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The "Classical Conversations" Method of Education - Thoughts?


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As a note, I have heard that the organization itself is a bit sketchy. Personally, I am not a fan of anyone who tries to make parents feel inadequate for trying to school their children on their own and make them feel like they "need," a group to have true rigor, but I digress. This post is not about their sketchy tax stuff, or the obscene amount of money they charge, but about the education model itself.

For those of you familiar with CC, what are your thoughts on their education model? The way they "do" (neo)classical, so to speak? I just thrifted a copy of "The Core" to read to give it a fair look, but from the little I have heard about it, something about the way they teach children in the early years feels a bit off to me. To me, ( who by the way does not have a ton of experience teaching littles yet so I could be totally wrong here) children memorizing tons facts out of context seems like a poor education. But I have no experience with this! Maybe that isn't how it really works.  

I am intrigued by the popularity of this model of education and am interested in knowing more about how it works, the weaknesses and strengths of it, etc. It is interesting to me how so many programs have taken the Dorothy Sayers essay and run wild with it.  

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It is absolute trash.  And that's not even getting into their legal issues.

The CC model is built on firehose information.  It wants children to memorize without application, understanding, or knowledge to connect dots.  Then it uses inappropriate material and expectations at a high school level, running through more novels than a child can absorb and yet cycling through the same writing/Latin materials for years.  It seems to be both ahead due to its speed and woefully behind at the same time.

I believe education needs to be deep and wide.  It's not enough to memorize sound bites.  If a child can't connect their history sentence to stories, pictures, activities, what good is that sentence they have memorized?  They have no living memory to connect to it.

I believe skills need time to develop, and that incremental teaching is better than "recite now, learn later".  I think education needs a well developed approach - it doesn't matter what that approach is, but it can't hinge on "trust the system".  It can't.  A person should be able to study the approach, understand the philosophy behind the method, take what works, and leave the rest. 

I believe education should be based on scientifically accurate methods of learning. 

 

I also believe plagiarism is wrong, misleading customers is evil, and hiding numbers are cause for concern.  And that running businesses out of churches would have Jesus flipping their tables, even if they pretend to be a mission by recruiting volunteers for their for-profit business to thrive.

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I looked into it (attended some informational meetings) but eventually decided against it. For me, the problem was that their schedule had them doing WWII that year with all kids. Mine would have been K/1. Maybe I'm sensitized to this (our ancestors left Europe - kids sent to US alone, or were killed) but I couldn't fathom how they'd teach this stuff to little kids. I much prefer the SOTW approach - ancients first (abstract slavery) then progressing to modern atrocities as the kids get older. Or maybe I'm just a procrastinator!

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It is kind of the opposite of what I'm looking for. I think memorization is valuable, but I'd rather kids memorize poems and songs along with math facts that they know how to use. I home school so that my kids can move at their own speed, and CC seems unnecessarily inflexible. I'm also not a fan of critical thinking/logic curriculum with a pre determined conclusion. I understand having tenets of the faith that you teach and pass on, but it's misleading to pretend that they are the only possible logical belief. That, I strongly believe, is detrimental to the witness and long term faith of participants. There are other issues, but those are the top issues that spring to mind.

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I've heard the CC memory statements are disjointed from what the kids are actually learning, hence my disinterest in it. Based on kids of different grades and abilities are going to memorize the same math statements sounds to me like a child just learning how to add is going to recite some passage about the associative property of multiplication sounds. Which to me would be a waste of time.

Given that I have found with my <5 year olds (again I may know nothing) it does help them to learn things when I make a memory statement for them on something they are working on at the moment. Right now my 4.5 year old is learning about long vowel sounds and we "recite" the vowels names and their short sounds and long sounds. For my 3 year old who is learning how to count, we "recite" numbers from 1-10 (she is working on doing one-to-one association to about 5). When I read The Well Trained Mind that's what I thought the whole memorizing thing is suppose to be (making little statements based on what they are learning or will learn shortly). Then maybe a poem or scripture just to exercise their memory muscles. 

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Memorizing is important, but it must be relevant and needed. We do a lot of memory work in our homeschool, but it is always connected to what we are learning or needed. We also memorize a lot of poetry and Scripture. 

From what I have seen CC does memorization for memorization's sake in the early years. It is disconnected to what each child is needing at the moment and just a program to work through. 

