How Latin Will Help You Understand Today’s Importance in the Astronomical Calendar

If you are like me, you have a hard time remembering the exact definitions of the various items on the astronomical calendar. Fortunately, like other sciences, astronomical terms are mostly Latin in origin.

Today is the “autumnal equinox.” If you get confused between equinoxes and solstices, just remember your Latin.

Look at the word: equi nox. The Latin adjective for “equal” is aequalis. And nox is the Latin word for “night.”

“Equal night.”

The autumnal equinox is the day of the year when the length of the night is equal to that of the day. It is that day when you say to yourself, “Omigosh, summer really is over!” And depression sets in because you start having to think about the oncoming winter.

It is to be distinguished from the solstice because the solstice is that time when the sun reaches either its highest or lowest points in the sky. Sol stice: The “standing” or “stopping” of the sun, from sol, meaning “sun,” and sistere, “standing still.” The course of the sun seems to stand still before rising or lowering in the sky.

Just one more practical benefit of knowing Latin.




In Defense of Well-Roundedness

My new article, a response to a blogger who champions specialization over being well-rounded (and widely educated), is now up at Memoria Press:

I find it interesting that, instead of some stereotypical daughter of the landed gentry, Ms. Trunk did not mention, say, the 19th century German scientists, who, in addition to having studied mathematics and science, were broadly and classically educated, which meant that they learned Latin and Greek and read the Great Books. Or even the great philosophers of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, who in addition to having studied Latin and Greek and read the Great Books, had mastered mathematics and the sciences. Each was better at what he specialized in because he had mastered other disciplines as well.

Read the rest here.

Liberal arts majors lauded in two new books

Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Timothy Aubry, an English professor at Baruch College, discusses two new books on the uses of a liberal arts degree:

According to both Anders and Stross, the ever-expanding tech sector is now producing career opportunities in fields — project management, recruitment, human relations, branding, data analysis, market research, design, fund-raising and sourcing, to name some — that specifically require the skills taught in the humanities. To thrive in these areas, one must be able to communicate effectively, read subtle social and emotional cues, make persuasive arguments, adapt quickly to fluid environments, interpret new forms of information while translating them into a compelling narrative and anticipate obstacles and opportunities before they arise. Programs like English or history represent better preparation, the two authors argue, for the demands of the newly emerging “rapport sector” than vocationally oriented disciplines like engineering or finance. Though it does not automatically land one in a particular career, training in the humanities, when pitched correctly, will ultimately lead to gainful and fulfilling employment. Indeed, by the time they reach what Stross terms the “peak earning ages,” 56-60, liberal arts majors earn on average $2,000 more per year than those with pre-professional degrees (if advanced degrees in both categories are included).

The two books, You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education, by George Anders, and A Practical Education: Why Liberal Arts Majors Make Great Employees, by Randall Stross are reviewed in the August 21st edition of the Review.

A College Entrance Exam for Classical Schools

From Gene Edward Veith’s blog, a post about the new Classic Learning Test:

Progressive education in general focuses on skills rather than knowledge, which fits the SAT and ACT. But how can a student handle challenging content? Can the student interact with great ideas? Can the student understand works of literature, philosophy and history? Or a scientific article? Or a discussion of theology?

The new classical schools work on those kinds of questions. Their curriculum–used also by many homeschoolers–is more challenging than the typical school that follows some version of progressive educational theory. Their students generally do well on the SAT and ACT, but there has not really been a test to assess how well they do with what they have been taught.

But now there is such a test. The Classic Learning Test (CLT) is an alternative to the SAT and ACT.

Read the rest of this post here.

Are “critical thinking skills” sufficient for a good education?

In his excellent article in the most recent issue of Modern Age, Thomas S. Hibbs discusses what E. D. Hirsch, Jr. elsewhere calls the “Skills Delusion”: the idea that you can dispense with content knowledge and study only skills and benefit from it in any meaningful way.

