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    #16
    Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

    Originally posted by KF2000 View Post
    It’s Dianna Kennedy’s!!! <3
    It was on the thread about Prima summer review (I think).

    AMDG,
    Sarah
    I think I should put it in my signature. <3
    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

    Comment


      #17
      Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

      Originally posted by pickandgrin View Post

      I always go back to Martin's questions to his wife: Did you do Latin? Did you do math? Did your read some good literature? These are the meat and the rest is gravy.
      Most of us try to serve gravy every single day. When times are tough, we try to get in those three things (meat) The more we practice, the better we become at getting in the meat and gravy every day.
      .
      Yup. We call this the MVD - Minimum Viable Day (not original -- it comes from my friend Pam Barnhill). What would is the bare minimum that you could accomplish and still consider it a school day? For us, it's the three above -- Latin, math, and literature.

      In times when your schedule is crazy town, MVD keeps you moving forward slowly. You may not get to 'the gravy' every day, but you've got the meat. Slowly, you'll get back to the meat AND gravy. It's like Cheryl's quote about always making forward progress.
      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

      Comment


        #18
        Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

        Carrie I’ve been listening to that podcast too (Kind of hoping MP will have one) and recognized that same definition. But seems to me they all collaborate.
        Courtney
        Mom to 5 boys-14,13,10,8,5 and the girls- 3 and 1

        Comment


          #19
          Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

          Originally posted by jen1134 View Post
          within the curriculum our children study from year to year, how would you prioritize their areas of study after Faith and Latin?
          FWIW, our hierarchy of the day looks like this: Mass, music (violin), math, Latin, literature. That is our "MVD" as Courtney described it - I call them our Ms and Ls. My goal for next year is do set up our schedule to "the big five" before lunch.

          After that, our academics would be ranked in this order: English language arts (cursive, spelling, grammar, composition), religion (Christian Studies/catechism), one of science/history/geography. On any given day, schola/ hike/ appointment/ field trip may displace those, and we just continue on as we get to it.

          They are ordered roughly in order of importance, need for daily practice, and decreasing necessity for mom's help.
          Amanda - Mama to three crazy boys, teacher at St. Dominic Latin (FFL, TFL, 4FL, Traditional Logic 1&2), Memoria College student

          2021-2022
          9th grade - a mix of MPOA, Vita Beata, Lukeion, and AOPS
          8th grade - 8M with modifications
          4th grade - 4A

          "Non nisi te, Domine. Non nisi te" - St. Thomas Aquinas

          Comment


            #20
            Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

            I've been mulling over this post for days now. I am not sure if this is even germane to the OP's question, but I'd like to add my own thoughts to the idea of History centered v Latin centered curricula.

            I mentioned recently that I homeschooled with a History centered POV for about a decade. What slowed my roll was when my olders began to hit high school, and we could no longer "afford" to spend so much time on history. My oldest especially was gunning for doubling up math and science, getting in the foreign language requirements, logic, etc. I began to see that History needed to be relegated to a "subject" which might take 45 mins a day; it needed to be streamlined to a set of information, papers, and tests. It got my mental wheels spinning about the Right Place of History in an education, and at that time, I decided that both History and sciences needed to be considered "subjects" with concrete bodies of knowledge, which a student is free to pursue more of the concrete, and discrete, bodies of knowledge, but that these areas, as lovely as they are (STEM! FOUR YEAR HISTORY CYCLES!) had come to embody a sort of intangible quality, when in reality they were really quite simple. They are content based rather than skills based.


            Back then, I opened my day with Religion and History (Sonlight, to be exact). We treated Latin as a "subject" to be done in the afternoon when History, math, and LAs were complete.


            Now, today (and honestly, I hadn't given this much thought until I read this post and began my deliberations), I open with Religion and Latin. Literally, the opposite of my first ten years of homeschool. You can see by my signature that I *also* still use Sonlight (well, BookShark to be exact, the secular, 4-day version of SL). Guess when we do it? Yep, the afternoon, once all of our MP work is complete.


