challenging.” Eight times out of ten, “challenging” means, “I am trying to put a positive spin on something which is tearing me apart,” or, “I am too proud to say just how vexing I find the world.”

Filling A Void

I have begun work on my next writing project, which will be an 8000 word pamphlet which begins:

Greetings.

If you are reading this, it means your parents are considering whether or not they ought to enroll you in a classical Christian school. There are a number of directions things could go from here. As your parents learn more about classical Christian education, they may decide this is the perfect place for you, or they may decide to withdraw their application and look for a school which better suits your needs and convictions. They may decide they want you to become a student at this school, but their application is declined. Of course, your own thoughts and feelings about the matter are important, as well. If your parents want you to become a student at this school, but you are entirely opposed to it, it could mean the admissions office determines this school is not a good fit for you. 

The intended audience of the pamphlet is the 8th through 12th grader whose parents are considering whether to enroll him at “this school.” The pamphlet can be included in the packets which all classical schools have on hand for prospective parents.

The pamphlet will cover topics which classical-oriented subjects that teenagers care about most and will be written directly to teenagers, not their parents. It will also describe the classical approach to popular culture, taste, virtue, and so forth. I am writing it in the blunt, somewhat confrontational style that I usually lecture in, which I will actually inspire teenagers to read it.

I will sell this pamphlet (tentatively titled So Your Parents are Thinking of Sending You to a Classical Christian School) through my website as a PDF. It will probably go on sale in early March.

As far as I know nothing like this already exists, but classical schools have a great need right now to bolster their gatekeeping, and this pamphlet exists for just such a purpose.

Sayings

The less a man has to live for, the more desperately he clings to his life; the shallowness of Modernity has crowned medicine queen of the sciences.

Registration Is Now Open For The 2022 Gibbs Classical Online Summer Conference

You can learn more about the conference and register here.

Here’s the full rundown on the lectures I am giving:

July 8, 2022 (Friday):

Session No. 1 (10:30am EST): How to Set Your Classroom Apart as Sacred Space: Curriculum matters, but so do mood and atmosphere. Many teachers struggle to develop an atmosphere in their classrooms which is consistent with contemplation and conducive to learning virtue. In this lecture, we will explore the habits and ceremonies that set the classroom apart from merely secular space.   

Session No. 2 (12:30pm EST): How to Write, Implement, Explain, And Defend a Classroom Catechism: This lecture will both summarize and expand on the ideas presented in Something They Will Not Forget. I will offer a concise presentation of everything related to classroom catechisms, from authoring a good catechism to repairing a broken catechism mid-year.

Session No. 3 (2:30pm EST): How to Fix Your Faculty Development Program (and Attract Better Faculty): Most classical Christian schools have faculty development programs because their accreditation depends on it, and yet most high school teachers (rightly) regard faculty development programs as a waste of time. This lecture proposes dramatic changes to the average faculty development program—the sort of changes that will attract interesting, higher caliber teachers to your school.

Session No. 4 (4:30pm EST): How to Fight Senioritis: Seniors at all schools tend to become lethargic and bored well before the school year ends and classical Christian schools have many untapped resources to fight senioritis. Learn how adjustments to your curriculum and your senior thesis program can fight this problem.   

First Q&A session (7:30pm EST)

July 9, 2022 (Saturday):

Session No. 5 (10:30am EST): A Primer on Teaching Difficult Old Books: Old books require something of the reader which new books do not require, which means that old books come with a steeper learning curve. How do you teach a book which requires patience to students with profoundly atrophied attention spans? How do you teach something contemplative to students enthralled by raw sensuality? This lecture offers a few strategies for teaching to a tech-savvy generation.

Session No. 6 (12:30pm EST): A Primer on Teenage Psychology: It is not a sin to be a teenager. Nonetheless, many high school teachers become frustrated by teenage weaknesses and fail to capitalize on teenage strengths. In this lecture, I explore the teenage worldview and teenage prejudices with an eye toward helping teenagers understand maturity, marriage, and the virtues that make adulthood pleasant.

Session No. 7 (2:30pm EST): A Case Study on Teaching Theology to Middle School Students: It is difficult to teach middle school students any subject, but theology is particularly tough. Middle school students tend to be dogmatic in their opinions, despite having little experience of the world and almost no knowledge of the Bible. This lecture proposes several changes to your middle school theology classes that can help cultivate wonder and humility in 7th and 8th grade. 

Session No. 8 (4:30pm EST): Rethinking Your School’s House Program: Most classical Christian schools divide their student body into various houses (just like they do in the Harry Potter books) but student interest in house programs tends to run low. Why? This lecture explores the origins of the house program, the reticence most classical Christian schools feel over using houses the way they were intended, and what your school can do about it.     

Second Q&A session (7:30pm EST)

A High Recommendation

This book is a revelation. Memoirs of an upper middle class Austrian man who lived 1914 until 1998. My enjoyment of the book is likely buoyed by the fact I bought it while on holiday and simply because I liked the title and the cover. Nonetheless, every page offers something poignant.

Mesothelioma For A New Generation

You will know Covid is over when the lawsuits start.

I would say we’re in for twenty years of greasy lawyers running ads on local television which begin, “Did Covid safety protocols at your job cause you emotional or financial distress? You may be entitled to a large cash settlement.”