Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lit Bit: Parables, Fables, Folktales Class Letter to Parents


I wanted to send the parents in this class a basic introduction to the upcoming Parables, Fables, and Folktales class.

This year, we will be discussing these 3 literary types. Each endeavors to teach a truth or communicate a value through an engaging story.

We will first discuss the parables of Christ. While these are stories told to teach a lesson, unlike fables and folktales, they are the direct communication of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to teach truths about the Kingdom of Heaven.
 I want to emphasize this unique aspect of these parables on this e-mail and at the start of the class.

We will then cover some of Aesop's Fables, which are lessons about life and human nature, and they are often taught using animal characters.

Finally, we will discuss various folktales/fairy tales from around the world. These stories are longer and more elaborate, and often contain magic or talking animals (think Cinderella and Puss-in-Boots and Rumpelstiltkin). They were also passed on through generations to teach lessons about life and human nature.

Each week the students will receive an assignment to read, we will discuss it in class. At the end of the first semester, they will write a parable of their own and at the end of the second semester, they will write a fable or folktale of their own. This Friday will simply be an introductory lesson.

Should be a fun year!

Literarily ;-)


Letter to Manners Class at Co op

Hi everyone! I am looking forward to Manners Class for the 4-6th graders this year. I wanted to pass on a few notes to the parents of the children who will be in my class.

Friday's class will be an introduction to manners and we will be answering the question...WHY should we even bother to learn manners!

As a parent, I am teaching this class because I know my own children need a basic primer and practice on simple, everyday manners -- meal times, greetings and introductions and conversations, church manners, class room manners, library manners, telephone and correspondence, etc.

Teaching these things at co op will help me be accountable to work on these things with my own kids at home.

Why Manners?

1. Manners communicate to people a basic, biblical truth that we were created as image-bearers of God. We are fallen and sinful, but we are still precious. In our culture, humans are lightly discarded: the elderly, the weak, the physically and mentally disabled, children, and the unborn are casually dismissed as insignificant or inconvenient. But as believers we know that humans have dignity and worth. Manners communicate to people that they are special -- they are God's creation, not to be dismissed or discarded.

2. Etiquette is a form of cultural communication. Manners vary from country to country, from region to region, from social group to social group, even from family to family.

As believers, we want to reach people with the gospel in the culture we are placed. But if we want to reach people, we need to learn to speak their language...and manners are part of a culture's language.

We are all "missionaries" in our own way -- even if we are missionaries to our own home town! The gospel never changes, it is an objective truth and reality. And the gospel is, by nature, offensive; it is a stumbling block for people. Given this, I believe people are more likely to listen to the message of a humble and gracious person than a rude one. In fact. I Corinthians 13 states something that Love is NOT. It is not rude.

3. Etiquette experts agree on the big things, but even the experts have points of disagreement on details. You may disagree with some of my approaches. And of course, within your own family you have and will establish certain standards -- create a certain culture -- that may differ from my approach.

That's fine!

Please feel free to use this class for your children as a jumping off point at home to discuss your own or others' approaches. This is an opportunity to teach children to show Grace to people (a bedrock principle of etiquette) who do things differently from the way they do. Love does not point out a wrong. Whether someone "goofs" or simply does things differently, a gracious person does not mock or gloat.

4. Practice at home will be part of this class. You can practice with just the enrolled child or with your whole family. The work will not be burdensome, but there will be something each week for the children to work on.

5. I will be using as my resource, *Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette*. It is a very detailed tome for adults, and not one you should purchase for the class.

[Though I do personally think it is wise for every household have a standard etiquette book on hand to help navigate through various situations. These books contain excellent ideas for how to word kindly thank you and condolence letters, how to address various officials, how to set a table, what to expect at a variety of engagements from casual to formal, etc.]

Our lessons will focus on every day situations, not white-tie balls and such!

I will craft lessons for the children myself and send home sheets so you can know what to work on at home.

Looking forward to a great class!

Politely ;-)