Matthew Bianco

Matthew Bianco is a homeschooling father of three. All three of his children have graduated from their family's home school. The oldest has since graduated from St. John's College in Annapolis, MD and works for the CLT. His second and third children are attending Belmont Abbey College near Charlotte, NC. He is married to his altogether lovely, high school sweetheart, Patricia. He is the author of Letters to My Sons: A Humane Vision for Human Relationships.

Matthew Bianco Mar 13, 2017

Looking to Scripture for examples of how Jesus was taught can be a tricky endeavor. It is my intent both to remain within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy and to learn something from the analogy of Scripture without making it say more than it does. Forgive me when I inevitable fail on either of those two counts.

Matthew Bianco Dec 5, 2016

“Children are born persons” is the first of Charlotte Mason’s principles. A person has a voice, or wants a voice, or should have a voice, especially children. In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he indicates as much, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). Actually, what he indicates is what might be a universal tendency in the older generation to despise the thoughts, ideas, and opinions of the younger generation.

Matthew Bianco Dec 2, 2016

What is rhetoric? You’ve probably heard or thought of rhetoric as the art of persuasion. Fans of Aristotle will probably think of it as the art of finding the available means of persuasion. If you follow in the vein of Quintilian, you will probably think of it as the art of persuasion toward truth (and goodness and beauty). For those of you who have heard Andrew Kern speak on the topic, you’ve probably picked up something along the lines of rhetoric being the art of decision-making in community. One of these is decidedly not like the others.

Matthew Bianco Sep 21, 2016

In a previous article, “Why Do You Teach,” I wrote about teachers pursuing the good of their students. Drawing an analogy between friendship and teaching (as Aristotle did between friendship and governance), I wrote:

Matthew Bianco Sep 19, 2016

For the good of the other, that is the answer to our question. Or is it? What does that even mean? In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle explains what friendship is. Perhaps understanding friendship might help us to understand the relationship between teacher and student, even if the relationship between a teacher and his student is not one we might typically describe as a friendship.

For Aristotle, that student of Plato and therefore Socrates, there are three kinds of friendship: a friendship of utility, a friendship of pleasure, and pure friendship.

Matthew Bianco Sep 10, 2016

Plato is one of those old, ancient philosophers—a Greek no less. That necessarily means he will be hard to read—and boring. Far better would it be to read a book about Plato rather than actually read his stuff. Besides just being old and Greek, he wrote dialogues. Who writes dialogues anymore? Write an essay or write a novel but don’t write dialogues! I couldn’t imagine having to read something so boring or confusing.

Matthew Bianco Sep 9, 2016

Socrates, the gadfly of Athens, was put to death for being annoying. Well, it wasn't necessarily that simple of a trial or an indictment, but in the end, that's what it boiled down to. He was annoying the older generation, even saying that if they kill him, they will simply spur the younger generation to carry on his work. Not only would they do so, he says, but they would be even more aggravating in doing it because they wouldn't have the wisdom, patience, and experience Socrates had.

Matthew Bianco May 5, 2016

Like most people, I have had a particular definition of rhetoric that has guided my understanding and application of it for a while. That definition, though, was not my original understanding of rhetoric, and it has recently been modified once again. What fascinates me about my changing understanding of rhetoric is the effect it has had on my understanding of stories where rhetoric is a key factor, especially William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Matthew Bianco Jan 20, 2016

Classes have begun again, following Christmas break, and it was a difficult beginning. My students all returned, most having seen (typically two or three times) the recent Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. Imagine my surprise when math class was distracted by conversations about Rey’s parentage, when science class was distracted by conversations about the Star Killer Base, when Latin class was distracted by conversations ranking the various Star Wars films according to their quality as movies.

Matthew Bianco Dec 28, 2015

What is wisdom? As parents and teachers, how do we view wisdom in light of our vocation? Can we expect education to be a path to wisdom? Is it merely a gift we passively wait to receive? Is it contradictory to say that education is the path to wisdom when it is actually received as a gift, or vice versa? Questions like these are not unimportant, even if they feel a bit philosophical and esoteric. Why, for instance, do we train up our child in the way he should go if his going is a gift?