Treasure for the taking

The Preface! I’m up to the preface. (In blogging. I’m beyond that in reading.)

Here are few tidbits:

Authors Clark and Jain write:

“In our view, the whole of education ought to proceed from the love of God and neighbor.”

I invite you to consider that view and compare it to Charlotte Mason’s “captain idea” that “Education is the science of relations.”

Rather than the fragmented approach to subjects, the authors tell us:

“In a word, this paradigm allows for a high degree of integration.”

Integrated is a Latin derivative that means the same thing as the Greek derivative synthetic, so I’m taking notice.

And I appreciate this so very much:

“We offer this paradigm not, we pray, as innovators, but as those who have discovered a great lost gem.”

It echoes something Charlotte Mason said near the end of her life, too:

“If you picked up a bracelet lying by the way it would be no credit you. It is precisely the case with us. These principles are picked up, found, a find which is no one’s property; they belong to all who have wit enough to take them.” (L’Umile Pianta, June 1922)

The vital principles that underlie a liberal arts education are always there, within arm’s reach of anyone who is fortunate enough to spot the gleam and take the time to investigate. I hope that this book will play a role in in helping others find these gems for themselves.

A few years ago, Brandy at Afterthoughts blogged through this book, too. As I go through, I’ll link to some of her posts, especially if she has said some of the same things I would say. No sense repeating! I’m amused that she got caught up at first in the preliminary material as well.

This is a book that bears reading with an open mind, because the authors are trying on purpose to broaden the common modern conception of classical education into a view that encompasses some vital aspects of education that are not inherently “academic.”

I really appreciate their use of the word “tradition.” I subtitled Consider This “Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition,” and of course this book is titled The Liberal Arts Tradition. The use of the word “tradition” is a recognition that we are dealing with a long history of thought and practice, which is not always perfectly consistent, but that the differences are of less importance than the tradition—the common elements that have been planted, sprouted, borne fruit, and further seeded the thinking of generations to come.

The preface concludes:

“We hope that our exploration of the tradition may provide others with resources that will inform and inspire their teaching.”

Because teachers should always be learners, right? Yet another thing I enjoy about this book, very much, is that the authors are so clearly learners themselves. One way that they show this is by the extensive use of footnotes, which, I must say, are making my “to read” list longer and longer as I go through the book.

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