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    Why doesn't MP study other civiliations?

    This is probably a very obvious answer, and yet I'm going to ask it anyway.

    So, I was watching a Sodalitas video about how MP handles history. Towards the end, someone asked Tanya why MP doesn't cover other civilizations such as China, etc. Tanya's answer was that MP just doesn't, that they focus on Western Civiliation.

    While I know this to be true, I wonder....why? Because every other 6th grader I know is studying Ancient Civ right? (not that I think they're going to actually remember much about Egypt, China, India, etc in the 3 weeks that they study each) but still...I found myself wanting a deeper answer to that. Can anyone answer the obvious question of why exactly are we studying western civ so intently? What is the purpose? What will the students gain from that they wouldn't gain from a sweep of ancient history?

    #2
    Under the classical education model, the idea is not to make a "well-rounded person". The idea is to instill the student with an understanding of the background of Western Civilization. Our culture grew out of the Greek and Roman cultures. We are the children of those civilizations. In the 13 or so years we have to provide our students with an education, we can only cover so many topics. Our goal is to provide what they need to understand our culture and function well in our society. An understanding of Ancient China, India, or Africa may be interesting but does not speak to why our society functions the way it does.
    Jennifer

    2018-2019
    R- DS, 10, 4NU

    Comment


      #3
      And MP does recommend the Story of the World as supplemental reading to provide a brief overview.
      Jennifer

      2018-2019
      R- DS, 10, 4NU

      Comment


        #4
        I am going to clarify a bit, and say that a classical education does seek to form a well-rounded person - but if a specific kind. This gets into the philolosophy of these people and their gradual realization of the true nature of man, and how that developed through and influenced the thought, writings, literature, and culture of the Greek and Roman people, as well as the sister civilization of the Hebrew people. This history is what led up to and included the Incarnation of Christ. This convergence is the origin of what we, as Christians, know to be true about Man, and is essential so we that can know who we are. This is why Classical Christian education focuses on these civilizations.

        India, China, Egypt - they do not offer us this foundational understanding because they had very different beliefs about the existence of God, the nature of the human person, and his relationship to God. Therefore they are not where we devote our educational time.

        AMDG,
        Sarah
        2020-2021
        16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
        DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
        DS, 17
        DD, 15
        DD, 13
        DD, 11
        DD, 9
        DD, 7
        +DS+
        DS, 2

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          #5
          I confess that when i first saw this question pop-up on my screen i thought, “Good luck answering that one!” *insert one of Mary K.’s weary laughs here*

          But I think FloridaMom and Sarah nailed it. As second-generation homeschoolers, something my husband and I both noticed about MP was that everything is done for a reason. We don’t study something in third grade just because “that’s what third graders do”. If we’re studying something in third grade it’s because it’s laying a foundation for what will be studied later AND for the end goal of a wise and virtuous adult.

          I think the same purpose applies to what we don’t study. There is a sense in modern education that we must know everything about everything AND that if we don’t dedicate some time to learning about a particular culture that we are somehow showing ourselves to be racist against that culture. That’s simply ridiculous. I don’t expect kids in Nigeria to be studying the American Revolution. It has nothing to do with their own culture and would be a waste of their time when they could be studying their own culture’s mythology and history. That is the culture they are part of and the one that they have been called to reach holiness within. It deserves their full attention.

          The various civilizations do eventually interact in history, but a pre-college understanding of those interactions doesn’t require in-depth knowledge of each player. Because of this, I’ve found that simply reading some good books in their free time forms enough of a background in other civilizations.
          Jennifer
          Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

          2022
          DS18: Graduated and living his dream in the automotive trades
          DS17: MP, MPOA, headed to his favorite liberal arts college this fall
          DS15: MP, MPOA
          DS13: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
          DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
          DD10: SC3
          DD7: MPK

          Comment


            #6
            These are wonderful answers, my friends!

