Monday, June 14, 2010

On Reason, Art, Life, and Education


Classical Education

It is form and beauty and truth. It opens up the imagination and gives the mind tools to create.
It is human and yet transcendent. It is logical and fertile.

Classical Christian education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue through meditation on the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. This is accomplished in two ways: first, through training in the liberal arts; and secondly, through a familiarity with the great books and the great thinkers of the Western tradition. ~Memoria Press

It takes a student through the process of gaining knowledge (concrete/grammar), understanding (analytical/logic), and wisdom (abstract/rhetoric) as beautifully explained at Trivium Pursuit.

For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. ~Proverbs 2:6

From What is Classical Education? by Peter Kreeft at Memoria Press:

'It is a relationship of transcendence. As Pascal showed us, classical wisdom is infinitely more precious than all the best goods in the world, but Christian wisdom is infinitely more precious than the best classical education in the world; and the second infinity is infinitely more infinite than the first. When St. Thomas Aquinas was traveling across the Pyrenees (on foot, because he was very heavy and had charity to animal donkeys as well as human ones), the sun suddenly broke through the clouds and revealed an awesome vista of fifty miles of rich forests and richer cities, with shining golden domes. His friend Brother Reginald said, "Wouldn't it be a grand thing to own all that your eye can see at this moment, Brother Thomas?" And Brother Thomas replied, after only a moment's hesitation, "I suppose so, but I think it would be a grander thing to own that missing page in that Aristotle manuscript." A little more wisdom is more than a little better than a lot of anything else.'

What is Classical Education? by Susan Wise Bauer
The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy Sayers
Introduction to Classical Education at Classical Christian Education
Modern (Outcome-Based) Education vs. Classical (Trivium-Based) Education at Trivium Pursuit
Why Our Model of Classical Education May Look Different by Susan Wise Bauer
The Joy of Classical Education by Susan Wise Bauer
A Classical Education: Back to the Future by Stanley Fish at The New York Times

Marva Collins in Marva Collins' Way:

'...I went beyong the required curriculum in many of my lessons. For example, I taught my students how to add and subtract, but I also taught them that arithmetic is a Greek word meaning to count and that numbers were called digits after the Latin word digitus, meaning finger, because people used to count on their fingers. I taught them about Pythagoras, who believed that mathematics made a pupil perfect and ready to meet the gods. I told them what Socrates said about straight thinking leading to straight living. I read aloud to them from The Great Quotations and 101 Famous Poems. We talked about Emerson's "Self Reliance," Bacon's "On Education," and parts of Thoreau's Walden: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer."

'...Until you reveal a larger world to children, they don't realize there is anything to reach for.'


Sheryll said...

I have subscribed to your blog for awhile but only just this weekend started browsing through old posts. The timing was perfect. I am now so entranced with classical education that it is literally keeping me up at night, researching. I simply devoured your entries on homeschooling. At one point I heard myself think "I love this woman." I smiled to myself and immediately ordered The Well-Trained Mind. So there you go, you are loved by a homeschooler in Australia! Thank you so much for your blog. My oldest child is 5 and I can't wait to get started.

Sarah said...

Thank you Heidi for the beautiful way you depict classical education. Exemplifying the beauty and the wonder of knowledge. I have just begun schooling at home, we did kindergarten this year, but I have been reading about clasical education for 3 1/2 years now. It has always resonated with me and like the quote at the end of this was the only homeschool method that seemed to cause me to reach for more beyond what I knew. I have loved the exploration and long to share it with my kids one beauty at a time.