Towards the end of October of last year, our Director of Academic Life, Thaddeus Kozinski, started a series here on our blog dedicated to the better understanding of classical education. We called it Cuppa Conversations and it is a written dialogue between fictional parents with students attending SLOCA.
Dr. Kozinski will continue to share and explore with us throughout the school year the different facets of classical education but before we examine other aspects, we wanted to revisit these conversations to refresh your memory. His first post was Part I of What Makes Learning Come Alive and you can re-read it below…
What Makes Learning Come Alive?
Over a Monday morning coffee at Scout (after dropping Robbie and Katie off at SLOCA)
Ana: I love reading Beowulf and the Sword and the Stone with Robbie. I’m learning so much. I didn’t really get history when I was at school. We learned hardly anything about the middle ages, other than the plague, and that they were “dark.” Boy, was that a lie! They were full of light and life! Well, history just seemed like a bunch of dates and people that we had to memorize and remember for a test, but without relevance or meaning. At SLOCA, we read so many fascinating and meaningful stories, and I find myself remembering the dates and events and people without even really trying! I think it’s because they all fit together, not just isolated people and events.
Sophie: I know what you mean. I feel that I’m seeing the big picture of the past for the first time. I can see how the medievals relate to the ancients and both to the Norsemen!—and I’m really getting a sense of how my identity and worldview has been formed.
Ana: But why does SLOCA’s way of studying history and literature, and all the other subjects too, feel so different than what I learned growing up? I mean, I did read a lot of good books back then, but the past didn’t come alive the way it does now. Literature is not just entertaining me. It is teaching me wisdom, and math and science, though as challenging as ever, seem so much more real and relevant. Is it just because we’re older now?
Sophie: Well, I think we appreciate education more as we age and when we raise children but isn’t it also because we’re not just studying literature and history, but learning alongside our children?
Ana: Yes, definitely, but thinking about it more, I wonder if that’s the main thing. I’ve been reflecting a lot on the “I wonder” theme lately. I think the reason for the aliveness we’re experiencing now, as opposed to the sort of deadness of the classroom growing up, is due to the focus at SLOCA on wonder. As a child, I wondered about everything, and I kept this up at school—at least in the beginning, but pretty soon the wonder began to fade. It’s almost like there wasn’t “time” for wondering in school, or that there were more “important” things to do in the classroom, like standardized tests and endless worksheets! But there was something missing in my education, something essential. I know that learning, like, the rules of grammar and solving endless math problems can be a grind on the home days, and one has to practice one’s boring scales over and over again before one can play Beethoven, but . . .
Sophie: Yes, that’s it, something was missing. It wasn’t all bad, but something definitely was lacking. What was it, do you think?
Ana: I would really like to figure this out with you, but I have some errands to do before picking up Robbie. Let’s pick this up next week!
If this is your first time reading this, what are your thoughts on the points these ladies are making? Can you relate to what they are talking about? Did you feel like something was missing while you were in school? Let us know and comment below!
We’ll revisit Part II next time so make sure to come back by!