An essay written by one of our Key of Liberty students.
I love the first amendment of the Bill of Rights. In the first amendment we are granted the rights of freedom of religion, assembly, petition, speech, and press. These are important to me because with these freedoms I am able to express myself as I want. The most important part of this amendment to me is the freedom of religion.
Religion is very important to me! If our founding fathers did not include the freedom of religion in the Constitution, we might all have to believe the same thing or we might be punished. It seems that MANY wars start when people start fighting about religion. We are a blessed nation. I am glad that our founding fathers included the freedom of religion in our Constitution so that we don't have to worry about that freedom being taken away. I can worship the way I want because of this amendment and that is an important part of my life.
If the freedom to assemble was taken from us, we would not be able to meet together when we wanted or where we wanted. I think that sometimes we take for granted that we have these rights and we don't realize what it would be like without them. This right is very important because without it we could not meet for church, with friends, or any other gathering without permission. For that matter, we might not even have this Common Wealth School and I wouldn't be writing this paper. I am very grateful for this freedom.
In the 1828 dictionary it says that a petition is a written supplication from an inferior to a superior asking a favor, a grant, a right, or for mercy. We can write a letter, or petition, to our senators expressing our opinions and desires. They can take these peititions and make changes. We can all help make changes in America through petitions.
The freedom of speech is also a very important right. I am very grateful that we get to say what we want. We need to be careful about what we say because even though we have this freedom, there are still consequences for the things that we say. For example, I wrote an opinion paper about our right to swear at the park, but that there are consequences for the way we behave and the things we say. If you choose to use bad languae, you will not be respected. Just because we are given freedoms, doesn't mean we should abuse them.
We are given the freedom to write what we feel. This is the freedom of press. The press is a very powerful tool. This is how ideas get out into the world and changes are made. People are influenced by the press. The freedom of press is a good right to have, but you have to be cautious because people say things that aren't true and the press can be very persuasive.
Overall, there are a lot of important amendments in the Bill of Rights, but I think that the first amendment is the most important. Without these rights our nation could be led by tyranny. Because of these rights we have the freedom to believe what we want, meet together, and express ourselves.
An essay written by a Key of Liberty student.
America's government was established over 200 years ago and stood completely unique and in a lot of ways still is. Many nations have now adopted some of the concepts from our very successful constitution. What makes our government so successful though? It was created by and for a moral people and was built to protect our unalienable rights; Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. To protect our lives we are given the second amendment. To protect our Liberty we are given the rest of our amendments. Our capitalism government grants us the Pursuit of Happiness. The right to have and grow a business, own land, and control our own income.
What causes a government to fail and how have we avoided it? When there is either tyranny or anarchy a nation cannot prosper. For instance when you have a communist country where the government controls everything down to the amount of money you can make no one can prosper because it takes away the initiative to work. If no matter how hard you work you're never going to be able to raise above anyone else, why would you work? Meanwhile a Capitalist system helps everyone, it creates jobs as well as keeps money flowing because businesses have to buy supplies to keep their business going and growing.
We are facing a scary situation today in America as some of these rights are being threatened. Our government is a perfect balance between tyranny and anarchy and without all of our laws the way they were meant to be, it puts us at risk. The government was created to serve the people not to rule us nor for us to depend on. When a nation depends on the government the people are then left powerless and usually living in poverty with the exception of government workers. We are blessed to be American citizens and need to protect that right with everything we have such as the men and women in the generations before us.
An essay written by one of our Key of Liberty students.
Personally, I think this statement is true. All it takes is a group of people getting fed up enough with something for a revolution to happen. Looking back to some events in the past such as the revolutionary war, slavery, women's rights, etc... In each case, and many more, a group of people were upset about restraints on their freedoms and over time more people joined their cause. Until eventually they had a group powerful enough to cause something to change.
This statement to me means that even if there's a great injustice somewhere making it so that there is no liberty, that there eventually will be again. There is always at least one person with a spark in them that will eventually get so big, they'll ignite the flame once again. I think this statement is also trying to encourage everyone to be one of those people. Someone who won't put up with tyranny and sit back while someone is trying to take or violate their rights. An individual that will eventually fight back or cause a movement and even those that will later join into that movement.
I think this statement sums up what we are trying to learn from this class as well. We are learning about these kinds of people in history who were heroes establishing liberty. They were part of a movement. We also are learning how to recognize when there is an injustice happening and not to be vulnerable to propaganda. I now see how easily a nation can be indoctrinated into giving away or allowing their freedoms to be taken. This all has caused me to realize how truly priceless my freedoms are.
This is an essay written by one of our Key of Liberty students this year for class.
