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LostCove

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  1. After D'aulaires, we like the retellings by Roger Lancelyn Green (there are at least two Greek ones, I believe, and Norse and Egyptian volumes also) and Padraic Collum (The Children of Odin, The Golden Fleece, Homer retellings, and a couple of books of Celtic myths) and also Bulfinch's. I picked up an older edition of The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature at a used bookstore that has come in handy. My current 8th grader is reading primary sources - Hesiod, Homer (Emily Wilson's Odyssey is a good one to start with, and she also has an Iliad in the works), the Aeneid. I will probably offer him the Metamorphoses next.
  2. A few more things from chapter 6 and a connected thought about what to do with the younger child. I forgot to preface this chapter by noting it is a list of "principles for the teacher." The principles the above material fell under were "teach an art" and "grade the classes." Fr. Donnelly also lists "foster activity," "have variety," and "give encouragement." Fostering activity is closely linked to the first principle "as art is a habit, and as a habit is acquired by repetition of acts, naturally activity must rule in the Ratio classroom." Fr. Donnelly repeats Professor Gildersleeve's summation of old-style language teaching: "A minimum of precept, a maximum of practice and early contact with the author in mass." And then here comes a paragraph that is hard for me: The longer I go on, the more convinced I am that Fr. Donnelly is basically correct here, but at the same time, the more sure I am that this type of teaching is almost entirely out of reach for the present. Even most trained classicists today do not have the language skills to pull this off. For now, the best way forward seems to require some primer language, although we should be careful in which we select (for example, I think that Oerberg's text more quickly conforms itself to classical syntax and idiom than many other First Latin Books), maybe make more use of post-classical Latin as a stepping stone than would have been done in Fr. Donnelly's time, and keep always the goal of reading the authors forefront in our minds. I was reading Fr. Coppens' English Rhetoric yesterday and thinking about how all the principles he covers apply just as much to classical languages as to the vernacular. For example, in the beginning he sets out exercises that can be adapted for "the youngest students," and it dawned on me that the sort of things he describes - object lessons and contact with "real literature" dealing with concrete things - are, in fact, exactly what EFL did for her elementary Latin lessons. Some of the earliest Latin textbooks we have, like Comenius's Orbis Pictus (after which EFL named her own Latin booklet), are text-based object lessons; these presumably went along with a teacher explaining "real literature" in class. In some ways, this older method could be seen as adhering more to the dictum of the current "comprehensive input" school of language instruction to "shelter vocabulary, not grammar (though pretty much all CI-informed classical language instruction I've seen still actually "shelters" grammar quite a bit). Vocabulary is initially restricted to concrete things, but, through real literature, students are immediately exposed to even "advanced" grammar topics. This, in turn, requires teachers who are themselves very comfortable with that real literature and explaining and simplifying it as necessary to make it "comprehensible" to their students. And that gets us back to the major obstacle to restoring Ratio-style classics. Still, it is encouraging to me to realize how many resources that could be helpful in this direction already exist and also to see people out there starting to pick them up and piece them back together. Someone just published a new trilingual edition of Comenius' Vestibulum, for example - this and memorizing prayers and Bible passages could be your syllabus for elementary classics.
  3. This seems to get right to the heart of the matter, and it's very interesting to me that for so much of its history, classical education at the "general education" level was primarily about developing aesthetic judgments NOT dialectical ones. Marrou had some interesting things to say about this, as I recall, and I think I have posted them before around here somewhere, will try to dig them up. Chapter Six has more things to note than I have time to this evening, but here's a start. For one thing, we learn that under the Ratio, there were 25 classroom hours a week and "all, excepting one hour given to Greek every other day, were directed to Latin composition." That really puts in perspective the kind of time commitment this curriculum involved. They could do this because "all sciences, even arithmetic, were relegated to the university." This puts me in mind of an EFL article I recently read from towards the end of her career, in which she argued that elementary school should be primarily for language instruction and math can wait until high school. Fr. Donnelly describes the changes that have happened in American schools: "The experimental sciences, vocational courses, history, all of which are constantly changing in their information, are taking up more and more time. Mathematics, which for a while held a larger place in the schools, is losing its preeminence except for technical schools. The information of experimental sciences, and a changing information at that, is largely replacing the composition-work of former schools." As for literature, "information and some appreciation are taught, but original composition is disappearing or has become the extracurricular activity of a few." Another more practical pedagogical note on how the "grading" of composition worked and differs from how history and science are "graded": "In history and in science generally the material is rigidly and exclusively divided, but in art the same excellence is adverted to and exercised year after year, with better appreciation, with fuller theory and with more perfect mastery." An artistic, as opposed to a scientific curriculum, has an "arrangement of reiteration with progress." This seems to make traditional literary education very suitable to adaptation for family-style education, with differently aged students studying the same piece of literature at different levels of appreciation, theory, and mastery. "Any good point of literary art may be noted and commented on at any time in any class, but the treatment should not be systematic, technical or thorough, except where that specific point belongs to the grade of the class." I'm still trying to figure out where to find which points were graded to which classes - based on what Fr. Donnelly says, it doesn't seem like even older textbooks are going to be that helpful in understanding this.