And then they try to use what was disconnected in the next two levels. I have seen a lot of friends leave CC during the middle school years. I think people then see that the memory work didn't produce anything. 

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On 7/20/2021 at 10:45 AM, GoodnightMoogle said:

...I am... interested in knowing more about how it works, the weaknesses and strengths of it, etc. ...

How it works:

Families pay between $800-$1200 per student (depending on grade level) to participate in what CC calls a weekly "co-op". The CC group meets weekly during the school year, with parents required to be in students' classes, while a tutor (a parent with children in the program who is paid a small amount of $$) leads the children through reinforcement activities / supplements for each of 5 subjects during the day's classes. CC defines the parents as "teachers" and the "tutor" as the person who guides families through the reinforcement to the curricula which is taught at home: Saxon (Math), Apologia (Science), IEW/Lost Tools of Writing (Writing), Henle Latin (Latin), and CC's own Essentials in English (Grammar).

Memorization is chanted timeline facts. Music is learning to play a tin whistle. In the middle grades, public speaking and a Mock Trial activity are included. In the high school years, students are encouraged to take CLEP tests to earn advance college credit.
 

On 7/20/2021 at 10:45 AM, GoodnightMoogle said:

...I am intrigued by the popularity of this model of education and am interested in knowing more about how it works, the weaknesses and strengths of it, etc. ...

Popularity for CC came through marketing themselves as the "best of both worlds" blend of school setting and homeschooling, and also by marketing themselves as "rigorous" by using the word "Classical" in their name, having a "tutor" provide back-up demonstrations at the weekly meeting, and including Latin in their middle school/high school line-up. 

This was a very successful marketing ploy for parents who were new to homeschooling and coming out of public/private schools, and who felt unsure or insecure about their abilities to teach or facilitate their children's education. CC also marketed themselves as a "co-op with socialization" opportunities -- in reality, the day is scheduled like a school day, so no more socializing than what children in a brick & mortar school have. And because many families are scrambling to keep up the with the curricula for the weekly meeting, you tend to be locked out from doing anything except CC, as you have no time for it.

The strengths might be:
- parent accountability for getting work done all week so the student is prepared for the weekly meeting
- if new to homeschooling, ability to meet other homeschoolers, and possibly set-up play dates and social activities outside of CC's meeting day
- if lucky enough to get a good tutor, some good additional academic support and class discussion can happen

The weaknesses are many:
- very expensive -- with most of the money going up the pyramid to the founder, and local tutors/directors responsible for paying the taxes
- not classical
- not rigorous (uses very standard materials at standard age/grades)
- not flexible -- students are locked into age/grades (regardless if child is remedial or advanced), specific courses for specific years, and tutors must have children in the program (no outside experts or professionals)
(most homeschoolers could organize a local co-op that works better for social/academic support, with potential for outside experts/professionals and creative classes and activities which actually fits individual needs, for a fraction of the cost)
- scheduled like a school day, so not much time for socializing
- the "tutors" are fellow homeschool parents, so no guarantee they are any more experienced than you at tutoring your child, and likely much less experienced and knowledgable in classroom management techniques than an actual brick & mortar school teacher
 

On 7/20/2021 at 10:45 AM, GoodnightMoogle said:

...what are your thoughts on their education model? The way they "do" (neo)classical, so to speak? ...

JMO: From about 5-8 years or so back, before all the questionable financial practices were made known, people on these boards who used CC said that the most benefit was found in the Essentials stage (gr. 1-5), which provided parent accountability, and that the materials used at that stage weren't so overwhelming that you could still use what you wanted while keeping up with the CC Memorization. And that the Essentials grammar program was good.

For the middle school/high school ages, I occasionally was hearing about someone who had an excellence tutor who really brought to life the material and caused the students to engage with discussion -- but that was more a strength of the individual tutor, and has nothing to do with their educational model. For the most part, I hear negative things about their educational model for the "challenge" levels (middle school/high school), because it is so inflexible -- students who are working above/below typical grade level are out of luck, as are students who work better with curricula that is different than what CC uses or recommends.


