TO OUR READERS
Stephen F. Bertucci, Editor
Welcome to the Spring issue of Classical Homeschooling magazine. This edition is both a sequel and a companion to the Summer issue, which presented a look at the role of the Great Books and the more analytical and intellectual side of education, in that it helps complete the picture of what classical education is by examining the sensory, emotional and intuitive aspects of education referred to collectively as “poetic knowledge” (which is not the knowledge of poetry). We are indeed fortunate to include an article by the man “who wrote the book” on the subject, James S. Taylor.
When we speak of education we are, after all, speaking about the education of human beings and we humans are not simply intellects that absorb and organize data. Socrates said that the end of education is to learn to love what is true and beautiful. We moderns have been led to ask if it is possible to achieve that end using our intellects alone ever since Rene Descartes answered that question with a “yes”. The answer for anyone whose mother has hugged him to sleep while singing a lullaby or who has gazed in wonder at the Milky Way, is “no” ; from such direct, first experiences of nature we learn things – we know things – that no degree of data analysis or manipulation can reveal to us. We are then in the realm of an intuitive, obscure and mysterious way of knowing reality. Aristotle wrote that wisdom begins in such wonder. Aspiring philosophers and theologians, computer wizards and politicians – take note, lest your carts be unbalanced.
Looked at in this way it becomes clear that the whole of Man – his passions and emotions, his senses, his heart and intellect – must be considered when we speak of his education. This issue enters into those considerations and their proper integration.
In 1970 at Kansas University in Lawrence, three professors – Dennis Quinn, John Senior and Frank Nelick – started the Pearson Integrated Humanities Program (later referred to as the “IHP”) to recover the poetic mode of education, which had by then been almost lost. Senior had been taught by the poet Mark Van Doren at Columbia, the same Van Doren who had co-moderated seminars for years with Mortimer J. Adler with whom he had been taught by John Erskine who started the Great Books movement. We are happy and fortunate to be able to include articles by Quinn, Senior, Nelick and Adler on the IHP “poetic” experience in this issue.
This issue is a genuine feast for both the emotions and the intellect: besides the above, we also present related articles by Drs. Redpath and Hancock, Coleman, Orr and Carmack, along with updates on the Great Books, classical, homeschooling academies.
As you may know by now, we have found it nearly impossible to present such a quality magazine on a quarterly basis, or in a printed version; but as a subscriber you will be entitled to read online or download four issues (eventually) at will. If any subscriber finds that not to their liking, just let us know and we will put a refund check in the mail within 72 hours. Thank you for waiting for us. We believe you will find the result quite worthwhile.