  4. Hey ElizaG, I'm going to try to get back to this discussion. We've been using Model English long enough now that I hope some things in PJEP and elsewhere will start to make even more sense to me - and also give me some clues for where else I need to be looking to better prepare myself for teaching this way. I think I might have said this in the spring, but I'd like to make a more thorough study of Fr. Coppens' textbook, I think, or something along those lines. Here are my notes, thoughts, and questions from chapter five. On p. 28, Fr. Donnelly says: At first, "understanding" seemed to me to be roughly equivalent to what we usually call "reading comprehension" today, and then "appreciation" is more or less what English classes get to at best these days, though I'm not sure current "literary criticism" as it's done in high schools and colleges maps quite exactly on to what Fr. Donnelly is talking about. But then I wasn't sure if I was understanding these correctly, because he says in the paragraph immediately following, "The art of composition should be the primary objective of the high-school course; criticism the primary objective of the early college course, and science the primary objective of the later college and university." So that seems like the opposite of how he laid out the stages earlier. Thoughts? What am I missing? I appreciated his reminder that many different objectives "may be followed, but as it is impossible to teach all simultaneously with good results, these objectives must be sorted and subordinated to enable the teacher to select what he should teach intensively with concentration and drill. Distinguish, therefore, between primary objectives and secondary, between main products and by-products of the course." It seems useful to thinking about main products and by-products - if we choose the right end-goal, we can meet some other goals along the way as they are natural by-products. For example, on the next page, Fr. Donnelly says that, at the high school level, "ideals should be a by-product of an imaginative understanding of literature." He also says there that "literature in high-school and early college should not be subordinated to history or to any other science." At the end of the chapter, he has some specific recommendations for ordering the classical curriculum, but they may be helpful also in thinking about teaching vernacular literature and composition. His says the current grading of authors (which is still more or less hold for high school Latin) is totally inappropriate, and in particular, there is way too much Caesar and too much oratory. Many current Latin pedagogy-reformers would agree with him. He says "there should be a prose author in each year for drill-work in grammar and composition. For many reasons this author should not be a poet." How he applies this to the vernacular can be see in the first volume of Model English, which is all Washington Irving. It would be interesting to consider which other English authors would be good options for a year of this sort of work. To be clear, this isn't to say only one author would be read, but just one author would provide examples for imitation. Last thing from this I wanted to flag was that "authors should be arranged according to the difficulty of composition. Such an arrangement in prose would be letters, description, essay, history, speeches. In poetry, narrative, descriptive, epic, lyric, dramatic." Ideally, these authors and genres would be coordinated across all languages studied, of course! 😆
  5. I second bolt's recommendation and also suggest you look into other "living Greek" type programs, of which there are now several online - eg, Polis, Telepaideia, Seumas Macdonald's courses. If you really want to read the NT, not laboriously translate it, I think this approach is the best way to get there, but it will take some work, and the structure and support of a well-designed course can really help you stay motivated. I've taken two Polis courses - one in person and one online. After completing the Polis Level 1 course in person, I was able to read the first couple of chapters of John with minimal support - and it really felt like reading, not converting to English in my head. At the end of the second course, we were reading bits of the Septuagint.
