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Logo of 2018 Adventist Agriculture Association Conference: Something Better

The Original Classroom: Could it Really be the Best?

Pamela Dysinger

Description

Faith, education, and agrarian life... God really knew what was best! How can we harness and improve the educational opportunities found in the garden?

Presenter

Pamela Dysinger

Bountiful Blessings Farm

Recorded

  • January 19, 2018
    9:30 AM

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Heavenly Father we thank you so much for the privilege that we have to participate in our children's education and Lord we thank you for the counsels that you have given us and. I pray that you would put the words in my mouth that I would reflect the education that you want our children to have in this world and Jesus name I pray man the original classroom Don't you love that picture I mean that just looks like a boy's haven and when the Lord placed us on My in-laws farm I didn't know I was going to be the mother of four boys I only had one boy when we moved to the farm and the Lord continue to bless us with boys. And this is not I wouldn't say this is even the original this is the best classroom especially for boys so could it really be the best I have a quote I'm going to start with and I can't tell you it's many slides long did my boy leave he did because. OK it's it's all good. This is my favorite quote on education and it's a very long one and I have I have broken it up into one sentence bites because honestly I feel like. The Each sentence could be a whole topic in and of itself so with the people of that age just talk about Christ and his education with the people of that age the value of all things was determined by outward show what do you think how does that Christ's day the value of all things was determined by outward show is that us today absolutely absolutely second sentence as religion had declined in power it had increased in Palm. Why do you think religion had declined in power and it had increased in Palm. I won't ask you to to to agree with me but I'm just going to say that it's my belief that it's that more than it's ever been we might have pomp a little bit more. Subdued maybe a little more acceptable but if we could really reach down into our hearts and really see that we're miserable wretched poor blind and naked religion has declined in power and it has increased in pump just as in Christ's day. The educators of the time sought to command respect by display and ostentatious and in some ways I feel like our world today is actually really casual you know it's not it doesn't it doesn't have the same pomp as maybe it did in times past and in Christ's day you get this idea of the fairest in the Sadducees you know coming in all of their you know fancy dress of the day and. Everyone being like. You know so I think that I think that it has changed some but I think that the route is still the same things can change on the outward but the route is still the same Let me just go back to this. Commanding respect how do we command respect in this day and age money. What about what about all the letters that follow one's name. You know what's that about do you need to tell somebody all your letters does that really make you valuable I hope you were Alan's devotional this morning. It was such a blessing and it really touched on some of these things you know respect and our self-worth are to be gained from our relationship with the Lord OK we need to hurry to all this the life of Jesus all that calm all that pride all that decline of religious power and the increase of pop to all this the life of Jesus presented a marked contrast can you see Jesus coming into this place and behind his name it would say Son of God commander of the universe creator of all things now he says that in the Bible because it's important for us to know who he is but you know you don't get the idea when you read the Gospels that Jesus was out there you know don't forget who you're talking to it just was not that way his life was a marked contrast. His life demonstrated the worthlessness of those things that men regard as life's great essential we could take a lot of time to think about what are the great essential so of life we don't have time but his life demonstrated the worthlessness Oh how many things we focus on that are worthless in our education. Here's a long sentence born amidst such surroundings the rudest sharing of peasants home a peasants fair. A craftsman's occupation living a life of obscurity identifying himself with the world's known toilers amidst these conditions and surroundings Jesus followed the divine plan of education. I didn't have that education I'm sorry I didn't have that education I it was the education that I received was not in a peasant's home it was not a peasant sphere it was not of a craftsman occupation living a life of obscurity identifying with the world's unknown toilets amidst conditions and it wasn't that for me. And but I'll tell you this. When it became that for me for my children it was hard it was hard you know you come through the system you think you have something to offer the world you get out of college and you feel like you've got the tiger by the tail and I'm here what can I do for you to change your world because I have all the answers and one by one the lawyer or just started to take us back and back and back put us in a very humble occupation twenty years ago let me tell you farming was not at all. Looked upon with any accolades. I mean when we would be in our circles and tell people we're leaving our teaching and we're going to start farming it really if you lost your mind maybe maybe so the schools of his time with their. If I go the wrong way you know the schools of his time with their magnifying of things small and there be little ling of things great he did not seek his ideas were totally different Here's the last this is the best this is the punchline this is what