Overall, the big downsides to CC are:
- it tends to take over the homeschooling community in many areas, leaving no other co-op or homeschool group support or activities
- it promotes the idea that "parents are not enough" to be able to homeschool their children -- yet paradoxically, their "tutors" are simply other homeschooling parents
- it misrepresents what a classical model education actually is
- it misleads parents into thinking that standard curricula done at typical age/grade levels is "rigorous"
- and of course, the big financial scam -- as well as totally NOT supporting (financially or with time or resources) the women who actually put in all the work to make the CC co-ops happen every week

Edited by Lori D.
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5 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

You have already summarized what it is.  It is not classical (Dorothy Sayers polly parrot, yes).  It focuses on the lowest level of learning, memorization.  If you want a quality, high-level academic focused education, CC is not it.

Are you, like me (even though I love and greatly value TWTM) skeptical of the Sayers “stages?” Or maybe CC just takes the first stage too far? I think that memory work is important but I also think that children, especially in upper elementary, are capable of some analaysis and rhetoric type of work too! 

 The CC claim would be that they later build on all this memory work. That if you stick around for the later grades, they bring all that the children memorized back into play for analysis and then rhetoric. There is supposed to be a long investment for a big payoff. Yet I’ve never seen anyone write about this “big payoff” they speak of? Where are all these amazing, super erudite CC graduates? 

Also, speaking of Sayers, I wonder why there is such a big focus on her essay? She is often treated like she had the ultimate education wisdom; she’s the Maria Montessori of the classical world. But she was a novel writer with some good insights, not a super guru with all the educational and psychological genius in the world. I think basing a whole curriculum off her one essay is a bit short-sighted.

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When my now 9 yr old grandson was a toddler, we took him to a sandy beach that had all sorts of things along the shore.  I filled up a bucket with water for him to play with.  He picked up shells, threw them in, and watched them sink.  He did that for a while and then he picked up a small reed and threw it in.  It bobbed and floated.  He stopped short.  He picked out the reed and looked at it.  He then picked up a shell and observed what happened when he threw it in.  He picked up another reed and observed what happened when he threw it in.  He then proceed to toddle around and pick up a variety of different things.  He stared at them before he threw them in.  You could see his little wheels turning as he was probably trying to guess whether it would sink or float......not only are upper elementary age children capable of analysis, it is how children interact with the world and learn.

So, yes, I am "skeptical" of Sayers stages.  I don't use the WTM since I have been homeschooling since before the WTM was even published.  My approach is the antithesis of CC.  I don't use textbooks for most subjects.  I don't focus on memorization.  Our homeschool is 100% adapted to the individual needs of our kids. So far 6 of our 8 kids have graduated from our homeschool and not a single one has the same education as a sibling.  (so definitely nothing in common with an entire classroom, lock step yr after yr.  It is why we homeschool in the first place.)  We are focused on mastery, on inspiring learning, and on instilling internal motivation for their own academic success.  Studying topics that they want to learn more about, following rabbit trails that spring from their questions, and enjoying the process---in our family that is what leads to accomplishing those goals.

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7 hours ago, GoodnightMoogle said:

I am intrigued by the popularity of this model of education and am interested in knowing more about how it works, the weaknesses and strengths of it, etc. It is interesting to me how so many programs have taken the Dorothy Sayers essay and run wild with it.  

I find that totally bizarre. I said this in another thread recently, but Dorothy Sayers wasn't, like, an experienced educator. (Apparently, she taught ofr a couple of years in her 20s?) She's a good detective novelist. A very good detective novelist, and I really like her books, but why should I listen to what she has to say about how to teach kids?? 

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57 minutes ago, GoodnightMoogle said:

Are you, like me (even though I love and greatly value TWTM) skeptical of the Sayers “stages?” Or maybe CC just takes the first stage too far? I think that memory work is important but I also think that children, especially in upper elementary, are capable of some analaysis and rhetoric type of work too! 

 The CC claim would be that they later build on all this memory work. That if you stick around for the later grades, they bring all that the children memorized back into play for analysis and then rhetoric. There is supposed to be a long investment for a big payoff. Yet I’ve never seen anyone write about this “big payoff” they speak of? Where are all these amazing, super erudite CC graduates? 

Also, speaking of Sayers, I wonder why there is such a big focus on her essay? She is often treated like she had the ultimate education wisdom; she’s the Maria Montessori of the classical world. But she was a novel writer with some good insights, not a super guru with all the educational and psychological genius in the world. I think basing a whole curriculum off her one essay is a bit short-sighted.

Hah, jinx. I had a comment saved from earlier that I didn't post before, and it said pretty much what you are saying. 