In “The Liberating Power of the Humanities,” Hibbs points out that we can’t talk about skills in isolation from knowledge, particularly the kind of knowledge taught in the humanities:

The deprivation of self-knowledge, of information about one’s past, one’s sources or roots, cuts one off from knowledge of where one now stands in the present; paradoxically perhaps, the ignorance about the pasts deprives one of the hope for the future. The scope of one’s awareness contracts to the mere present. One approaches the condition of animals, whose capacity for memory and for anticipation of the future is quite limited.

Read the rest in the latest issue of Modern Age.

What Education is For

In his 2006 essay, “How to Get a College Education,” Jeffrey Hart, emeritus professor of English at Dartmouth, talks of a philosophy professor he studied under who had two phrases he would constantly repeat:

  • “History must be told”; and
  • “The goal of education is to produce the citizen”

He meant that the citizen should know the great themes of his civilization, its important areas of thought, its philosophical and religious controversies, the outline of its history and its major works. The citizen need not know quantum physics, but he should know that it is there and what it means. Once the citizen knows the shape, the narrative, of his civilization, he is able to locate new things — and other civilizations — in relation to it.

Read the rest here.

English doesn’t need to be scientific

My most recent post at Intellectual Takeout is about the two attacks on the humanities, one from within and one from without. An excerpt:

But Cohen is most concerned with the enemies of the humanities within: those who, in order to stay relevant, try to ape the sciences. This science envy “fuels the drive to render the humanities scientific… through the use of technical jargon, general theories about social texts, and quantitative tools to analyze word choice, sentence structure and other aspects of literature. There are even efforts to measure the imagination using functional magnetic resonance imaging.”

All this, of course, completely misses the point. “We do not submit a sonnet to a mathematician,” said Chesterton, “or a song to a calculating boy.”

Read more here.

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You’ll think twice about saying you don’t have time to read when you read this Teddy Roosevelt story

Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, has the ultimate response to people who say that they just don’t have time to read:

David McCullough once told of Teddy Roosevelt during his time in the Dakota Territory and before his arrival on the world scene. Two thieves who had been on something of a crime spree in the territory had stolen Roosevelt’s rowboat, and he was determined to chase them down and arrest them. He chased the thieves for 40 miles of rough landscape, through deep snow and in constant danger of attack, and indeed brought them to justice. McCullough then tells the reader: “But what makes it especially memorable is that during that time, he managed to read all of Anna Karenina. I often think of that when I hear people say they haven’t time to read.”


Don’t believe the line that studying the humanities is a job killer

My recent article at Intellectual Takeout:

Zachary First, Managing Director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University, opines at on just how misguided is the question: “Can we, in economic terms, justify investing in a degree in the humanities?”

Barely a decade ago, the conventional wisdom held that a law degree was, beyond a reasonable doubt, a smart investment. While many sectors of the economy were in upheaval, law firm hiring was on the rise and entry level salaries in large urban areas were surpassing $150,000, according to the American Bar Association Journal.
Then, the bottom dropped out.

Such are the vicissitudes of the economy: Even if you can document the demand at a particular point in time for certain degrees, there’s a good chance things will change, and then what do you do?

Read the rest here.

Remember Tomorrow’s Webinar: “How to Persuade”

How do you persuade someone to believes something you want them to believe? Is it just a matter of argument? What about emotions? Is it wrong to appeal to the emotions of your audience? (more…)

“How to Persuade,” a webinar with Martin Cothran, May 17

How do you persuade someone to believes something you want them to believe? Is it just a matter of argument? What about emotions? Is it wrong to appeal to the emotions of your audience? (more…)

“Teaching Through the Lens of the Arts,” a CLSA webinar with Professor Carol, May 10

You won’t want to miss Professor Carol’s webinar “Teaching Through the Lens of the Arts,” on May 10, at 4 p.m. (more…)

How Latin Helps Us Learn

A helpful article on the benefits of Latin from Annie Holmquist at the Imaginative Conservative: (more…)

Grammar as Worldview: What grammar tells us about the Cosmos

From the Imaginative Conservative: “The Death of Grammar and the End of Education.” (more…)

Why Liberals–and Conservatives–Should Read the Great Books

Three great books professors at Columbia University give ideological political reasons for studying the classics. David Randall at First Things says that although it is unfortunate that political progressives talk about the classics in ideological terms, it may be simply that these academics see such language as the best or only way to reach those on the political left: (more…)

Are most scientific research findings false?

