The effect of the liberal arts in Hong Kong

Progressive education, which tries to reduce everything to a narrow academic specialty, thinks “liberal arts” means “humanities.”  But in reality, the classical liberal arts refers to a whole approach to education– one that is broad rather than narrow, connected rather than fragmented, open to the past rather than favoring whatever is new, etc., etc.

It’s called “liberal” from the Latin word for “freedom.”  It goes back to the distinction in ancient Greece and Rome between the “servile” education given to slaves (nothing more than training for a job) and the “liberal” education given to free citizens of the Greek democracy and the Roman Republic–one that required the cultivation of the intellect and other human powers, as well as knowledge of the cultural heritage that must be transmitted to the new generation.  (I argue that much of “progressive education” is a revival of “servile education.”)  Interestingly, when Melanchthon and other Reformers opened schools to teach the masses how to read the Bible, they instituted a liberal arts curriculum, an education for freedom.

The British have done much with liberal education, and the schools they started throughout the British empire tended to follow this approach.  Today, the still-Communist Chinese are blaming  the liberal arts curriculum in the schools of Hong Kong for the pro-freedom movement currently roiling that city, with the protests generally led by liberal arts students.  The movement is being called “scholarism.”  In the mean time, the Chinese government wants to impose a pro-government purely economic curriculum. Sound familiar? [Read more...]

What a child with a classical education can do

Last summer I blogged about what I consider to be possibly the best book on classical education, Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child (Memoria Press).  It’s by Cheryl Swope, my fellow board member on the Consortium for Classical & Lutheran Education (whose conference is next week in St. Louis–join us!).  Cheryl tells about how she applied classical education in homeschooling her daughter Michelle, a special needs child who is afflicted with autism and a number of other heart-breaking mental problems.  Whereas progressive education, with its reductionistic view of human beings, would have just tried to program her with some basic survival skills and stop there, the humane, personal, inspiring approach of classical Christian education caused Michelle to blossom.  To bloom.   Not only was she achieving academic levels that her doctors thought were impossible for her, she was awakening to the realm of the true, the good, and the beautiful.  You have got to read Cheryl’s account of her daughter, who emerges, despite her continuing difficulties, as a complex, accomplished, and compelling young woman.

Anyway, Michelle–now 19–has now published a book of her poetry.  It will blow you away.  By any standards, the poems are extraordinarily meaningful and touching, filled with vivid imagery and lovely language.   To know Michelle’s background, though, is to appreciate her all the more and also to appreciate the potential of classical learning for shaping a young mind and a young heart.  But that’s not all.  Her poetry is profoundly Christian.  She writes about the Law & the Gospel, about experiencing the Sacraments and what they mean, about the Cross, about Jesus and what He did for her.  She shows just how deep catechesis in God’s Word can go, even in someone whom we might not expect.  After the jump, I will give you two of her poems, quoted with permission, along with a link so that you can buy the whole collection. [Read more...]

Meet me in St. Louis–for CCLE conference

The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education will be holding its annual conference July 15-17 in St. Louis on the beautiful, historic gothic campus of Concordia Seminary.  This year there will even be child care!

I’ll be there–talking about George Herbert, the Christian poet whom I’ve been featuring here lately–along with many others (check out the list along with links to registration details after the break).  Show up and we can have a Cranach summit meeting! [Read more...]

Classical education goes to the movies

Classical education does quite a bit with aesthetics and encourages deep reflection on works of art.  Thanks to James Banks for alerting me to a new website entitled FilmFisher.  It features movie reviews by classical educators and their students, as mentored by the classical educators.  The discussions of the films–which thus far include Noah, 300, American Hustle, Gattaca, Non-Stop–are very perceptive, going far beyond the usual reductionistic Christian movie reviews.  (Some of you high school or college students should sign up to be a reviewer!) [Read more...]

“Why classical schools just might save America”

One of my many interests is classical education, on the elementary, secondary, and collegiate level.  A more common name for the classical education philosophy is “liberal arts,”  a designation that refers not to progressive politicians but to the Latin word for freedom.  The “liberal arts” referred to the kind of education to equip a free citizen of the Greek democracy or the Roman Republic, as opposed to the “servile arts,” the purely economic training given to slaves.  (Go to this website for more information and resources about classical education.)

Anyway, Owen Strachan in the American Spectator sees the connection between classical education and freedom.  And he sees classical schools as a way to “save America.” [Read more...]

A handbook for Classical Lutheran Education

I’m at the Consortium for Classical & Lutheran Education conference in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  To add to the organization’s school accreditation program, we announced a process for teacher certification in this approach.  Also announced was a new resource:  A Handbook for Classical Lutheran Education.

Edited by Cheryl Swope, Steven Hein, Paul Cain, and Tom Strickland, and with a foreword by me, the book began as a “best of” publication drawn from the CCLE’s journal over the years.  But the articles were selected so as to provide a handbook showing what classical education entails, what is distinctive about a Lutheran approach, and how to implement it, whether in a classroom or at home. [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X