Methods: Classical Education

The Core

Leigh A. Bortins

The Core is a practical guide to those who are new to the idea of classical education and are looking for an outline of what to teach in different subject areas. Leigh Bortins has written this book for all parents and teachers--those in a regular school setting as well as those who are homeschooling--but her methods would work particularly well within a home education environment. Bortins uses the ideas laid out in Dorothy Sayers’ oft quoted 1947 essay, The Lost Tools of Learning, as a guide upon which to build her lists of necessary skills for students of the trivium.

Poetic Knowledge

Book cover: 'Poetic Knowledge'
James Taylor

(Additional Review, in response to the one above)

"There are relatively few persons who can analyze as clearly and as lucidly the writings of Aristotle, Plato, and Aquinas as does this author. Like Taylor's educational philosophy, he seeks to move his readers' affections and will as well as their intellects, and he does this successfully." - Richard Harp, University of Nebraska

Two other movements

Two other movements form the climax of the Church's activity during the Middle Ages. The development of Scholasticism meant the revival of Greek philosophy, and in particular of Aristotle; but it also meant that philosophy was now to serve the cause of Christian truth. Men of faith and learning like Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas, far from dreading or scorning the products of Greek thought, sought to make them the rational basis of belief. A synthesis was thus effected between the highest speculation of the pagan world and the teachings of theology. Scholasticism, moreover, was a distinct advance in the work of education; it was an intellectual training in method, in systematic thought, in severe logical reasoning, and in accuracy of statement. But taken as a whole, it furnished a great object-lesson, the purport of which was that, for the keenest intellect, the findings of reason and the truths of Revelation could be harmonized. Having used the subtilities of Greek thought to sharpen the student's mind, the Church thereupon presented to him her dogmas without the least fear of contradiction. She thus united in a consistent whole whatever was best in pagan science and culture with the doctrine entrusted to her by Christ. If education be rightly defined as "the transmission of our intellectual and spiritual inheritance" (Butler), this definition is fully exemplified in the work of the Church during the Middle Ages.
- from the entry on Education in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia

The Trivium: the Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric

Book cover: 'The Trivium: the Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric'
Sister Miriam Joseph, C.S.C.

This little gem was used as a freshman college course after the author met philosopher Mortimer Adler and understood the importance of teaching basic language skills as the foundation of other learning. After some years of study, she put together this course in the Trivium, the three language arts -- of word relations (grammar), concept relations (logic), and composition (rhetoric). The result is a primer in Aristotle's Categories, a demanding course in logic, and a prerequisite to good composition.

The Restoration of Christian Culture

Book cover: 'The Restoration of Christian Culture'
John Senior

This book, originally published by Ignatius Press (with ecclesiastical approval) is available in print once again from Roman Catholic books. John Senior, an eminent great books scholar and Catholic writer of the recent past, here addresses what Christian Culture is, why it has nearly disappeared (particularly in America today) and what is required to bring it back.

Poetic Knowledge

Book cover: 'Poetic Knowledge'
James S. Taylor

Poetic Knowledge, by James Taylor, is a difficult read. He wishes to present, from both history and philosophy, a solid argument for an education that is more intuitive and interior than what we find in the schools today. His background and bibliography are impressive, including a period of study with John Senior in the Integrated Humanities Program at the University of Kansas, famous as an early ferment in the revival of classical education.

Implementation of an Ignatian Education in the Home

Francis Crotty

The focus of this booklet is on the method of teaching. Mr. Crotty goes through the timeless and time-tested Jesuit philosophy of education and applies it to homeschooling. He has put together an outline that could be successfully applied to any curriculum. The ideas will be especialy helpful for parents who are homeschooling their teens, but it is useful to consider such important goals even when our children are very young.. Although it's a short booklet, the reading is rather heavy. I think you'll find it well worth the effort. Mr.

Designing your Own Classical Curriculum

Book cover: 'Designing your Own Classical Curriculum'
Laura Berquist

DYOCC is quite a bit different from the other books on Catholic Homeschooling. Instead of simply discussing homeschooling, as the other books do, Mrs. Berquist outlines an entire homeschool curriculum you can use with your children or adjust to your liking. She includes suggestions for putting together your own curriculum and a grade by grade outline which includes recommended texts, sample weekly schedules, a number of study guides, lists of important dates and people, poetry suggestions and extensive lists of appropriate literature and history stories.

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