gave me courage his education was gained directly from the heaven appointed sources from useful work there it is man we had a ton of useful work when I grew up I have to say I had some chores but there's a difference between chores and really useful work that has to be done chores or useful work or. My mom just bless her heart she didn't give me enough chores. From the study of nature I mean me from the study of scriptures and of nature the experiences of life. So Christ's got his hit the heaven appointed sources we're from useful work from the study of scriptures and of nature and from the experiences of life God's lesson books full of instruction to all who bring to them the willing hand the seeing eye and the understanding heart you know there were times when I didn't have the money to buy the books and so then you go OK well Lord but I've got I mean how much money do you need for useful work for the Study of scriptures the study of nature and the experiences of life if you don't have the money to go out and buy all the curriculums I mean I have tons of friends who are homeschooling and they go to homeschooling fairs and they get all these cool curriculums and you know they'd be all excited about all of this and there I am with my old books and thinking cats are so deprived you know. My kids had it the best Actually it was it was incredible. So. It's good I would encourage you to go back and read at least selected parts of the book education every single year that you're homeschooling. So but I don't want to just be I want to I want to be practical as practical as I can and really just look at some ways that you can bring. This agriculture as a focal point in your education. So boy I guess OK Well anyway they're all my points. So. Spiritual lesson notebooks and this is something that we did you know doesn't really cost much but you take your kids into the garden and while you're working you can be talking you know you hear a lot in all of the different topics that I'm going to say the oral education that we give our children is extremely important it's it's where it's at that's the OR that's largely what Jesus got was an oral education so we would have a notebook. And they would. I might spoil it to them this Lily what can we learn from this Lily about the love of God and they might drop picture of the lily and they might if they were able to write I had some real challenge students who reading and writing came very very difficult for. So we might just drop picture and I might be the penman for years. So we told a lot of bible stories in the garden or we might turn it into a bit of a game and we might do twenty questions. Or other you know just Bible knowledge things it was really fun with my last I have one so I guess I really should say this for those who don't know my family have a daughter that is twenty six. Maybe once you're married tell your age anymore ha she's married to Nick connect and. She went to she did the flower growing for those of you who sat in on any of that and then I have four boys Jonathan as our oldest he he is. A businessman he owns a business he brought it up from the ground called Farmers friend and he manufactures tools for a small farmers which I just feel so excited about because the tools that the Lord has given him the wisdom to design and manufacture are putting many people who aren't Christians back into the garden for a livelihood that's so exciting you know even the ungodly will meet God in the garden he said there so that's very exciting our third born is Joshua he farms with us full time our fourth is the boy that was here with me Zach he's definitely my technology helping young man he's just on the onsets of starting a small engine shop resurrecting one that his older brother started before he started farmers friend a great opportunity to witness to those around our community and my last one is Caleb our caboose who is fourteen so he's six years. After Zach. If you've been by our booth you see cantaloupes handiwork he's been gifted with his hands and. The the school work in the book work has been more difficult but I would say this to encourage any moms who have kids who what is it's difficult be patient get them in the garden more get him doing useful occupations and useful work more and all the rest sorts itself out in time. So Bible is so easy to do in the garden because you're surrounded by nature it's God's first book. Reading no better place to read than to sit in a hammock on a chair in a wheelbarrow or on a bucket in the garden and have your children read to you or to themselves so this is Caleb I was picking green beans and I said Caleb I you're going to have to bring your books to the garden today because I'm going to have to pick green beans and so you come and you read to me and that's that was not terribly uncommon. But even when I wasn't in the garden it was also not uncommon for me to encourage them to take your books and go outside and I know it might take them longer they get distracted. By good things that they're learning from but the great out of doors is the best place to gain an education writing again kind of dovetails with the Bible thing keep an observation journal so I would sometimes send them out you have thirty minutes I want you to go out I want you to observe something and I want you to write about what you observed Now sometimes it would come back and I couldn't read a thing of it but I just say that as a great job why don't you read this for me that's a good one you don't don't say what does that say you say I'd love for you to read this to me or tell me about your picture if you can't figure out what that picture is. Record a story in the garden to write later you know we live in the day technology is a. Is such a double edged sword but if you use it for good it can be a wonderful tool and you know you can put it on your phone you can be recording say you know I want you to record a story I want to record the process of what you're doing