Growing as a Community: Appreciating Classical & Christian Education
In the book that started the modern classical and Christian (C&C) school movement, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, Doug Wilson examined serious deficiencies of American education. His implication was something had been lost or so vitally altered that learning bore little resemblance to what it once was. Work was needed to recover it. A second implication was the work was worth it — what had been lost was valuable and worth recovering. Wilson called for a return to a classical and Christian education, the method Christian parents had used to instruct their children from the first century until about the 19th century.
Recovering what has been lost requires researching and investigating its roots. We need to know what it is we’re seeking to recover. Recovering a comprehensive approach to education is very different and much more complex than recovering or restoring an old painting or a piece of furniture. In the latter case, we might only need to know what the original looked like.
To recover an approach to education, we need to understand the theological and philosophical traditions from which it emerged. We need to know what its proponents believed about God, His purposes for us, and the world He created. We need to know how they thought about human nature and, particularly, how they thought about the nature of children. We need to understand what they valued and then grow to value those same things. We need to know the aims or ends they were seeking to achieve. And, of course, we need to understand the teaching methodology and the content they used to achieve those ends.
The modern C&C school movement is more than 25 years old, and most who are involved in this recovery project would say we’re just beginning to scratch the surface. We live in an age so fundamentally different from the long historical period when C&C education was the primary, if not only, approach to education. The differences are not due mainly to the technology we have at our fingertips today, but rather because the way we think about these topics is so different from ages past. For most of that time, the purposes and ends of education were rooted in and defined by the Bible and Christian doctrine. However, modernity has severed education from its Biblical foundation — and we’re all the worse for it.
For MHA to prosper, we must continue to do some of this work, or at least learn from those that are doing the work. To this end, we are launching a robust three-part community formation program starting with the 2018-2019 school year to help us all learn and grow together. Please join us as we learn more about parenting children, navigating the middle school year, and preparing our students for life and learning.
I also maintain a blog (itemsofinterest-tomt.com) with links to relevant articles and occasional pieces by me. You can subscribe to be notified of new posts.
Recovery is hard but rewarding work. We’re thankful to partner with you in this work. We definitely believe it’s valuable, and, more importantly, we believe it’s in service to God and His calling for us to bring all of life into submission to Him.
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