Friday, January 10, 2014

Classical Mamas Read - Teaching the Trivium Ch. 2

Pin It
This post contains an affiliate link to the book that we are going through.

Welcome to the second week of the Teaching the Trivium book club!  I am so excited to read and discuss this book along with you.  I loved the discussion last week and would love to hear from more of you!  Also, please note that we will be taking a break next week from the bookclub because I have a week-long series going on.  So, feel free to discuss this chapter over the next two weeks!

Chapter 2 - Who Should Control Education: Parents, or the State?

This week's chapter is called Who Should Control Education: Parents, or the State?  These first few chapters seem to be more of a defense of homeschooling in general, but reading ahead I see that it gets to the specifics of classical education very soon!

In this Chapter, we make a Biblical argument that socialized education should never even be considered as an option for the education of our children.

 A Biblical Defense of Homeschooling

I have always had a difficult time knowing exactly what the Bible has to say about families (in general) and homeschooling (specifically).  I know that there is nothing in the Bible that would point you away from homeschooling, but as far as it being a superior (or specified) method, I just didn't know how far to read into passages to look for support.  The Bluedorns take some time in this chapter to look at specific passages that point toward a home-centered education.

I found the section where they talked about The Whole Commandment very interesting.  I think I've typically been taught that when the New Testament quotes part of an Old Testament Passage, that is the part that is to be applied for us, and the rest is not necessarily applicable to Christians.  The Bluedorns are saying otherwise...

Jesus meant to draw the whole passage into the memory of His hearers when He quoted the first few words.  (page 47)

Q.  What Biblical passages do you look to for the support of homeschooling?

Are Children Blessings or Burdens?

I truly hope that any parent would answer that their child is a blessing to them, and not a burden, though perhaps unknowingly they often act contrary to that.  Over the next few sections of the chapter, the Bluedorns talk a bit about this.  Here are a few quotes that I found encouraging/interesting:

  • "Sharpening out children will keep us sharp as well.  Our children are indispensable to our own spiritual growth."  (page 50)
  • "Families should be doing things together all of the day.  Parents should be using these moments as opportunities to relate all of their activities to the one activity of loving God through keeping His commandments."  (pages 52-53)
  • "The socialist state has worked hard to turn the parental bond into a liability and to make it desirable for parents to sever that bond wherever and whenever it is possible."  (page 56)

 The chapter closes by talking about the argument that many people give, "What about children being salt and light in the public schools?"  Of course they do not think that this is a good reason to send our children into the school system (and I heartily agree!) but here is a quote that sums up when they think the task of being salt should be given to children:

Have our children proven themselves with the weapons of Christian warfare?  Only after our children have matured and are proven in the correction and counsel of the Lord ---only then may we send them out to do battle with the Humanist Philistines.  (page 60)

What did you think of this chapter?  Any comments on the parts that I highlighted?  Any different parts stick out to you?  Some of these issues are not so popular to talk about, but I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Leave comments here on the blog post, or share about it on social media (#ClassicalMamasRead).  I'll be sharing too, so follow me on facebook, twitter, or google+ and we can chat about it there as well!  Don't forget, if you want to share your thoughts about Teaching the Trivium on your own blog, link it up below so we can all come and visit!

In two weeks we will be discussing chapter three of Teaching the Trivium.  If you haven't gotten your own copy yet, make sure you check your library or order one soon so you can be ready for next time!  Also, this is a 600+ page book, so I am only touching on certain points of each chapter.  There is so much great information that I am not covering, so if this discussion interests you, you are going to want to make sure to pick up your own copy so you can read more!

Classical Mamas Read Link-Up

Did you write about Teaching the Trivium on your blog?  Have you been reading and blogging about another book (for you, not a children's book)?  Do you have a book club going on at your blog (once again, not for a children's book)?  I'd love for you link up here so we can all be encouraged by each other and maybe find another great book to read!

I think I'm going to keep this link-up ongoing since there aren't going to be a huge number of posts and then anyone new will be able to be encouraged by the other book reading ideas and discussions.  If the number of posts gets too large, I will fix it.

Please note, all posts must be on topic (about a book you are reading) and appropriate (think family friendly).

 photo SubscribeButton_zpsdc17ac56.png


  1. I am now reading along and enjoying the book! The authors' interpretation of The Whole Commandment was also very interesting to me. I had never thought about it in quite that way or how it might be considered as a way to advocate for homeschooling. Accepting such an interpretation can also change the way we apply the commandment in many areas of our lives.

    I also underlined one of the passages that you quoted. "Sharpening our children will keep us sharp as well. Our children are indispensable to our spiritual growth." How true! I am a highly educated, university professor. Yet, I never acknowledged all the ways my own education was lacking and the craving I had for growth until we started homeschooling. God works to grow and perfect us so that we may similarly bless our children. It is amazing.

    I like the comment about "It takes a family, not a village to raise a child." It reminds me of the quote that keeps popping up on interest saying "I've seen the village, and I don't want it teaching my children." So true.

    Sadly, for one reason or another, it is true that many parents at the very least do not see their children for the true blessing that they are. "Schools have become orphanages full of of children who have been educationally abandoned by their own parents." If you have ever stepped foot in a public school, you know this to be true. The average parent has little to no involvement in the major part of their children's day and upbringing. It is even true in religious private schools to a certain extent. How can that really be a recipe for success?

    1. I am glad that you are enjoying the book! You are right that accepting that interpretation of the whole commandment would change a lot of things. Good food for thought!

