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And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
My journey into homeschooling required a great deal of renewing of my mind. Here are the top 10 books that have shaped my thinking over the past six years. Instead of summarizing the book, I’m simply going to share a compelling quote from each that has impacted my educational philosophy – the why behind what I choose to do. Thanks to my highlighted books, I can easily reference a favorite insight from the author.
It costs nothing to think; your brain is always conveniently with you; and there is a feast of ideas to savor.”
Attention is desire; it is the desire for light, for truth, for understanding, for possession. It follows…that the intelligence ‘grows and bears fruit in joy,’ and that the promise or anticipation of joy is what arouses the effort of attention: it is what makes students out of us.”
Beauty…is one of the “transcendental” properties of being, that is, properties found in absolutely everything that exists. These properties include being, truth, goodness, and unity. Everything, in other words, is true, good, and beautiful in some degree or in some respect. All that exists – because it gives itself, because it means something – is a kind of “light.” It reveals its own nature and at the same time an aspect of that which gives rise to it. Beauty is the radiance of the true and the good, and it is what attracts us to both.”
As parents, you must prepare for what you don’t expect. No parent looks forward to his child being disrespectful and unkind. But you must assume it will happen and plan for it.”
The supreme task of education – the cultivation of the human spirit: to teach the young to know what is good, to serve it above self, to reproduce it, and to recognize that in knowledge lies this responsibility.”
We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”
If I’m not able to read, write, and reflect on issues that define citizenship, how can I teach my children to do so? By not teaching our children the art of learning, we are raising a culture that is unable to engage in a reasonable discourse. As the world gets smaller and smaller, we will need to preserve our most noble American qualities as they mingle with ideas and customs from other parts of the world.”
The essential skill needed to transition from the proverbial sponge of childhood to the mature rhetorician of adulthood is learning to ask questions.”
Parents and educators who desire to impart a classical, Christian education must train students to see the integration of all subjects. Classical, Christian students must be trained to ask how all the subjects fit together and to contemplate how the connections between science and language or history and philosophy deepen our understanding.”
Like governing, teaching is telling somebody else how to think and behave; it is an imposition, an invasion of privacy. That it is presumably for another’s good does not change the unhappy fact of going against another’s desire – to play, whistle, or talk instead of listening and learning: teaching is a blessing thoroughly disguised.”
Which books have shaped your educational philosophy?