Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Public Schools, Take II

A while ago I posted on the public schools, and it was revealed to me, gradually, that I didn't do it in a very loving manner. So I'm going to try again, hopefully better this time. I think it is important to speak out on a matter this important. I believe I speak truth (if I didn't, I'd change my mind!), and this is something I've studied for some time now.

At the same time, I recognize fully that this is not a matter of orthodoxy. No doubt I will welcome many people in heaven who think well of the public schools.

Finally, and in connection with the previous point, I am here speaking against the public schools as an idea, and by my definition not against those who hold this idea. Surely this is possible. In one of the Corinthians, Paul says that we demolish strongholds that set themselves up against Christ, and take every thought captive. We do not demolish people. Therefore, it is entirely possible to attack ideas without attacking the people who hold them. No doubt, also, I am wrong about many things. It is always easier to find the faults of your neighbor than to find them in yourself. Which is why we should exhort one another, though it may not always be pleasant, either to do or to hear.

First off, one really great resource is Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, by Douglas Wilson. That is a simply fantastic book. Yes, Mr. Wilson is not hot on the idea of public schools; but he is not just a critic. He has given us a solution to the problem that is now one of the major paradigm shifts in education.

I have some major issues with the public schools. They are on a number of fronts, so I'll list them in some orderly fashion.

1. Firstly, and by far the most important, God is left out of the classroom. I really don't think this is a matter for debate, the fact that this happens. Given the modern mantra of the separation of church and state, and the way that sentiment has been interpreted these days, the fact that this has happened is really beyond all reasonable doubt. R. L. Dabney once wrote in his pamphlet On Secular Education, "We have seen that their [public schools'] complete secularization is logically inevitable. Christians must prepare themselves then, for the following results: All prayers, catechisms, and Bibles will ultimately be driven out of the schools."

My response to that is several-fold. The first is to note that R. L. Dabney lived from 1820 - 1898. This was well before, obviously, prayer was banned from the public schools. So it seems Dabney had some prophetic insight.

The second is surprise: they had catechisms in the public schools?

So God is left out of the classroom. So what? Well, the so-what is that there is no neutrality. Period. If you are not with God you are against God. If you leave God out of the classroom, yes, even out of math class, then you are saying that God doesn't matter. God isn't really sovereign, because look, we can do all this on our own, without Him.

Following this thought to its logical conclusion: the public schools are therefore teaching secular humanism. Why should I, a Christian, pay taxes to support a system that is teaching something completely antithetical to my entire being? You might object, saying that education is what we need to keep the kids off the streets. You might say that an educated society is a better society. I see it differently. Wisdom is not measured in academic degrees and lots of letters after your name. Knowledge, understanding, and wisdom are not the same thing, though they are related. I know many people without Ph.D.'s who are wiser than I, who am, Lord willing, about to receive mine. Knowledge and even understanding are not enough to change a person's heart. Only the Holy Spirit, working with the Word of God can do that. In other words, education is not our savior, and it never will be. It is a very great good, there's no doubt about it. But it is not sufficient to save people, and it is not sufficient to prevent crime. If you educate a person's mind, but not his heart, you will only get very smart criminals.

2. The separation of church and state, as an idea, is not so far away from the current system as its proponents would have us believe. The modern US public school system was begun in the mid 1800's by the heretical Unitarians, who had recently taken over Harvard. Their goal? To oust the Calvinists. Regardless of your religious affiliation, that is hardly a noble goal of education. For confirmation of these claims, I recommend reading Is Public Education Necessary?, by Samuel Blumenfeld. He goes into a detailed history of the beginnings of the public school system, and has a very large number of footnotes of original sources: Horace Mann and Robert Owen in particular. It's well documented. What I've said is only a summary of what he said.

