Over the past seven years I have learned more and more about classical education. This year is no different.
One of the many benefits of the program we use, Classical Conversations, is the program is constantly equipping parents to understand the classical education model so that we can best implement it in our home. A few months ago, I attended a Classical Conversations Parent Practicum where I once again peeled off another layer of the onion of what we call the classical model.
It was quite enlightening.
In a previous post about the classical model, I discuss differing stages of this education model; however, I have learned to think on these stages a little differently.
These are not truly stages, because when we think about stages we box this idea into a timeframe. Once the timeframe has passed, we assume we’ve learned what we can, move on and have nothing to do with it again. As a matter of fact, if it is brought to our attention to go back to what we’ve already learned we scoff at the idea, because….well, we’ve already learned that. Right?
And yet, we still don’t have a full knowledge of what we’ve learned.
We do this to our children as well.
Once our children pass the grammar stage we don’t want them going back to that stage, because they’ve already done it. Why do it again?
And yet, in the real world of life, we find that we often need to go back to the beginning.
Take for example professional athletes. Just because they’re professional athletes doesn’t mean they stop doing monotonous drills. They continue their drills in order to further enhance their abilities.
This past summer my son was on a swim team for the first time. He learned to swim years ago, is a great swimmer, and yet he was still expected to continue swim lessons and his swimming drills during practice times.
Because there’s always room for improvement.
Take the Bible as another example. Do we only read it once, close the book and declare to never need to learn it again?
No! We know there’s room to grow, and that doing things over and over again helps solidify and further grows us up in that area.
Such is the same with the classical model. While we’re learning, we’re not in the grammar stage, the dialectic stage, or the rhetoric stage.
Instead we are studying the art of learning.
We are studying the art of grammar when we are tucking away important facts of any subject matter.
We are studying the art of dialect when we discuss, and ask good questions about the subject matter.
We are studying the art of rhetoric when we formulate our own ideas of the subject matter and share those ideas, or debate those ideas, with others.
And what all this boils down to is that we are studying the art of learning.
Learning is an art form. Loving to learn is an art form.
Sometimes that involves lessons and studies, sometimes it involves discoveries in the backyard, and sometimes it involves character growth. But when we limit our learning to just stages, we lose out on the value of learning all together by moving beyond the stage and forgetting altogether what happened there.
This is a new concept for me, and I can’t say that it’ll change how we do school much at all.
But I can say this, it has helped me view our homeschool, learning, and life a little bit differently.