            What I do see now, but never could when I was obsessed with hand-picking every piece of curriculum ala carte to make it perfect for each kid, is that by placing Latin first of our academic subjects, it segues directly into all of the other language arts, and the efficiency is incredible among them all: Latin feeds to grammar, which feeds to spelling, composition, vocabulary, etc. Latin and the rest of the language arts are the all important SKILLS. Ditto math. SKILLS. Even the subjects I call "the afternoon subjects" (Christian Studies, Classical, Geo, and science) are to a degree SKILLS for a Western education. The Christian Studies books in an MP core for elementary are the bare-bones of a solid Christian education. The Classical Studies at this level are handfuls of "famous men" who will show up again, but who are the bare-bones of a Western education (obviously not all of them... some are a little kookie, but most of them). Geography? Knowing our world? That ought to be a bare-bones item for an educated person. Don'tcha wish that public school hadn't dropped geography before "we" graduated from school?!

            As for science, it would take an entirely separate post. However, the short version is that MP has chosen to let the content of elementary science encompass the natural world, knowing that this content-subject will later pick up with the physical sciences in high school. Funny aside: I am teaching science at a local co-op to kids in 4th - 7th this year. I decided to read a short bio of Henri Fabre, the famous Nobel prize winning insect naturalist. Well, none of the kids had ever heard of him, nor had my adult assistants (one, an MIT EE and the other a mathematics major). The natural world really does get short-shrift in our modern push for STEM.


            Anyway, conclusion. What I came to see is that a Latin-centered homeschool rightly places SKILLS as the center of the education, building on the skills in a sequential way, slowing adding layers of the all elusive critical thinking, building a child's abilities to make connections. A History-centered homeschool centers on a CONTENT education. And, while true that by reading wonderful Historical fiction a reader can build empathy through the writer's use of ethos and pathos, those are still not skills. They can create the emotional appeal, which is rich and important, but it is important enough to be the actual center of the child's education?



            Obviously, I had decided "no" over time.



            My thoughts on History centered v Latin centered homeschool, for what they are worth.



            Jen
            DS, 28 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

            DS, 26 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

            DD, 23 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

            DS, 13 yrs, 9th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

            All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

            Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling, now a high school chemistry teacher at a large Catholic high school

            Comment


              #21
              Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

              Jen,
              I love hearing experiences from “been there, done that” moms. Thanks for sharing your reflections!

              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

              Comment


                #22
                Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

                This is interesting. I think I’m starting to see where my disconnect has been:

                I went to a liberal arts college where we we read Sayers’ Lost Tools of Learning and Newman’s Idea of a University. The focus was very much on how a liberal arts education was non-utilitarian and since the focus at the college level was on the humanities I equated liberal arts with humanities.

                So now my question is: how are the liberal arts non-utilitarian when they’re focus is on skills?
                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


                  #23
                  Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

                  Originally posted by jen1134 View Post
                  This is interesting. I think I’m starting to see where my disconnect has been:

                  I went to a liberal arts college where we we read Sayers’ Lost Tools of Learning and Newman’s Idea of a University. The focus was very much on how a liberal arts education was non-utilitarian and since the focus at the college level was on the humanities I equated liberal arts with humanities.

                  So now my question is: how are the liberal arts non-utilitarian when they’re focus is on skills?
                  I think the focus on skills is at the beginning of the journey in order to for a firm foundation for right thinking. Recall that the term "grammar school" literally reflects when a 8 yo student, who already reads, writes in cursive, and "figures", was sent off the school to learn the Latin grammar from a school master. The skills in youth (the "grammar" of a subject) are built upon a firm foundation, layered slowly over time.


                  A History (humanities?) center will only ever be sets of facts, dates, and people, with a dash of ethos and pathos thrown in. Not "grammar" in the sense that it is irreplaceable to build a foundation. Your history homeschool could have Egyptians or Christians or Americans as your basis for your (history) school year. In Latin, you have the Latin grammar as a basis, period.



                  I don't know if that made it better or worse...



                  Jen
                  DS, 28 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

                  DS, 26 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

                  DD, 23 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

                  DS, 13 yrs, 9th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

                  All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

                  Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling, now a high school chemistry teacher at a large Catholic high school

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

                    Jennifer,
                    I love your questions! I have no time to answer well now, but I just have to say that I appreciate you asking. Related, have you read Climbing Parnassus? I'm sorry to keep bringing it up on every single thread, but I'm reading it right now so it's top of mind.