I've watched way too many kids who only memorized math in elementary school be completely broken by that experience (at least, with regards to mathematics.) They couldn't understand anything mathy, ever, because they absolutely lost the sense that there COULD BE something to understand. Things were true or false because the teachers said so and for no other reason. 

So I have really deep skepticism of this model and do NOTHING like this with my kids. I find kids pretty logical even at ages 3 and 4, never mind at actual school ages. We work with their reasoning ability and explore their interests. And while I don't have any graduates of my homeschool yet (my oldest is about to turn 9), I've so far been very happy with our progress. 

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We have used CC at various levels.  I mainly chose it because I always had a baby or toddler (and I still have a toddler now, lol) and I wanted to participate in a co-op that didn’t require me to help teach or clean up.

My oldest kids did 3 years of foundations (elementary school level).  They did not do essentials.  They enjoyed the games, tin whistle, art, science projects, etc.  I agree that the memory work is disjointed, but they enjoyed it. We fleshed it out a bit with library books, etc.  We liked the other families.  We considered it a fun activity.  After 3 years, we got busy with other things and moved on.

When my oldest was a hs sophomore, I realized he needed more than we were doing at home, so we joined CC again and he did Challenge levels 3 and 4 (a year ahead of the typical schedule).  I liked the outside accountability, and he liked the time with peers both in and outside of class.  Since he was going, the 2 next joined in.  My 17 yo has done Challenge A thru 3.  She doesn’t really need CC anymore but will finish out Challenge 4 to graduate with friends.  She also does DE and online classes.  My 14 yo completed Challenge A and B.

Challenge A and B had a lot of fun projects - draw the world, science fair, mock trial, 10 page short story, small research assignments, current events, etc.  Nothing I would describe as rigorous, but also things we would not have done at home.  Both kids loved it and want their younger siblings to do it, although I’m not sure they will.

They both enjoyed Latin (which I wouldn’t have taught at home) and have challenged themselves with things like NLE.  They liked being a part of a group and presenting their work to a group.  I liked The Lost Tools of Writing program they used for persuasive essays.  While the content wasn’t necessarily deep, I do feel they gained skills that have been useful at the high school level.

High school has been a mixed experience for us.  The science sequence is behind, so my 17 yo is playing catch up this year.  I felt there were more novels assigned in Ch 1 & 2 than could be covered well.  We don’t prefer A Patriot’s History of the US for US History.  The projects and debates were fun.  My 17 yo has been with the same group of kids since Ch A, and it’s a great group.  But ultimately, CC focused more on things that weren’t as important to us and less on things we found important, so once my 17 yo graduates, we are moving on.  My 14 yo will do 3 R’s at an academic co-op and also do DE.  

I do feel some things I’ve learned from CC have made me a better teacher - mainly how to teach things incrementally and use projects and assignments to build skills.

I do not know anything about the administrative or corporate side.  It is expensive for what you get, but has been worth it for us for the years that we did it.  We needed the structure, accountability, and fellowship the years that we’ve used CC.  We probably could have done it in other ways, CC worked for us.  I don’t believe it is good or necessary for every family, and I wouldn’t recommend it for a family of only littles.

Edited by JazzyMom
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4 hours ago, GoodnightMoogle said:

Are you, like me (even though I love and greatly value TWTM) skeptical of the Sayers “stages?”

I didn't know those stages came from this Sayer person (who when googled is not a promising person to look toward for schooling advice). Is there a resource for a model you all use?? Currently I'm using Montessori for my < 6 but I feel that model gets a bit confusing in the elementary (6-12) "cosmic education" stage. 

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2 minutes ago, Clarita said:

I didn't know those stages came from this Sayer person (who when googled is not a promising person to look toward for schooling advice). Is there a resource for a model you all use?? Currently I'm using Montessori for my < 6 but I feel that model gets a bit confusing in the elementary (6-12) "cosmic education" stage. 

I definitely don't use any model in particular and just work with the kid in front of me. They are all so different, anyway... when I taught a homeschooling class of 5-7 year olds, the range on just the 5-year-olds was absolutely vast. 

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7 hours ago, Clarita said:

I didn't know those stages came from this Sayer person (who when googled is not a promising person to look toward for schooling advice). Is there a resource for a model you all use?? Currently I'm using Montessori for my < 6 but I feel that model gets a bit confusing in the elementary (6-12) "cosmic education" stage. 

