Classical Ed: Follow-Up Post

Dear Reader,

I received some questions about my post on classical education and particularly on my use of VanDamme’s article. The following is an edited version of the response I gave:

I want to make it clear that though I quoted much from her article that in no way implies that I support VanDamme’s own philosophy of education. Though I don’t know a lot about it, VanDamme appears to be an objectivist. That is, she believes that the highest good in life is to pursue one’s own rational self-interest and happiness. Obviously, as a Christian, this is not a view I can support.

However, VanDamme’s article was the best one I could find for a somewhat thorough review and comparison of the different classical methods out there. I was really surprised at how little else I could find that wasn’t very biased. VanDamme of course has her own position to promote too but her reviews did seem fair and even-handed.

The methods I quoted Van Damme on are not Christian but secular classical methods. She rejects Christian classical education outright saying that Christian education by definition cannot create independent thinkers. My argument with this would be that no thinking is independent. We are all taught by someone, whether a live person or a book. We absorb ideas and opinions from all around us. I do not believe there is truly independent thought. To provide kids with a Christian framework to their thinking is no more biased than to provide them with an atheistic or naturalistic one.

I guess my final thought would be that I am not basing my opinion of classical ed on Van damme. I already had an opinion of it and VanDamme was just the best source I found to quote on it. I guess the bottom line is it is good to be aware of the biases of the people one reads and quotes but I have no real problem with taking some ideas from and quoting someone whom I don’t agree with overall. I am more concerned about the fact that it is so hard to find good analyses of classical and CM methods from solid Christian sources. My object in my series on homeschool styles is to begin a discussion of what is behind the different methodologies so that we can know the assumptions behind what and how we teach our kids rather than just accepting someone’s methodology wholesale without understanding the real ideas and implications behind it.


2 responses to this post.

  1. […] So far I have published posts on Unit Studies (and a follow-up), Unschooling, Classical Ed (and a follow-up) and a post on Charlotte Mason is coming out […]


  2. […] of the modern classical education movement. I have blogged on modern classical education (here, here, here and here) but had never read this document. As you know if you have been here any time at […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s