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Oh, how I am excited to be discussing The Liberal Arts Tradition with you! Why am I so excited? It is because in the past six months I feel like my eyes are being opened to a greater understanding of classical education, but I know that I still have so much more to learn. This book is going to help me (and you, hopefully!) gain some of that knowledge.
Gymnastic & Music
My big takeaway from this chapter is that the early years of a classical education should probably look different than we are accustomed to seeing. We owe much thanks to Dorothy Sayers for her book The Lost Tools of Learning, but did you know that true classical education was not broken down into grammar, logic, and rhetoric as stages based on age? I'm not trying to say that we should throw out that idea (because there is much merit to it) but it is interesting to learn more and try to put all the pieces together.
Classical education seeks rather to build upon a robust poetic and moral education before it moves to analysis critique.
That quote was from page 19. It seems to echo the idea that we are accustomed to about not forcing analysis in the early years, saving it for the dialectic and rhetoric stages. It does seems to have a different thought about the grammar stage years, though. Or maybe it is just a matter of making sure that we are handling and prioritizing what we do in the early years the right way.
The Grammar Stage & Delight
I think the average classical education homeschooler thinks of the grammar stage as a time for memorization, fact learning, and copying. That, in itself, is not wrong, but I think that many people are probably going about it in a wrong way. Maybe it is because of how we have been told classical education should look in the grammar stage. Perhaps we have been misguided? Or maybe, not! I'd love to hear how you have approached the grammar stage or what your ideas of how it looks are.
What I took from this chapter is that maybe the things we are doing are right, but we need to make sure that we are doing them in a way that produces wonder & delight.
In classical antiquity a major portion of the education of children consisted of physical training, singing, memorizing poetry, acting/imitating, drawing, sculpting, learning of the deeds of the great men of the past, reading great literary works, and experiencing and observing the natural world. (page 20)
This sounds a lot like Charlotte Mason to me =) I know that Charlotte Mason is thought of as a classical educator, but some of her methods have often seemed contrary to what I thought of as classical education. I am seeing now that I have had a misguided view of what early classical education should look like.
Yes, memorize all the wonderful things that we have been learning about. Yes, read aloud to our children. Yes, study history and science. But, do all those things in a way that produces wonder & delight.
"Before studying scientific astronomy one must admire and delight in the splendor or the heavens." - Dennis Quinn
When I first heard Dr. Perrin talk about scholé, my mind opened up to a new understanding that sometimes I need to do things that nourish my soul, not just things with tangible benefit. I am hearing the same type of message in this chapter. We (and our children) are not just 'mind,' but we are 'body' and 'soul' as well. If we train our children's minds only, and neglect the cultivating of their bodies and souls, we are not providing them with a full curriculum.
This chapter contains so much more great information, but these were the things that caused me to pause and really think. So my encouragement to you is to make sure that the training of your children's souls and bodies is not an after thought in your homeschool. And also, let us encourage one another with ways to teach our youngsters that produces a wonder for the subjects they are studying. Please share your ideas in the comments!
I am going to leave you with one last quote from page 29. I won't leave any commentary on it, but would love to flesh it out in the comments if you'd like to!
"Although musical education considers some of the same 'subjects' as the liberal arts, it does so from the perspective of forming the heart, the sense of wonder, and the affections. It contains in seed form the liberal arts and the philosophies, What is sown by music and gymnastic training will be cultivated later in the liberal arts portion of the curriculum devoted especially to the Trivium and Quadrivium.'
Thanks for reading along this week! What did you think of this chapter? Leave comments here on the blog post, or share about it on social media (#ClassicalMamasRead). I'll be sharing too, so follow me on facebook, twitter, or google+ and we can chat about it there as well! Don't forget, if you want to share your thoughts about Home Education on your own blog, link it up below so we can all come and visit!
Next week we will look at the Liberal Arts in The Liberal Arts Tradition. If you haven't gotten your own copy yet, make sure you grab a copy so you can join in on our discussions soon!
Classical Mamas Read Link-Up
Did you write about The Liberal Arts Tradition on your blog? Have you been reading and blogging about another book (for you, not a children's book)? Do you have a book club going on at your blog (once again, not for a children's book)? I'd love for you link up here so we can all be encouraged by each other and maybe find another great book to read!
I'm going to keep this link-up ongoing since there aren't going to be a huge number of posts and then anyone new will be able to be encouraged by the other book reading ideas and discussions. If the number of posts gets too large, I will fix it.
Please note, all posts must be on topic (about a book you are reading) and appropriate (think family friendly).