Newsletter

11/02/2017 Homeschooling for the Long Haul
by Robin Callon

When I first started homeschooling I had this vision of what it would be like in my home every day. Serenity was king. Peacefulness reigned. My kids running through a field of daisies like Little House on the Prairie. All of us sitting down quietly on a rainy day to read out loud. The house was always clean, all food homegrown and homemade. I was always calm, that picture of perfect motherhood where all I existed to do was be patient with my children no matter what they did. Well, that vision quickly died a violent death, especially as boys started entering our household.

10/24/2017 Beauty and Joy of the Christian Life
by Laura Berquist

Aristotle tells us that we are made for happiness. He spends the whole of his work on ethics leading us to understand that happiness is an activity of soul in accordance with perfect virtue. (Nicomachean Ethics, Ch. 13). He explains that activity is better than passivity, that a man is happier when he acts than when he is sleeping.  He shows that activities of the soul are more noble and enduring, and more truly said to be human, than activities of the body, as they are characteristic of what makes a man a man, rather than one of the lower animals. We are happier acting according to what characterizes us as men, that is acting reasonably, than if we act unreasonably. He shows that it is better to use one’s human powers well, and that this is what we call virtue, namely the right use of our highest powers.

10/24/2017 Discussion: Practice & Purpose
by Laura Berquist

Discussion is very important in our program. We know that to make a position your own, you need to be able to articulate it. We also know that it is through discussion that a teacher most certainly comes to know her students’ minds. But sometimes we hear objections to discussion as a method of learning: People say, “Lectures are a better method of learning, because the student has the truth clearly laid out for him, rather than a discussion wherein one has the blind leading the blind.” The right response is twofold: First, there is a certain aspect of teaching that cannot be done as well with lectures, namely the explication of the most fundamental ideas, and second, there are essentially lectures at the basis of every discussion, as a matter of fact.

10/24/2017 Discussion: Practicum
by Laura Berquist

I have one more general thing to say about discussion. The materials and the questions have to fit the stage of formation.  Don’t use complex materials, at least for discussion, before the student is ready. Reading the Greek myths from the Oxford World Classics to young children would be a mistake. They aren't ready for the complex language, let alone the complex ideas. But reading D'Auliare's Greek myths would be fine. The material has to suit the child. 

10/23/2017 Classical Education - Beginning in Wonder, Ending in Wisdom
by Laura Berquist

Classical Education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue by nourishing the soul on truth, goodness and beauty, so that, in Christ, the student is better able to know, glorify and enjoy God.

People who are in the tradition of classical education speak of it that way, that is, of being "in the tradition". The tradition they are usually talking about is the tradition of Aristotle and St. Thomas. In this tradition education is understood to be of a certain sort and to have various parts which have an order among themselves. In St. Thomas' commentary on Boethius' De Trinitate. he speaks very clearly of this order.

10/23/2017 Excellence in Education - Perfecting the Intellect
by Laura Berquist

About ten years ago I started giving talks and writing articles about classical education. At first, people warned me not to do it. They said that my audiences wouldn't be interested. They said people, homeschooling mothers in particular, only wanted practical, day by day directions. Now, we all like practical day by day directions, but my experience, contrary to the predictions, is that mothers want to know the end of education, not just the means. The mothers I know and work with are philosophers; they think about the nature of reality and educational philosophy all the time. I'm glad, because this talk is going to be in that category.