If you want to research an educational philosophy, you might want to read about Charlotte Mason's methodology.  Information is all over the net. Here is one site: Home - AmblesideOnline - Charlotte Mason Curriculum

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I did not know any of this about Dorothy Sayers.  Odd that she is held up as an expert.

One thing I thought of re: memory work is that my younger kids really do enjoy it.  I have the benefit of having older ones who can tell me what they liked/disliked and found helpful/unhelpful.  One day, I asked them what they suggested for Bible for my younger ones, and they surprised me by saying they really liked the catechism question and response booklet we used to practice.

So for CC foundations (this was over 10 years ago), we would simply play the CD 15 min or so daily, usually in the car, and they memorized:

-geography (states and capitals, identifying countries and major landmarks on a map)

-mostly math facts, squares, cubes, with a few simple formulas

-Latin declensions (3rd son said he wished he would have memorized these before starting Latin)

-English grammar (prepositions, helping verbs, irregular verbs, etc.)

None of the above were necessary, but seem to have been beneficial.  I actually like having memorized the grammar (prepositions, etc.) along with them because I teach my younger ones the little songs or chants as we encounter the subject matter in their language arts program.  So again, teaching the teacher.  (Although many homeschool parents don’t need this.)

Science and history were where it seemed disjointed and not as beneficial.  And again, for littles, I think a park day day can be more beneficial than a co-op.

But anyway, my kids do seem to enjoy memorizing and reciting at younger ages.  Right now, we’re more focused on longer passages of scripture, poetry, etc.

Edited by JazzyMom
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When I sat in on the youngest class (4-6 maybe?) I was overwhelmed. The tutor was running facts back to back with no time for any discussion or questions. My son didn’t even make it an hour before he was ready to leave. The kids were sitting at the table answering questions, occasionally standing up or moving around when it was their turn. 
 

The 4 year olds were pointing out South Korea on a map, but they didn’t understand the difference between a continent and a country, or even a know what a globe was. The tutor told me they can’t understand the difference this young, the understanding will come later. 🤨 

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I liked some of what they do but didn't want to join because I wanted to do it my way.  We read real books (a la Charlotte Mason) and pull most of our memory work from that. I do teach geography out of context. I want every state, capitol, country, capitol and flag memorized along with several natural locations and I cannot be bothered to put that into context.

In middle school I concentrate on writing and old school math which I think is very CC, but I don't remember what they do in the upper years.

I think generally their idea for the grammar stage is good framework. I would do it but do something like a Sonlight or My Father's world core at home.

I follow the ideals of the book Latin Centered Curriculum, but I use different curriculum. Have you read The Well Trained Mind?

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On 7/20/2021 at 6:37 PM, Not_a_Number said:

I've watched way too many kids who only memorized math in elementary school be completely broken by that experience (at least, with regards to mathematics.) They couldn't understand anything mathy, ever, because they absolutely lost the sense that there COULD BE something to understand. Things were true or false because the teachers said so and for no other reason. 

So I have really deep skepticism of this model and do NOTHING like this with my kids.

This!

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On 7/20/2021 at 1:30 PM, HomeAgain said:

I believe education should be based on scientifically accurate methods of learning. 

How dare you say something so controversial 😂

I also dislike when people say, “Trust the system!” Instead of answering questions about legitimate concerns. It’s asking someone to have blind faith in a curriculum like it’s a religion (or a cult). I don’t trust systems without seeing what the results of said system look like. 

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On 7/21/2021 at 1:01 AM, Clarita said:

I didn't know those stages came from this Sayer person (who when googled is not a promising person to look toward for schooling advice). Is there a resource for a model you all use?? Currently I'm using Montessori for my < 6 but I feel that model gets a bit confusing in the elementary (6-12) "cosmic education" stage. 

In my career field of medicine, there are a significant contingent of us who strive to make decisions and practice according to the best evidence—the best evidence of producing good outcomes. Someone made up a term for this called POEM: Patient-Oriented Evidence that Matters. In other words, we try to avoid using treatments that are traditional just because that is what everyone has always done, or new treatments because they are the popular fad, or treatments recommended by experts just because some experts recommend them. We try to find studies that show which treatments produce good outcomes that matter to patients (reduction of disease and death, not just improvement in factors such as values of lab tests). We try to give the treatments that have real evidence to help patients live longer and healthier.

