CH070: Duties & Delights: Quintilian on Teachers & Students

Season 12: Classical Voices on Classical Education

So, Quintilian wants us to know it’s important what kind of teacher we give our children over to. Do we think this matters less because the teacher is ourselves? No, if we choose to be the teachers ourselves, we must also choose to be the sort of person we would entrust our children to.

Nor is it sufficient that he should merely set an example of the highest personal self-control; he must also be able to govern the behavior of his pupils by the strictness of his discipline.

There must be encouragement and praise that is sincere and honest. I think this is a huge part of our children enjoying the process and their days of “great industry” at home.

As it is the duty of the master to teach, so it is the duty of the pupil to show himself teachable. The two obligations are mutually indispensable. […] Eloquence [completion of education] can never come to maturity unless teacher and taught are in perfect sympathy.

Quintilian wants young children to be exposed to literary thought and literary quality, because they are naturally receptive and retentive at this age – so what they are exposed to will matter to their entire course of life.

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Duties & Delights: Quintilian on Teachers & Students

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Simple Sanity Saver: Math-U-See Tips

It’s possible to wing math in the early years, but because math is a consecutive skill, where one concept builds upon another, it’s best to choose a program and stick with it. Different programs use different vocabulary. Different programs teach concepts in different orders, but different logical, step-by-step orders – so skipping around between programs can lead to gaps and confusion more than in any other subject.

In the last almost-decade of sticking with the same program and walking 4 students (and soon starting my 5th) through the process, these are my top 5 tips for using and organizing Math-U-See.

Math-U-See Tip #2: Reserved Crayons
In Primer and Alpha, kids do quite a bit of coloring with their math. As they learn the blocks in the first few lessons, they’re supposed to color the blocks the right color. With my first student, we hunted around the crayon bin every time, with my son constantly asking, “Is this an ok color? Is this one ok?”
When I ordered Primer for my third, knowing I had at least 2 more after her, I got smart and set aside hand-picked crayons. I pulled out the colors that best matched the blocks and stuck them in a small container that lives in our math book bin.
When she sat down with her lesson page, she had the little container with just 10 crayons, and it was clear which color was intended.

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