The first time I started thinking seriously about how to teach mathematics was when I read "A Mathematician's Lament," by Paul Lockhart. He's an impressive mathematician with real credentials, but what I like best about him is his straightforward, common sense way of talking about things. He's direct and clear, and funny. In school I… Continue reading Paul Lockhart on Teaching Math
Ivywood Classical Academy is a brand new classical charter school in Plymouth, MI affiliated with the Barney Charter School Initiative. Founded in 2019, the school serves just over 130 students in grades K-5. As part of our tour of the whole BCSI network this spring, I visited Ivywood with our curriculum and instruction team. The… Continue reading A Visit to Ivywood Classical Academy
This week we visited Atlanta Classical Academy, an affiliate of the Barney Charter School Initiative. Founded in 2014, ACA serves 680 students in grades K through 12 and has a waiting list of hundreds more. It's a rigorous classical school where students from all across Atlanta come together with talented teachers to study the liberal arts… Continue reading A Visit to Atlanta Classical Academy
It's easy to explain what classical education is when it comes to history, or literature, or Latin. Parents and teachers in classical schools know that in a history class, students are reading primary sources, and in literature, they read the great works, not excerpts of them. Classical education treats students with respect, giving them primary… Continue reading What is classical PE?
The mission of the Barney Charter School Initiative is to promote the founding of classical charter schools and excellence in their teaching and operations, to the end that public-school students may be educated in the liberal arts and sciences and receive instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue. Affiliated with the Barney… Continue reading How many schools are in the Barney Charter School Initiative?
Here and below, illustrations from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, by the Brothers Grimm, and illustrated by Nancy Ekholm Burkert. Every Kindergarten teacher knows that at some point in the year, when the class is reading a story together, someone is going to raise a hand and ask, "Did this really happen? Is it… Continue reading Caldecott on How Fiction Shapes the Imagination
Here and below, two of Robert Ingpen's illustrations from The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. It is so important to choose the right books for our students. But how do we know which ones to choose? William Kilpatrick’s Books that Build Character (1994) is one good place to start. Here’s some of his… Continue reading William Kilpatrick on Choosing the Best Children’s Books
“The study of mathematics develops and sets into operation a mental organism more valuable than a thousand eyes because through it alone can truth be apprehended.” Plato, The Republic A Misconception Often, even from an early age, certain students develop an affinity for mathematical and scientific thinking, an affinity which parents, teachers, and administrators tend… Continue reading How Classical Education Shapes Mathematical Thinking, by Jon Gregg
Education, to be real education, must train both the minds and the characters of students. But how can we teach young people to be virtuous? Setting an example is the first step, but at some point the virtues must be explained and defended. This is a very difficult thing to do well: we run the… Continue reading On Teaching the Virtues through Literature
Classical education is not fluff. It is real content that spans the ages. It includes excellent stories: classic and timeless tales from literature, the stories of people and places and events of history, the stories of people, inventions, discoveries, and creative pieces in science, music, and art. For the youngest students, the best classical schools will include all of those things and emphasize the importance of learning to read and spell through an explicit phonics program, and include the mastery of basic math facts and the building of conceptual mathematical understanding. Teachers will know and love their content, and they will help your child begin to develop an understanding of how the different subject areas work both independently and together to tell us about ourselves and human nature. Teachers will do this through dynamic, teacher-directed instruction; your kids won’t be left on a device all day and they won’t be self- or group-taught through projects. Most importantly, virtue and character will be intertwined through the conversations about both curricular content and student behavior, so your young children will begin to understand what it means to be a good citizen, and these conversations will complement what you are trying to teach them at home.