In the summer of 1776 fifty-six people signed the Declaration of Independence. They knew that by signing they would be committing an act of treason, which was punishable by death. They would possibly lose their money, livelihood, and reputation just by signing their names. These men were already successful and well known. Most were highly educated and respectable people with families they loved dearly. In other words, they had a lot to lose. They knew the risks, but they still signed. This was no small deed, not to them and definitely not to Great Britain.
Why did they do it?
The heroes in the American Revolution didn't know what the future would hold. They didn't know if the declaration would even help at all. They couldn't have predicted how the Declaration of Independence would inspire thousands of people and influence many more. They couldn't guess how the American Revolution arguably became one of the most pivotal events in history and changed so much of the world today. The only thing the signers were sure of was how important freedom was and still is.
Even then, two hundred years ago, our founding fathers and many more knew how vital freedom was and still is. They knew that if they didn't stand up for their rights under the growing power of Great Britain that no one would. They had to be that changing generation. Day by day Britain was conquering more places and setting up more colonies. Most of the world was discovered and colonized by Great Britain. It was the biggest military force in the world at the time. It was a huge feat to stand up to them. The people in the Revolutionary War didn't stand up for no good reason either.
Then what is the price of freedom?
Freedom shouldn't have a price, but in this warped world it does. Freedom is one of the "God given rights" Thomas Jefferson refers to in the declaration. One wouldn't think that this right of ours that we are essentially born with has a price. It should be free. It should be granted to anyone, not held hostage for payment. Sadly freedom does have a price. This world is fallen; in a damaged world with damaged people and damaged systems truth can only prevail with a price. There has to be a price because there is always going to be someone or something that opposes goodness and truth. In a world where power hungry people will do anything, no matter how horrid or abominable, there has to be people willing to pay the price to set things straight. There is going to have to be conflict and sacrifice. It's horrible and vile and should only be resorted to as the last straw but it is still sometimes necessary.
I believe that just like our founding fathers we have to realize how crucial freedom is to ourselves and to the future generations of America. I believe that also just like all the heroes in the American Revolution we have to be willing to sacrifice for freedom.
Wondering what Core Phase looks like? Here's another blogger's post about her experiences with this foundational phase.
An article and video to spark some interest!
Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire by Rafe Esquith
More thoughts for your consideration.
Replace fear with trust
When teaching or parenting, you must always try to see things from the child's point of view and never use fear as a shortcut for education. We should never become frustrated when a student doesn't understand something. Our positive and patient response to questions builds an immediate and lasting trust that transcends fear.
Children Depend on Us, So Be Dependable
Being constantly dependable is the best way to build up trust.
Discipline Must Be Logical
Children do not mind a tough teacher, but they despise an unfair one.
You Are a Role Model
If you become angry over little things, the big issues are never even addressed.
Developing a culture where children are well-behaved for the right reasons (Level VI)
Level I—I don't want to get in trouble.
Level II—I want a reward. Children need to know that proper behavior is expected, not rewarded.
Level III—I want to please somebody.
Level IV—I follow the rules.
Level V—I am considerate of other people (empathy).
Level VI—I have a personal code of behavior and I follow it (the Atticus Finch Level). This is the hardest to attain and teach because it resides in the soul of individuals. Help children identify high personal codes in others (books, films).
Methods to Enhance a Child's Development
Several years ago, I read a couple of books that really inspired me (minus the swearing!) in my teaching. I decided to pick them up today to refresh those lessons, and I'd like to share some things from them. The books (Lighting Their Fires--Rasing Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World and Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire) are by Rafe Esquith, who has been a teacher in a low-income school in LA for many years. Here is his website: http://www.hobartshakespeareans.org/. I also have a DVD about the Hobart Shakespeareans if anyone locally would like to borrow it or either of the books. Rafe teaches us through stories about his teaching experiences, so I can't truly convey the same message through summarizing. I believe there are many gems for each of us to use in the classroom and at home. Please note that I am not preaching that all of us need to do these things the way he says, but they are good suggestions for us to consider about whether they fit in our families.
It takes work on the part of parents and teachers to instill in children the drive and character necessary to translate their natural gifts into extraordinary results.
1. Our kids must understand the concept of time, and this begins with the importance of being on time. Being on time reflects an appreciation of others. Being on time reflects a belief that we can control our own destiny, and that we are responsible for our actions. A person who appreciates time will be able to do exceptional things with his life. Children need to be taught to be on time, but this message is just the beginning. Once a fundamental idea is introduced, its message is forever expanding. As children learn to be on time, they also have the opportunity to see how the concept of time, whether considered in a geographical or a historical context, plays a major part in their lives. Eventually an understanding of the relativity of time leads to the most important development of all—an interest in history, and in what it has to tell us about the present. Because they have developed a time-centered mentality, these young people grow to understand and respect other times. Kids who play music have a better understanding of time that those who do not. Einstein wrote about the connection between music and math, and students who perform brilliantly in music often develop a love of numbers.
