I was looking for a word document on my hard drive today and ran across this (partial) article by Adam Andrews from the Center for Literary Education, www.centerforlit.com. I am not sure where this article came from. I thought it was interesting and might cause some of my homeschooling friends to want to investigate Adam's materials more extensively if you haven't already done so.
Hope you have a terrific Tuesday!
Three Kinds of Education:
A Buyer’s Guide
By Adam Andrews
When you decided to homeschool your children, you made a shrewd move: you chose to treat education as a commodity. Not content meekly to accept the government’s general issue brand, you declared yourself a consumer in the education market, with the same rights and privileges of all consumers everywhere – namely, the right to choose between options; the right to decide whether, and what, to buy.
Boy, the decisions came thick and fast after that, didn’t they?
What books to read? What tests to take? Which math curriculum is best? Which book prepares Johnny for the college boards? What about phonics? Latin, French, both or neither? Science now or science later?
Every homeschooler is of necessity a curriculum designer, and these are all important decisions. It may be helpful to consider that although the number of curriculum choices on the market increases daily, there are really only three types of education to choose from.
First, there is “practical” education. This kind of education is designed to give students a basic set of skills that will enable them to function in society and will help them avoid becoming a burden on the public weal: skills like reading a newspaper, driving a car, balancing a checkbook, operating a computer, playing on a basketball team or filling out a job application.
The ultimate goal of “practical” education is the creation of good citizens. Students who are the products of such education learn how to behave, and their parents and teachers are primarily concerned with having them turn out to be well adjusted citizens of their neighborhoods and communities.
The second type is “professional” education. This kind of education is designed to produce experts in a particular discipline. The fields of engineering, higher math and science, advanced computer programming, architecture, medicine, law, business and information technology teem with students who have this sort of training.
“Professional” education produces students who know lots and lots of information about a relatively narrow field of inquiry. These students are experts - specialists. They have been taught more than simply how to behave; they’ve also been taught how to perform – that is, to apply their specific knowledge, when asked or hired to do so, to a specific type of situation. Parents who desire this kind of education for their kids are often primarily concerned with having them get good, high paying jobs.
The third type of education available to the choosy consumer is “philosophical” education. This kind of education is concerned primarily with reading great books, studying world languages, and writing about ideas. It’s designed to give students the ability to tell the difference between truth and falsehood; to recognize the timeless principles that make successful societies possible and to communicate these ideas to their neighbors.
A “philosophical” education produces students who are not only capable of choosing good over evil but also capable of leading their fellow men in the pursuit of good…