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Why We Must Pursue Paideia

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

I have been struggling for some time now with what to do with this little piece of the internet; thus the fits and starts that have been going on here. I want this place to be meaningful and purposeful. At the same time, I want to be authentic and honest. Truth be told, my personal philosophy on education has changed a lot over the last year or two. And, at the same time, stayed the same. Let me explain.

The last ten years of homeschooling has not just been an education for my children, it's been a massive learning curve for me. I found a lot of times I'm trying to fit into a box I'm not meant to fit into. I was taking on ideas and practicing a pedagogy that I just didn't believe in. This was evidenced in finding it difficult to articulate just what my philosophy is and why I do what I do all day with my children in the way I educate them. I've realized that the way I believe children learn and the way I default in teaching them is not unique or "just me." The last couple of years I've learned so much about Charlotte Mason and she articulates so much of what I believe in the core of my being of what an education is and how we are to go about acquiring one. So my philosophy really hasn't changed; it's been affirmed. Confidently, I can shed the boxes (literally) and step into my own with Charlotte as my guide. Such a comfier fit.

So my intention here is to share Mason's philosophy and, perhaps, my imperfect attempts at putting it into practice. But before I get into that, I wanted to share something that struck me this morning as I was mulling over this post. My first thought, after setting on this course, was, "I'm going to need to find a new name. Something more Charlotte Mason-y perhaps!" I don't think I will. Which brings me to the title of this post. The ancient Greeks used the word paideia to mean the "transmitting of the entire culture." To think on this, that's quite a task, isn't it? According to Kevin Clark and Ravi Scott Jain in The Liberal Arts Tradition this is what Paul is talking about in Ephesians 6:4 (the Bible verse quoted on the homepage of this website) in which he's charging the Ephesians "to train up their children in the paideia of the Lord." But as Clark and Jain so aptly point out, we don't have a fixed culture to pass along. Culture is canceling and rejecting Scripture, the myths, the fairy tales, the legends, the stories, the traditional liturgies, and the faith that the Bible instructs us to pass down to our children. And if we're not awake to this, if we are not diligently working daily with our children in a committed, purposeful, and meaningful way then is it any wonder that we lose our children to the very world that as Christians we are to be opposed to? We must pursue paideia ourselves faithfully, and share its goodness, its truth, and its beauty to our children. A very tall task indeed, yet it is the call placed on us as parents. The Lord gifted us with these precious beings and it is our duty and privilege to raise them in the fear and paideia of the Lord.

So I will keep the name of the website as is, because I don't know about you, but I've got some paideia to pursue.

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