My recent post at Intellectual Takeout on the state of biomedical research and what it says about scientific research in general: (more…)

CLSA 2017 National Teacher Training Conference, July 12-14

Hosted by the Classical Latin School Association, Memoria Press, and Highlands Latin School, the 2017 Teacher Training Conference is the perfect opportunity to enrich your classical classroom.   (more…)

The Classical Approach to Special-Needs Education

Memoria Press author Cheryl Swope recently spoke at Hillsdale College on special-needs education in the context of classical education. (more…)

La La Land and the Disenchantment of the World: A Movie Review

Modern movies tend toward one or another extreme: They are either severely realistic or dreamily fantastic—cynical hardboiled drama and ironic comedy on the one hand, or superhero or historical fantasy on the other. (more…)

Webinar: Teaching Phonics and Reading in Primary Grades Tomorrow

Remember to submit your questions for tomorrow’s 4:00 p.m. EST Teacher Training Webinar. (more…)

Teaching Writing: Readiness, Essentials, and Impact

From the new issue of the Classical Teacher: “Teaching Writing: Readiness, Essentials, & Impact(more…)

Three Books that Explain What Happens to a Culture When it Abandons its Religion

My most recent post at Intellectual Takeout about G.K. Chesterton Thomas Sowell, and Max Picard: (more…)

Three Books that Explain the Decline of Western Civilization

From my article at Intellectual Takeout:

There used to be a lot books about the “decline of the West.” But now that we are well on our way to everything these writers warned us about, we don’t hear that expression much anymore. (more…)

Ten Reasons We Still Need Cursive

Given that today is National Handwriting Day, we thought we would blog a post we think is one of the better cases for cursive writing. It is written by Jennifer Doverspike, who feels guilty that she wrote it on her computer: (more…)

From the new edition of the Classical Teacher

From my “Letter From the Editor” in the new Winter issue of Memoria Press’ Classical Teacher magazine: (more…)

Don’t Miss the Eighth Day Institution Conference this week in Wichita, KS

If you are in or near Wichita, Kansas later this week, don’t miss the 2017 Eighth Day Institution Symposium “Where are the Watchmen?” this Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 12-14. (more…)

The Trouble with Technique: An excerpt from the new Classical Teacher

From the Letter from the Editor in the new Winter 2017 Classical Teacher magazine: (more…)

Don’t miss us at CiRCE Institute regional conference in Louisville this month

From CiRCE’s website: (more…)

The Electoral College is no Accident

Yesterday’s Electoral College vote prompted a debate over whether this way of electing a president is the best way. It reminds us once again that we are a republic, fashioned after the Roman Republic, not a pure democracy. (more…)

Can general critical thinking skills be taught?

Not if the scientific research can be believed, says Carl Hendrick: (more…)

Are we teaching too many books too soon?

My most recent article on Memoria Press’ blog: (more…)

Why Students Need the Books Schools Don’t Want Them to Read

Check out my most recent post at Intellectual Takeout: (more…)

How to Spot a “Rubber-Sole” School

At The Ozark Latinist you will find a discussion of the five characteristics of a “rubber-sole” classical school (as opposed to a “leather-sole” classical school). It’s pretty spot on. And it cites us. So it must be good! (more…)

Schools should teach about Scrooge, not act like him

In my most recent article at Intellectual Takeout, I discuss the fate of literature in many schools today:

Schools seem to be placing less and less emphasis on humanities in general and literature in particular. Quality literature seems to be increasingly restricted to classes for gifted and talented students, the imaginations of the rest of the student body being relegated to a lower priority.