  6. I haven't seen H.E. Marshall's version to compare, but there is a Roland retelling by James Baldwin. Yesterday's Classics has reprinted it.
  7. The Liber Precum Publicarum is a Latin translation of the Book of Common Prayer.
  8. It's been a while since I've been on this thread, but I thought I would share a little document I put together outlining EFL's arithmetic suggestions from Educating the Child at Home. I keep this is in my teacher binder to easily refer to what step comes next without having to pull the whole book of the shelf. EFL arithmetic is probably the part of her program we have implemented most consistently here - I've just started my fourth child with it. So far, I am quite happy with the results. The whole sequence has taken us roughly two years, and I usually start somewhere around age 6. The only thing I add to EFL's suggestions for those years is some work on place value. When my kids finish EFL's sequence, I have them start some Math Mammoth worktexts from the light blue series for a year or two, eventually feeding into the MM 5th grade level materials. EFL Arithmetic Sequence - Google Docs.pdf
  9. Lords of the Sea: The Epic Story of the Athenian Navy and the Birth of Democracy is really engagingly written and might hit some similar themes to those that make WWII interesting to many.
  10. I'm glad you linked to his Polymathy channel, too - there's some neat stuff there. I liked this video about using extensive reading to study any language. Athenaze is probably the closest complete text out there to Familia Romana for Greek, although it's still not that close and has conventional grammar discussions. The Italian version, which you can order via amazon.it, has the disadvantage that all the grammar explanations and the glossary are in Italian, of course, but the advantage is they have further "Orberg-ized" the text, by adding helpful marginal notes along the lines of Familia Romana and by adding quite a bit more reading material. Ranieri's Athenaze videos show the pages from the Italian edition. I can try to take some pictures of my OUP edition later for you to compare. I did study Latin in high school, and a little bit in college, but Greek is new to me. DS12 spends roughly an hour a day on each language, plus his free reading time, which right now is another 30 minutes. I kind of dream of putting together lesson plans for some of these resources that would make them more accessible to homeschoolers, but I probably need to practice on a few more of my own kids first. This is so true! There are lots of good reasons to study classical languages, and being clear about your "why" helps you select your method and materials with confidence.
  11. I don't think you need to stress about this - the differences really aren't that great. Among Latin speakers, other than some Catholics, everyone pretty much uses classical. In our family, my son tends to use ecclesiastical because he's used to it from serving the Latin mass, but I'm used to classical, so that's what I use! The thing that's most important for future reading ability is getting a sense for the accents and vowel length - listening to a lot of audio by some who is particular about their accent and pronunciation is the best way to get a feel for this. But in speaking, most people are not as particular about their pronunciation as Luke Ranieri! The theory of "comprehensible input" (CI) is that you acquire language (this is considered to be a different cognitive process from learning or studying the grammar of another language) through many, many, many "comprehensible" messages over time which gradually build up your mental model of the language. It is really an unconscious process, more similar to how we learned our mother tongue than how we generally think of learning a second language. A comprehensible message is one in which the recipient understands what it means - he doesn't have to understand why or explain the grammar or translate it word for word for it to "count." Most of the picture books mentioned in this thread would not be simple enough to be comprehensible input for a beginner - you have to start really simple! Here is a playlist from Luke Ranieri that would be appropriate CI for a new Latin student, and here is one for Greek. The Paideia Institute also has some videos demonstrating how this method can look, for example this one. And this is a pretty thorough article applying the idea of comprehensible input to Latin in greater detail if you are interested in more about the specifics of the theory. I've done some study of ancient Greek via this method and it works! But it takes A LOT of input. And it definitely felt very different from how I learned Latin in high school. I do prioritize it in our homeschool, and it does take more effort on my part - there is not a pre-made program that does this effectively. Given my goals, I believe it has been worth it. But I definitely don't think it has to be all or nothing! Even a little bit can be a fun and useful supplement to a more conventional Latin program.
