We overlook literary education today almost entirely.
Probably the same way that teaching writing is done poorly:
They are both hard to teach.
In fact, if I were designing a classroom curriculum for 5 to 18-year-olds, language/literature would be the core of it.
- 25% reading
- 25% writing
- 25% foreign language
- 25% math
Reading and writing are critical thinking. Math is thinking too (pure logic).
Where are the core subjects I have missed? Economics? Government? Science? History? Philosophy?
Go and read great books in these areas!
Since economics is my area of expertise, I’ll use it as an example here.
Teach the core of economics (below college) by reading and reflecting on great economics books.
There is no reason that high school students should not be able to read and think through:
- Basic Economics, By: Thomas Sowell (Amazon)
- The Armchair Economist, By: Steven Landsburg (Amazon)
- Economics In One Lesson, By: Henry Hazlitt (Amazon)
Sure, you could draw supply and demand curves and ask kids to regurgitate definitions back. But unless they are going to study economics in college, they are going to get a more general understanding out of working through the books above than your typical introductory textbook.
I believe this goes for most other subjects too (excluding math).
My goodness, let’s all read all the classics – and pass it all on to our children!
See: Reading is learning.
Practice subjects like Art and PE in the gaps.
And the question of “how the coming generation is to live” cannot be extricated from another one: how should the coming generation be educated? What is perhaps most distinctive and remarkable about the figures we will be studying in this book is that their answer, generally speaking, involved not just theological and philosophical reflection but also literary experience. By striving to integrate literature into a specifically Christian model of education, they were, whether they knew it or not, reclaiming a tradition of Christian humanism that had its roots in the early Renaissance.