What’s the difference between school & education?

I was intrigued with a tagline I saw online awhile ago: Don’t let school get in the way of your education. I sympathize. We make distinctions by saying we home educate rather than homeschool. We say “school-at-home” dismissively. Why do we do this? Is there a difference? What is the difference? Should we prefer the word educate? Should we eschew the word school? Let’s look at the words, their meanings, and their history while exploring what it is we’re trying … Read More

Virtue is generous.

posted in: classical education 0

A classical education is an education in the liberal arts tradition; it is a liberal education. A liberal education is for a free man, yes, and helps to make a man free – it is a liberating education – but what is a liberal education? Here’s Webster’s dictionary: a liberal education: wide-ranging, broad-based, general. and other definitions of liberal include generous and broad-minded. So how you But we, believing that the normal child has powers of mind which fit him … Read More

Why Classical? Why Pagan Philosophy?

Over the years I’ve had conversations with several people who just can’t seem to get beyond the term “classical” in education. “What hath Athens to do with Jerusalem?!” they exclaim – generally with more words and less pithily. This is a question that has already been asked and answered, if we will listen and learn. Part of the spirit of classical education is respecting and seeking the knowledge and wisdom of the past. The Great Tradition: Classical Readings on What … Read More

Christ leads us to virtue.

And now, at long last, we enter the period of the early church fathers in The Great Tradition: Classical Readings on What It Means to Be an Educated Human Being. Clement of Alexandria was one of the first to start writing out a defense of the traditional education in Greek philosophy, even for Christians. He was not the last, and I’m excited to delve into this era. CH073: All God’s Truth: Clement on Classical Christian Education Next week I’ll highlight … Read More

Knowledge bears fruit

I’m getting excited. In my very slow reading through The Great Tradition: Classical Readings on What It Means to Be an Educated Human Being, I’m approaching the end of the classical period and entering the early church phase. Philo straddles the gap in a particular way. He is not Roman, though he lives in Alexandria as a contemporary to Jesus. He is, rather, an educated and politically-influential Jew – a scribe, we might call him. Perhaps he was a Pharisee, … Read More

Put the classical back into classical education

posted in: classical education 2

Hey, guess what? Plutarch, a late Roman thinker, thought short lessons and lots of free time was a good idea. He also said that education is like lighting fire and that memory work should be contextual, rich, and meaningful. Classical education is not gravel-eating rigor, with reams of memory work and stacks of books and tons of work. It is made of potent work – the most effective practices based on the best philosophy – so that students have both … Read More

Classical education does not permit students to be uninformed.

posted in: classical education 2

It turns out that people have been thinking and talking and writing about what education is and should be for millennia. As the years roll on, some voices are lost and some theories disproved, but others continue to be read, studied, and applied in new ways. That is classical education. Classical education – in the homeschool or day school – is taking part in not only the conversation, but also the practice not simply of instruction in various branches of … Read More

The first, middle, and last thing

posted in: classical education 0

Do you think Charlotte Mason ever read Plutarch’s other writings? She had her students study Plutarch’s Lives slowly and carefully over the course of years – perhaps she also respected his opinions on education? He did have some. The introductory comments to the entries by Plutarch in The Great Tradition summarize Plutarch’s opinion: “he presents poetry as preparatory to the study of philosophy.” Sounds like Charlotte Mason, doesn’t it? But he was a product of the classical era, part of … Read More

A liberal education starts at home

Tacitus is the next selection in our slow plod through The Great Tradition: Classical Readings on What It Means to Be an Educated Human Being. He was a first-century Roman and historian, who desperately wanted Rome to return to “the good old days.” Make Rome great again would have been his cry, but he was informed and eloquent. He was not one of the ones who would have had to give up power or position in order to return to … Read More

The tone of the teacher – Quintilian on the art of teaching

What synchronicity! As I was recording the Seven Laws of Teaching Your Own Series for season two of the audio blog, the Quintilian section in The Great Tradition: Classical Readings on What It Means to Be an Educated Human Being was admonitions to teachers. CH070: Duties & Delights: Quintilian on Teachers & Students Guess what? People have known what’s important in teachers and the student-teacher relationship for a very long time. We should listen. The teacher’s talk & temper must … Read More

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