  12. Oh, I'd not seen this one before! Thank you!
  13. There are a growing number of resources out there for studying classical languages, many inspired by modern research in second language acquisition, that I don't see mentioned among homeschoolers much, so I thought I would start a thread to highlight some and maybe discuss how to use them - I have lots of ideas but am still working on getting them into regular routines and habits. My goal is for us to spend some time reading, speaking, hearing, and writing each language every day. I've been particularly inspired by the methods of Alexander Arguelles; he is a largely self-taught polyglot with a lot of useful advice for studying languages outside a traditional classroom or tutoring setting. Textbooks Lots of neat vintage Latin textbooks online these days. We use Oerburg as our primary textbook, but I also like Latin by the Natural Method and Waldo Sweet's pre-Artes Latinae books. Seumus Macdonald is working on a Greek textbook in the spirit of Oerburg: Lingua Graeca Per Se Illustrata. While that gets written, we are mostly using the Italian edition of Athenaze (it has far more reading material than the English edition). I also like the look of Alexandros. Reading Many intrepid Latin teachers are out there writing simple Latin books to use for extensive reading, and a few Greek teachers are doing the same. These are not great literature and you want to be a little cautious because some are of questionable Latinity and have content that is not appropriate for all ages, but you could think about their purpose similarly to decodable readers in teaching a child to read English. In our house, I have a shelf of these along with some other Latin reading options (vintage Latin readers and textbooks with longer passages, the Vulgate, a few novels translated into Latin, etc), and my Latin student is required to read something from the shelf for a set period of time everyday. Fr. Pavur has an ever-growing number of ebooks, many of them with interlinear or facing-page translations, which makes them perfect for Arguelles' methods. Audio Evan der Millner has been around for a while and has so much Latin audio at this point, including on his youtube channel. Luke Ranieri has various Latin and Greek audio and a whole course for LLPSI Roma Aeterna - there's a lot of free stuff on his youtube channel also, including audio for all of Familia Romana and Athenaze. David Ring has a lot of Greek on his patreon and curated on his youtube channel. We've enjoyed Magister Craft's videos. We are also experimenting with creating our own recordings. DS12 is really enjoying this. Here is our general routine: my student has a section each of Familia Romana and Athenaze assigned for the week. Every day, he reads the section and listens to it read by Luke Ranieri on youtube. Once a week, he sits with me and I make sure he understands it - I am looking for accurate comprehension, not ability to parse and explain all aspects of the grammar. He also has copywork, dictation, or composition in each language daily. He also has an "FVR" (free voluntary reading) period in both languages. As a family, so with kids ages 3-12, we also do some TPR (Andrew Campbell's Latine Loquor is an easy to use resource that can get you started with this, and the Polis Institute's Polis and Forum books have some helpful TPR material), sing sea shanties in Greek and Latin, have some Latin read alouds, and attend liturgies in Latin. It took me a while to figure out this routine, but now we are in Cap. XVII of Familia Romana, and I am really pleased with my 12yo's reading comprehension at this point. Cap. XX marks a bit of a jump in the difficulty of the material in FR, though, so I anticipate having to make some changes to our routine at that point. We are also studying grammar along a separate track. DS enjoys taking the NLE, so we follow their syllabi for our grammar studies. We've made use of a lot of mnemonic songs (credit for these goes to old boardie tranquility7, who inspired me to think outside the workbook for classical languages), and also exercises suggested by Fr. Reggie Foster and Fr. Paul Distler. In short, we spend a lot more time transforming noun forms into different cases, or changing verbs' number, tense, and person than we do translating from Latin to English or vice versa. DS keeps grammar notebooks for each language, kind of along the lines described by the Bluedorns in an article somewhere, of course I can't find it now! But basically he's building his own grammar reference book as we go along. Lately, I have been researching more about the role composition used to play in Latin and Greek studies. Fr. Donnelly alluded to this in his book about Jesuit pedagogy, but it has taken me several years to track down old books that actually seem to have the kinds of exercises he might have been talking about. Here's an example for a beginning student: First Latin Writer. And here's an example of where this sort of thing goes once you start reading "real" Latin: Nepos with Imitative Exercises. Well designed exercises of this type seem like an excellent way to get at issues of idiom and style that are not given much attention in current classical language programs. DS12 has been my very good-natured guinea pig through all this. His sister, aged 10, will start her formal Latin studies in the fall, and I'm hoping to bring all these resources that I've so far been using in a fairly haphazard way, together into a more coherent and efficient plan with schedules and everything on my second time through with her. I hope something in there might be of use to someone else! I'd love to hear about it if anyone else is using some out-of-the-box resource for Latin or Greek!
