Thursday, September 21, 2006

Back to school!

My youngest daughter (12 yrs) is attending a charter school this year. It was established in our community a couple of years ago and begins with the 6th grade. The interesting thing about this school is its emphasis on a classic education and its curriculum has a medieval flavor.

The focus is on the liberal arts. First the "trivium" of grammar (including Latin) , rhetoric (with an emphasis on letter writing), and dialectic (logic and reasoning). Then the "quadrivium" of arithmetic, history, science, and music.

This course of study could be arduous for my daughter who spent her grammar school years in a French Immersion school. She is a high energy gal and bound to become bored and impatient. She is not alone in this matter. It is a time honored experience. The story goes that a number of students evidently grew impatient toward the end of the day during medieval school days as well. It seems there was a law on the books in Padua that prohibited students from pounding on their desks to force the teacher to dismiss class early.

Nevertheless, despite the rigors and boredom of formal education, many new students are flocking to this charter school. Also, my daughter’s classical curriculum may once again transform my own educational horizon. Vicariously, I’m feeling a pinch of educational excitement, thanks partly to the challenge of learning Latin and reading Homer again.

Want to learn more?
Explore the medieval curriculum

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