Author Topic: Saxon Math/Classical Education  (Read 1048 times)

Offline John Lamb

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Re: Saxon Math/Classical Education
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2018, 05:33:57 AM »
I personally think that education and the love for learning are overrated values. What it adds to mind & character is ultimately superficial compared to what comes from living a decent life with family & friends, through regular prayer and decent conversation. A core part of the Enlightenment project was the idea that human beings were "perfectible" through education/cultivation, which gives us our modern obsession with "education". A modern education is needed, to some extent, in order to function in the modern world and get a job, but there's no need to worry about it beyond that; books are not really the way to cultivate the mind, and being able to reference books is not evidence of cultivation. So I'd always just go with the school that's most agreeable to faith & morals and less likely to produce scandal; the only thing to be really concerned about in a child's education is that they come out able to function in the world with their faith & morals intact. If I was raising a family in simpler times, I don't think I'd even bother to teach the children to read or write, or to know the world beyond the names of the local towns and villages.

And I have given my heart to know prudence, and learning, and errors, and folly: and I have perceived that in these also there was labour, and vexation of spirit, Because In much wisdom there is much indignation: and he that addeth knowledge, addeth also labour [...] The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails deeply fastened in, which by the counsel of masters are given from one shepherd. More than these, my son, require not. Of making many books there is no end: and much study is an affliction of the flesh.
As many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. (John 1:12)

Offline MundaCorMeum

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Re: Saxon Math/Classical Education
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2018, 07:58:49 AM »
I understand what you are saying, John; however, we do live the current times and culture we live in for a reason.  If God had wanted us in a simpler time where the quantity of education was much less than what is necessary for today, He would have put us in those times.  Alas, He stuck us here, which means here is where our sanctifications will best be found.  I whole heartedly agree that in these times, the focus on academics and education is pretty disordered (even more so on extra-curricular activities and CONSTANTLY having to be on the go and involved in scheduled activities all the time  ::)  That's a completely different can of worms, though).  It has pretty much become a religion until itself (basically, it's own false idol). 

But, as you wisely recognized, we can't just throw the baby out with the bath water merely on principle.  Christ also told us we must be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.  I think if you just approach it with a proper mindset, and teach that to your children, everything will work itself out in the end, and be properly ordered.  Faith, morality, and a good family life are certainly the higher good and much more important; and those should be the very foundation of a proper education.  The goal of education should be so much more than just being able to get a job and function well in society (though, that is definitely part of it).  Above all, it should be for the child to know the Faith, love others, and grow and develop into the person God created Him to be. 

Our very first duty as a Catholic is to know, love, and serve God in this world, so we can be happy with Him in the next.  ALL knowledge comes from God.  So, the pursuit of knowledge should, to one degree or another, always be leading us to Him.  When your child marvels at the wonder of an opening flower in the spring, it's a chance to point his adoration and praise to God.  When your older children begin to delve deeper in to science and math, and are impressed by the constellations and all that goes with it, it's a chance to point his adoration and praise to God.  And, a chance to point out that who else could've created such and orderly and wonderfully beautiful universe?  It couldn't have happened by chance.  All knowledge points to God in some way, and we have a duty to teach that to our children, along side their ABC's and 123's.  You also have the opportunity to teach your children gratitude that God has blessed us with an intellect and capability to read and write, because with it we can read enjoyable books together as a family; we can write nice letters and kind notes to those we love.  We can use the skills and knowledge we are acquiring to serve others better.  It's not education that is the problem, it's society's disordered love and obsession with it.  It's when people put it to poor or evil use that it becomes a stumbling block. 

Before the fall, Adam and Eve were infused with knowledge.  So, it is obviously a good.  The goal of education and why we are acquiring knowledge needs to be proper, though.  I think it's two-fold 1) that we are pursuing knowledge for the sake of getting to know God better, so we can love and serve Him better...after all, you can't serve someone you don't love, and you can't love someone you don't know.  and 2) for practical purposes of being able to function, and to function well in the world in which we live.  And by "well", I mean that in the sense of both integrity and practicality...we must be able to function in the world with integrity, honesty, and virtue; as well as socially, practically, and successfully enough to meet the demands of our state in life.

We are whole persons.  We are not just spiritual; not just material; not just intellect.  We are all of those, and we have a duty to form each of those aspects of ourselves to the best of our ability, in a balanced way, and (most importantly) according to the Will of God.  Not everyone is called to high levels of education, and that's perfectly fine.  But, we can't go the other extreme and neglect education, either.  It is a tool that should be used properly to serve us well; not something we should be slaves to. 
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