  14. Oh, I would get my OED! 😉 If I had to pick one, I would probably keep the World Book because it invites more independent browsing. We can always go to the library or mom can supervise internet research of topics it doesn't cover. Both sets were very cheap because they are from the 80s, but the one I grew up with in the 90s was from the 60s and it doesn't seem to have harmed me.
  15. We have a World Book and a Britannica. 🤭 The Britannica has more extensive coverage, but the World Book is much more appealing to the kids. We do not have many topical encyclopedias, though - just a few DK First X Enclyopedias for my prereaders/early readers, and my kids don't have internet access. They will pull the World Book out to browse for fun, but the Britannica almost always only comes out for school-related stuff.
  16. I don't think anyone has mentioned Daniel Willingham, yet, but you might like his book, Why Students Don't Like School, in which he tries to make findings from cognitive science relevant and applicable for teachers. I also like reading Timothy Shanahan's blog on literacy research. Again, the target audience is teachers, but I've picked up some interesting things from him over the years.
  17. Thanks for all the interesting thoughts, Eliza. I'm looking forward to following many of those links as time permits. I've only seen one of Fr. Coppens books, but what appeals to me about Model English is that it is mostly a book of exercises, whereas the Fr. Coppens book I have is more of a traditional textbook with explanations, definitions, and some illustrations with few exercises. I've started using ME with my 12yo this term, and we are really enjoying it, but it has definitely required some adjustment of topics for the exercises. I ended up just making a big list of topics we are more knowledgeable about than some of those Fr. Donnelly relies on (no rowers here) that I can pull from as needed. I'm also getting a better sense of what I might like to do with my current 10yo over the next two years to be even better prepared for ME. The 12yo did some light grammar and maybe half a year of Kilgallon, which has been adequate, but now I can start to imagine what a more intentional preparation might look like. I hadn't realized the SJC language tutorials were so different from those at TAC - that is very interesting. It seems like it could work quite well with a instructor able to discuss questions of style. As we've discussed, those are scarce, so I still tend to think that for most homeschoolers a broad input-based strategy (not all aural/oral, though, perhaps it would be better to call it an extensive reading strategy, similar to how Fr. Donnelly said a student well-read in English classics can get by without the formal study of rhetoric) might be easier to pull off. I wanted to get this bit from chapter 4 of PJEP on the thread because I think it is such a helpful summary of the rationale behind many traditional pedagogical practices that are at odds with how we generally do things now: As we consider classical language pedagogy specifically, this paragraph seems significant: Some of this has been particularly on my mind this week as we've been reviewing tenses in preparation for DS12 to take the NLE. I was taught to furnish words, not meaning - you translate the imperfect "was x-ing" or some times just "x-ed" (when would you pick one or the other? who knows! I can't recall ever having been corrected on my choice) and the perfect as "x-ed" or "has x-ed." It wasn't until I looked at how tenses are taught in the elementary Montessori curriculum that I grasped the difference in meaning, not just words, these two tenses can be used to convey. But Fr. Donnelly seems to suggest that for the study of Latin is to develop "general habits of mind, attention, order, accuracy, imaginative realization," it must involve attention to those meaningful differences.
  18. I'm currently teaching Algebra 1 to my oldest, so this is my first go-round, and I'm really enjoying it so far. In addition to working ahead (definitely not by several years, yet, but I'm working faster than he is, so the gap should widen over time), I've been poking around for both good general math resources for my own education and also resources on math pedagogy. We're using Dolciani, but I'd like to have a few other textbooks on hand to compare how they treat different topics. Specifically on pedagogy, I found the late Grant Wiggins' critique of how algebra is usually taught helpful in reflecting on my own algebra experience (he's written about this in lots of places, here's one), and I've found some useful stuff in the archives of math teachers' blogs, though you want to be discerning about this one! Dan Meyer's seems pretty solid.
  19. Another neat program aimed at underserved students is BEAM (Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics).
