I just wanted to post the discussion questions and my answers from Lesson 1 of the Introduction to Classical Education. Any feedback is appreciated!
In your country and culture, what would you say are the ideals that the nation seeks, as revealed in the education system (curriculum, setting, etc)?
In America I think that people learn only what they need to learn to get into college and get a good job. Education stops once you have a job that gives you a good salary. People are not learning to expand their minds and get closer to God. If something is not on a test or will not help them get their dream job, it is not worth learning. The public school curriculum is all about teaching students enough for them to graduate and get in a good college, because then the school can brag about how successful it is. The setting of most public schools is an overcrowded classroom with one teacher in charge of teaching thirty students everything they need to know with no help from the parents. The teacher does not have enough time to spend with every student to make sure that they are doing well and are reaching their full potential. The job of the parent is to make sure that the student is being sufficiently challenged and is completing their homework and understands it. But most parents put all the responsibility of their child's education on the teacher and blame the teacher when their student fails.
Who is the student (what is a human being, what is the human being for)?
A human being is a being created in God's image, composed of an immortal soul and a mortal body. Human beings were put on this earth by God to know, love, and serve Him, and to be happy with him in Heaven. A human being's goal is to get to Heaven. So, a student is a human being who is using his mind and body to learn that which will help him achieve his goal.
What curriculum do we teach?
Classical educators teach a curriculum that centers on grammar, logic, and rhetoric, with arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. These seven subjects are all connected to each other and all other subjects. Mastering grammar, logic, and rhetoric gives students the ability to master other subjects. Dorothy Sayers refers to these subjects as a knife and all other subjects as wood. Once you know these subjects, you can use them to whittle any wood you want.
In what setting do we teach?
A classical classroom consists of one teacher who assists the parents in teaching the students. Parents are heavily involved in a classical school, whether they are helping with extracurricular activities, assisting a teacher in teaching the class, observing the class, or helping their student with their homework and learning outside of the classroom. It is very different from a public school in that parents are very involved because they need to be and because they want their students to learn more than what is necessary to get them to college. The parent and teacher work together to make sure the child is learning the tools that will help him master any subject he wishes. The classrooms are disciplined, quiet, and peaceful.
To what ends or purpose do we teach?
We teach so that students can get closer to God and closer to how our first parents were before the fall. We teach so that students will have a lifelong desire to learn everything that is good and true and beautiful. We teach so that students will know how to know, love, and serve God best, and get to Heaven with him where everything is the best, truest, and most beautiful.