"Happiness is a certain activity of soul in accord with complete virtue." - Aristotle Please enjoy our new video introduction to Hillsdale College's work in K-12 classical education.
“The study of mathematics develops and sets into operation a mental organism more valuable than a thousand eyes because through it alone can truth be apprehended.” Plato, The Republic A Misconception Often, even from an early age, certain students develop an affinity for mathematical and scientific thinking, an affinity which parents, teachers, and administrators tend… Continue reading How Classical Education Shapes Mathematical Thinking, by Jon Gregg
Education, to be real education, must train both the minds and the characters of students. But how can we teach young people to be virtuous? Setting an example is the first step, but at some point the virtues must be explained and defended. This is a very difficult thing to do well: we run the… Continue reading On Teaching the Virtues through Literature
Classical education is not fluff. It is real content that spans the ages. It includes excellent stories: classic and timeless tales from literature, the stories of people and places and events of history, the stories of people, inventions, discoveries, and creative pieces in science, music, and art. For the youngest students, the best classical schools will include all of those things and emphasize the importance of learning to read and spell through an explicit phonics program, and include the mastery of basic math facts and the building of conceptual mathematical understanding. Teachers will know and love their content, and they will help your child begin to develop an understanding of how the different subject areas work both independently and together to tell us about ourselves and human nature. Teachers will do this through dynamic, teacher-directed instruction; your kids won’t be left on a device all day and they won’t be self- or group-taught through projects. Most importantly, virtue and character will be intertwined through the conversations about both curricular content and student behavior, so your young children will begin to understand what it means to be a good citizen, and these conversations will complement what you are trying to teach them at home.
What is the point of education if truth is not objective but relative, if nobody can be right? Founders does not teach so that we might attain material “success”; rather, it teaches in order that we might attain virtue and live the good life. This is what our education these past years has been all about; we have been given the ability to stand firmly on two feet, and to see what is true, to judge what is good, and to admire what is beautiful.
Why study a language that no one speaks anymore? It's one of the most common questions we hear in classical schools, and below, Jordan Adams from the curriculum and instruction team at the Barney Charter School Initiative offers an answer: https://soundcloud.com/hillsdaleclassicaled/jordan-adams-on-working-with-teachers-and-making-history-come-alive#t=15:51 Jordan Adams's Top Reasons to Study Latin Latin is a giant puzzle. It forms… Continue reading Why Latin? Isn’t it a dead language?
At Hillsdale Classical Schools across the country, students write and defend a senior thesis before graduation. The thesis gives students an opportunity to reflect on their education, choose a subject they would like to study more deeply, and then write a substantial paper on that subject. Before graduation, seniors present their theses to their parents,… Continue reading Elizabeth Hughes on her Senior Thesis
"As we leave behind our younger and more vulnerable years, I think a fitting lesson we ought to take with us is this: that life is a beautiful and sacred gift, with tremendous potential for, but no guarantee of, achieving the good. So I urge you, in the way that classical education best teaches us how, to spend it wisely. Spend it well."
We will take with us the words of wisdom we were given by teachers who have taken on Lewis’ charge “not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.” I hope that for each of us, this graduation is not the end of education, but merely a transition. Embracing our spirited nature, let us move on to greater challenges knowing that we’ve begun well.
If you are a parent, these notes might help you evaluate your child's history class. If you are a teacher in a classical school, they might help you plan your lessons or give you ways to describe the teaching of history to others. If you are a teacher of social studies or a teacher in a non-classical school, this might help you think about two different ways of approaching the same subject.