I discuss several factors that are at the root of this problem: (more…)

Classical Culture and the Art of Manliness

If you are a real man, then, of course, you will be familiar with the manliest of manly websites, “The Art of Manliness.” And if you are not familiar with it, and you wish to acquaint yourself with the manly articulation of manly virtues, may we suggest that you sample an article that was published about this time last year, entitled, “Why Every Man Should Study Classical Culture“: (more…)

Education and the Need for Order

Look for my article, “Education and the Need for Order” in the new Society for Classical Learning Journal. Here’s an excerpt: (more…)

A Whole View of Cursive

More and more articles are appearing that recommend the benefits of cursive writing. Unfortunately, they are of two kinds: those that point to research about cursive’s neurocognitive benefits, and those who extol it as a virtue–and neither seems to know about the other. (more…)

Are the Humanities necessary for a stable society?

I remember when my engineer father found out that I was taking a philosophy degree in college. “What are you going to do with that?” he asked. And he had a right to ask: He was paying for it. (more…)

How an Ancient Philosopher Predicted the 2016 Election

My post today at Intellectual Takeout: (more…)

CLSA Math Webinar next Wednesday

Don’t miss our November math webinar with Cindy Davis, head of the math department at Highlands Latin School’s Indianapolis campus, Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 4 p.m. (more…)

CiRCE Institute/Memoria Press Conference this January

Join us this January 20-21 at the CiRCE Institute’s 2017 Winter Regional Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. (more…)

Why We are So Fascinated by Monsters: A Halloween Meditation

My new post at Intellectual Takeout discusses our obsession with the dark and monstrous. It’s a prelude to a more extensive article that will appear in a later edition of The Classical Teacher: (more…)

Four of Eleven Highlands Latin School students designated National Merit

Four of eleven Highlands Latin School students were recognized as National Merit Semifinalists or Commended students. Congratulations to Semifinalists Tanner Petrie and Jobe Arnold, and to Commended Students Worden Barr and Jack Spurlock. (more…)

More on Scientific American’s defense of the Humanities

Another discussion of Scientific American‘s defense of the liberal arts and humanities against STEM-only advocates appears at Intellectual Takeout, written by Yours Truly: (more…)

Leading science journal stands up for humanities against STEM-only advocates

In the lead editorial in the new issue of Scientific American, the magazine’s editorial board responds to those who advocate an inordinate emphasis on STEM subjects at the expense of the liberal arts and humanities. (more…)

“How to Teach Dante” CLSA Webinar, Oct. 13

On Thursday, October 13, at 4 p.m., we will be offering “How to Teach Dante,” with Highlands Latin School instructor Kyle Janke, who will discuss one of the greatest Christian literary works ever penned. (more…)

What Marriage has to do with Education

If you’ve been to a high school or college graduation ceremony in the last few years, it’s hard to watch without thinking, where are all the boys? In fact, there is a very obvious gender gap in graduation rates and dropout rates in both secondary and post-secondary education. (more…)

Zombie Education: The most important aspect of education is missing from many schools

by Martin Cothran

My new post at Intellectual Takeout discusses the chief problem with schools, a problem no one seems to want to talk about–except E. D. Hirsch, Jr.  (more…)

2,000 year-old Leviticus scroll word-for-word the same

by Martin Cothran

One of the most common allegations against the truth of Christianity is the charge that the Biblical documents are unreliable. And one of the assertions used to justify this charge is that the long swaths of time over which Biblical documents were copied and recopied would have resulted in significant variations in the text. (more…)

Recitation, Recitation, Recitation: Or, Three Reasons for Recitation

by Michelle Tefertiller

We live in a technological age, so why would we need to bother with something as seemingly archaic as recitation? Many of us have heard about all the research evidence that the part of the brain you exercise, you maintain or grow, while the part you don’t use, you lose. But there are three other good reasons for employing recitation in your education program: (more…)

Christian philosopher Peter Kreeft on the 19 kinds of judgment

From Peter Kreeft’s “Living Well On Earth & Entering Heaven: The Nineteen Types of Judgment,” recently republished at the Imaginative Conservative: (more…)

National Geographic misses most influential historical figures in article on influential historical figures

by Martin Cothran

Most people think of National Geographic as a fairly objective source. But what can you say about a publication that publishes an article about the most influential figures of ancient history and, well, leaves out many of the most influential figures of ancient history? (more…)

Is education technology a “$60 billion hoax?”

