Friday, January 3, 2014

Classical Mamas Read - Teaching the Trivium Ch. 1

Pin It

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

Welcome to the first week of the Teaching the Trivium book club!  I am so excited to read and discuss this book along with you.  Each week we will read a chapter in the book and then come here to discuss it together.  If you are a blogger, I will also have a link-up at the bottom of each post if you would like to blog about the chapter too.

Well, let's get started!  

Chapter 1 - The Transformation of Classical Education: A Biblical Vision for Homeschooling

Breaking out of the Mold

The first thing that interested me when I started reading this chapter is that the Bluedorns are looking at classical education in a different way then many people do.

"We have found that when we tried to fit Biblical Christianity within the old and dead carnal container of classical education and the Greek Academy, that the latter was burst and the former was spilled...We are attempting to write a different charter for classical education."        (pages 28-29)

What is Classical Education?

In contrast to The Well Trained Mind (that we went through last year), the Bluedorns are seeking to use the classical model of education through the lens of Scripture.  They talk about not learning about the ancient times and people so that we can think and speak like them (because that would lead us away from Christ), but so that we can "read, think, and speak - period!" (page 30)

Q. The Bluedorns state "There is no neutral ground lying between Christian and non-Christian." (page 30) What do you think?

Transformation from the Inside Out

I loved this section.  A huge part of why we homeschool is because we want to weave God into every part of our children's day.  Here are a few things I underlined:

  • "No true education can take place without reference to God." (page 34)

  • "The objective of education is not service to self, the community, business, church, or state, but service to God." (page 34)

  • "Modern government education does what ancient education did - teach without reference to God.  Hence it creates ignorance." (page 35)

Q. Why do you homeschool?  Why do you follow the classical model?

The Bluedorns conclude this first chapter by saying, "We want to show you that you can tutor at home in a classical style."  Sounds good to me!  Let's keep reading, shall we?

I have more that I'd love to say about this chapter, but I want to give you a chance to comment too!  What did you think as you read chapter one?  Even if you did not read, feel free to chime in!

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!

Next week we will be discussing chapter two 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 week!  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. For many years I was very resistant to the classical method even though I really liked several elements of it. However, the idea of immerse my children Roman/Greek authors after having read them in college and knowing the level of perversity to which they could rise. Was less then appealing and I often wondered how good Christian families I knew could use that method and read that tripe. Until I ran across this book a few years ago."That's what we've found with trying to fit Homeschooling....and trying to and trying to match traditional Classical Education with Biblical Christianity. Things just didn't go together. Something must be changed."pa 1-2 TTT

    For me Teaching the Trivium is a blueprint for homeschooling your child with their developmental age/capabilities in mind. I felt like they draw out the bones of the trivium and bring it through the lense of scripture and have made it something in which our homeschool has flourished.

    Although it is an unpopular point of view I agree with their statement "There is no neutral ground lying between Christian and non-Christian". Accordingly we have shied away from non Christian publishers and looked more deeply into publishers beliefs. We are blessed because unlike the Bluedorns we have a plethora of Christian publishers.

    We homeschool because we want to keep God at the center of our children's education. "For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;" Proverbs 2:6 We choose the Trivium method of education because we feel it best reflects the cognitive development of children from birth to youth. " When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways." 1 Cor 13:11 Additionally, TTT provided a simplified, attainable classical model that could easily be accomplished by a homeschool Mom.

    Thanks for hosting the book club!!!

    1. Kyle, very interesting to hear your story and how you came to using the classical model for your homeschool. I liked how the Bluedorns pointed out how the METHOD behind the classical model is so effective that it is worth using, even if all the MATERIAL isn't necessarily beneficial.

      I think I mostly agree with the "neutral ground" statement. If you think of something like a rock, it is pretty neutral, but as a Christian, we always look at things through the eyes of Scripture. Does that rock exist to glorify God? Am I glorifying God with the rock? Does that rock display back some virtue of it's creator? etc. Especially when you are talking about people (and the things they do/create/think)...they are either worshiping Christ, or they are not. Am I missing anything here? I feel like I might not be applying it to it's full extent. Anyone have any comments on the neutrality topic?

  2. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my book tomorrow so I can start reading along with you! We started homeschooling our gifted daughter this fall because our Catholic school just was not able to meet her needs any longer. The classical method seemed like the obvious choice for two reasons: (1) it is in line with the love of all things classical that I developed in high school and (2) it addressed all of the shortcomings I see in college students today.

    I am going to take the other side on neutrality though and say it is possible in some sense. For one, I think math is one area that can be completely neutral. Also, non-Christians may be able to agree with Christians on issues of morality because they see them as "natural laws". While we as Christians realize these come from God, that truth has yet to be fully revealed to non-Christians. That said, public schools seem to be going out of their way to even deny the existence of neutral ground in the name of political correctness.

    1. Great! Hopefully you have your book now!

      Interesting you mention math. I know the Classical Conversations practicum this past summer was on math and how it's not a neutral subject. I didn't go to it, but I'd be interested to hear what the reasoning.

      Can anyone comment on that who went to the CC practicum?

  3. I was reading along with you when we first started this read. I have just pulled the book back out. There is SO much in this chapter. I truly appreciate the Bluedorns words and stance on a classical Christian education. I find that I am in agreement with Kyle. I do not believe education can be neutral. I do not believe anything in our lives can be neutral. They are either for God or not. I have struggled with both the classical and CM education (which share some similarities). I am drawn to them and yet find I have apprehension. I cannot fathom introducing some of the perversity to my children...especially at the age the oldest are (9 and 10).
    "NO true education can take place without reference to God. Education is for a purpose. If the purpose does not have God in view, then it is godless education, and it will eventually produce godless results....Education which does not serve God is an empty education, and that emptiness will be filled by other gods to serve. To develop capacities for service, but to omit the One Who is to be served, is to manufacture a monster." pg 34-35 Now...what does this or can this look like in our home? I'm not sure yet. I do want my children to read some of the classics but I do not want them to be read merely for the sake of reading a classic or for the rich language. How do I point everything back to God? In a CM education I would not point it back to God. I would leave it up to the child to take what they want...what they need and then move on. In a classical education...well...what does it look like? What can it look like? This is definitely a book that I am glad I did not read through and let it sit on the shelf forever. I am gleaning more out of it the second time through.

  4. I empathize with the sentiment the Bluedorns express on page 39 "We are not interested in reviving the Greek or Roman civilizations on an academic model. True education will establish a culture on the foundation of God's word, according to God's order and structure..."

    With that quote in mind, the main thing I appreciate about the trivium, is the understanding of how to teach with the grain of the child. The trivium acknowledges how (God designed) people to learn at various stages of development and trains them with that in full view. I'm looking forward to reading Chapter Four and Article Two which correlate the scriptural terms Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding with the classical terms Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric.

    Right now in my reading of this book and in response to Kyle's comment, I'm wondering if it is fair to high-jack the term "Classical Education", modify it with the adjective "Christian" and then use it to define content with such significant differences from what the Romans and Greeks taught. I wonder if there is a Hebrew term that would work just as well, if not better.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...