Five ways to learn alongside your child
BY JAMES COWART
With very few exceptions, parents of students in classical Christian schools are not classically educated. Many of us, probably most of us, attended and then graduated from government schools or traditional Christian schools. By God’s grace, though, we have found a better path for our children.
One of the best things about classical education is the idea that parents can be educated alongside their children.
That’s what happened in my family. Before my eldest son was born, I began teaching in a classical school and realized that my own education was sorely lacking. I knew I had to get busy to stay ahead of my students and provide a classical education for my own children.
As a teacher, I attended conferences and read widely, but the classical education that my wife and I are receiving really began with our kids in grammar school. We sat with them while they did homework and helped them when they needed it.
We read their library books with them. We have had the most unbelievable dinner table conversations and evening discussions, which is probably the best part. We have read a lot of what they read in class. Because we only rarely are able to attend class with them, we don’t get the full experience, but to some extent, my wife and I are experiencing classical education alongside our children—and we’re not alone.
Over the years, a number of moms at our school have attended Latin and Greek classes. Those moms may have been motivated by a desire to help their children with those classical languages, but they learned so much more than a language. Many parents have discovered that secret and have begun to learn alongside their children. Even now, there is a group of dads who meet monthly to read great books—some of which are on their kids’ classroom reading lists.
I encourage you to get into what your child is studying. Go back to school. There are lots of ways to educate yourself:
1. Read through the books your child reads in class.
2. Sit in on classes.
3. Participate in every feast day or class presentation that you can.
4. Attend parent education evenings or book clubs.
5. Attend the summer ACCS conference in June. [See RepairingTheRuins.org]
It is unlikely many parents will have a chance to go back to school and receive a classical education. We can, however, embark on the journey with our children. I encourage you to take up that pursuit; you’ll soon see how much you’ve been missing, and your dinner table conversations will be epic. ✤
JAMES COWART is the Headmaster of Trinitas Christian School, Pensacola, FL.