Wednesday, June 26, 2013

To know what we want in education...

"To know what we want in education we need to know what we want in general. We must derive our theory of education from our philosophy of life." T. S. Eliot  in an essay entitled, "Modern Education and the Classics."
            In the classical education movement the struggle we have is with the mindset that promotes physical comfort, science, power through things (i.e. money) --these are the dominant values of our time. Many Christians don’t know how to reject this without just dropping out of culture altogether. For over a century we Americans have been permeated by a spirit of “pragmatism.” How do we convince ourselves that literature, art and poetry have real value? We can “sell” a literary education by pointing out the ways in which a deep language study helps a student in those highly valued professions of doctor, lawyer, preacher, or any professional career.  And most will acknowledge that its sort of nice to have a few Christian scholars who will teach humanities or philosophy in the universities.  But overall, we are swimming upstream in the culture of 21st century America. 

            But the Bible tells us that God created us in His image and tells us to imitate him.  Shouldn't this involve “being creative” in whatever way we can as humans. As Romans 12 says:
“Be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. That ye may prove what is that good acceptable and perfect will of God.”
We can learn more and more about how to do this to His glory by studying the art and literary masterpieces of the past.  We can become wiser by understanding history thoroughly. And as CS Lewis put it, we can see the world and human experience through other people's eyes....hundreds and  hundreds of different eyes. We experience another human being's view of the world in many different eras of times and places.

The true ‘art of communication’ or rhetoric, in its classical sense, is developed by understanding the human condition and by understanding language. The word is more important than the quantifiable subjects, more essential to growing up in Christ, because it connects us to others. We believe these are important endeavors in order to become a truly loving Christian in this world.  The value of true Christian relationships with other homeschoolers is essential to making progress in restoring education. We need to take the time to laugh, and cry, with others about life, because as Ephesians 5:1-2 says: "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."



  1. Swimming upstream is right. It reminds me of something our pastor said last Sunday.

    He remarked about the Church's cultural immersion and wondered about one expression in particular: "I'm going to invest in this relationship." "I just find that a very interesting phrase. Don't you?" He said, "You don't 'invest' in something unless you expect it to pay dividends, don't you?"

    It's no wonder we struggle to see value in literature, art, and poetry if we expect dividends from relationships, even if only metaphorically.