                    Jen, I appreciate the look back over your homeschool and explanations in shifting focus over time. Thanks for taking the time to share that!
                    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

                    Comment


                      #25
                      Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

                      Here’s my layman’s take on skills and utilitarian. The skills built in classical education have the goal of learning to think well and commincate clearly. We learn Latin, math, study composition and rhetoric to build those skills. We also learn facts about history and study human interaction in literature. But without the skills, those are just facts and ideas. With the skills, we can take those facts and ideas and process them, analyze them, draw conclusions from them. We can look to the past and apply the lessons to the present and future. We can communicate our ideas to others. We can dialogue and debate. In my mind the whole entire point of classical education is to develop the person not to fill the head with facts. Developing a person means developing skills to be better thinkers and writers.
                      A utilitarian education, on the other hand, doesn’t seek to develop a person. It seeks to develop a citizen/worker. Math is learned to be a good carpenter or accountant. Grammar is learned to be a good report writer. The whole point of utilitarian education is to teach the student how to work and make a living. Learning specific skills to be a good worker is so far from learning the skills to be a good thinker. Ever hear people ask why study math? When will we use algebra in real life? Hear that word “use”? That’s a utilitarian mindset. If we only learn math because of when we will use it in real life, then really, stop math with R&S 8 which is totally a utilitarian math program. It gets the student enough math to be a good worker. Why study math? It’s beautiful! It’s the most beautiful subject to me because it presents pure Truth. It’s logical. It’s descriptive. It “shows” how perfect God’s creation is. Oh- and it trains the mind to be able to order ideas and and use that order to solve problems and not just math problems but life problems. Math, Latin, analyzing literature, composition are all skills, but we don’t master those skills so we can use them to be good little office employees. We master those skills so we can be wholesome, virtuous Christians who know their faith, believe the Truth and can teach and communicate that Truth to others.
                      You know this whole Alfie tragedy? A well educated person can look at the facts and go out a defend the dignity of life. He can express his ideas clearly and convincingly. He doesn’t resort to name calling on social media but uses his education to defend the Truth. A person with a pure utilitarian education is taught to look at the case and see the cost of saving a life. He might have this natural instinct to want to save a life, but he has been taught to listen to the “experts”. They are “trained” to handle this. His “training” is not in medicine so he has no ability to have an opinion. He follows the experts rather than his conscience. That’s the difference between a classical and a ultilitarian education. Both require developing skills, but the skills developed differently and for different reasons with different outcomes.
                      Debbie- mom of 7, civil engineering grad, married to mechanical engineer
                      DD, 27, BFA '17 graphic design and illustration
                      DS, 25, BS '18 mechanical engineering
                      DS, 23, BS '20 Chemsitry, pursuing phd at Wash U
                      (DDIL married #3 in 2020, MPOA grad, BA '20 philosophy, pusrsing phd at SLU)
                      DS, 21, Physics and math major
                      DD, 18, dyslexic, 12th grade dual enrolled
                      DS, 14, future engineer/scientist/ world conquerer 9th MPOA diploma student
                      DD, 8 , 2nd Future astronaut, robot building space artist

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

                        Originally posted by jen1134 View Post
                        This is interesting. I think I’m starting to see where my disconnect has been:

                        I went to a liberal arts college where we we read Sayers’ Lost Tools of Learning and Newman’s Idea of a University. The focus was very much on how a liberal arts education was non-utilitarian and since the focus at the college level was on the humanities I equated liberal arts with humanities.

                        So now my question is: how are the liberal arts non-utilitarian when they’re focus is on skills?
                        Hi Jennifer,

                        This is an interesting insight regarding your background and view of the liberal arts.

                        I would whole-heartedly agree that a liberal arts education is non-utilitarian. But let's define our terms. By "non-utilitarian" I mean that the end goal is not pragmatic. A liberal arts education is not seeking to form a good worker. We are seeking to form a better person. Liberal arts are the arts of a wise and virtuous man as opposed to the servile arts, skills for a given trade. While in our modern day and age, being able to think wisely is an asset in any area of the job market, we aim to train children to think well and act virtuously because those are the talents proper to a human being. We were made to know, love, and serve God (notice the thinking and doing).

                        I would like to address the content vs skills dichotomy that is being assumed in this conversation. The two should never be separated. The liberal arts do teach children to think clearly by learning the arts (i.e, skills) of language (grammar through Latin, logic, rhetoric) and the arts (skills) of quantity (arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy) but done within content. Some of us in the office recently read Hirsch's new book "Why Knowledge Matters." He makes it perfectly clear through loads of research that skills don't exist in a vacuum--rather, they are always encapsulated in the content in which they are taught (this seems self-evident to most of us). Just because you can "think critically" about a paragraph about baseball doesn't mean you can do the same thing with a paragraph about rugby. Why the liberal arts are so massively important is that they are foundational content (like what Jen (formerly) in Japan said). You can't fully engage with a work of history unless you have mastered language first (since information is passed through language), etc.

