This week I received an email that included this question:
What are your thoughts on Classical education?
Well… Here are my thoughts on Classical education….
I am still a fan of Classical education. I think. Still working through this one myself. Although… It’s funny. If you ask around, you get different answers when you ask, “What is Classical education?” No one quite seems to know.
In times past, it was easy to answer. Classical education meant training in Latin and Greek. That was pretty much it.
Through Latin and Greek, students learned history, botany, biology, mythology, and on and on. That is not what is happening now. As far as I can tell, most Classical education is the same old Prussian education system with a Latin class tossed in.
So, what do we do? That’s a tough one to answer. But, for me it comes down to a quote by Sir Walter Scott: All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education.
Pink Floyd was a bit more direct, “Hey, teachers. Leave them kids alone.”
Interestingly, I think C.S. Lewis would agree with Pink Floyd. In the Abolition of Man, he said: Hitherto the plans of the educationalists have achieved very little of what they attempted, and indeed we may well thank the beneficent obstinacy of real mothers, real nurses, and (above all) real children for preserving the human race in such sanity as it still possesses.
I think we should teach kids to love learning. As best I can tell, we do this by reading to them a lot when they are young, modeling learning by being students ourselves, and then cutting them loose as soon as we possibly can.
And as for Latin, if they want to learn it, I believe we should get them into Lingua Latina.