So often it is the mothers of three-year-olds, maybe five-year-olds, who are most concerned with educational principles and theories and practices. I know I was.
My commonplace quote from today justifies this preoccupation.
The Great Tradition: Classical Readings on What It Means to Be an Educated Human Being is a collection of the writings about education from Plato to the modern era, the writings that have informed the development of western civilization and classical education.
Teaching does not begin with phonics and counting.
This section from Plato’s The Laws, Book 1, is about how education in the broad, unspecialized sense is summed up as how to obey and how to rule.
We must learn to obey. This begins with obeying parents and teachers, but extends as adults who know how to obey the law, obey God, obey their conscience, obey those in authority over them.
We must also learn to rule. This begins by learning to rule ourselves, which is self-control. Then is extends to learning how to govern those under our care justly and lovingly.
One who rules without obeying is a tyrant, one who obeys without ruling is a slave.
And both truly all begins when young children learn to obey, because that requires the beginnings of learning self-control.
The most important part of education is right training in the nursery. – Plato, qtd in The Great Tradition
When we think about educational philosophies, theories, and curriculums, we must not forget the basis, the foundation.
Homeschooling – education of any sort, actually – begins with a toddler learning to come when called, pick up his toys, and obey his mom and dad. Everything that comes after is built on that first practice at submitting to authority and exercising self-control.
No matter what educational methods or settings you choose, this very early beginning is essential and cannot be neglected.
My Favorite “Nursery Training” Books
- Raising Godly Tomatoes by (or read her blog)
- Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp
- Loving Little Ones by Doug Wilson
- all of Like Mother Like Daughter
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