                        We always say that classical education is a schooling in the liberal arts and the Great Books (another word for Great Books would be humanities). It isn't an "either/or" situation. It is a both/and. If you know Latin, logic, and rhetoric but have never read a single Great Book, you aren't truly classically educated. If you have read every single one of the Great Books but don't know Latin, logic, and rhetoric, you aren't truly classically educated. Yes, that's a bit of hyperbole, but I hope you get my point.

                        Does that help?

                        Paul
                        Paul Schaeffer
                        --
                        Academy Director
                        Memoria Press Online Academy

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

                          Originally posted by pschaeffer View Post
                          We always say that classical education is a schooling in the liberal arts and the Great Books (another word for Great Books would be humanities). It isn't an "either/or" situation. It is a both/and. If you know Latin, logic, and rhetoric but have never read a single Great Book, you aren't truly classically educated. If you have read every single one of the Great Books but don't know Latin, logic, and rhetoric, you aren't truly classically educated. Yes, that's a bit of hyperbole, but I hope you get my point.


                          Paul


                          I love this type of post because it has me analyzing and considering. I am not seeking to "show my experience" here, as much as to illustrate how I mentally transitioned from a history centered homeschooler to a Latin centered homeschooler. Make no mistake that in 2001 when I began to homeschool, Susan Wise Bauer had just published her Well Trained Mind book, and like everyone else, I devoured it. Everything we think of as "always been there" was *not* there for homeschoolers to choose from. The landscape today in homeschooling curriculum is orders of magnitude larger.

                          Initially, when I read Jennifer's title "History centered", I jumped to my own early days, Sonlight, which as most will know, is both literature and history centered (but NOT Great Books centered and NOT 4-year-history cycle). As I've been letting these ideas rattle around in my brain, but I now realize that Martin was actually writing on this topic in the most recent Classical Teacher, "Classical Education is more than a Method". I'll link it here:

                          https://www.memoriapress.com/article...than-a-method/


                          He makes the point that when Dorothy Sayers gave her famous speech, she reduced classical education to a paradigm similar to John Dewey: HOW to get there trumps any real content. The MEANS is more important than the ends.


                          Which ended up looking a *whole* lot like a classical History-centered "neo classical" education, ala Susan Wise Bauer, Veritas, etc.


                          Martin's quote here says it all, "Classical education is the inculcation of wisdom and virtue through a facility with the liberal arts and a familiarity with the Great Books. St. Thomas Aquinas defines wisdom as “ordering things rightly.” If we grant this, then the relation between Sayers’ trivium and classical education as it has always been conceived comes into better focus."


                          Looking back, by shaking off the dust of the In Homeschool Thing (!) of the early 2000's, and by transitioning to a Latin centered homeschool (I remember when Climbing Parnassus came out!), I have morphed myself to a "ordering things rightly" homeschooler. The fact that my youngest will eventually be able to translate the works of the greatest minds in Western civilization from their original languages, while educating him in the liberal arts along the way, pleases me greatly. I cannot take back my first 10 years of homeschooling, but I do see that my outcome might be different for this child than from my others.


                          *Not* sure if anyone else is still following this post, but if you are, thoughts?



                          Jen
                          DS, 28 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

                          DS, 26 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

                          DD, 23 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

                          DS, 13 yrs, 9th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

                          All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

                          Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling, now a high school chemistry teacher at a large Catholic high school

                          Comment


                            #28
                            Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

                            Originally posted by pschaeffer View Post
                            Hi Jennifer,

                            This is an interesting insight regarding your background and view of the liberal arts.

                            I would whole-heartedly agree that a liberal arts education is non-utilitarian. But let's define our terms. By "non-utilitarian" I mean that the end goal is not pragmatic. A liberal arts education is not seeking to form a good worker. We are seeking to form a better person. Liberal arts are the arts of a wise and virtuous man as opposed to the servile arts, skills for a given trade. While in our modern day and age, being able to think wisely is an asset in any area of the job market, we aim to train children to think well and act virtuously because those are the talents proper to a human being. We were made to know, love, and serve God (notice the thinking and doing).

