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Classically Educating the Regular Child

Don’t tell anyone but not all of my children are geniuses, maybe not any of them. Ouch! That hurts. If the definition of classical education was ‘really hard’ then a few of my children would not be succeeding in life right now. They would have crashed on the shore of labels, never to rise again. But there they are, those boys who refused to learn to read the first 2 or 3 go-rounds, succeeding beyond all worldly expectations. Their success may be beyond the world’s standards but not beyond the ideals of Christian classical education. Reading, writing, and thinking gave them a way of detouring the world’s well-worn path, strewn with labels, for a better way.

I was surprised to find that one of my sons recognized this fact. He is going to community college this semester and I was not sure how he was going to do since he had always struggled. Over the weekend he received back an English paper where he had scored 100 points and his teacher praised his intellect. This has happened to him over and over again this semester and I have been, I hate to admit it, shocked. This child had not breezed through Latin or Logic in our home and I had even failed to teach him MLA-styled formatting before he graduated.

While writing another paper I asked him if he was able to understand MLA formatting. He replied, “Oh that was easy. I have it down by heart now after a couple of papers. What really helped me was that Lost Tools of Writing program. I use those ideas all the time. I think I am doing so well because when we did school, especially history, we were always asking questions and thinking about things, which is how I go about writing my college papers and also all those reading journals. It is nothing for me now to sit down and write a paper after writing a reading journal or narration every school day of my life.”

While this child failed formal logic, he did not fail to learn how to think. This is the kind of thinking that takes place daily, if we are not too busy, as we walk along the way as we rise up and even when we lie down. As a mom of teenagers I can assure you that many long conversations, usually based on a moral question, begin just as your head hits the pillow at night. We should never think that a workbook or program can replace that. But if you don’t know how to do that then The Lost Tools of Writing is a great place to learn how. The Lost Tools of Writing can give mom the edge she needs at the same time it gives the kids the tools they need. Even a struggling effort to teach through it can produce great rewards for teacher and student.

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