  20. Yes, you have exactly explained my frustration with the word "college," lol! Ah well. Some notes/thoughts from chapters 2 and 3: In chapter 2, Fr. Donnelly lays out his plan to contrast the Ratio and the ACL report of the 1920s to draw out the differences between the older and newer models of classical education (he notes that the Jesuit model of education was fairly typical of Renaissance education more generally). The Ratio "had one objective...formation in Latin expression, both written and oral." This required three or four years of "more functional than formal" grammar, a year of "humanities," and a year of rhetoric. Cicero was the main author studied every year. Greek was given much less time in the curriculum than Latin, mathematics were not originally included at all, and history was "left to be learned out of class." The day was broken into two parts, the morning's lectio stataria, intensive study of Cicero and drill in composition, and the afternoon's lectio cursiva, lighter coverage of other authors and Greek. Fr. Donnelly sees the change from that model to the current one as almost entire. As he notes in chapter 3, "the only objective of earlier education, composition, is omitted [today] except as a means to the science of grammar." Instead, the objective is one previously reserved for the university: science, the acquisition and classification of information. Now, "Latin and Greek are taught as everything but literature." This brought with it a change in methods - away from student activity and drilling towards lectures - and curriculum - away from a focus on a single useful and excellent author towards wide reading across history, regardless of literary quality. It is so interesting to me that Fr. Donnelly shares a similar critique of the new classical education as one can read in progressive educators' critique of the larger educational system both in his own day and still in ours. For example, I was recently perusing my husband's old copy of Understanding by Design, a frequently assigned book in ed schools today, and there are some striking similarities - compare Fr. Donnelly on lectures ("at their best only informational. They do not demand any action or even application unless a life-purpose make the individual act...Education is a habit and is not acquired by passive listening, but by actual work on the part of the student.") to Grant Wiggins ("If the learning aim is more intelligent and effective student action, then lecturing is the wrong pedagogy."). There are big differences also, of course (to start with, Wiggins was a Johnnie with a Great Books approach to education). Still, I think it's worth noticing when the neo-classical lapsarian narrative of education history centered on John Dewey doesn't quite seem to fit and to think about why that is. In terms of very practical applications, something that stood out to me was Fr. Donnelly's explanation of why Cicero took up so much space in the curriculum of the Ratio: "A poet and a historian accompanied the stable diet of Cicero through all the years after the first, but poetry and history were not allowed to impair the supremacy of Latin prose in letter, essay and speech. The reason seems manifest. Every educated man should be competent in these types of discourse, but not all need be poets or historians." Today, the academic essay is the overwhelming focus of secondary education, but in which types of discourse does an educated man today actually need to be competent? Who is the Cicero of memes? Should my kids be studying Dril's tweets? I'm only partially joking.
  21. I think your interpretation of "college methods" vs. "high school methods" vs. "secondary education" mostly makes sense, except that wouldn't "grammar" have been the equivalent of 7th-ish - 9th-ish grades? But I guess that mostly got pushed back to high school because of the weird American K-8 system, so that is why Fr. Donnelly refers to it as "high school methods"? Honestly, the use of the word "college" has to be one of the most unclear things about this book! Like Harvard is "college" (classical at one time, but with an elective curriculum organized by department by the time of PJEP) and Eton is a "college" and Fordham has a "college" and which of these does he mean??? Your English plan sounds good! We've been memorizing the Quality of Mercy speech from Merchant of Venice all together, even the 3yo is getting in on it, and just going through it word by word, line by line like we've done with Hiawatha, etc, has been really great. If you want to share what kind of writing assignments you have in mind, I would be interested. I saw that thread about the SAT IIs. For a while now, homeschoolers have been able to do their own thing along various lines and still have ways to get validated by and then enter "the system," but, yeah, you have to wonder if we aren't seeing the beginning of the end of that era. With Latin, I suppose you could potentially use the NLE to validate your students' studies - from what I can tell, that exam is actually moving away from "university methods" somewhat, though I don't know as much about the upper levels.
