So, I started to write about our trip to the GHC and I haven’t published it because it’s way too much like an essay. As I read what I wrote, I felt like I was trying to teach you something instead of just relay what I had experienced.
And I don’t like the way I sound when I get all “serious.”
But the fact remains, that I can’t approach this topic without being serious. Also, the topic seems so much bigger than I am.
I love what Dr. Christopher Perrin said in the session Classical Education 101:
Beauty that overwhelms me, makes me humble.
He was lecturing on what Classical Education is, what it looks like, how it’s defined, and he was referencing the cathedrals. This is where we encounter so much history, knowledge, goodness, and beauty – and there we see Christ at the center of it all. That’s where we begin to understand the love of learning, and that is where we take our place in the journey.
We receive the gift that is passed down to us from the generations before with gratitude.
There you have it, I’ve exposed the topic I’m afraid to tackle: Classical Education. And more than that, our takeaway from the GHC in relation to Classical Education.
What is Classical Education? And why does it matter today?
Classical education is like a very large museum with many beautiful, wonder-filled rooms that could be studied over a lifetime. It is a long tradition of education that has emphasized the seeking after of truth, goodness, and beauty and the study of the liberal arts and the great books. What are the liberal arts? They are grammar, logic, rhetoric (the verbal arts of the trivium), arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy (the mathematical arts of the quadrivium). This approach to education also includes the study of Latin. (You can read more about the study of Latin in Why Latin?) The classical approach teaches students how to learn and how to think.
At the GHC, in the sessions I attended I wanted to be convinced on why Classical matters, and I also wanted to choose a publisher and purchase our tools for the next year of home education.
So, instead of try to summarize or package the experience into manageable categories of thought, I’ll just give the bullet points. (Because the process of becoming convinced was a roller coaster and that’s just too hard to explain.)
- I have commitment phobia when it comes to defining our style of home learning.
- I wanted our curriculum for next year to follow the Classical model, but I also wanted to be able to tailor it to my children’s needs and talents.
- I know what it’s like to add a newborn into the homeschool business, and I wanted a curriculum that was heavy on independent work and reading aloud.
- We needed a curriculum that wasn’t going to break the bank.
- I wasn’t sure my husband and I were on the same page with our philosophy of education, and I wanted his opinion of Classical Education to be informed but not manipulated.
And at the GHC, I’ve experienced each year, my opinions are so heavily impressed by the speakers. I found out really quickly the first year that I need to be super picky and to research whom they are before setting foot into their lecture hall. (Thankfully for me, the first year I found Dr. Kathy Koch. She was my greatest influence that year.)
Because of this, I chose to go to the Classical Education Unplugged Panel session with representatives from all the major Classical thinkers. Where the reference to Luke 6 was impressed upon me (and over and over again throughout the whole weekend) and we collectively stood to sing the Doxology.
I was finally, fully fired up to take on this philosophy head on. I was committed.
But still the question rose, so what tools will we actually use?
My husband (whom I am so eternally grateful to for attending the GHC with me because of his honest perspective) said that he trusted my choice in a curriculum, but his only request was that I stick with it for the long haul. His very valid concern being that if we jump from publisher to publisher then who’s to know if we have continued the children’s education in a seamless manner.
I let his request lay heavily on my shoulders.
Surprisingly, for the bulk of the weekend I was leaning toward going with Memoria Press for our curriculum selections. I think Sarah McKenzie said it best when I chatted with her about choosing a company – Memoria has those neat, organized, cute, little baskets. You just want to go over and pick one and take it home. Yes! But at the time, I thought: Oh no, I really like what’s inside the baskets more than the cuteness of the package. But after I gave it more thought, it was the comfort of seeing everything neatly packaged that made me feel less overwhelmed at the process of gathering all the necessary requirements on my own for each child.
So, I stepped back again and resubmitted my heart and our decision to the Lord. Asking Him to guide us to the tools that would be right for us.
I’ll share what those tools are and more about the sessions next week.
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