Dear Golden View Classical Academy Supporter,
As a young student my school had us learn Social Studies rather than History, as is still common in today’s public schools, because as children we were assumed to know only those things that were close to us and our experience. For instance, we could only “really” comprehend what was happening in our neighborhood and not, say, ancient Egypt. So, like other good schools, we traded pyramids for squirrels and the Great Wall for local intersections. In deference to educational theories that still dominate much of America's schools, and in almost total isolation from the interests of actual children, my and my friends’ minds became narrower, not larger and more generous. At least we had recess…
We didn’t learn Latin, nor did we learn about Greece or Rome or Japan or Charlemagne (I do remember a very fun unit on the planets in 3rd Grade). All of that was not unique to my school, but was and remains the general sense of things. So, years of compounded Social Studies later, when I or any other child went to college and read something called the Federalist Papers, and saw references to Rome, they all fell flat. There was no resonance or echo or memory of having known but forgotten something important. The book just lay there, like any other stale academic piece, without the blood and the fortunes and the righteous anger that those references were supposed to conjure.
When later we studied the European Union and heard references to the Holy Roman Empire, what were we supposed to do with that? True, at some point it becomes one's own responsibility to seek these kinds of things out, but until one realizes that, one only has his or her education with which to make sense of the world as it is and as it is handed to us.
Would that more schools would trade squirrels (though cute) for pyramids, and roads (though useful) for the Great Wall. Would that more schools would recognize that children crave to know more, not less…despite the protestations that recess is their favorite subject.
Today, Kindergarten students at Golden View are learning why the vowel “o” makes an “oo” sound in some words and an “ah” sound in others. Derided by most, this kind of grammar lesson expands their understanding of English, which is something they want and crave. It is neither dull nor stale, but fascinating for children who want to inhabit a bigger world, not one as narrow as their own experience. Classical education like this, full of Egypt and China and Charlemagne and grammar, is for a bigger world, the kind of world in which children want to make their mark and think a mark deserves to be made.
Principal, Golden View Classical Academy