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    CiRCE Booklist

    September 30, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    As many of you know, I invested in some “teacher training” {it’s more like soul training} by purchasing the CDs from CiRCE’s 2009 conference, A Contemplation of Nature: A Return to Sound Thinking. After I listened to about three or four hours worth of lectures, I realized that each speaker was suggesting a book or two that a person could delve into if they wanted to know more. And around that time, I thought, we like books around here!

    And so I started keeping a list, because one cannot have too many booklists.

    So I decided that whenever I fill up one of my little notebook pages where I’m keeping the list, I’ll share it here, with all of you. And I’ll try to include the name of the lecture, so that you’ll know who suggested the book, and when they did so. Who knows? I might even give you a little summary of the lecture itself, if my brain is turned on.

    Here is what I have so far {I need to go back and listen again to the CDs I “studied” before I began keeping the list}:

    Lecture: {Workshop 3} Teaching Boys and Other Kids Who Would Rather Be Playing in FortsLecturer: Andrew Pudewa

    In this workshop, Pudewa discusses the nature of boys from a physiological perspective, explaining how they are physically different from girls {did you know girls hear better?} and how this impacts teaching. He also, in a roundabout way, showed me why having a girl after having a boy is an “adjustment.” You get to where you speak loudly to a boy, and then you have a girl and she cries when you talk and, when she is older, accuses you of “scaring my ears.”

    I’m just saying.

    Anyhow, Pudewa suggested two books by Dr. Leonard Sax, but with caveats. {1} The books can be from a Darwinian perspective, which in itself is not respecter of Nature in a metaphysical sense {but that is Andrew Kern’s lecture; I get ahead of myself}. {2} There is a description of the lives of teens in America that is shocking and Pudewa says to keep it away from children that pick up any and every book you have in your house because you just don’t want to have to have the discussions that would result from that chapter.

    Why Gender Matters:
    What Parents and Teachers Need to Know
    About the Emerging Science of Sex Differences

    Boys Adrift:
    The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic
    Of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men

    If I could only buy one of these books, I’d buy the latter.

    Moving on.

    Lecture: {Workshop 6} Nature Deficit DisorderLecturer: Andrew Pudewa

    Pudewa insinuated that there were connections between these two workshops, so I listened to them in order. I would say that if I had a boy with ADHD, these two workshops might help me figure some things out. One new goal I have: learn to teach out of doors. The Greek and Roman philosophers did this. Jesus did this. I am going to start a new school. It is called Trampoline School and it meets on our giant trampoline for two hours each day.

    Books related to this workshop are:

    Last Child in the Woods:
    Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

    Raising Them Right:
    A Saint’s Advice on Raising Children
    The Restoration of Christian Culture

    Lecture: {Workshop 8} The Incarnation of Christ and its Implications for TeachingLecturer: James Daniels

    I am still putting my thoughts together on this one, so I don’t have much of a summary. It’s not that it was a bad lecture. On the contrary, it was revolutionary. It takes time to think about new thought, especially when you don’t have a lot to attach it to in your brain. I’m letting it simmer.

    Recently, our pastor preached on the nature of truth, and he emphasized that Truth is a Person. {Jesus says, “I am the truth.”} I remember looking over to my dear friend {we were in the Cry Room} and telling her I thought that this had to be really significant. James Daniels fleshed this out for me, I think.

    I is significant. So we have a new catchphrase: Incarnational Teaching.

    Books suggested are:

    Man and Woman He Created Them:
    A Theology Of The Body

    Plowing in Hope:
    Towards a Biblical Theology of Culture

    Lecture: {Workshop 9} The Implications of Dewey, Darwin, and DescartesLecturer: Andrew Kern

    If I could get one idea out of this, it is that these three men, and all of their many disciples, destroyed the idea of nature. I don’t mean pretty trees and flowers, but rather the concept that things have a nature or, to use a similar word, an essence. In our culture, we do not recognize essences, we do not interact with people with a regard to essences {which is, Kern explains, the end of propriety, for propriety is, at core, treating a thing according to its nature}. Kern details how this has wreaked havoc in our culture. I know I discovered a couple areas in which my thinking was more like Darwin’s than like God’s!

    Only one book was really mentioned, though a number of lecturers agree that we should all be reading John Senior. The book is a detailing of Dewey’s effect on American culture:

    John Dewey and the Decline of American Education:
    How the Patron Saint of Schools
    Has Corrupted Teaching and Learning

    That’s all for today. I’ll probably have another list in a week. Let me know if you pick up any of these books! I’d love to hear what you think about them.

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  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts October 6, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Note to Self:

    Become Professor Emeritus.

  • Reply Kansas Mom October 4, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Kansas Dad is a university-employed theologian and his job is probably 40% reading, 40% teaching (including preparing, grading, etc.) and 20% writing or attending conferences.

    He’s already looking forward to being a professor emeritus, which I gather will be closer to 90-95% reading.

    The pay isn’t tremendous, though.

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts October 4, 2009 at 5:17 am

    Interesting, that bit about Why Gender Matters making parents consider homeschooling. Recently a friend of mine said that Dr. Dobson’s book Bringing Up Boys had done that for her, and I think some of the subject matter was similar (i.e., institutional schools being a setting in which young boys are inherently more likely to fail).

    Rahime, if you figure out how to make reading your FULL TIME occupation, sign me up! I exploring my retirement options. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Rahime October 1, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Why Gender Matters is of the books that made me seriously consider homsechooling

    Me too. Though I’m not decided yet…and probably won’t have to decide for a number of years…or maybe not at all…we’ll see.

    So many books, so little time…

    I get this feeling that I’m never going to get through all the books I want to read (or even all the ones I have but haven’t yet read)…if only reading could be my “full time” occupation. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts October 1, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Okay, so out of these comments I gathered that Why Gender Matters is a very worthy read! Both of Sax’s book are going on my eternal booklist.

    Actually, I think they are all worthy reads! So many books, so little time…

    Mystie, I found the tiny bit I read about Plowing in Hope absolutely fascinating. I think that is number one on my list right now.

    KM, Thank you for that link. It was heartening and beautiful! I hope my own daughters grow up to love beauty as much as that young lady!

  • Reply Kansas Mom October 1, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Also, not on topic, but I thought of you when I read this post:

  • Reply Kansas Mom October 1, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Why Gender Matters is of the books that made me seriously consider homsechooling. I remember how he pointed out that girls will ask for help right away while boys will muddle through for hours before asking for help. My husband and I are just like that – and I never noticed until after reading the book.

    I am reminded once again that my “to read” list will never get any smaller, no matter how many books I read. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply Rahime October 1, 2009 at 9:08 am

    I read Why Gender Matters several years ago. It was fascinating. I think I picked it up in audio at the library. I listened to the majority of it during an extended stay in an airport after my flight was repeatedly delayed. Sort of made me look back to being in various classrooms as a child and think about how the teachers communicated. In some ways it explained a lot…in others it was a lot of common sense/innate knowledge.

  • Reply Gretchen Joanna October 1, 2009 at 4:40 am

    Thanks for sharing all these interesting titles. The one about nature deficit looks important; certainly with as few farmers as we moderns have around us, we have to make a point of getting outside to look around at Creation.

  • Reply Mystie October 1, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Also, I own Plowing in Hope and love it! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Mystie September 30, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    I checked out Boys Adrift from the library. It was a good library read, but I wouldn’t buy it. It was very interesting, though.

    I didn’t want to be a radical anti-plastic person, and have avoided all that stuff, but he had a chapter on it that pretty convincing. πŸ™‚

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