3. The academic standards of public schools are less than they might be. I will quote some figures from a study done in April of 1983 called A Nation at Risk. I know you might think this study is out-dated, but I tend to think otherwise. The study fits with my experience teaching calculus at Virginia Tech. This is a study done entirely from within the public schools system. In other words, this report is what the public schools are saying about themselves.

a. Some 23 million American adults are functionally illiterate by the simplest tests of everyday reading, writing, and comprehension.

b. About 13 percent of all 17-year-olds in the United States can be considered functionally illiterate. Functional illiteracy among minority youth may run as high as 40 percent.

c. The College Board's Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) demonstrate a virtually unbroken decline from 1963 to 1980. Average verbal scores fell over 50 points and average mathematics scores dropped nearly 40 points.

d. College Board achievement tests also reveal consistent declines in recent years in such subjects as physics and English.

e. Many 17-year-olds do not possess the "higher order" intellectual skills we should expect of them. Nearly 40 percent cannot draw inferences from written material; only one-fifth can write a persuasive essay; and only one-third can solve a mathematics problem requiring several steps.

f. Business and military leaders complain that they are required to spend millions of dollars on costly remedial education and training programs in such basic skills as reading, writing, spelling, and computation. The Department of the Navy, for example, reported to the Commission that one-quarter of its recent recruits cannot read at the ninth grade level, the minimum needed simply to understand written safety instructions. Without remedial work they cannot even begin, much less complete, the sophisticated training essential in much of the modern military.

I have skipped several of these indicators that the study has produced. I'm going to assume that you have the idea.

4. We are spending too much money on the public school system, without the results we should justly expect to obtain. Here I will quote from Douglas Wilson's book that I mentioned earlier:

"The nation's largest and most powerful union, the National Education Association (NEA), fully backs this assertion that the problem can largely be understood as a lack of funds. Michael Kirst, a past president of the California Board of Education, writing in an NEA publication, says, 'Excellence costs. No other assertion in the entire debate on education reform is more on target, further beyond dispute. And yet many people . . . do dispute this claim . . . . The deplorable condition of many of today's schools - the scarce resources, the underpaid staffs, the sparse curriculums, the unsafe facilities - proves again that excellence costs and that the states cannot adequately meet those costs.'

Fortunately, money being the quantifiable thing that it is, this is one suggestion that can easily be checked. Lack of money does not appear to be a factor in the decline of academic achievement. For example, in the school year 1959/60, the total expenditure per pupil in the United States was $1,699, while in 1985/86, the figure had risen to $3,937 (and these amounts are in constant 1985/86 dollars). And what was happening to test scores over a portion of the same period? In 1966/67, the SAT average for college-bound seniors was 958. By 1985/86, the scores had fallen to 906. In other words, test scores are falling, money is being spent furiously, and the lack of results is beginning to look like a permament fixture.

Nevertheless, groups like the NEA are adamant that more money is needed. Those who suggest this as a serious reform fail to realize that one of the reasons people are so dissatisfied with our schools in the first place is the fact that so much money is spent on them. If an average private school were given the same amount of money per pupil as an average public school gets, they wouldn't know what to do with it all. If excellence costs so much, then how is it possible for so many shoe-string private academies to turn out students that do so well academically?"

So what is the solution to all these problems? Well, I ask you one question: are the difficulties I have outlined above real, and if they are, are they an inherent problem of the public schools system? Is it possible that the very idea of a public school will inevitably lead to all the problems I've listed (not exhaustively, I might add)? If so, then public schools should not exist. No doubt you, the reader, already know what I think, based on the very posing of the question. I will not force you to the same conclusion.

What would be a better alternative? I think the classical Christian school movement is the best thing out there. Again, see Wilson's book for a much more complete explanation than I can give.

But I'm not so sure that Wilson's book is the end-all. For those of you who know me, that might shock you. ;-)] What I mean is this: I think we need to use the classical Christian school model for several generations in order to recover our lost tools of learning. But then, once the majority of people have them, we should revert to homeschooling. I do think homeschooling, done in the classical manner, is the best thing out there. It definitely requires the most work, by far. After all, in order for 20 separate children from separate families to learn chemistry, 20 parents need to know chemistry! You can't teach what you don't know. See John Milton Gregory's book The Seven Laws of Teaching, for an explanation of that fact. Education courses will not make up for your lack of knowledge in some subject.

Finally, I should emphasize something: I am advocating classical Christian education. Education is not neutral, in my belief. The Trinity is absolutely central to all knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. It is not enough to have grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric, the tools of learning. You must have, in all things, Christ pre-eminent, or you will have no unified view of the world. You must be philosophically Trinitarian in order to make sense of our unified, yet diverse world.