2. Extraordinary students concentrate, and do so for very long periods of time. Students who reach great heights have learned how not to be easily distracted. It takes energy to learn new things. It takes concentration and desire. He talks about the importance of getting children playing board games and building models. These teach reading, following directions, and concentration.
Charles Dudley Warner, an American essayist and novelist wrote that “nothing is worth reading that does not require an alert mind.” Literature needs to be a joyous and daily part of a child's life. Mark Twain said, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.”
3. Screens have become the common denominator for a child's failure to reach his considerable potential. A child who chooses to limit his time in front of a screen enormously increases his chances of finding an avenue to greatness. Learning how to discriminate between what to watch and when to watch is an essential skill for a child to master, and it is a talent that can be learned. Television is best approached as a family activity. Watch something worthwhile together and discuss the program when it is over. Encourage kids to ask questions and draw conclusions about what they have seen and to evaluate its message.
4. It's not overly dramatic to use the word crucial in emphasizing the importance of teaching children about smart decision making. Children need to be aware that they see decisions being made every day—in literature, in movies, and most important, in real life. Successful kids identify and evaluate options. They weigh a set of facts carefully before choosing a direction. It is necessary for young people to examine decisions made by others that have led to awful results. The purpose of this is not to judge anyone, but they need to see that some choices affect us forever and have consequences that cannot be undone. For their difficult decisions, when the weight of the world seems too much to bear, please arm them with Atticus Finch's advice regarding the pressure to conform: “But before I live with other people I have to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.”
5. Ben Franklin wrote that “anything worth doing is worth doing well.”
If it falls your lot to sweep streets,
Sweep them like Michelangelo painted pictures,
Like Shakespeare wrote poetry,
Like Beethoven composed music.
Children need to take pride in all they do. Children should learn that when they make a commitment they need to follow through. Quitting is a dangerous habit.
Young people who pursue excellence must learn to discriminate—the ability to make distinctions among various pieces of information. When your child is making choices, have him explain his reasoning to you.
The arts must be a part of every child's life. In order for children to reach further when it comes to developing musical or artistic talent, they need to be exposed to peers who are working to create similar magic. For children to be inspired to work hard and achieve greatness, they need to understand that their own world is a small one. Other kids are doing the same thing and achieving more.
Children should understand that others in their lives make sacrifices so that they might succeed. The hard work they undertake during their lives shows respect not only for their own time and effort but for those who have sacrificed to give them the opportunities that allowed them to reach for great heights.
A weekly allowance is a good thing. Children will learn to budget their allowance among spending, saving, and giving. The mistake many parents make is linking allowance to household chores. Household chores should be a gift one gives to the family. A job well done is the highest reward of all.
Children must learn that rejection and failure are parts of life, providing a chance to either try again or quit. Return assignments to children when they are not up to snuff. Mediocrity has no place in life. Have them redo chores if the work was slipshod or incomplete. Children will learn that the pursuit of happiness requires sacrifice and effort.
6. Children do not simply outgrow selfishness. Altruism is an important trait that must be taught, the earlier the better. Teach them to root for their peers and embrace the progress of others. There are no one-man shows. Power presents the opportunity to be either benevolent or selfish. A sad truth is that selfish people often get what they want. Have children help prepare dinner, have them write thank-you cards, tackle community projects as a whole family.
7. Humility is even more difficult to teach than selflessness for 2 reasons. All of us need and enjoy a pat on the back occasionally, and humility is generally looked down upon socially speaking. Young people who pursue their dreams passionately with diligence and honor soar. Once in the clouds, it is essential for kids to realize they are very small, part of a much larger universe where their achievements need to be understood in the context of all who made their success possible.
8. A final gift to give a child is an understanding of delayed gratification. Producing good things requires time and patience. Kids need to learn to finish what they start. They need to learn that life is a marathon and not a sprint. It's healthy for children to be involved in long-term projects (jigsaw puzzles, latch hook, gardens, participate in a play).
John Taylor Gatto
14 Principles of Elite Private Schools
I received a newsletter from LDS Home Educators Association with the link to this and a couple of other videos. Joyce Kinmont calls the principles John Taylor Gatto presents in this talk “The Hidden-in-Plain-Sight Curriculum,” and states that this curriculum creates leadership. Here is a summary of that information:
Homeschool Moms/ Mentors who partipate in our school