Each book read should teach the child about the human condition, each history lesson about the human plight and Sovereign hope of living in a Psalm 2 world, each science lesson about the endless wonder of creation. As their knowledge grows, children should learn humility at the vastness of what they do not yet know and at the mysteries that will be revealed only in heaven. At each difficult lesson or test, patience and self-control and, again, humility are the most important lessons.
As the blog title suggests, Poetics & Paideia /pie-DAY-uh/ will be centered around the beauties and disciplines of growth in Christlikeness. I’ll be talking about discipleship of children, disciplines of godly motherhood, atmosphere and liturgies of the home, family worship, worldview and educational philosophy, homeschooling helps, and more. But before I offer any book reviews or curriculum recommendations, before I share tips on choosing a college or teaching your kindergartner, I need to answer this question: What is the chief end of education?
Ask evangelical church-goers why they chose a certain school for their children (public, Christian, or otherwise) or what colleges they’re looking at with their high schoolers, and most would answer that those schools have the best opportunities for future success—the most college or career potential, the best sports programs, the highest academic ratings. Similarly, what is the homeschool parent’s greatest fear? That their children won’t know enough to succeed in college or career.
Why learn math? So you can do your taxes . . . and get into college. Why learn grammar? So you can communicate at your job . . . and get into college. Why learn Latin, classical children? So you can better understand English grammar and organize your thoughts . . . and get into college with higher scores! Why learn literature? Well, I don’t know, so just get through the test.
These answers and fears indicate a belief, whether conscious or not, that the chief end of education is for children to accumulate enough information to do well on tests so that they can get into a good college, get a good job, and live a comfortable life. This is pragmatism, not Christianity.