                            I would like to address the content vs skills dichotomy that is being assumed in this conversation. The two should never be separated. The liberal arts do teach children to think clearly by learning the arts (i.e, skills) of language (grammar through Latin, logic, rhetoric) and the arts (skills) of quantity (arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy) but done within content. Some of us in the office recently read Hirsch's new book "Why Knowledge Matters." He makes it perfectly clear through loads of research that skills don't exist in a vacuum--rather, they are always encapsulated in the content in which they are taught (this seems self-evident to most of us). Just because you can "think critically" about a paragraph about baseball doesn't mean you can do the same thing with a paragraph about rugby. Why the liberal arts are so massively important is that they are foundational content (like what Jen (formerly) in Japan said). You can't fully engage with a work of history unless you have mastered language first (since information is passed through language), etc.

                            We always say that classical education is a schooling in the liberal arts and the Great Books (another word for Great Books would be humanities). It isn't an "either/or" situation. It is a both/and. If you know Latin, logic, and rhetoric but have never read a single Great Book, you aren't truly classically educated. If you have read every single one of the Great Books but don't know Latin, logic, and rhetoric, you aren't truly classically educated. Yes, that's a bit of hyperbole, but I hope you get my point.

                            Does that help?

                            Paul

                            This helps tremendously! Thank you!


                            Looking back, by shaking off the dust of the In Homeschool Thing (!) of the early 2000's, and by transitioning to a Latin centered homeschool (I remember when Climbing Parnassus came out!), I have morphed myself to a "ordering things rightly" homeschooler. The fact that my youngest will eventually be able to translate the works of the greatest minds in Western civilization from their original languages, while educating him in the liberal arts along the way, pleases me greatly. I cannot take back my first 10 years of homeschooling, but I do see that my outcome might be different for this child than from my others.


                            *Not* sure if anyone else is still following this post, but if you are, thoughts?

                            I like your point that being Latin-centered is "ordering things rightly". As Paul said, we're teaching the arts (skills) within the content. If we focus on the content, with skills being secondary, then we're actually putting the cart before the horse and limiting what our children will be able to glean from the content.
                            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


                              #29
                              Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

                              I am trying to digest all of this. My initial response is that philosophy is, and should be, the basis of education, and the way to order life. In order to pick a correct philosophy, you must have studied history because it demonstrates how various philosophies have worked. Without a core philosophy, all else is a vacuum. Anyway, reading all of these posts in this discussion is seriously making me question whether I should be pursuing classical education for it's own sake, or whether I should be using the elements of classical education to enable my children to determine the right philosophy for themselves so that they can order their lives by it. I am feeling more confused than ever about whether ANY current curriculum is adequate to order our studies. I think we need to learn Latin, classical Greek, and classical Hebrew in order to translate the greatest work of philosophy of all time. We need to learn math, physics and chemistry to comprehend the structure of the universe. And we really need to know history to determine if our philosophy is one that can structure society. Literature, art, and music are all just fun little things to enjoy on the side.

                              Reading this discussion, and realizing that my philosophy of education is different from all of yours is quite disturbing. I have read The Well-Trained Mind and something by Dorothy Sayers (I can't remember what it is called). I will order the Climbing Parnassus book, but I am not feeling hopeful. Actually, I guess I am feeling a bit more hopeful than after realizing that much of Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education is twaddle, but still really not feeling like I am going to fit into the Classical box either.
                              JeJe Greer
                              Mom to:
                              Stella 9th grade with half MP and half Schole Academy classes
                              Clara (Combination of SC 5/6 and 4th New User)

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Re: Latin-Centered, History-Centered...and a confession

                                Originally posted by jejegreer View Post
                                I am trying to digest all of this. My initial response is that philosophy is, and should be, the basis of education, and the way to order life. In order to pick a correct philosophy, you must have studied history because it demonstrates how various philosophies have worked. Without a core philosophy, all else is a vacuum. Anyway, reading all of these posts in this discussion is seriously making me question whether I should be pursuing classical education for it's own sake, or whether I should be using the elements of classical education to enable my children to determine the right philosophy for themselves so that they can order their lives by it. I am feeling more confused than ever about whether ANY current curriculum is adequate to order our studies. I think we need to learn Latin, classical Greek, and classical Hebrew in order to translate the greatest work of philosophy of all time. We need to learn math, physics and chemistry to comprehend the structure of the universe. And we really need to know history to determine if our philosophy is one that can structure society. Literature, art, and music are all just fun little things to enjoy on the side.

