Book: Teaching the Trivium

September 9, 2019
Posted in Education
September 9, 2019 Robyn Van Eck

Book: Teaching the Trivium

The children were having their piano & violin lessons, and I walked around the living room, bouncing the baby to keep him happy.  My eyes went to the bookshelf, and I skimmed the titles.  My husband and I had decided to homeschool when my firstborn was only 2, and I’d been warned by other parents that I should use these preschool years to research the homeschool options and decide which approach would be right for us,… but we kept having babies every 18 months, which had kept me really busy, and now here I was, with a 6-year-old ready for 1st Grade, and no definite plan.  Until this title caught my eye, that blessed day.

Just so you know I wasn’t a total deadbeat, I had read books like The Harsh Truth about Public Schools, by Harvard-educated Bruce Shortt; and our conviction to homeschool was the fruit of serious Bible study about children.  I had also made a point of getting wisdom from every homeschooling parent I came into contact with, asking them what they did for homeschool, how it worked day-to-day, and what the results were like; and we’d been to a huge homeschool conference out of state, where we heard from folks like Mark Hamby, Ken Ham, Jim Weiss, Todd Wilson, Susan Wise-Bauer, and other homeschool “greats”.  But as for actual research into the different approaches to homeschool and, you know, the bottom line—choosing a curriculum—I was desperately praying for God’s direction.

And as my eyes were drawn to that title, the Lord answered my prayer.

Teaching the Trivium.

My hostess had eight lovely children, and her homeschool seemed like one of the good ones.  She had two copies of this book, so this must be one she really liked.  (I later found out it wasn’t a very meaningful book for her; I have no idea why she had two copies!)

Classical education; I want to learn more about that…  J— likes this book, and she’s got two; I’ll bet she’ll let me borrow one…?  And she did, and I began reading it that day.

I was hooked from the start.  Unlike Susan Wise-Bauer’s The Well-Trained Mind, this book was written by Christians.  And they didn’t want the things that are the pitfalls of Classical education—pride and arrogance, a love of pagan ancient Greece and Rome, the deep desire to be thought well of at the Ivy League schools…  No, the authors wanted their children to be Christians, and they saw classical education as fitting with the biblical ideas about knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.  They gave persuasive proofs that the Trivium of classical education fits the natural development of a child.  The more I read, the more convinced I became that this approach was the one for us.

Of course, if you’ve read my Apology in Grammar of Grace, you know that this was just the beginning, and I had a bit of an educational odyssey ahead.  But that’s a story for another day.  Today, I want to recommend to you what I think is the best book you could read about practical home education.

In the years since first reading Teaching the Trivium, the authors, Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, have come to feel like old friends in my heart.  I believe their work will have a profound effect on coming generations of Christians.

Have you read Teaching the Trivium?  How did it impact you?

Thanks for dropping by; please keep us in prayer!

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