The enthusiastic and uncritical promotion of technology in the classroom is beginning to attract increasingly hostility among researchers and professionals in the psychological community. (more…)

Most parents of school children think academics is the purpose of schools, survey finds

by Martin Cothran

One of the trends in American education since the 1940s is to move the focus of schools away from academics and toward wider social goals. It would be one thing if schools had conquered the academic problem and were going on to further conquests in other areas, but no one seriously thinks American schools have done this.


Is Cursive Writing Really on the Ropes?

Jessica Kerwin Jenkins, reviews a new book on cursive writing, which laments what she sees as the decline in cursive writing, which she thinks is inevitable. The book, The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, by Anne Trubek, says Jenkings, urges “a long goodbye to handwriting as we know it and an embrace of a neurological metamorphosis already underway as we adapt to new technology. But her revelatory deep dive also shows just how much we stand to lose.” (more…)

C. S. Lewis’ List of Great Books

The blog A Pilgrim in Narnia has published a list of the books C. S. Lewis refers to in his book Experiment in Criticism, a book about how to read books. The list tracks pretty well the books that a person concerned with preserving our culture ought to read (or aspire to read): (more…)

Does reading classic literature help you understand the emotions of other people?

by Martin Cothran

One of the contentions of those who defend the humanities is that a familiarity with classic literature improves interpersonal skills, and that, since most jobs, even in tech industries, involve such skills, an educational emphasis on literature is hardly irrelevant to the vocational emphasis many policymakers now think education should have. (more…)

T. Rex: Another Argument for the Humanities

We (i.e. those who appreciate the humanities) just had to laugh: (more…)

In Defense of Latin

Some critics have said that the value of Roman literature is that it has been the vehicle which conveyed Greek ideas to the world. The Romans took their art and, as far as their civilization rests on these, their civilization from Greece. Why, then, do we study Latin? (more…)

Taking Classical Music to the Jungle

While classical music (and classical culture in general) is increasingly being swept aside by an increasingly toxic entertainment culture, non-Western cultures may be becoming increasingly appreciative of it. (more…)

Wisdom and Happiness: What Classical Education Can Do for Your Soul

by Martin Cothran

One of the measures of how hard it is to articulate the case for the value of a classical education is that you have to use the assumptions of those who don’t value it in order to persuade them that it has value.


New studies on tech in classrooms show “mixed to negative” results

by Martin Cothran

The research on learning technology in schools has never been very flattering. And now we have several more recent studies showing just how lackluster are the results of computers in schools: (more…)

The Roman influences on American government

by Martin Cothran

We all know that Biblical influences on the thinking of America’s founders. But we shouldn’t forget that the founding fathers drew much of their inspiration–particularly for the structure of American government–from the Romans. They were particularly interested in the Roman Republic, which preceded the Empire, which they inspected closely for its strengths and weaknesses.


An Education Establishment in Denial about Math Instruction

by Martin Cothran

An article in today’s online edition of Education Week bemoans the fact that the arguments used against what is labeled “Common Core Math” are the same arguments that have been used since the early 1970s. The article’s author Liana Heitin, quotes Matt Larson, the new president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, about the frustration many parents feel with they cannot themselves understand their own child’s math homework:


Read a Book and Call Me in the Morning: Does reading books make you live longer?

by Martin Cothran

How many times have you been asked why it is important to teach literature? How about this for an answer: It helps you live longer.


What does beauty have to do with truth and goodness?