                                Reading this discussion, and realizing that my philosophy of education is different from all of yours is quite disturbing. I have read The Well-Trained Mind and something by Dorothy Sayers (I can't remember what it is called). I will order the Climbing Parnassus book, but I am not feeling hopeful. Actually, I guess I am feeling a bit more hopeful than after realizing that much of Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education is twaddle, but still really not feeling like I am going to fit into the Classical box either.
                                JeJe,
                                I am so glad that you shared your thoughts today. You have been asking a lot of really good questions on many different aspects of the curriculum, and have displayed how earnestly you are trying to understand the viewpoints we are collectively offering you about the approach Memoria Press uses in their curriculum. You raise some very interesting points today, and I think are good issues to help you resolve to decide if MP really is going to be a good fit for you. This is going to be my thoughts based on your comments, and I hope they will make enough sense to be helpful.

                                One thing I think you have realized appropriately is that there is more to CE, or to MP's version of CE, or Sonlight, or Charlotte Mason, or anything else than simply what texts are selected and how they are used. You are sensing that there "something" behind what MP does, and in your explanation, that is a philosophy of education. But the "something" that orders Classical education is not a some "thing," it is a some One - the Logos, the Word - that is, Jesus Christ. We study classical education and adhere to its parameters because it provides us with the path of coming to know this truth better. The Greeks knew the concept of "that which can be known," and termed it logos, but they lacked God's revelation to finish connecting the dots. In John's Gospel, he reveals to us that Jesus is the fulfillment of "that which can be known" - the Word made flesh and dwelling among us.

                                Latin and Greek are valuable tools to help us be able to read great works, yes. And the ideas we learn from those works are valuable things to contemplate because they help us consider what it means to be human. But they themselves - as the revelation of the orderly structure of language - are avenues by which we encounter the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. Learning that language is orderly, structured, predictable reveals to us that there are things that are one thing and not another. Truth exists, and we can know it. Languages teach us that. So does math. The discipline needed to learn languages and math helps us discipline our wills and order our actions to pursue things of higher value regardless of what it costs us. We learn to recognize that some things are better for us than others, and we condition ourselves to choose that which is better (the Good). All the while this pursuing truth and growing in goodness delights our soul, helping us experience beauty in the pursuit. There are so many ways that Truth, Goodness, and Beauty come into play in a classical education, but this is one way we encounter it on a daily basis. This is because Truth, Goodness, and Beauty are how we encounter the Divine.

                                We also study math to appreciate the orderliness of the universe which is then on display throughout our study of the sciences. This is not so we can learn how to manipulate and control the natural world, but so that we can understand it and appreciate it as God's creation, and so that God can reveal to us even greater marvels by how we use the natural world for our own good. We study great works of literature not because they are nice to have on the side, but because through them we learn to appreciate the human condition in all its forms, and to inspire us to be greater than we are - to be imitators of the perfect human being, Jesus Christ. In all things, we bring our studies back to that ordering principle. Christ is the center of all history - everything prior points to Him, and everything after His life on earth is man's attempt to live up to the example He has set for us, and to build the kingdom of God on earth with all the trials and tribulations that brings. This is the heart and soul of Classical Christian education. It is the foundation of Western Civilization of which we are all a continuing part.

                                So I have to agree with you completely, that "without a core philosophy, all else is a vacuum." But the point where I really differ from you is that the core of our education is not a philosophy; it is the real, living person of Jesus Christ. There are many, many reasons that each piece of the curriculum is good, and you can hear of the academic benefits from many different sources. Some are better at explaining it than others. But at the heart of it all, the goal of classical Christian education is not to build a society. Classical education was not intended to be just another educational philosophy. Classical education is ordered toward educating children in the liberal arts so they will possess wisdom and act virtuously. Only then will they be people capable of helping build God's kingdom on earth in whatever capacity He desires. And my family uses Memoria Press because of how well it helps us do this.

                                This is a perspective on classical education that I did not start to thoroughly learn and actually experience until I started digging into the approach Memoria Press takes. Once I got a taste of it, I wanted to know all I could. One thing I found really helpful was to read through the Articles section of the MP website. That is a treasure-trove of material, collected from many years of the Classical Teacher magalog MP publishes. Also, if you read up on classical education through much earlier works than from our current era, you will find that it much more closely resembles the path MP has produced than anyone else currently bearing the CE label.

                                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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