Point A B. C. D. and then I want you to go back in and I want you to write that out. Or just collecting content you know while you're in the garden I want you to be thinking about a character lesson that we can learn and then I want you to to write about it but again if you have a slow writer don't burden them so much with writing and take advantage of their oral skills get them to record their story and then talk to them about. Their English where they could you know you could have thrown in a really interesting word here in your story or you could have. You given this description you could have used more descriptive words so like you know let's look at this leaf. How would you describe this leaf it's all about you can teach so much without opening a book ever you can teach them about adjectives do you know what adjectives are and that or better yet say I want you to tell me something about this leaf What does it look like well it's green and it's it's whatever do you know what those descriptive words are called Those are called adjectives everybody in the real world thinks of those as adjectives so it's important for you to know that but any time you want to describe something that you can put your hands on you're going to use adjectives So you see you just kind of bring the school without the books into the garden and I would say if you have in your mind sometimes and I tell you I is so many times when I went to the garden I was not thinking this way and I didn't have really anybody to encourage me outside of the spirit of prophecy which definitely encouraged me but to just be practical to say hey I'm this is what you can do I was just kind of you know scraping for things but I have you can get. I should know the scope and sequence Are you familiar with that term it's it's a list of what teachers should cover each year for students so in English this is what in third grade you should cover so you know you can actually kind of tick it off a K. so they need to learn about adjectives this year they need to learn about verbs or they need to learn about compound sentences you can teach about compound sentences in the garden you can teach about simple sentences in the garden so you can be following your scope and sequence and using the garden as the tool to direct it if that makes sense. Math math is an easy one to teach in the garden. I would say that the the purpose of math is to teach you how to problem solve in this world you know so in school you have books and you have the story problems I just ask you how many of you could easily do the problems but when you got to the story problems there was a breakdown can anybody relate to that it's like when I was teaching I felt like you know there was a lack of ability to take the skill and to figure out how to do it well what I have observed in my family is that. Because they learned math more in the garden at the beginning. They didn't even know what they were doing so I could I could say to K. and love OK we're going to you know like division you had a hard time catching division but I could give them a story problem that included diff division and he would give me the answer amazing oral abilities to do math but then transferring those to paper was a bit of a challenge but once it clicked it all clicks because you've already got the practical application and if you're going to bring something to the table first so much better to bring the practical bridge teach him how to figure problems figure things out so story problems skep counting you know you however you're going to do math but I taught my kids to before they did multiplication and they were doing two four six eight ten twelve fourteen sixteen and then when it came to applying it then it was the pattern was already in their mind so it was easier. We didn't do it to any songs or Diddy's we just wrote memory skip counting all of them odds and evens. You know you can look at this bad maybe you can't see it but this is this is an odd road bed and it's not uncommon to say OK we're going to plant one hundred feet we're going to do five plants I want you to go to the greenhouse and get me the number of trays that we need OK so then you've got to know OK They're study six plants to a tray they're not all going to be good so there's going to be a few so if I you know. Go back and count maybe thirty to a tray and you have to make sure that you have more than you need not less than you need to see the math that's going on there it's like OK wow so there's a lot of measuring using a measuring tape there's a lot of calculating and doing different kinds of math and then of course if you're just working one on one which I can tell you was such a joy I mean some of my best parenting memories are in the garden when I'd just be working with one child and we'd be talking they would open up their heart to me like you've experienced when they you go to tuck them in the night and all of a sudden when it's time to go to bed they want to talk don't neglect those times seize the opportunities in the moment so that's a great place OK we're going to do our We're going to drill addition and subtraction and you just oral drill oral OK we're going to do adding So I want you to add nine and six and five and four and whatever you know give a whole string of numbers if they can Adam education used to include a lot of oral science observation this is something that we we kind of look forward to every spring it's just kind of one of those things the cycles of life so in the spring the frogs are Caleb corrected me mother it's toads that go to our pond I'm telling you my kids know so much more from observing that and I do I wish I could say I taught them I wished I had come to it with a lot of general knowledge on things but we've learned together so observation research OK so these you know first thing we're we love I mean the pond is quite a long ways up the valley but literally when the when the spring comes on and the toads go to the pond for