Carol Reynolds, author of the wonderful Understanding Music program,  reflects (with the help of Hans Urs von Balthasar) on the importance of an understanding and appreciation of beauty:


How to Teach Logic

by Martin Cothran
From my new article, “How to Teach Logic” in the Late Summer edition of the Classical Teacher:

When should students begin to learn logic? The answer, of course, is: “When they are ready.” This can happen as early as seventh grade. It is at this age (about 12-13) that many children begin to seriously think about the reasons for things. They are no longer satisfied with the concrete, but are beginning to understand and appreciate abstract ideas.


Learn more about the Classic Learning Test

Concerned about the deterioration of ideas and values on college entrance exams? A new college entrance test is fast gaining a substantial following. The Classic Learning Test (CLT) refocuses the goal of testing toward the great ideas and values of Western Christian civilization and promises to offer home and private students an excellent alternative to increasingly politicized college entrance exams.


Why Read Shakespeare?

David Wright’s  article from the most recent Classical Teacher:

Shakespeare’s literary genius is unparalleled in the long history of English literature. He holds the number one position as the greatest writer of English literature. T. S. Eliot, one of the finest poets (and critics) of the twentieth century, said, “Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them, there is no third.”


What is Education?

From “Traditional vs. Progressive Education,” in the most recent Classical Teacher magazine: “Although almost everyone agrees that education is good, there is wide disagreement on what education is”: (more…)

The Last Bookstore

by Martin Cothran

I visited The Last Bookstore when I was in Los Angeles last year, and wow. What a place. If you are book lover, it will blow your mind. I knew there must be an interesting story behind it, so I was excited to see a short documentary video about owner Chad Howitt. It’s an inspiring story of someone defying the increasing hostile business trends that militate against retail bookstores.


Why even business majors need the liberal arts

by Martin Cothran

The common wisdom is that the more technical and vocational education you offer students, the better they will do in business and technical professions. This view has long been contested by those who point to a large and growing body of evidence that a narrow education produces narrow human beings whose job prospects are correspondingly narrowed, not expanded, by short-sighted educational policymakers.


The Cursive Revival is on

Louisiana is among a growing number of states who are requiring public schools to teach cursive. From Education Week: (more…)

Some Illustrator: A new biography of Garth Williams

If you are familiar at all with classic children’s literature, you will know the name Garth Williams. Williams illustrated Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, Cricket in Times Square, and Little House on the Prairie. For those of us who grew up on his illustrations, they constitute a montage of our childhood. (more…)

C.S. Lewis on Three Kinds of Education: Propagandizing, Debunking, and Initiating

by Brett Vaden

What are we doing when we educate children? There are three possibilities. (more…)

How St. Augustine reconciled Athens and Jerusalem (Made Simple)

If you haven’t read Charles Cochrane’s Christianity and Classical Culture, then you should, and if you have, you know how hard it is to get through. (more…)

School refuses to single out National Honor Society students at graduation

by Brett Vaden

Last week, National Society Honor students at Plano Senior High School were told they would not be allowed to wear their NHS stoles at graduation. When questioned about the policy, the principal said no club regalia was allowed at graduation. A NHS sponsor said that school officials didn’t want any students to feel excluded or to single anyone out. (more…)

What do your school’s buildings say about what you are?

by Martin Cothran

I was talking with several classical school leaders recently about a new building project their schools was in the middle of. Of course, there are a number of things you have to think of when you are talking about a capital construction project for your school. (more…)

C.S. Lewis on making students into “men without chests”

by Brett Vaden

In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis introduces his subject by discussing the contents of a textbook on his shelf, which he calls “The Green Book.” To protect the authors’ real names, he refers to them as Gaius and Titius. Rather than accomplish their stated purpose, to teach upper school boys and girls the art of English composition, Gaius and Titius’s efforts mainly serve to implant a dangerous idea into their young readers’ minds.


When can you use “may” and when may you use “can”?