I have tried to apply the same principles to homeschooling my children. What are the “POEM’s” (or perhaps “SOEM’s”—student oriented evidence that matters) regarding educational philosophy?  Most of what is out there and currently being utilized by educators has no real evidence to back it up. However, I have found two excellent books which helped me craft the educational plan for my children, which I will list below and which have produced excellent results for my kids. If you are interested in using effective, evidence-based methods of education, I have found nothing better. You would do well to read and apply the principles in these books.  

—The Knowledge Deficit: Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children  (E.D. Hirsch, Jr.)

-Why Don’t Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom (Daniel T. Willingham) 

Edited by Mrs Twain
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On 7/23/2021 at 6:25 AM, Mrs Twain said:

If you are interested in using effective, evidence-based methods of education, I have found nothing better. You would do well to read and apply the principles in these books.  

—The Knowledge Deficit: Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children  (E.D. Hirsch, Jr.)

-Why Don’t Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom (Daniel T. Willingham) 

I just finished Why Don't Students Like School? and just starting The Knowledge Deficit. Thank you so much for the suggestions, exactly what I was looking for. 

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I wish the books on education that I want to read weren't so darn expensive. The Liberal Arts Tradition especially. But I just picked up The Knowledge Deficit on thrift books for a dollar and I'm looking forward to reading it. I've been binging education books lately; every time someone asks me what I've been reading all I can say is  "homeschool books!" 😁 I haven't made it through "The Core" yet; I think I started reading it with a bad attitude because of all I learned (and disliked) about CC. I want to give it an honest look-through, though, so I need to try to approach it as neutrally as I can. I think even bad educational philosophies can have good idea nuggets buried in them. 

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On 7/20/2021 at 8:33 PM, Not_a_Number said:

I find that totally bizarre. I said this in another thread recently, but Dorothy Sayers wasn't, like, an experienced educator. (Apparently, she taught ofr a couple of years in her 20s?) She's a good detective novelist. A very good detective novelist, and I really like her books, but why should I listen to what she has to say about how to teach kids?? 

 

On 7/21/2021 at 12:07 PM, JazzyMom said:

I did not know any of this about Dorothy Sayers.  Odd that she is held up as an expert.

I think Dorothy Sayers' essay was sort of "rediscovered" just at the exact right time for it to catch fire. She was drawing attention to the fact that modern methods of teaching that were supposed to be much better than the old ways were generally having much worse results. In the 1940s this was beginning to be true, with lots of people still being alive who had received something akin to the old way, but well enough into the "reforms" to see the bad results. By the 1980s when people were re-reading this essay, it really resonated. FWIW, I think many people noticed she was right about the stages, in a very modest way. It's true that kids do progress from a "collecting info" stage where analysis and nuance is possible but difficult, to a time when debate and argument and nuance are fun and easy for them, and finally to a stage when expressing themselves uniquely and creatively (something they've perhaps done all along) becomes a more significant focus. So it had the ring of truth to it. I don't think her expertise convinced anyone. I think her argument resonated and they looked to her prescriptions and treated them like gospel.

 

The trouble I think came when they tried to convert her ideas into systems and curricula, and take one line and run with it, and into the vacuum they invented something brand new (that may or may not work at all) and called it "classical" and then insisted that their collection of workbooks or plans are the same education that CS Lewis and Jefferson and Hamilton and Aquinas had.

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5 hours ago, Emily ZL said:

It's true that kids do progress from a "collecting info" stage where analysis and nuance is possible but difficult, to a time when debate and argument and nuance are fun and easy for them, and finally to a stage when expressing themselves uniquely and creatively (something they've perhaps done all along) becomes a more significant focus. So it had the ring of truth to it. I don't think her expertise convinced anyone. I think her argument resonated and they looked to her prescriptions and treated them like gospel.

I guess this is true in a very limited kind of way, but I find it to be more the case that kids are respectful of authority and less true that they are simply collecting info. For instance, I’ve taught MANY kids math, and they all seem to appreciate being treated as rational actors who are able to discover truths. And that’s before I get to the gulf between gifted kids and typical ones and the fact that I’ve actually found my college students LESS able to reason in math than young kids, due to the thinking habit being kicked out of them.

It’s not that I don’t understand what she means by those stages. It’s that I think she draws the exactly wrong conclusions from them. I think that logical reasoning needs to be inculcated in young children if you want the best chance of having it take hold, and the fact that it doesn’t necessarily come naturally to kids is even more reason to do so. At least, that’s been my experience. 

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