CH056: The Reason for Education

Season 10: Classical Thoughts on Why We Teach

The one thread that strings through all the classical educators from Perrin to Plato is that education’s aim is virtue – not a diploma, not a job, not a stack of accomplishments. Our children – and even ourselves – should be better people, inherently, because of the education we received, no matter what circumstances or results come afterward.

The real essence of education is that it enables men to reach the true aim of their lives.” – Werner Jaeger, quoted in Great Tradition, page 3

Education is for the soul.

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CH056: The Reason for Education


Find all posts (so far) in the Great Tradition series:

Simple Sanity Saver: Teaching Shakespeare

Shakespeare can be an intimidating subject to introduce. Isn’t the language archaic and the doesn’t high quality mean high difficulty? Actually, the language isn’t that difficult when it’s read (that is, interpreted) by an experienced reader. The profound themes within plots were created not as pure art, but also to entertain the masses. Shakespeare was the hot movie in his day, and he can still be enjoyed that way today.

You don’t have to wait for high school to do Shakespeare with your kids, and you don’t need to be homeschooling to study Shakespeare together. If you do any reading aloud or movie watching together, you can do Shakespeare together.

Shakespeare was written in order to be seen, scripted in order to be performed. Shakespeare wrote popular entertainment, not philosophical treatise. We can draw out deep themes and discuss grand philosophy using monologues and plots we find in Shakespeare, but we should never study Shakespeare to the exclusion of simply enjoying the fun of Shakespeare – Shakespeare was meant to be fun.

I believe that Shakespeare, the greatest artist whose medium was the English language, can and should be introduced to children. The deep discussions about betrayal, cowardice, truth, love, and piety can wait for high school, but the enjoyment of the plots, the characters, and the language doesn’t have to wait. Introducing children to the world of the plays will help them feel more at home and navigate those deeper waters later in a more knowledgeable and understanding way, because they’ll already know the lay of the land.

#### Download the lesson plans and memory sheets:
How to have fun with Shakespeare for kids simply and easily, even if you think it's too hard – it's not!
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