Editors note: The following post is the transcript of a commencement address presented by our friends - and semi-regular CiRCE contributor - Kate Deddens and her husband, Ted. It's lengthy, but worth the read. Enjoy.
C.S. Lewis once remarked, “I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story. The good ones last. A waltz which you can like only when you are waltzing is a bad waltz.”
Reading the great fairy tales and classic stories to our children remains a great responsibility for all parents.
In the opening pages of Plato: The Great Philosopher-Educator, David Diener observes that “Plato was one of the principal founders of the Western intellectual tradition, and it is nearly impossible to examine the historical development of any academic topic without, knowingly or unknowingly, addressing Plato’s views.” Indeed, it would be nigh impossible to overestimate the impact of Plato’s thought on Western civilization.
If you are older than ten years old, you are a leader.
Leadership at its most essential is the act of shouldering the responsibility to make and implement decisions that affect other people. There are many other elements, like the ability to inspire, setting direction, etc., but those are all refinements of either making decisions or implementing them.
The most effective way to shape our students’ epistemologies is to take them to used bookstores.
An overstatement, surely—but worth considering. Epistemological formation, or instruction in how we know what we know, must be a central pursuit of Christian education, for Pilate’s question has echoed down through two millennia and the reverberations of the three words “What is truth?” are now louder than Poe’s tintinnabulating bells. The whole history of philosophy anno Domini could be cast as a sustained attempt to answer them.
It is printed. The last lesson plan for the last week for the last child in my homeschool.
When my oldest was 5 I filled a notebook with his lessons plans for his entire school career-what we were going to use each year until he graduated.
Yes, I did that.
Planning is such a wonderful thing unless you put too much stock in it. I planned to homeschool all my children through all their school years. And now suddenly it is finished, a few years short of that lofty goal. Life works like that. Things change.
- The nature of a child and education come together, either to mar the child or to help the child flourish. When a child is not taught according to his or her nature, it is like cutting against the grain, dulling the knife and marring the wood. Yet when a child’s instruction aligns with his or her nature, the process is beautiful and the child thrives. Parents and teachers must understand the nature of a child so that their teaching can harmonize with that nature and cultivate him or her into a virtuous and flourishing adult.
This week I finished my first-year teaching online with the CiRCE Academy. I was privileged to teach Classical Rhetoric and Greek & Roman Epics to some amazing students. My encounter with these young men and women challenged me to think more clearly, read more deeply, teach more passionately, and to repent more often.
In the last twenty years, I’ve only walked out of two movies (Chicago and Sideways), but both occasions were exhilarating. I’ve wanted to walk out of scores of movies, deriding myself as I watched them for not having the nerve to leave. I have turned off scores of movies because they were too vulgar, or too boring, or too stupid, but walking out of a movie is an act of genuine protest. You must stand, blocking the view of others, collect your things and exit the theater. We’re more apt to watch a movie at home by ourselves, but we go to the movies in a crowd.