      I agree about homeschooling bringing out great need for growth in my own good ways and not-so-good ways =) I was just writing the post for Friday, and something I brought up was how children aid in our sanctification. Oh, how I find that so true...

      I hate the quote "It takes a village to raise a child" so I also liked their amendment of it!

      I haven't been in a public school for a very long time (though that is how I was educated), but now that I have children I can't imagine being so uninvolved in their day.

      Thanks for discussing this chapter with us!

    2. I have been in multiple public schools of various qualities recently (during my teacher training placements) and I got a similar impression to that of the authors about the atmosphere there – in general they felt like academic day-jails for middle school students. I know that sounds harsh, but the nurturing aura of home-life as I had experienced it (as a home-educated graduate) was definitely absent. However, I also know of high-achieving children who are thriving there and have involved, biblically loving parents. This speaks to the power of parental influence and more importantly God's unstoppable sovereign love and design upon the children's lives. "What [Humanists] intended for evil, God intended for good." (Genesis 50:20) Praise God He is surely bigger than the state!
      With that said, I really appreciated the Bluedorn’s exegesis of Matthew 5:13 versus the “salt” argument for enrolling children in state schools. Below is an excerpt from pages 58-59:
      If we tried to wash the taste out of ordinary table salt, the salt would all dissolve and wash away, and there would be nothing left. That is because today’s table salt consists of pure crystals of the chemical compound which we call sodium chloride. It contained sodium chloride; but it also contained many other compounds and impurities. One could actually wash the sodium chloride out of ancient salt, which would remove the salty taste, but there would still be a substantial “residue.” It would still look like “salt,” but it would lack the salty taste or “savor”. This washed out “salt,” lost all of its beneficial properties: to preserve food to, to fertilize the ground, to cleanse wounds, to enhance flavor, and above all, simply to sustain life. […]
      Now the real question is: “Will our children act as salt in the state-controlled school, to sustain, preserve, fertilize, cleanse and flavor it/ or will the state-controlled school wash the taste and usefulness out of our children and make them worthless salt?” Just who is washing – or teaching – whom in the state-controlled school?

      It seems quite a tenuous position to enroll ones children in a state school with the primary purpose of them missional salt.

      Can anyone else with closer public school ties/experience bounce ideas back at me?

  2. I will openly admit that while I wanted to read the book I was intimidated by it. First off, all I could think when it came was, "it is so thick". I was also concerned that it was going to be written "down" to me, a reader that lacks geniusness. That is definitely not the case. I found myself enjoying the first chapter so much that on a long drive this last weekend I started it over only this time with my husband. He has not protested and seems to be enjoying it too. While my husband is a strong supporter of learning at home I often feel as though I'm going it alone. I am the one working with the kids, the one researching books and ways to help my children along and often when I pour out my heart to my husband I feel as though he is not fully engaged. Reading this book together is giving us a common subject to discuss (in regards to homeschooling).
    The Bluedorns' interpretation of Deut 6:4-9 has given us much to chew on. Even within the Church we have found that we are the minority and "one of those". It has been a struggle to fully express to others how we feel called and obligated to God to teach our children at home. When we attempt to use scripture and reason others feel as though we are judging because they do not feel called or obligated.
    A passage that really made us go, "Yes!" was found on pg 57, "God is not going to place the primary blame for any failures upon the government, or upon the church, but upon us, the parents."

    I am excited to continue on (and have already begun) interested in getting to the "nuts and bolts" of the Bluedorn's idea of a Christian Classical education. I suppose I should get it out that I am not a purist when it comes to the classical education. We employ a Charlotte Mason/Classical approach. For my children it has been a beautiful marriage.

    1. Haha. It is a thick book =) I'm glad you enjoyed it once you started reading! The nice thing about this kind of book is that you don't have to read right through it if you don't want to. Even reading a chapter here and there will be highly encouraging!

      That's awesome that you are reading it with your husband! I should really do the same. Like you, my husband is completely in support of homeschooling, but practically just isn't hugely involved.

      My husband and I have also struggled with thinking about things differently than other people in our church. Like, if we feel so strongly about something (from what we think is Biblical reasoning) then why does no one else seem to feel that way too? I should say that I'm not just talking about homeschooling here...really our current church has lots of homeschoolers...I'm thinking moreso of situations in the past.

      I really love the Charlotte Mason method too. Of course they are a little different in application, but so many aspects of Charlotte Mason and classical really do go well together.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Hope to see you back again on Friday!

  3. Yes! I concur with that quote too! "Sharpening out children will keep us sharp as well. Our children are indispensable to our own spiritual growth." (page 50) And I found this one helpful too, "Our own knowledge and understanding of truth increases as we communicate truth to our children." (page 55) I'm so, so humbled and thankful for the little people God has entrusted to my brief, intimate care. What a privilege to steward their childhood for His glory and my good!

    Scripture is certainly clear that it is God's order for fathers/parents to be first in charge of their children's education (see page 57). However, I want to be cautious about extrapolating practical inferences in regards to the nuts and bolts of education. Really my main concern is a reaction against homeschool advocates who seem to say Holiness = Jesus + homeschooling. For the one who trusts in Jesus righteousness alone, there is NOTHING (educational options included) that we can add to Him to be "more Christian" than “those” others Jesus has saved. The God of the Gospel transforms souls, not homeschooling. May our families’ educational journeys never be tantamount to spiritual snobbery.

    While there are many good things in life, there is only on Main Thing – a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ. May our enthusiasm for the good things never eclipse our passion with the Main Thing.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...