These are my beliefs and opinions. If you think my views are harsh, please do me a favor: think about the following. First of all, is what I said true? I've mostly quoted others' ideas here. There's hardly an original idea in this whole post. Therefore, you would really need to take it up with the authors, respectively, of the quotes. Dabney is dead, to be sure, but probably most of the others are not. Douglas Wilson is alive and kicking, to be sure. You can read his blog here. I am not up on the others. Second of all, if what I've said is true, I ask you, please, to overlook any harshness in my phraseology. Do me the favor, please, as I would certainly do to you, of giving me the benefit of the doubt. I intend harm to no man whatsoever. I fully believe my intentions to be upright. There certainly is rebuke in my words here. The book of Proverbs says that "If you rebuke a wise man, he will love you." As I've said before, that doesn't mean that if you rebuke a man, and he loves you for it, that he is necessarily wise. But it does mean that if you rebuke a man, and he does not love you for it, then he is not wise. We should love rebuke. We should see the loving nature of the man behind it, the man who wants us to grow closer to God. We should put aside our pride and love of being right in our own eyes.

To do these things is impossible without the grace of God. I pray God will give us all that grace, in His good time.

In Christ.

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At 5/08/2006 09:08:00 AM , Blogger Lydia said...

Well, you certainly have me convinced.
Although, I have been convinced of the public school system's deplorable state for quite some time. My dear brother, C.S. Hayden, enlightened me to this fact many years ago.

I referred him to your post, thinking he would be one of your strongest proponents. He is a very busy young man at this time, so not sure if he'll get around to commenting but we'll see...
You made some excellent, well-thought out points.

A question: Could you expound on why you think we need classical Christian schools to be established in training students and parents before we move to the homeschooling model of education?

I have read a few of Douglas Wilson's works and know he is in favor of classical education, but I would be curious to know why you feel children need to be trained in a church school for several generations before we launch classical, Christian homeschools.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding your entire point and if so, the necessary clarification would be appreciated.


At 5/08/2006 09:21:00 AM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

Reply to Lydia.

The main reason I think we ought to have classical Christian schools before moving to homeschooling is a simple matter of the division of labor. In order to really teach Latin to all those students, all the corresponding parents need to know Latin. I know there are programs out there that claim to be "teacher-less," but I refuse to believe that those programs are as good as a teacher-based program with a knowledgeable teacher. There's something about that interaction that will never be replaced.

This fact, the more or less required nature of division of labor (at least to my mind), outweighs the admitted inefficiency of the classroom setting: you have to wait for 20 students to go to the bathroom! In addition, because so few parents know Latin (and other subjects), the pressure to teach all these subjects can easily lead to homeschool burnout. Whereas, if we trained up several generations in the classical Christian method, the parents would all know more or less what they needed to know, and be adequately qualified to teach what they need to teach. I think burnout would be less of a problem, and by that time the advantages of parent-teaching and the smaller "classroom" would outweigh the burnout problem.

This is, however, a somewhat minor point. I just think it's a bit wiser, at this time, to take advantage of the few people who really know Latin and other subjects. Homeschooling right now, done by conscientious and wise parents, will almost certainly be better than the public schools.

I'd be interested in your opinion on how graciously I worded my post. Please? Thanks for your input!

In Christ.

At 5/08/2006 01:45:00 PM , Blogger Susan said...

Rather timely, since I also had a post on education drafted, though from a different slant. I promise I'm not copy-catting!

Excellent post and, I might add, very graciously worded. You spoke the truth in love. BTW, if you ever find me not speaking the truth in love, will you call me on it? Please? A comment or e-mail would be fine and appreciated.

Following this thought to its logical conclusion: the public schools are therefore teaching secular humanism. Why should I, a Christian, pay taxes to support a system that is teaching something completely antithetical to my entire being?

I'm curious about your opinion on public colleges, since those are also secular, humanistic institutions, and since you are currently a student at one such institute :). I say this as a graduate from another one, mind you. I'm just genuinely curious about your thoughts. I'm inclined to think that training children is a supremely different matter, but I am still, overall, not an advocate (though not in all cases an opponent) of public higher education. Of course, a doctorate program in Mathematical Physics is rather hard to come by from a private instituation, eh?

Did you follow the proposal at last year's General Assembly, in which a pastor submitted an anti-public education statement, signed by a few big names, D. James Kennedy being one? I watched part of the GA online (okay, I do strange things for amusement. . . ), and noted that particular proposal with interest.