mating we can hear them at our house did you ever she was our neighbor for a while and but we went so we would hear them and then it was always a family deal we would go up to the pond and I mean. Of frogs mating laying eggs I mean if you haven't seen it it's the most amazing they're out of their mind you can hold them they'll lay their eggs in your hand you can pick up these eggs by the thousands last two days but you know what an opportunity then and again today I didn't have this opportunity when our other kids were were younger or older ones but today Caleb and I go often to the Internet. What is this or what is that or what is this notice I said we go together he's fourteen he does not go alone. Period are our only computer our family computer is in the living room and it's. You don't go alone there and we have purposed not to have. Unlimited or we don't have Wi-Fi we don't have a router in our house we don't have wife I the only way in our house you can if you come and visit us we make it difficult for you to get on the internet that way we can visit right it's kind of the same with our family so we have to put our phone in the window and turn on our hot spot and it's a bit of a pain in the you know so it keeps us not there so you know we're not there as much anyway observation followed by research asking questions finding answers there's so much that is just naturally there social studies I mean the teamwork skills isn't that about social studies isn't that a study in social behaviors. Another way that I I think it's great to teach social studies is follow the. The theme of the adult quarter or that you know every quarter there's a part of our church that is getting the thirteenth Sabbath offering make that your your study for that that quarter you know just all you know all that takes is bringing it to the table have a globe we have a map you know also we often talk about the world that would be more in geography I didn't put geography in but they kind of go together they kind of go together for us right now our daughter is traveling a lot she and her husband work full time for a W.R. Well I can tell you for Caleb this is part of his education now to kind of track where his sister is in the world and what that world you know what what's what's in that part of the world what is that part of the world look like where they are in different areas. So. Definitely farm. Work includes teamwork communication skills leadership skills organization skills you know what's interesting I I read something recently and then I did a little bit of research you know I was going to research and I was going to bring you some research and you know that the Lord impressed me I know there's a plenty of research and go do your own research but I'm here to share with you our what has worked and what hasn't worked and in our own testimony but this is a little bit of interesting research that kind of fits in here. Employers are finding that college graduates today are lacking the softer skills have you heard that the softer skills I think what are softer skills communication. People how to communicate anymore the younger generation is all in a virtual communication so what do you do when you're face to face so lacking communication skills lacking skills in teamwork I was already working out some thought these are so easy to get and so that's why I would say if you raise your children in an agrarian setting they will be sought after I knew it I never would have expected I Isn't have a shame I would never have expected the results that I've seen in my children I'm ashamed of that because God's ways are better but we just don't believe it we keep thinking that and I did it too you know we just keep thinking that what we've got to you know make sure they do this and make it I mean we did not well I have to just be careful. But I just look and I say you go back to the children of Israel Basil we all do you know that name. God The Bible is so clear that God gave him the talents needed to do the artistry on the century in the in the wilderness he didn't have those skills so you know as you're training your children don't be comparing them to the children who are coming up through the system you know what those kids can look better they can actually look better because they're advancing at what I would say is an unnatural rate and we liken it to this we take our transplants from the from the the green house. They can look really good and you take them and you plop them in the ground and they can just do it how many young people have we known who kind of just came up you know in in the system and you take them out and you put them out and they just wilt doesn't it doesn't always fare as well I feel like in home schooling we do what's called hardening off you have them in the home you set him out the what we do with our plants set him out for an hour a day then we put him back in the greenhouse after an hour then we bring him out the next day we let him stay out for several hours it takes us at least a week to harden our plants off there it's a process it's a process going back and forth social skills are best learned in the family setting where you're dealing with siblings and parents maybe grandparents if you're blessed our children have the opportunity to man farmer's markets at a young age lots of ability to speak and interact with people of you know any age. So social studies you can do it more intentionally again you could get a scope and sequence and think OK these are the kinds of things I should be teaching in social studies these would be really easy to apply in the garden. Physical Education is the most obvious fresh air sunshine exercise. We like to say agriculture farming is the only occupation that incorporates the eight natural remedies the eight doctors and so that makes it really easy in our education I mean you don't even have to do anything for P. credits you just live you're just in the garden and you're just there does