“Training the mind is no simple task!…But in a classical education, we are willing to work through these difficult mental exercises because we recognize that the mind is the vital link between the heart and the mouth.”
I recorded this into my commonplace book some time ago without an attribution. If you know who said it, please let me know, and I’ll attribute the quote.
In any case, I heartily agree with this sentiment. So many times I’ve heard the assertions that homeschooling must be so hard, so time-consuming, so, so, so…
You know it too. If you are just starting out, you’ll soon have a canned answer ready that you’ll whip out without a second thought. I joke that I didn’t want to awaken early enough to get four kids on a bus. I’ll admit that is was partly that and the fact that I wanted my children to know not only how to think, but how to think independently.
If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place in which to live.-John F. Kennedy
I’ve found the classical education method to be the best avenue to achieve our educational goals. We go astray sometimes for months at a time, but always seem to return to our core basics. Reading and being read to are key. The more literature that children are exposed to the better.
Classical education is not all about being able to recite facts. It’s studying the past extensively and therefore having the knowledge to avoid mistakes that have been made again and again. It’s gaining empathy due to reading story after story of tragedy and loss. How can you relate to time you haven’t lived through?
You can get a real sense of history through both historical fiction and fact. Knowing the dates is a bonus as it allows you to have a sort of timeline in your head for what happened when. That doesn’t preclude the student also relating to the point in time creatively. Repeat after me: Classical Education is not boring. The materials and presentation can be annoying. A student will have subjects that he/she prefer over others. That doesn’t mean you skip it. I don’t think specialization should be encouraged until age sixteen or so.
I’m afraid that this is turning into a generalized rant of how classical education is perceived by most of the homeschooling community. It isn’t meant to be that. It also isn’t intended to say that all other methods of education are inferior. Every family needs to determine their goals and values for educating their children soon after they decide to take on the responsibility themselves. I’m speaking as a classically influenced homeschooler who has been at this gig for over sixteen years.
This then is my actual point. Only through learning about the past and gaining empathy can we link the heart and the mouth thus providing the world with educated souls in what are seeming to be very interesting times.
Jen N. – Jen has spent her time homeschooling her five children since 2001. She has read over 5,000 books aloud. A fan of all things geeky, she lives in a world of fandoms. With the three oldest graduated, Jen now has time on her hands and reviews books at www.recreationalscholar.com