Of all the things on my list to blog about, I’m just going to throw this one out here right now.
(We’ve been sick… really sick… and understandably I’m experiencing a bit of backlog.)
But yesterday, while taking a break from reading Plutarch’s Lives Volume II (a very, very necessary break) I jumped online to check my email and found an update from Schoolhouse Rocked. The email featured two exclusive videos with Andrew Kerns from the CiRCE Institute talking about the values of Classical Education, and more in particular Classical Christian Education. This piqued my interest, and somehow also my husband’s which was really fun, and we sat and watched these two interviews for almost an hour.
On a Friday night.
Because we had nothing better to do.
I’m not even being sarcastic there. I don’t think there was a better way we could have spent our time than soaking in and internalizing what this man had to say about the way to educate a soul – not just a child – but the soul of that child.
When I first started homeschooling and read all the books about different philosophies and theories of education and learning/teaching types and styles, I was pulled toward Classical Education and Charlotte Mason because, well, it sounded swanky and elite.
And we are not swanky, elite people. We’re more average and less-than-noticeable. But that sounded cool. I didn’t want the kids to turn out to be chumps who just play football and slide by with their grades, but hey! They have a lot of friends to party with on the weekends. I wanted them to be cultured, intelligent, wise, thoughtful, and compassionate.
Swanky and elite did sound kind of cool, too, especially to one who rejects all these “cool” and “trendy” somehow. You know, impress everyone with your Latin conjugations and memorized quotes from Sophocles and Cicero AND that you know what those quotes even mean. Bonus points for knowing how to pronounce all those ancient Greek names. Alcibiades. Aeschylus. Themistocles.
So we bought the book and began this adventure.
I wouldn’t say we are a full fledged Classical Christian Education homeschool. We are more like wannabe Classical Christian Educators, if anything. But this type of education just resonates with me. There is no discord between what I hear and learn and discover and what I know to be true and desire for my children.
It is true, and good, and beautiful!
And I think every child (and every adult) deserves these kind of nurturing, cultivating, and educational experiences.
So I’m including a link to the first video, which is about 25 minutes long. I’ll even include my notes below if you need a chicken scratch version of both the interviews. Also, because this other article I found really sums up this movement (a movement back to what everyone for years knew was wholesome and most beneficial for children before Dewey decided we should all be pragmatists instead of human beings in the image of God) I’m throwing in the link right here. It is also worth your time. (Would I ever give you something NOT worth your time? Of course, not!)
Video 2: For the second part of this interview you will need to subscribe to Schoolhouse Rocked – which means really you will just get an email every few months on the progress of the documentary. You don’t have to pay or commit to anything. But if you are a homeschooler, whether Christian, Classical or something else completely, this is a movement you will most likely want to get 100% behind anyway! (I figured it was ok to share the above portion of the interview because anyone can just find it on YouTube.) Also, just YouTube search “Andrew Kern” or “Andrew Peduwa” and “Classical Education” and you will come up with a good assortment of relevant, and relatively short, videos also discussing similar topics.
Here is the chicken scratch promised above…
Just Kidding! I’ll type it up for you!
CiRCE Institute – Classical Education is: The cultivation of wisdom and virtue by nourishing children’s souls in the true, good, and the beautiful so that the students, in Christ, will be better able to know God, glorify God, and enjoy God forever.
In Practice: attending to, beholding, gazing on good and beautiful things ; Phillipians 4, Second Corinthians 3:18 or 4:18, Article of Faith 13.
Teach how to see.
Four abilities or skills:
- How to pay attention (ad tendere – to stretch toward something) to behold, look at something. Use senses, give people responsibility. Teach how to see, you become what you behold. Don’t see and see celebrated something bad and unworthy.
- Memory -repeat, vary frequency. Children are not “jugheads”, they are souls. Psalm 1 a tree by a nourishing river. Alma 32, desire, nourish.
- Imitation – we are in the image of someone else. We are meant to be like God – happiness comes from striving to be like God and the very bests. deliberately choose to be like the best.
- Discord/Harmony – see how things fit together, see how things reconcile. help students find the harmonies. Help work through and endure discord. Think truthfully to find the harmony, explanation, Christ in all things. Jesus is the Logos of all Logoi, the unifying principle of everything. Why math homework feels so good when the equation all works out. Practice being blind and then seeing – working through the discord – example is math. See how it relates to things and to itself – gain insights.
“The Ethics of Rhetoric” side note: this is a book he mentioned that I am interested in checking out from the library.
So… these notes are very incomplete. They were the insights that popped out most vibrantly to me last night. But I really, really – not even kidding really, encourage you to watch these little videos and see what resonates with you.
How different (and better) a world we would have if children were still educated this way! And one doesn’t have to ad the “Christian” into Classical Education, either, if that isn’t your thing.
I mean think about it. NONE of the original Classical Educators were Christian.
Not a single one.
But, since it’s my blog, I’ll just interject that the Christian part is a pretty good addition.
Just saying. You know, the whole Logos of all Logoi? That was pretty good. (You’ll have to watch the videos – especially number two – to get that part.)
And what is my taken home from all of this?
I’m going to have to pull out all those fine art prints and try again, I suppose.
But I’m kind of looking forward to it.