I love summertime! I love lovely summer evenings in backyards. This photo is of our neighbors’ entry to their backyard. They had us over for a barbecue. Don’t you just want to walk right in and sit a spell?
The ending of summer is always a bittersweet time for me. I hate for summer to end, because it means going back to stricter schedules of schooltime and it means fall and cold weather are around the corner. My inner Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes wants to rebel and have summer and no school go on forever! Yet my inner-parent-of -Calvin knows that school is good for my character and my kids’ characters and future. So I compromise and wait until the day after Labor Day to start homeschool.
With back to school time upon us, people are thinking about school and education. They are thinking about what education is and what it involves. Does it always have to involve sending kids away someplace for four-plus hours a day? Does it have to involve spending a lot of money on curriculum? Does it have to involve teachers’ unions? Does it have to involve teachers who are state-certified? Do all those things ensure the best education? What is the best education? Does it matter? You bet it does! Education determines what you know, and what you know influences your choices, and the results of your choices determines how happy you are.
I love this photo above because it captures what summer is: colorful, pleasant, warm, and inviting. And even though summer usually means a vacation from “school,” summer epitomizes the ideal education to me. Summer means freedom, because summer usually has good weather and good weather facilitates a lot more activity, movement, and travel, which all facilitate learning, more so than winter does. Summer also means a break from school, and sometimes a break from the rules and attendance at school actually invites more learning.
The best/ideal/celestial education, like summer, invites us to explore and learn and become all that we can become, which is ultimately, to be like Christ and our Father in Heaven. Just as summer has the right temperature for trees and flowers to bloom, so does celestial education have the right, warm environment to help us to bloom.
The best/celestial education involves freedom. Freedom to choose. Neil Flinders wrote a book about that called Teach the Children: An Agency Approach to Education. Latter-day Saints believe that agency is so important, a war in heaven was fought over it. Is it still important today? Does it apply to education?
Did you know that the LDS Church is behind a movement to promote agency-based education? That’s what Aneladee Milne reported at a recent parents’ meeting for our commonwealth school. Aneladee is a homeschooling mom, cofounder of Leadership Education Mentoring Institute (LEMI), and founder of LEAP, Leadership Education Alternatives to Parents. Aneladee said that BYU-Idaho is completely changing and is becoming the example in the LDS Church of what a school can be based on agency-based education. She said that BYU-Provo is to be the church school focused on research.
Aneladee shared that she recently went to an education conference sponsored by the Sutherland Institute. It was by invitation only and she got to sit by Janeen Brady. I am soooo jealous! This sounds like an “inner ring” regarding education in Utah. Janeen’s daughter, Michelle Stone, was there as well. Michelle has a presentation on what Celestial Education is. You can watch it here
They all got to hear from Neil Flinders who was the keynote speaker. Doesn’t this sound so cool?!? I am hosting a fireside on Celestial Education so we can all learn more about this. ( I will blog the recap for those of you who live too far away.) For the fireside, I am going to open up the floor for parents to share what has worked for them to create a celestial education for them and their children. Then Aneladee will share what she learned at the conference.
It will be Sunday evening Sept. 11, 2011
6:00 to 8:30 PM
Layton UT in my backyard so bring your own chairs
If you want to come, please email me at celestia_shumway at yahoo dot com and I will email you my address and directions.