Sunday, February 25, 2007

Classical Education

When I first discovered Classical Education, I was very excited and intrigued with it. After reading a lot about it, and coming to understand how my children are best educated, I would discourage others from using this method rigidly. Everyone wants their children to excel, and be the best they can be, but I just do not agree that it is good to fill a young child's mind with facts upon facts that they then learn to tie together as they age. This method is too harsh for young children, and just ends up recreating school at home if homeschooling, or pushes kids to do more than they are able if in school. It focuses on workbooks, and lots and lots of memorisation. It is very rigid, with a set formula for each grade (age). The Well Trained Mind is the book to read if you want to learn about it.
That said, classics (which is not just limited to books, a classic can be anything that you come back to over and over) are great teachers, and they should be used as the main source of education. Classical Education is not about classics though. It is the form of education that was supposed to have been used in the classical past, using the trivium as its foundation.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

I think I agree. The person I talked to who was planning to use classical education described her plan to use one favorite book (Don Quixote) throughout several years to teach her kids. She was going to use different parts of it to emphasize different concepts at different times, but still use mainly that book. It seems to me that you lose a lot when you give up variety. I wouldn't think a kid would tolerate the repetition. And I think there's a lot of value in material that is made specifically with kids interests and abilities in mind. She was also going to teach her kids latin, which is fine of course, but I'd rather teach my kids a language they can use immediately like Spanish. Of course, I also think memorization of facts can be a good way to learn some things too, so maybe there are some things I like about this method. I guess we pick and choose what we like anyway, right?

I'd love to hear your opinion on other methods of teaching too.