03 March 2014

Day 68 / 103 - Merit Badges

Our son has spent the last two weekends earning three of the required eleven Boy Scout Merit Badges needed to (hopefully) one day earn the rank of Eagle Scout.  He worked incredibly hard and had a couple 12-hour-days in order to achieve the badges.

One rewarding moment for me in the midst of his work was seeing again how the Classical Education model benefited my son.  As I've mentioned before (here), I believe that the primary years of learning are ideal for filling a student's mind with information.  We often refer to this as placing pegs in their minds that they will one day hang ideas on.  Middle-school-age children then begin to process the information they have memorized because they have the ability to ask why and think more abstractly.  They are now hanging ideas on the existing pegs in their minds.

Last Friday I worked with my son to complete his Citizenship and the World requirements before his all-day camp on Saturday.  We needed to discuss recent current events from a foreign newspaper source, so naturally we read about the key events in Ukraine's political crisis.  My son has memorized an European and Asian map.  In his mind he could quickly locate Ukraine, Russia and the Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea.  He immediately pinpointed Kiev and Moscow.  He could visualize why gas pipelines running from Russia to western Europe would be affected by this recent conflict.  He was familiar with words like NATO, European Union, United Nations, and Communist Manifesto.

Because those pegs were already in his mind, we were quickly able to discuss the conflict with ease.  I remember current events being a frustrating topic for me when I was 12.  This was not the case with my son last Friday.

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