Music and dance as well as the fine arts are all part of the classical educational tradition. The question of the pros and cons of classical education has arisen recently when young parents with preschool children want to know: should they embark on the classical model of education? For some, there’s no question: they’re really committed to the idea from their own perspective and trust that their children will too, and if the kids aren’t, then so. There’s plenty of time to learn. is the second group. These parents were drawn to the idea of a classical education, its seriousness, its lofty ideals, its steadfast devotion to at least the idea of truth. and diligently seek that truth, but they are anxious. Perhaps there is an upside to classical education? Are their children affected by blemishes? I have to admit that there are *there are* downsides, and I’ve put together this chart for anxious parents to reference and see how they think their child will react to possible classics like that. any. educational pitfalls. And classical educators and administrators may want to read charts to see if they are part of the problem or part of the solution… (hidden behind desks) PROS CONS LITERATURE AND FOREIGN LANGUAGE RESEARCH PROS CONS : FOREIGN LANGUAGE In the classical model, there is an attempt to read “the best thing is thought and said.” In elementary school, this tends to work out well; Kindergarten poems and rhymes are very popular with young children. Similarly, during the middle years, children enjoy reading classic adventure stories. In high school, more difficult and serious books are read. The language and speaking skills developed from these books tend to be more advanced and dramatic. Some middle and high school students may reject classic book selections because they seem detached from current situations and lives. Also, some students may reject them because of their difficulty. Teachers may not have the skills to distinguish works, and less capable students may slip through gaps. The study of Latin was very important in the classical curriculum, at least in high school. This has the effect of raising SAT scores and it can be argued that reading comprehension is in English. Learning a foreign language also improves your understanding of world cultures and will certainly exercise your mind. The study of difficult books in English, and especially the study of ancient languages, can also lead to a skewed, loose, illegible writing style. If you want an example of this, read David Derrick’s blog, where he considers this to be a drawback of his own classical upbringing. MATH: LEARNING LEARNING Math in a classical school tends to be challenging and rigorous. Students will likely have high-level curricula such as Saxon or Singaporean math. Finding good math teachers, always a challenge for any school, is even more difficult than in charter or specialized schools. There may be a lack of support for struggling students and extensions for more advanced students. Projects that make math more important and practical are often overlooked. Science is often well taught in a classical education; tends to focus on the scientific method and more researched and proven scientific areas. Further information: an article on the foundations of classical mathematics. Not for the casual reader, but very informative. CHARACTERISTICS/MORAL Students must receive an appropriate curriculum of moral philosophy and citizenship from ancient as well as modern civil perspectives. Some classical schools are religious in nature and teach in that regard as well. If teachers themselves are not highly principled and benevolent, then the well-meaning messages they give about moral thinking and life seem hypocritical to students and ultimately the same is invalid. PREPARATION FOR WORK FOR Mature Classical education teaches a strong work ethic. Students know what to expect of them and how to follow the instructions. Overall, a humanities education has been shown to be a strong preparation for college and, to some extent, a good preparation for non-college fields. Students who want to study technical or commercial fields may be annoyed by the lack of opportunities to take engineering classes. EMOTIONAL/SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT INCLUDING SPORTS Tends to teach virtues explicitly and exhibit strong fairness. Funded public schools have a number of counseling and support services as required by law. Because of the focus on learning, students with strong academic standing but with personal problems can be overlooked. Classical education teachers tend to be strong on their subject matter but may not have the skills to handle the social-emotional development of their students. Of course, that could be true for other schools as well. Some classical schools place great emphasis on traditional classical education sports, some have regular local sports, such as football and basketball. Likewise, there are schools that have a lot of extra-curricular activities. Check out individual fields. If your child is interested in a sport or activity that the school doesn’t offer, it could actually be a very serious ‘scam’. Some classical schools do not have well-developed extracurricular and athletic programs. PEOPLE YOU WILL MET tended to be solid and organized people, not the type to be often late or show up. Some can be very intellectual, others like to be blunt… but above all, they tend to be the people you want in your court. However, it is good to remember that there are many different reasons for choosing a classical education. Over the years, most of my closest friends have been classical education teachers and parents. That said, there are individuals in the classical curriculum who are rather difficult to judge, religiously or politically. And classical upbringing sometimes attracts the true “outsiders,” the sovereign citizens, the thousand-gunners in the basement. CONVENIENCE Many classic schools are K-8 or even K-12, which means you don’t have to change schools as your child gets older. Materials required are simple and easy to understand. Homework and projects tend to be things that parents understand and can easily support. If the school is not in your neighborhood, you may have to drive as most private and charter schools do not have bus service. COST Classic charter schools are as free as regular public schools. Classic private schools can cost anywhere from $6000 to $20,000 a year or more. DISCIPLINE High expectations mean the classroom is rarely loud or noisy. Processes and deadlines tend to be obvious. The same goes for discipline in the office. Students who struggle with self-control may struggle with high discipline standards.
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