Re:thinking Education

Nancy Pearcey, author on biblical worldview, posted a link on Facebook to an article in the Washington Post from April 8 by Julia Duin entitled “Embracing a classical education”. This is one example of the resurgence of the classical model in educational philosophy. (My wife and I are part of a homeschooling community pursuing this model–read more here.) If you are a parent, I recommend that you consider options for pursing this educational model. At the very least, I recommend that you apply some critical thinking to the choices you make in educating your children.

It is becoming more apparent that there is a growing dissatisfaction among parents and teachers with traditional public school models. For example, North Carolinian lawmakers recently voted to allow an increase in Charter schools throughout the state. I believe the classical model is a good way of overcoming this dissatisfaction, for it is fruitful for the intellectual, cultural, spiritual and moral development of your children.

Quarterlife CrisisRecently, I listened to a recorded video lecture from John Stonestreet of Summit Ministries where he was imploring Christian educators to think seriously not only of how a biblical worldview affects their given field, but to also educate students on the fruitful and important ways biblical worldview enables them to critically, creatively and constructively engage any field or vocation. In the lecture, he references a book entitled “Quarterlife Crisis” and their website – quarterlifecrisis.com.

As he recounts (and as I remember he recounts) the authors found that recent college graduates returned home after college with little clue on what to do with their lives. They had graduated from some of the best colleges and universities with no moral guidance. They had been given job skills, turned into tools of the utilitarian pragmatism of the early 21st century, but had no way to discern why they should do things that way or which way was better than another. In other words, these college grads are the quintessential product of the death of our educational system. There is no unifying theory of knowledge, no moral guidance, no truth, no lodestar to direct them.

Parents, we see this, we lived through this, and we don’t want this for our kids. There are great moral and spiritual reasons, and a host of other rationales, for choosing alternative models for educating your children, such as through charter schools, classical schools, and homeschooling. The beauty is that there are more and more alternatives that do not cost you what private schools want to charge. The classical model, which teaches children according to their stage of development, offers one of the best options for avoiding the quarterlife crisis. It places truth, beauty, and goodness at the center of a curriculum which not only provides a unified theory of knowledge, but gives young minds the tools to think critically and argue persuasively within any field of study or pursuit, from liberal arts to science.

One daunting but extremely helpful book for understanding this model is The Well-Trained Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer & Jessie Wise. A less detailed but persuasive and well-written introduction to the model is The Core, by Leigh Bortins. There are more books available. If you’re reading this and want to add some recommendations, please leave them in the comments.

Let me encourage you to do some research; think through this issue for your children. Education isn’t what it used to be! But there are more viable options available to you everyday. Take advantage!

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