            Meadowlark, I loved Jen's idea of reading good books in your free time to explore other cultures.
            I have a book: Give Your Child the World - which has some excellent book lists arranged by area of the world. Some are picture books, while others are appropriate for older children.
            Plans for 2022-23

            Year 12 of homeschooling with MP

            DD1 - 27 - college grad, bakery owner
            DD2 - 16 - 11th grade - HLS Cottage School - online classes, looking at dual credit - equestrian and theatre
            DS3 - 14 -7A Cottage School - soccer/tennis -dyslexia and dysgraphia
            DS4 -14 - 7A Cottage School -soccer/tennis -auditory processing disorder
            DD5 - 10- 5A, Cottage School - inattentive ADHD - equestrian and tumbling
            DS6 - 9 - MP 1 - home with momma

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              #7
              Also, there is some introduction to different cultures through the geography studies. Having a solid understanding of geography is important in understanding other cultures later.

              We try to expose our kids to other cultures through experiences rather than studies. We go to the International events held at our local university. We go to art museums and head to the Asian or African displays. We attend interfaith events so my kids have heard Buddists, Muslims, Bahai, etc. as speakers. We seek out world cuisines (Ethiopian food is everyone's favorite here). We watch foreign films (love Bollywood movies - family friendly!). We host exchange students. We read international magazines like the Economist and Aramco. While we don't study other cultures deeply, I hope these kinds of things are teaching my kids that we value the people from other backgrounds, too.
              Kristin - Administrator for Vita Beata (discussion classes for MP users)
              DD19; AFROTC and Aerospace Engineering Major
              DD17; Senior - doing MP Divine Comedy, Renaissance & Reformation, Cicero & Augustine, and moderating 4th Grade Literature for Vita Beata.

              Comment


                #8
                If what you're looking for is simple exposure, I found the 1st and 2nd grade Enrichment portions to do a great job of this. Many of the history and culture prompts require students to research non-Western countries. With the reading of The Five Chinese Brothers, students are to "Find China on a map. What continent is it on? Where is China in reference to the US? Study Chinese culture, climate, living conditions, etc. List five important facts about China in your Composition and Sketchbook."

                Enrichment for Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent required a study on cultures around the world that have sea serpent/dragon myths, which led us to Chinese, South American and Norse traditions, history and geography.

                My daughter has devoured the Celebrations book (which has now been replaced with Children Just Like Me!) scheduled in MP1. It highlights families all over the world and describes their traditions, habits, holidays, geography and cultural influences.

                As students study habitats like deserts, oceanic islands and rainforests (Week 4 of MP2 prompts to discuss/research rainforests as a human habitat), students are naturally fostering an interest in other civilizations, climates and cultures. It just isn't the main focus.

                To me, why MP gets it right, is because the essentials are always the main focus. Which instruction is more likely to ensure that another human of any culture is valued: knowing that we're all imago dei, made in the image of God, with a strong foundation in the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations, like Paul, becoming all things to all people so that we might win some to Christ Jesus, OR studying each culture with the implied equivalency to our own?
                Mama of 2, teacher of 3
                SY 22/23
                6A, teaching TFL & CC Chreia/Maxim w/ Elementary Greek Year One
                MP2

                Completed MPK, MP1, MP2, 3A, 4A, 5A
                SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math)

                Comment


                  #9
                  This was actually a real sticking point for me for a while before we started using MP. I really resisted anything that was this focused on only Western Civ. However, I finally took a look at how my family lives and the things we do and read and watch and take part in, and realized that we do study MANY other cultures, faiths, and perspectives. Just because it’s not in our formal school lessons does not mean it’s not part of our lives or part of our learning. We go to many cultural events locally, we love watching documentaries as a family and we talk about the world and cultures all the time. It’s part of our family life, and my kids are learning as much that way as they would if it was written in to the curriculum.

