The Core: Why We Need Classical Education
Is it a problem if most of my book is underlined? Does that mean I probably have an inability to discover key points?
Admittedly, I do have a lot of highlighting in Chapter 2 of The Core, by Leigh A. Bortins. How can I not? All of the time I spent gaining a degree in secondary education never taught me what I am learning now about Classical Education.
Why We Need Classical Education
I want to grab America by the beaches and shake her, while eloquently unleashing my cleverly prepared mandate for a change in our current educational methods. Each year thousands upon thousands enter an educational system that is supposed to train them up to enter the work force.
But that should not be the goal . . . the outcome. The work force is too transient. And first graders like animals.
Little sponges walk into those tax-funded buildings and are underestimated. Bortins describes humans as “brain damaged.” (Bortins 43) To remediate this problem, the physical therapy our brains need is education. Contrary to what kids think, they actually do enjoy learning. Think about it . . . what child doesn’t enjoy a show about animals, or visiting the zoo, or traveling to a far away country through a book? We are wired to acquire facts.
However, if we are never trained to learn, or memorize, or utilize those facts – learning is drudgery. Uneventful. Unfulfilling. Too difficult to consider conquering.
Through memorization, recitation, and other brain training skills that I know nothing about (yet), we (humans) can retain and share large amounts of information. (Bortins 46) I’m excited to be a vault. I can’t wait to see what I have developed into after one year of Classical Conversations under my belt by next June.
And my children . . . I am tickled pink for them to gain pegs in their brain with which to hang history and events upon that will shed light onto their role in God’s Kingdom.
There is work. It doesn’t have to be easy.
Though our society works very hard at making tasks simpler, such as drive-thrus, iPhone apps, post-it-notes etc., that doesn’t mean EVERYTHING has to be quick. Or painless. Or effortless.
I have quit telling my children that learning is fun. Sometimes learning is hard and it hurts to use those cranium muscles. Yes, learning can be fun once we have accumulated enough “facts” that facilitate easier learning, but my role as an educator is NOT to daily prepare a carnival of learning to entertain my kiddos.
The Engineer never promised daily excitement or a frequent rip-roaring adventure because I married him. Yet, each day I show up. I do my work to help move our family onward in the calling the Lord has given us. I don’t shy away from my responsibilities, though I often wrestle with laziness. Just because the boys peed on the floor again or the dishwasher has to be unloaded for the third time that day doesn’t mean I have a license to quit. I preserver because the outcome is greater than the immediate discomfort.
I put in the work because the reward is worth it. I have LEARNED to enjoy serving my family.
So, my goal as an educator can be summed up with Leigh’s words, “Classical educators prefer to prepare children to work hard at learning until the skills become enjoyable.” (Bortins 49) We shall “work consistently over a long period of time until the difficult becomes effortless.” (Bortins 51) Because “an over-practiced skill eventually becomes a delightful art to be shared.” (Bortins 56)
The idea of my children sharing their learning . . . delighting in God’s creation – better than French Silk pie.
Let me close with this last quote from Leigh,
The classical model helps us to think globally and with foresight. Our generation can see farther around the globe than ever before. As a parent, I need to give my children an expansive vision of their opportunities. (Bortins 62)
Missed out on our previous discussion?
- Why We Need Classical Education
- Are Your Fingers Bleeding
- An Introduction for the Introduction
- Announcing The Core Book club
- What Does Your Core Look Like?