Month: January 2010

Do Electricians Need Shakespeare? by Jennifer Spencer

By Jennifer Spencer Two weeks ago, I was listening to a group of mainstream classroom teachers discuss curriculum design. The big question was this: What qualifies something as being a part of the curriculum? Is it a collection of subjects? Basic skills? Does it only include the things that are formally studied? Or could it include the inherent beliefs and values of the personnel as characterized by things like scheduling and classroom management? Are all children entitled to the same curriculum? Do all children even need the same curriculum? At this point, one of the teachers made a statement that made my ears perk up: “It would be nice if my electrician knew Shakespeare, but does he really need that in order to do his job?” This is a valid question when our culture tells us that the purpose of schooling is to prepare students for either college or the work force. If a student knows he has no interest in going to college, then do we really need to waste his time with Macbeth? …

Reflections on a Charlotte Mason Education by Timothy Laurio

Timothy Laurio was homeschooled all his life with Charlotte Mason’s method. He is currently studying English and music at Milligan College. Here, Timothy reflects on what he considers a strong point of a Charlotte Mason education.  Educational stakeholders should read carefully. I think one of the strongest points of a CM education is that it teaches you to build relationships with the things you study. It can do this because it assumes that the things you study have value in themselves. Too often, at my school, they approach works of art as objects. They use Adam Bede to illustrate the Victorian clash between romanticism and realism, or they use the Revolutionary Etude to illustrate the rise of romantic nationalism. The trouble is, whether they mean to or not, this approach creates a utilitarian attitude towards art.  For instance, we end up looking at a poem only as an example of the intellectual and aesthetic climate of the period, instead of engaging the poem as the real expression of a real person’s thoughts. I see it …