I really liked your points about wisdom/knowledge/understanding. Those were really good! That's why I think "character education" is such a vain attempt.

Wilson's book is sitting on my desk, but not read yet, so I can't speak from reading it yet. I understand your point with homeschooling, Adrian, for the most part, but I don't think several generations are necessary, are they? I guess that's where I'm confused, is the several.

I also think that most homeschooled parents, though not classically homeschooled themselves, are capable of classically homeschooling effectively, though unfortunately that doesn't mean they do. Capability rarely does equal performance (in any area), does it?

Six months ago, a few of your points about homeschooling would have irritated me, but that was when homeschooling was an unknown idol in my life. I still am very much a homeschool proponent, mind you, but I think select Christian schools are also wonderful options. Vive la (informed) choice!

Excellent emphasis that education is not neutral. That is a very important point!

At 5/08/2006 06:48:00 PM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

Reply to Susan.

My opinion on public colleges: I must distinguish between undergraduate and graduate school here. Let me deal with the undergraduate first. I think the undergraduate standards are eroding overall. A bachelor's degree does not mean what it used to mean. And, naturally, these are generalizations. I'm not going to be making many blanket absolute statements here.

As to the moral and ethical dimension of current undergrad institutions, I would say this. If a child was trained in a classical Christian manner, quite thoroughly, I honestly think that in some ways he would probably outstrip many of his professors at an undergrad college. I also think he would be in very little danger theologically, since he could probably dance circles around at least some of his professors. He would have been trained to regard Christ as the center of all knowledge, and that is the cleansing of that knowledge.

If someone was not trained in a classical Christian manner, I think that in proportion to his lack of training, the danger from a secular institution goes up. He will not be as forewarned and forearmed as he might be. I went to a Christian undergraduate school (Grove City College), and I think that was right for me, even though I probably would have been fine at a secular school.

Graduate school is different yet. By that time in a person's education, their opinions are most likely formed, and are not likely to change much. In addition, graduate school is so highly specialized that a student is not likely to hear much teaching on subjects outside his discipline.

Graduate school, at least in math, is to my mind still quite rigorous. There may be some programs out there that aren't so rigorous; I couldn't say. But it does seem to me that the downplaying of standards hasn't hit them quite so hard yet. They're still fighting it.

Yes, the doctorate in math/phys is hard to come by privately. However, it is my dream to change that some time. And it's quite a pipe dream. I think I may have written it up somewhere. Did I? Maybe I'll post about it to make it a bit more public.

I didn't happen to follow GA all that closely, though my brother (a TE) and my father (a RE) both attended it. They were more concerned about Federal Vision shtuff, I think, than about education. That's very interesting. What happened to the statement?

Wilson's book is a masterpiece. It's one of the very best books written in the 20th century that I've ever read. I'd say Lord of the Rings was maybe tops. But Recovering is way up there, too. I think Wilson's rhetorical skill is perhaps one big reason why, when people read that book, they decide to start classical Christian schools.

There is something more about knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Knowledge is a lot like grammar, understanding is a lot like dialectic (logic), and wisdom is a lot like rhetoric. I am by no means the first person to notice this, but if it's true, then all of a sudden, the Trivium (which before would merely make sense) has a biblical foundation for it, and maybe those medievals weren't so backward as we thought!

I think several generations will be necessary simply because of inertia. Think of it this way: I'd say one generation has more or less gone through this discipline since Wilson wrote his book. You can go by Wilson's children: Bekah, Nathan, and Rachel, who are all fairly recently married, at least within the last ten years, I think. During that time we've been weeding out errors and attempting to fix various problems. The next generation to do it will be able to really show their peers what a great thing it is, though it might be too late for those peers. Those peers will in turn want to educate their children in this manner. When those children are educated in this manner, then will be the time for them to homeschool their children, I think. These things don't happen instantaneously. I, for one, didn't get a complete classical Christian education from my parents, though they did fantastically well overall. I'd say my rhetoric might have been stronger. I got decent grammar and dialectic. But, you see, I'm not sure they were self-consciously trying to do classical Christian education, though they had read Wilson's book. I would most certainly not feel adequate to give my children a complete classical Christian education, especially since I have studied so much what such an education is. The standards are extremely high, but we can do it. It's been done in the past.

