Homeschool Southaven


Homeschool Southaven classes are on Wednesdays from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM, weekly.

Deni first went to Seattle Pacific University obtaining and B.A. in Political Science and then to Trinity Law for her J.D., working on her M.A. in interdisciplinary Faith and Culture from Trinity Graduate School. Christopher did his undergraduate work in philosophy and psychology prior to receiving a J.D. in law from Trinity, an MA in CAC (Theology) and now working toward a Master’s of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. Both during that time worked, served and taught in schools and churches from the Sunday School to the University level. During that time they’ve learned a few things about pedagogy and education with a special emphasis on how to prepare young minds for great success in ongoing education.

Kids need to start young and have a much greater capacity for learning than we might expect. Modern educational systems focused on the memorization of needless subject matter and receptive learning cater to the large classroom environment, where order and personal safety have taken the place of education. The ancient methods of education where thinking, speaking, reading, writing and doing were the primary traits is still the method that actually produces an educated individual.

This is not what some call “classical” education (which is rooted in the ancient methodology of Rome) but Christian education which is a reflection of the development of the Christian path of western civilization.

We must all learn Plato, Aristotle and the Romans – but to admire how they educated children or set them forth as a rule for Christian education could be disastrous. They were not only not Christians but their methods and perspectives were often patently anti-christian. Adopting their outline as a norming rule for homeschooling is a shift in the practice. I don’t think any of us saw this coming but it now dominates the field of home-learning.  Schooling children at home is now costing parents thousands of dollars per year for an education that any parent to could give their child. The process may have been compromised by the profit motive of the private classical schools (it is not really homeschooling or a cooperative when teachers are paid large amounts of money per class and there is a registered, trademarked brand. For churches also, the income can be enormous).

The rule is: your child will be as brilliant as you want them to be. Do you want them to be a lawyer? You can do that. A doctor? That can be done. President of the United States? That’s harder but not because you can’t provide the basic skills needed. “Intelligence” is something more developed through learning and teaching at an early age than an accident of nature and practical skill with beat out book learning 8 times out of 10.

So everything that a child learns, should have some practicable manifestation. A child has not learned something if they cannot tell you what they have learned in a way that makes sense to them.

A Christian method includes a few key but irreducible abilities that grow and mature from infancy to adulthood. We learn them young and refine them with age:

Reason
Analysis
Rhetoric
Practice
and
Humanities

Reason:

Reason, or the way to think properly, is completely fundamental to the learning process and human well being. We call this by many names: logic, intelligence, common sense, rational thought, critical thinking, being clear minded, etc. There is no field in which it will not eventually take precedence over all others. And this is a subject with clearly defined and carefully crafted rules that we did not create and cannot ignore. The laws of logic are divinely inspired and inviolable because they are the rules of truth; there can be not truth without them. In the book of John, he writes, “In the beginning was the word (logic) and the word was with God and the word was God.” This term “logos” from which we derive our modern term logic means the eternal and unchanging communication of God to the person created in his image and likeness. When we think reasonably, we think truly; when we think truly, we think like God, in whom there is no falsehood nor shadow of turning. Generally considered a subheading of “philosophy” the rules of proper thinking are not subject to our own judgments and not an opinion but are universal and unchanging norms that free the thinker to think. We can learn these rules and if we would succeed in life, we must.

Analysis:

Analysis includes truths that are expressions of logic applied to differing subjects like numbers, shapes, words, grammar, history and the sciences. So mathematics, the taking of abstract numbers, representative symbols of relational entities, and learning their different arrangements and uses is a labor of analysis; finding the logical answer to an abstract question. The same goes for geometry (the rational analysis of the relations of abstract objects in three dimensional space), grammar (rational relations between words as symbols of relations) and the sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, physiology, psychology and sociology).

Rhetoric:

There are few more important powers than the making of a reasonable statement. The art of rhetoric is that of being able to speak, write and express that which is in the mind to the outside world. This subject is often broken into several corollaries such as speech, composition, argument and debate, critical thinking and the classics. It is crucial that the adult begin as a child to learn to think through things and then express themselves. The fields of teaching, preaching, law, medicine, politics, business and public service demand that this skill be well honed and refined through study and practice.

One can usually tell a pagan or Roman methodology from a Christian one simply from the preference for Rhetoric to be taught prior to or in preference to Reason and Analysis, because this is the ancient method of convincing the child that the ability to argue any side one chooses is of greater import than truth itself.

Practice:

There is a necessary and time honored distinction central to western education between theory and practice, between theoretical and practical intelligence. Experience is a powerful teacher, and historically when “book-learning” goes up against experience, book learning loses. That is not an indictment of book learning in itself. Book learning is the way that one can learn 10 times as much 10 times faster than having to live through every experience for oneself rather than to learn from the experiences of another, but there is an inevitable weakness when that book-learning is not activated through practice. This is when the idea becomes a real thing. There is a transition to be made fro the ideal to the real. Here, real learning occurs most deeply and effectively when the method of learning is practical even if the material is theoretical. Even big ideas only make sense when we live them out a bit.  So when learning law one must stand up and argue a case. When one is learning philosophy one must sit down and write philosophy. When one is learning the physiology of bones and muscles one must jump and run around the room. In every subject, there is an applicable practice that must be coupled together, otherwise learning is a phantom. A fake.

Humanities:

One might say that the humanities (a contemporary name for aesthetics) is where all of these things come to rest. We do those things so that we can do these things. The arts, music, dance, drawing, painting, poetry, prayer, songwriting, speech writing, encouragement, script-writing, film, story-telling, the ability to tell one’s own story, these are intrinsically noble and beneficial to the soul. When God gathers together in his house, we sing and pray and speak of his goodness and glory. All of the works of God in the creation and cultivation of human kind are brought to full expression in worship. Praise if the wit of the soul, and that we do it well considers a well crafted spirit tutored in the arts of being human.

These are the subjects that make us able to do what we were made to do.