                  Ive come to appreciate that MP is focusing on Western Civ and are doing it REALLY well, as opposed to some other curricula that are trying to hit everything but only doing a “so-so” job of it. My personal faith is not Christian so that doesn’t play a role for me, but I do think that a deep understanding of the history of Western Civ is integral for our kids. We can’t teach our children all the things ever in the history of humankind before they graduate, anyway. Not at a deep level. So it’s good to focus on the important stuff and do it well.
                  New MP Mama - late to the party, starting in middle school! :cool:

                  DS13: MP Charter Edition: FFL, FMOG, CC Fable/Narrative, FSFrench, Poetry for Grammar Stage, Book of Insects, 7th Grade Lit studies

                  DD10: MP Charter Edition: Grammar School Latin, FMOR, FSFrench, Poetry for the Grammar Stage, Book of Trees, 5th Grade Lit studies

                  [url]www.upabovetherowantree.com[/url]

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I’m intrigued by this discussion. I don’t have any of my own thoughts to add yet but offer another perspective.

                    Andrew Kern of the Circe Institute has a wonderful podcast about what is classical education, attributes of it and more. As a part of the podcast series, he has several conversations with his daughter who is teaching classically in Africa. Here is the link to one of them https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/...=1000405351875. I don’t think it is the first conversation but Andrew and his daughter discuss this question, “can classical education include more than Western Civilization?”
                    Heidi

                    For 2021-22
                    dd- 6th
                    ds- 3rd
                    dd- 1st
                    ds- adding smiles and distractions

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Wow. You women are right on it! Such wisdom and discernment here. Thank you for all you do and say!

                      Tanya

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Oh, and for high schoolers to get a little piece of Eastern history, I really like this book: https://www.amazon.com/Little-Histor...world+gombrich

                        I've shared it before, but it's been awhile.

                        Tanya

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by jen1134 View Post
                          I confess that when i first saw this question pop-up on my screen i thought, “Good luck answering that one!” *insert one of Mary K.’s weary laughs here*

                          But I think FloridaMom and Sarah nailed it. As second-generation homeschoolers, something my husband and I both noticed about MP was that everything is done for a reason. We don’t study something in third grade just because “that’s what third graders do”. If we’re studying something in third grade it’s because it’s laying a foundation for what will be studied later AND for the end goal of a wise and virtuous adult.

                          I think the same purpose applies to what we don’t study. There is a sense in modern education that we must know everything about everything AND that if we don’t dedicate some time to learning about a particular culture that we are somehow showing ourselves to be racist against that culture. That’s simply ridiculous. I don’t expect kids in Nigeria to be studying the American Revolution. It has nothing to do with their own culture and would be a waste of their time when they could be studying their own culture’s mythology and history. That is the culture they are part of and the one that they have been called to reach holiness within. It deserves their full attention.

                          The various civilizations do eventually interact in history, but a pre-college understanding of those interactions doesn’t require in-depth knowledge of each player. Because of this, I’ve found that simply reading some good books in their free time forms enough of a background in other civilizations.
                          Wow, this post really drove it home for me. Thank you! The idea that kids in Nigeria shouldn't study the American Revolution...so true! Why would they? As you said, that has nothing to do with THEIR culture and certainly not their future. Thanks ladies! Your explanations make perfect sense and I really do understand now, and believe in MP's history! Just to add, I took a whole semester class on China in college. Ask me what I remember about it...nothing! Probably because it had nothing to do with MY culture and was not relevant to me. I get it.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I love the point that homeschool isn't the sum total of your family's education, it's just the academic foundation. As you feel the tug, investigate anything you like. One of my favorite ways to do this has been through missionaries that we know or when family travels.
                            Festina lentē,
                            Jessica P

                            '22-'23 • 13th year HSing • 11th year MP
                            DS Hillsdale College freshman
                            DD 11th • HLN & Latin online
                            DD 8th • HLN & Home
                            DS 5th • HLN & Home
                            Me • Memoria College, MPOA Fourth Form for Adults

                            Teaching Third Form Latin and co-directing @
                            Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

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