  22. ⬆️ This. Of course, it is notoriously difficult to just memorize the accents, and it's not that hard to find an actual classicist who will confess he or she never really mastered them. It is much, much easier to get the accents if you listen to the language. There are more and more spoken Greek resources out there all the time, and I highly recommend incorporating some if you want to make remembering the accents simpler. For Latin, I do prefer resources that include macrons, and we also use a lot of audio. As in English, vowel length can be the only thing that distinguishes two words or two forms of the same word. I don't require macrons in my students' written compositions (though I do include them in their Latin copywork), but we do work on our pronunciation (I need the most work! my Latin education included macrons in all written texts, so I tend to remember them, but to the extent we spoke Latin, there was no attempt to distinguish vowel length, ergo, loquor sicut barbarus).
  23. I'm not "well ahead," but I do work ahead. I'm worried I'm just going to recapitulate my own secondary math experience - algorithmic competence and little conceptual understanding. 😕
  24. Does a book like this exist? What's your favorite resource for teaching math after the elementary grades?
  25. Yes! I was thinking specifically of Erasmus's complaints when he was trying to learn Greek that he couldn't get any books and didn't have a proper teacher. Even so, he managed okay in the end! St. Thomas More is one of the patrons of our homeschool because he lived a very busy life in the world, wasn't a shabby classical scholar himself, and also took a lot of care with his own children's educations (which was mostly directly conducted by tutors, of course! so, for that reason, and, well, all the changes of the intervening centuries, it's not an exact parallel to our situation, lol). Some other thoughts from the first chapter, which is an overview of the "force and scope of the principles" of Jesuit education: Fr. Donnelly disputes the idea that the pedagogical guidance of the Ratio has been obsolesced, and his denial "that these principles...are merely historical and their discussion academic" hints at the state of contemporary pedagogical discourse, even among Jesuits themselves. Unlike some of Fr. Donnelly's other rhetoric-related books, PJEP was published by a Catholic publisher, suggesting his primary audience for this book was fellow Catholic educators, particularly, one assumes, other Jesuits, who were about to rapidly and entirely discard centuries of educational practice. Fr. Donnelly then enumerates the unique principles of Jesuit pedagogy that distinguish it from the contemporary American system, with a particular emphasis on the use of imitation to develop writers and speakers and the class rather than departmental teacher ("a university method, quite suitable to imparting the divisible information of science but not so well adapted to the teaching of creative art and literature"). He later mentions warmly his own experience teaching Latin, Greek, and English to a class of boys for three consecutive years. Even if she outsources some of her children's education, it seems that the homeschooling mother is in a position to reap some of the same benefits of a "class-teacher," who can oversees and fruitfully integrate all of his students' studies and guide the development of their character. Many, many times over the years, I've seen a defense of classical education that goes something like this: first, we contrast the "liberal" and "servile" arts and then conclude that the "liberal arts" are basically seven bodies of knowledge (sciences?), but ones that for some reason we study for their own sake rather than instrumentally, except that then they form us to be free men and women so maybe they are instrumental after all, something something, and therefore, in conclusion, Leisure the Basis of Culture. Part of this has always felt faintly Weberian to me, so I was intrigued by this quotation from a Columbia professor about the departmental organization of the college faculty: "Such organization induces, almost forces, large proportions of able instructors to view 'knowledges' as valuable 'ends in themselves,' instead of means to larger ends." Fr. Donnelly contrasts the principle of electivism - that all disciplines are equally educational - with the Jesuit curriculum which privileges a few subjects and a prescribed curriculum as being uniquely suited to general education. A few other miscellaneous things I noted: while Cicero was the main author imitated according to the Ratio, that included works of his beyond his speeches, covering all the genres he wrote in. By Fr. Donnelly's time, exposure to Cicero, at least in non-Jesuit schools, sounds to have shrunk to his legal rhetoric, which is still pretty much the case today. The only Cicero I studied in high school was the Pro Caelio. "The experimental sciences with constantly perfected information, with costly equipment calling for frequent renewal and with multiplying divisions, are favored in buildings and in public display while the arts and pure sciences receive little of the prominence formerly according them." This, if anything, has gotten worse. It is remarkable to hear how widely Model English was used for a few decades - he says in hundreds of schools. And it continued to be used at least well into the 50s, I think you've said, Eliza? It's very interesting to me that it's not one of the vintage textbooks any Catholic publisher or homeschooling curriculum-developer has chosen to bring back into circulation.
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