You said that "I also think that most homeschooled parents, though not classically homeschooled themselves, are capable of classically homeschooling effectively, though unfortunately that doesn't mean they do." I'm not sure I can quite agree there. The reason? The First Law of Teaching. See John Milton Gregory's The Seven Laws of Teaching for a complete explanation. This law states that, "The teacher is one who knows the lesson or art or skill to be taught." By "knows", Gregory means is a master of that subject. It does not mean you have a smattering of it here and there. To be a really effective teacher requires this mastery so that you can come to problems from different angles, and motivate the student in different ways. No two students are alike; even so, the same approach will not work for every student. I'm sure I'm not telling you something you don't already know, at least in some gut manner. That is the reason I cannot teach Latin. I am no master of it, I can barely conjugate amo. That is also the reason I cannot teach rhetoric very well. Perhaps in some fashion, within math, say, I could do so. I have not studied rhetoric very much, and so I would be ill qualified to teach it. So even though I feel fairly confident with my grammar and dialectic, my rhetoric and Latin (both integral to classical Christian education) are weak enough that I would prefer someone else to teach them to my children.

Now, please, do not misunderstand me here. I am not saying that if you are a master of a subject, you are automatically a good teacher of it. I have had enough experience with bad but brilliant teachers to refute that claim myself. Being master of a subject is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being a truly effective teacher.

And I, in turn, think homeschooling is a fantastic option. After all, that's what I went through, and looking back on it, I don't think my parents could have done much better. Perhaps now, they could. We should always seek to give our children better than what we got ourselves, and since there is infinitely much knowledge out there (this follows from Goedel's proof of incompleteness), this is always possible, though naturally we will need God's help.

Thanks as always for your comments.

In Christ.

At 5/09/2006 04:58:00 PM , Blogger Susan said...


I think my comment from this morning was lost in the vast black hole that is blogger. *sigh* I may not have time today to retype it :(.

At 5/09/2006 09:05:00 PM , Blogger Susan said...

I thought your take on public colleges was good. I am not a supporter of them in general, but especially for graduate degrees, I know they are useful. I also agree that graduate degrees are a different matter from undergraduate degrees, which are a different matter from pre-highschool education. And yes, you've mentioned the dream you and your dad have before - I believe it was under The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science? You should do a separate post on it!

You can view the wording of the Personal Resolution by going to Click on "record and voting", then click on "Wednesday" under 2005. The full wording is in the record, near the top. It was submitted by TE Steven Warhurst and referred to committee. The odd thing is that I can find no record of the conclusion of the matter. However, I have the advantage of having the Stated Clerk as my Sunday School teacher, so I have it on good authority that the resolution failed - no surprise. The Southern Baptists are trying round three at their convention this year.

Okay, I see I misunderstood what you meant by several generations. I translated that 100-150 years. I still don't think it's necessary to approach it in quite the way you say, but I see what you mean. Certainly your proposal would likely offer the most complete Classical Christian Education (henceforth, CCE). I do not think it is quite so cut and dry, though, as so many other factors come into play with education, not the least being funds and availability of a good, CCE program nearby. They just aren't that prevalent! Now, in my area, there are a few very rigorous programs that are 1-3 days a week, partnering with home school, but most places don't even have that option. All that to say, finding the most complete CCE may not be feasible for most, and it may not be the most important factor for others.

As with anything, a view of education must be in moderation. We are commanded in scripture to search for knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, and to love God with our minds. However, we obviously must be careful to not take that to mean that our life is incomplete if we do not master the intricacies of Chemistry or Latin. Strive for excellence - yes! Obssess over excellence - no! I have a feeling you agree with me here, but it does good to reiterate :). I think education is sadly neglected by many - a by-product of the anti-intellectual movement - but of course it can also be abused and placed on a pedestal it should not have. And, of course, all education should be to the glory of God, which goes back to the original premise of this post :).

I agree with your point about the difference between knowing a subject, mastering a subject, and mastering teaching of a subject. My Abstract professor in college was absolutely brilliant, and Abstract was his specialty, but he could not teach at all :(. To his credit, he knew it - and admitted it. As a math teacher and tutor, I am also well-aware that knowing a subject is not the same thing as teaching it :). Do you not think that much can be learned from those not masters in a subject? I'm not saying it's ideal, but then we're not in an ideal world.

