Are Your Fingers Bleeding?
I turned out alright. Right?
I thought that I had received a good education. I based that on the fact that I was an honor student and got into college easily. Plus . . . I went to Zionsville.
Kind of silly criteria, actually.
Oh, I still love to learn. And can teach myself.
Recently, I have begun to doubt my education. (You didn’t do anything wrong, Mom and Dad!) I have struggled to know what to blame some of my deficits on, though.
The majority of the time my excuses are,
- Nursing brain. My babies sucked out both my milk and my brains cells the past 7 years.”
- Too much NutraSweet from all that Diet Coke I used to drink. My brain has turned to formaldehyde.
- Yup, lack of sleep.
- Maybe I have early onset Alzheimer’s. (I really don’t mean this as a joke.)
I question the health of my brain and its ability to retain information.
Did I ever really train my brain?
Shape it to memorize and retain knowledge? Did anyone ever really present the world to me in a somewhat chronological order so as to see where events fit into a timeline?
Was my education so compartmentalized leaving me to place the happenings of history where I deem fit — never truly understanding how we arrived at the present state of history.
Please join me as we continue our conversation over the book, The Core, by Leigh Bortin.
The Purpose of Classical Education
According to Leigh Bortin, the purpose of Classical Education “is to equip students to discover the way our universe works.” In order to do this, there MUST be a foundation built with a knowledge of language, history, economics, and literature. The ingredients of that foundation are comprised of reading, writing, communication and the ability to analyze information (Bortin 14).
It should be no surprise that if Jesus is called the Word, why wouldn’t words be so important to who we are as people?
We exchange knowledge, information, and ideas through words, spoken or symbolic. Words are processed, weighted, and analyzed through other words, even if they originated in a picture or image or experience. . . . Words allow us to build great cities, negotiate peace between countries, and share a pleasant meal with friends and family.
Words are Fuel
Education should be as such that your child would want to learn more.
Do they? Or do they complain about “doing” school?
Prior to Classical Education, I heard MUCH grumbling. (Most of it was probably from my kids myself.) I didn’t want to learn and that lackluster rubbed off onto the humans around me. The thought of checking out a non-fiction book from the library? Absurd!
After my kick in the pants, thanks to a quick reading of The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer, we had a mutiny and threw our old books onto the street.
We haven’t mastered the business of strengthening our mind and training it in the art of memorization, but you bet we are beginning to flex those weak muscles.
Words are the fuel to our school day.
Memorization trains your brain to hold information. (Bortins 15)
Though I have yet to met many individuals excited for us to memorize a 160 point timeline, I know that the end result will be profitable.
Their brains will perform like athletes. I believe that the coaching of Classical Education will make them gold medalists.
But is that my goal? Am I only concerned about academics?
No. Knowledge puffs up. But love builds up.
I am coupling their education with my presence. Learning beside them. Questioning along with them.
One thing I will NOT be doing, though.
I will not provide an “factory education.”
It is interesting to take a look at the history of modern education. Like a doctor, teachers have become highly specialized. Forget the teacher who manages a one-room school house.
Typically, children travel down the assembly line of learning with the same classmates, year in and year out. But the teacher remains glued to the floor. He or she is focused on teaching little second graders. As the children progress down the line, they encounter various instructors who teach them important information that is rarely intertwined with what Mrs. Tubman is doing down the hall in room 232.
However, this is not always effective.
The real world is a confluence of ideas. Yet, “we’ve hired professionals and experts to separate the subjects as though humans can segment their lives into artificial compartments.” (Bortins 18)
I used to be one of the professionals. So I feel the sting of what I just said. I STILL try and teach in “units” and compartmentalize even my own family’s education. Guilty as charged.
Parents can teach
But hear me now. Loud and clear. Yes, I have a degree to teach high school. But that doesn’t mean I can teach. Do you follow me?
Ever had a teacher that simply didn’t have the gift? That je ne say quoi?
A degree does not bestow a love of learning upon the properly cloaked graduate.
Parents are led to believe that only professionals in a classroom situation know how to properly teach children. (Bortins 20)
Do not believe this lie.
You have a one up on your kids’ teachers. You love your child. You know them. Knowledge puffs up but love builds up.
Your child may remain in school. But you can still educate them when they get off of that yellow bus. Inspire them. Give them a taste of delighting in education. Take them places that one can only travel cheaply to through a book. Deviate from the so-called educational standards and teach them about the world, not just the test.
But what about “me” time?
Get over it. You decided to have kids. And your kids, are only a season. So enjoy your season.
This question always creeps into my thoughts when things get hard. Yes, I speak about the awesomeness of learning. There are times, though, when there is a groan, “I don’t wanna do math.”
Leigh Bortin tells her children, “Are your fingers bleeding from writing so much?”
She reminds them that Helen Keller had such a strong desire to learn, that her fingers had to be wrapped in silk to protect them from bleeding. Her hands were abused by the copious amounts of braille she consumed.
Your kids will easily buy into the lie that our job and the teacher’s job is to entertain . . . to make learning fun. Going to the Children’s Museum – a blast. Visiting the zoo – excellent. But not every day is an adventure. Sorry.
Parents even say they would die for their children, yet somehow they find it difficult to live with them. (Bortins 23)
Regardless of whether you homeschool or your children attend a school outside of the home, your job is to learn how to enjoy being a parent.
By doing so, you will be able to teach your child so much more . . . about life. Love. Sacrifice. Jesus.
Consider joining us for Chapter Two of The Core next Wednesday. The Core can be purchased in paperback or easily for your Kindle. If you missed the Introduction, check out last week’s entry or follow on Facebook.
How do you feel about your childhood education?