anybody know is this class supposed to end at ten thirty OK All right so this is my last quote and then we'll have some time for questions. Education means more than the mere study of books. It is necessary that both the physical and mental powers be exercised in order to have a proper education so it wouldn't be a balanced education if you just took your children to the garden and you never cracked the books that would not be balanced that would not be a proper education that would not be preparing them for life I am a big proponent you have to be a good reader you have to be a good writer you can learn a lot of other things if you have those two things in place. When this is amazing here when and counsel with the Father before the world was it was designed that the Lord God should plant a garden for Adam and Eve in Eden and give them the task of caring for the fruit trees and cultivating and training the vegetation useful labor was to be their safeguard Adam and Eve needed a safeguard to have you ever thought about that really in the Garden of Eden where there was no sin Well they had Satan who was tempting them I guess but it was to be their safeguard and it was to be perpetuated through all generations to the close of Earth's history to have a whole sided education it is necessary to combine science with practical labor you know it was very interesting to me the correlation be between the prophecies of the beginning of the end and the industrial revolution coming together at the same time in Earth's history. Useful labor and practical labor for many many people is unheard of today so I would just commend to you the original classroom as the best the very best place for children to gain an education and. That's what that's what we had so any questions any thoughts any challenges please feel free I love I don't I don't love to debate but I don't mind to be challenged. Oh. OK So the question is how how do we deal with social interactions and if a child is at home alone. Are they being. Are they going to be disadvantaged socially Is that what I hear you saying so I would ask you a question. Who do you want them to be socializing with. Absolutely I one hundred percent agree so then I would say this just collectively Where are they going to learn to share the gospel with the world how many peers how many of you learned to share the gospel by associating with peers. I mean I see a lot of head shaking that this it's it's a misnomer and I want to be careful because I don't want to be too but that is the number one thing that people say about homeschoolers and let me tell you my observation homeschoolers are the most well balanced socialized kids you will ever meet. My kids far excelled me when I was fourteen I could never have manned of booth at the Agora conference you know my fourteen year old yesterday was left there to do the booth because I had other things I had to do. It's it's a it's a. It's a temptation of the devil to think that our children are what they need is to socialize with peers what they need is to socialize with parents and aunts and uncles and older youths who are godly do I think socializing is important yes do I think that if you have an only child you should keep them at home and not have give them opportunities to socialize no so there's gotta be a balance you know for us we didn't have to go create it we were farmers markets we were doing C.S.A. delivers our children have grown up having to interact with adults when you know how to interact with adults. There's not it's just not hard to come back and interact with peers all of our children are quite shy they are almost across the board introverts but you would never know if you talk to them so and I and my kids are no i guess i say that because I want you to know that if it was hard for any to socialize it would it was hard for our kids because they just and then I would also say this we as parents took it very seriously we we would come to places like this we would go to family camp meetings and we would tell our children we want you to introduce yourself to a friend today who you know I can't do that yes you can there you're all on neutral ground I want you to meet a friend today and at the end of the day I'm going to ask you and if you haven't met a friend well just let me say it would be really you would be much happier if you met a friend today you know because we would try to we would really I guess you would say require it I don't say force but if you know it's good for your children to learn to interact require it say or and help them facilitate it so sometimes we'd be someplace and I'd say Oh Joshua Have you met this other little boy and you know and then you know you try to make it happen but I would say by faith go forward and make sure that you allow social settings and you don't allow your children to hide behind your skirt for the rest of your life or your genes or your whatever you know so be it be proactive in helping them learn to socialize. Back their. OK. I think I understand what you're saying. So the question as if you have one child that's specifically interested in one interest and the others don't share that interest do you allow them to do that and the answer is yes I believe in individualized education if you have a child that is a really quick and strong reader then you're going to utilize that part of their education you're going to give them the book and say I want you to read this history book I want you to read the science book but you're not going to. Do that to every student and yes I think it's important and especially It depends on the age when our kids were little like we we would do unit study sometimes and they would inside that you know a study be able to pick different topics that they could they could run. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about the universe or if you would like to listen to more sermons believe there's a W W W. Or.

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