Well, I sure wish my first post had not been lost, but ah well. I'm not sure how coherent this one is, after spending most of the day tutoring or making up final exams and final reviews :-P. It'll have to do, though.

At 5/10/2006 07:40:00 AM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

Reply to Susan.

Perhaps I will post on the classical Christian graduate school some time. One thing is for sure: if that ever comes about, I want to make sure that anyone wishing to write an imaginative dissertation will be at liberty to do so.

I looked at the resolution, and liked it immensely. It is just what I think. A pity it failed. Too many Christian parents are not seeing the danger of the public schools. A greater engine for the propagation of lies has never been invented.

So sure are you that CCE programs are not so prevalent? Check this out:

Those are all the Association of Classical and Christian Schools members in Georgia. There are several in Atlanta; are those only the part-time ones you mentioned? One or two look to be regular schools. To my knowledge, there are some 4 or 5 hundred classical Christian school in the US.

You are right, I do agree with you on excellence. We must not make an idol of it, a monument to our pride in our intellectual prowess.

You can learn from those who are not masters, but you can only learn the basics. Just about any subject worth knowing is worth knowing well, which means more advanced topics. Someone who is not a master certainly cannot teach advaced topics. And it is those advanced topics that not only provide more interest in the subject, but pack down and cement your knowledge of the basics.

We have experts in just about any field you can think of, certainly we have masters of the distinct subjects within a CCE approach. What we desire to have are students well-grounded in all these subjects by means of the Trivium. In other words, non-specialists.

In Christ.

At 5/11/2006 12:55:00 PM , Blogger Susan said...

Wow, I did not realize there were 400-500 CCE schools in the US. I know the movement is gaining some momentum. Even 400-500 schools, though, leaves the majority of the nation well without a CC school within reasonable driving distance. Even out of the ones on the website that are listed in Atlanta (which is very well-populated area, as you know), only Dominion is within driving distance of my home in Metro. Dominion is meeting at my church, in fact :); It's a 2-3 day program starting in the fall. The part-time program that I teach for isn't listed for some reason, though they are accredited and heavily classical.

You make some good points about masters in a subject, and I agree that is ideal, whenever possible. Certainly excellence is rarely possible without studying under a master. There are exceptions - a student is sometimes better than his master - but it is rare. Teachers are supposed to be masters in their subject so they can impart their knowledge to their student. Otherwise, there is little reason for the teachers at all.

This reminds me of a conversation I had yesterday with the headmaster of Heritage Classical - the program for which I teach. I was sharing with him some of the insanities of the math education program at UGA, including a heavy emphasis on "student-focused" learning that avoids setting up a classroom with all the desks facing forward. The UGA professors hate the idea that the teacher is the person with the knowledge. Mr. Meents (the headmaster of Heritage) found this notion just as ridiculous as I had found it. When I told him how my professors favored groups of 4 desks turned inward, so the students could learn in groups by learning from each other, Mr. Meents said, You know what that is? That's a pooling of stupidity. :)

At 5/12/2006 10:09:00 AM , Blogger zan said...

I agree with your post. i think it is important that churches start more Christian s chools. I know I am not prepared to teach my son highschool math and I don't expect my husband to.

I have always been impressed that a lot of Roman Catholic churches have schools for their children.

There is a woman in my church who homeschools but her kids are so far behind. Not everyone can homeschool well. The mother is a product of public school and she doesn't know how she should teach her children.

I tried those self taught programs and only some of them worked. In college I was able to learn well in certain subjects because I NEEDED a teacher. Ex. Microbiology.

Oh, your post, on a 0-10 scale, (0 being a ham and 10 being a complete jerk) you were a 3. It was very well written and explained. It wasn't that offensive at all. : )

At 5/12/2006 04:32:00 PM , Blogger Mr. Baggins said...

To Susan on losing posts. I lost my reply to Mrs. B on your sanctification post, and just about tore my hair out (appropriate, given the subject matter of your post!). I discovered that if I want to write a comment or post of any length at all, it is best to write in Word, and then copy and paste, since the net is so unreliable.

At 5/12/2006 08:42:00 PM , Blogger Susan said...

*waves to Zan* I've been wondering how you've been. I hope you're doing well :).

