Apprenticeship: End of Day One

I eat “not wisely, but too well” on these apprenticeship retreats! Tex Mex for lunch and Texas BBQ (brisket, chicken, and sausage) for dinner. But I also feed deeply on the friendships that have grown and been growing over the past few years. Today was spent with the journeymen, all of whom have been in the program for at least one year prior to this one. Tonight the apprentices (first years) arrived and those who could joined us for dinner. Buck and Jeannie will arrive a little after midnight. Poor kids!

I love this group. Leah Lutz and Camille Goldston have demonstrated a devotion to classical education and a loyalty to CiRCE and the apprenticeship that I can’t begin to express. Leah has brought the insights gained and her talents to Covenant Family Tutorials in California. Camille has applied her learning and LTW to Whetstone Tutorials here in Houston.

Kathleen Wrobleske and Lisa Baldwin are each in their third year and have labored to bring the deeper principles of Christian classical education into the curriculum and teaching of Covenant Academy here in Houston. They’ve described the transformation it’s produced in their students and the liberation it has brought to the teachers. Lisa has brought LTW all the way down to fifth grade with amazing skill and creativity. And Kathleen has generously hosted the retreat for the second straight year (I hope to post pictures of the setting soon), while Lisa and Camille are also hosting apprentices for the nights.

Ann Rogers teaches writing at Gloria Deo Academy in Springfield, MO, where I’ll be conducting a teacher training conference in May of this year. She’s in her second year and has shown a quick grasp and application of the ideas of LTW and also of the modes of classical instruction (mimetic and Socratic). She brings an enthusiasm and joy that keeps us all going when the days seem to extend too long.

Like today. We had some business and administrative matters to discuss tonight and the meeting lasted until 10:00, but now we have a much clearer grasp of standards and certification requirements. This group of journeymen have been the pioneers, learning with me as we’ve figured out the best way to do an apprenticeship. If, by the grace of God, you are ever able to participate in a CiRCE apprenticeship, I hope you’ll genuflect before their icons – well, I hope you be thankful for what they have done to help figure this strange amalgam out.

At the end of this year the third year apprentices (journeymen) will be CiRCE certified master teachers of the Lost Tools of Writing (which is basically classical rhetoric). They’ll have gone quite the journey with me and we’ve all conquered quite a few obstacles and overcome a lot of uncertainties. As a result, because of their eagerness and flexibility, the CiRCE apprenticeship has been refined and prepared for new apprentices to go even farther on the path of mastery. Although, there’s nothing like being a pioneer. All the dilemmas, uncertainty, experimentation – how can you replace those thrills?!

OK, I fell asleep without finishing this post. It’s morning now and I’d go to breakfast but when I looked in the mirror my reflection jolted me and warned me not to appear in public. So it’s a quick shower and then to action.

This morning we’ll be discussing the essence of classical education for  little while (I’ll be inquiring into their understanding to see where we are as a group – then we’ll probably make some comparisons between classical and conventional education depending on what comes up in the first discussion and what kind of time we have left). Then we’ll break into two groups. The journeymen will continue to develop lesson plans for level II lessons while the apprentices will present lessons on level I lessons, which we’ll then assess using the CiRCE teacher assessment rubric.

I’ll tell you all the gossip as the day progresses!

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