Logocentrism

Below are some excerpts from a brief article about education, books vs. TV, imagination, home schooling and preserving what’s good in a civilization.  The article provides a great prescription for a child’s education.   Two of my children were home schooled for several years, so I know from experience the author’s point of view.

The article begins with the author asking “Are you ever afraid that home schooling your kids will make them, um, oddballs?” As parents we asked ourselves the same question and we found the answer to be a resounding “No.”

 I have heard people tell me that children who are home schooled lack social interaction. That is absolute nonsense. What you do as a home schooler is to find other parents who are doing the same thing and then just let the kids relate. You go on field trips and do a lot of fun learning activities which include science, music, sports and drama.  And, there is plenty of support out there for anyone who wants to home school their child.

 From Touchstone Magazine:

 

Education Normal

Mark T. Mitchell on the Oddity of Giving Children a Moral Imagination

 

Will your kids be raised primarily on books or on television? To put it another way: Will your children be educated in a logocentric environment, where the written and spoken word is the primary conveyer of meaning, or will they ingest most of their information through electronically generated images?

Now, of course, emphasizing books over television is not the entire story, for books vary in quality and there are plenty of books that cultivate misshapen virtues and a cynical view of life. But I think it is safe to say that parents who make the effort to emphasize books as a way of life will generally be those who have been powerfully moved by books themselves. They have experienced the wonder and joy and goodness of certain books and will introduce these to their children even as one introduces a family member to a much-loved friend.

But setting the content of the books aside (for only a moment), those whose minds are shaped by an ongoing encounter with language will develop mental habits that include patience, perseverance, the ability to think abstractly, and an imagination that does not require the constant stimulation of external images. The imagination of the reader (guided by the author) creates the images, whereas the child raised on television merely imbibes what has already been fully rendered by the camera.

 More than Rules

There are two facets to educating a child well. The first is to recognize that education is not merely the accumulation of facts, but that it has an unavoidably moral aspect. A suitable education must do more, therefore, than simply teach facts, even moral facts. Education must seek to cultivate the moral imagination of the child, for reducing moral education to a list of rules is bound to fail…

But if our children are raised primarily on visual images, if they do not cultivate the mental disciplines necessary to access truth via language, then the Holy Scriptures will remain opaque, the creeds and confessions of faith will be meaningless recitations, and hymn lyrics will be merely pleasant-sounding rhymes to accompany occasionally pleasant-sounding music.

While the ultimate aim of education is to cultivate the souls of children toward godly virtue, a secondary but related end is the preservation of civilization

stewards of our civilization must possess well-cultivated language faculties capable of grasping complex and abstract ideas and concepts.

 Normal Children Needed

If a proper education is to accomplish or at least to seek to accomplish these tasks, then a normal child is one whose moral imagination is well formed, whose soul is oriented toward a love of logos and the Logos, and who knows and loves the best of his own civilization. Such a child will, perhaps unwittingly, become a steward of the good, the true, and the beautiful. In a world where normal is considered odd, such children are desperately needed.

Mark T. Mitchell teaches political theory at Patrick Henry College in Virginia. He is the co-founder of Front Porch Republic.
Read more: http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=22-07-014-v#ixzz1ZpTpK4sP

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