Okay, Lane, I no longer feel sorry for myself for losing my comment. It wasn't nearly as involved as yours was! I've written a few of my longer comments in Word, but I don't do that as often as I should. Thanks for the recommendation!

Oh, and Adrian, I think actually Mr. Meents said a pooling of ignorance, now that I think harder. *shrugs* It gives the same general idea, but ignorance is more euphemistic. Is euphemistic a word?

At 5/15/2006 10:55:00 AM , Blogger zan said...

I sure hope euphemistic is a word. I think I've used it.

Susan, I'm doing good. I'm still here reading,but I don't comment much because when I am online I am usually breastfeeding. Typing with one hand is tricky.

At 5/16/2006 12:28:00 PM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

Reply to Zan.

Thank you for your kind words. I definitely appreciate them. Clarity and charity are very important to me. :-)]

Reply to Susan.

"Euphemistic" is definitely a word. So saith Rhymezone, a favorite site of mine for writing poetry. ;-)]

In Christ.

At 5/16/2006 08:54:00 PM , Blogger Susan said...

I'm glad you're doing well, Zan :). Enjoy your little ones!

Oh, wow, Adrian, Rhymezone could definitely get addicting. That is an excellent tool for poetry. When I write poetry, I just go through the alphabet and jot down words that rhyme, but that is time consuming, and not nearly as thorough. You should post some of your poetry on your blog :).

Anyway, shall we TIOC?

At 5/19/2006 10:17:00 PM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

We can TIOC, but not this second, please. By the way, if you look at my web site:,

you can follow the links to some of my poems. Unlike your Sister Dear, I tend to do more serious topics. My father does funny poems, though. Here's one of his I think you'd like awfully. Background: when we lived in Texas, we used to mow the lawn for the church. Now Pastor Dale Smith (of Colleyville Presbyterian Church) liked the grass to be a deep blue-green color. By the time we got to it each Saturday, though, it tended to be rather wild. So Dad came up with this limerick:

We've tried Calvinistic dominion
On your law of the type Augustinian;
But in a week's space
It falls so from grace,
We believe your lawn must be Arminian.

Isn't that fun?

Oh, and I ran across a really good reformed pick-up line (bet you didn't know such things existed, eh?): your name must be Grace, because you're irresistable.

Hope you enjoyed.

In Christ.

At 5/19/2006 10:24:00 PM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

Oops, that was supposed to be "lawn" in the second line of the limerick, not "law."

At 5/20/2006 04:15:00 PM , Blogger Susan said...

That's fine. We don't have to TIOC right now :). I was mainly thinking of your blogging availability, given that you still haven't finished Chapter Eighteen this week!!!

Thank you for the link to your poems. I quite liked a number of them. I especially liked Shamed By a Rock, My Times are in Your Hand, and The Prelude. I really like Ecclesiastes 3:11, which I assume inspired The Prelude:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

We liked your dad's limerick about the lawn :). How funny! Limericks are so much fun to write, and reformed humor makes them all the more fun ;). The reformed pick-up line was hilarious. I need to tell that to my friend Grace. She's not reformed (dispensationalist), but her family is Calvinistic.

At 5/31/2006 11:08:00 PM , Blogger ophelianeaththewindow said...

Can you explain why you think that teaching one's children at home is superior to sending them to a classical Christian school? It seems to me that, given how difficult it is for even well-educated parents to be an expert in a variety of subject matters, and given that all parents are not equally blessed with intellectual talent or teaching ability, it is not possible for all families to do a good job of homeschooling their children. What advantages do you see to homeschooling that the best classical Christian school could not offer?

At 6/04/2006 08:06:00 PM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

Reply to Ophelia.

You have brought up precisely a central point, there. Currently, I think you're absolutely right. Probably not one parent in a million is capable of giving their children a really good classical Christian education. In which case the school is better, though I would hasten to add that the parents should not abdicate. They should be active in their children's education.

However, if you do have parents capable of educating their children well in the classical Christian methodology, then I think that would be better, simply because of a more efficient use of time in the life of each child. In homeschooling, you don't have to wait for 30 other kids to use the bathroom! In other words, you have all the advantages of a small classroom size, which just about everyone recognizes. So that is my reason for saying that if possible, classical Christian homeschooling is even better than the school.


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