Technology dominates our lives. Most of us walk about carrying supercomputers with more processing power than NASA had for the Apollo 11 mission. These labor-saving devices promise freedom, but we are more enslaved than ever. Eliminating communication barriers means that we may be interrupted at any moment by a call or text. Constantly dinging notifications (real or imagined!) trigger a Pavlovian response to glance at our screen. The time saved by our devices is quickly devoured as we consume the hours on social media trivialities.
April may be the cruelest month, but Summer is the most pagan of the seasons.
To begin, twenty theses on lawn mowing.
Lawn-mowing is a primary way to show respect and care for one’s neighbors, for the landscape of your yard is the view from their windows.
Being a good steward of the home God has entrusted one requires he mow his lawn, for that keeps it tidy and healthy.
The labor of mowing a lawn is labor for beauty and order.
Our replacements have arrived at the front. They have come to relieve us. We have fought, valiant and unceasing, till we no longer remember a world without fighting. But we are not finished. We must prepare these new soldiers to take over our posts, to hold the line, to push forward against the Enemy. And yet, one glance at the blush of their youth and naiveté reveals that our most dire struggle will be with them. They are not ready, and we are nearly spent. Should we not tremble for the future darkness into which we send them, ready or not?
A common theme I encounter in conversations with other home educators each spring, and often into the summer months, concerns preparation for the upcoming year. I’ve been classically homeschooling for over twenty-five years, and the liturgy of this assessing and planning season is an integral part of my own life, too—as fundamental to it as preparing for both daily needs and important yearly celebrations like Christmas and Easter.
If a basketball club has great uniforms, an inspiring mascot, a kind-hearted owner, a wise coach, loyal fans, and a tastefully designed stadium, but the players cannot get the ball to go through the hoop, the team will not win any games. In the same way, a classical school has to have classically-minded teachers.
Should students be taught what to think or how to think? Lest we think the question is new, we see the seeds of the debate emerge between the Epicureans and the Stoics— those who belief the chief good of man is found in the body and those who believe his chief good is found in the soul.
Our scene is a high school acting class in late November. Twenty-nine students sit at their desks, all watching a thirtieth who walks up to the front of the room to rehearse a monologue. She is to recite a two-minute passage from Wuthering Heights. The part has been well researched: the actress has a good grasp on the plot of the book and the monologue’s place within the story. She understands the action of the scene and she sympathizes with her character emotionally. Everyone in the room is excited, as the actress has some talent and has been fun to watch in previous scenes.
Around thirty years ago, a movement began to restore classical education in American elementary schools and high schools. The first stage of the restoration of classical education was the recovery of classical texts. Around fifteen years ago, the second stage undertook the recovery of classical pedagogy. Today, I believe a third stage is underway. We have begun the recovery of classical assessment, grading, and class management.