Imagine you are the author of a popular book on English usage and working on the new edition of your book when a rent-a-car clerk tries to tell you you’ve violated a rule of English usage. (more…)

You may not get the big picture on the small screen, says new research

by Martin Cothran

“Reading something on a screen—as opposed to a printout—causes people to home in on details and but not broader ideas, according to a new article by Geoff Kaufman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon, and Mary Flanagan, a professor at Dartmouth.” (more…)

The Backward Thinking of Abraham Lincoln

by Brett Vaden

Abraham Lincoln was a backward thinker. His mind wasn’t just in the present. Nor was it just in the future. He considered the past, letting it influence his actions, and even staking his life on principles set down by people whose bones had bleached long before he was born.

I want to share a virtue we can learn from Lincoln’s backward thinking: the audacity of principle.


What IS the Christian worldview? An introductory booklist

I have been giving a talk at homeschool conventions this year called, “What IS the Christian Worldview?” based on an article that recently ran in Memoria Press’ Classical Teacher magazine.

There are basically four parts to the talk:

1. How a lot of people use the term “Christian Worldview,” but few can define it
2. Where the term “worldview” comes from in the first place
3. The definition of the term “worldview”
4. What makes a worldview “Christian” (more…)

Reading in the Classroom

Last time we discussed where to begin in phonics instruction for first-time readers in Kindergarten. Now we’ll look at instruction for students who have advanced past using simple phonics readers to reading real literature. (more…)

Are we hurting children by making them wear uniforms in school?

by Brett Vaden

In “It’s 2016. Why are school uniforms gender-specific?”, a recent article posted on the Australian-based Special Broadcasting Service’s website, Nicola Heath argues that school children shouldn’t be forced to wear uniforms that limit them to a particular gender. (more…)

How to Teach Phonics

In my last post, we discussed the key to teaching any child to read: phonics.  So what is the best way to teach phonics?


Does classical education suck the fun out of learning?

As people new to classical education consider buying in, they sometimes fear that if they put their children in a classical school, somehow those little souls will be weighed down under such a load of old books, old subjects, and old methods, that they too will become unnaturally old, withered, crusty souls, full of ancient history and Latin conjugations, but left without a drop of spirit, spunk, or spontaneity. (more…)

The Classical Reason for Calculus

by Martin Cothran

In a recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Tianhui Michael Li and Allison Bishop question the utility of teaching calculus in high school. The reason? (more…)

How to Teach Writing, Part 4

by Brett Vaden

In my previous post about how to teach writing, I outlined the first half of an ancient writing curriculum used by the Greeks and Romans, called the progymnasmata. Now we’ll finish with the higher (and harder) levels.


Taking note of how taking notes on computers isn’t as helpful as taking them by hand

by Martin Cothran

A new study calls into question another popular belief about the effectiveness of education technology. (more…)

How to Teach Writing, Part 3

by Brett Vaden

Writing is an art. It takes training and years of practice to master. My 7-year-old daughter has been learning piano for several months now under a clear, structured order of training. Her teacher came highly recommended, because, as I was informed, she knows how to take kids from knowing nothing to knowing a lot. The secret for taking a beginner from being a novice to a master is a patient, knowledgeable teacher with a reliable curriculum. A good teacher knows and uses a series of exercises that progress from an introductory, low level of difficulty to more and more advanced challenges, resulting in students’ competence. Is there such a curriculum for writing? (more…)

How to Teach Writing, Part 2

by Brett Vaden
In the last post, I attempted to describe what teaching composition is about. Now, I will describe the objectives of teaching composition, answering the question: What should our students be able to do once they complete their training?


The Key to Reading

by Michelle Tefertiller

Teaching a child to read is an intimidating endeavor. Even a tenured educator can become unsure of proper technique, questioning which program is the most effective or getting distracted by the newest methods or fads. (more…)

How to Teach Writing, Part 1

by Brett Vaden

What is the best method for teaching students how to communicate their ideas in writing? This question has mystified many a teacher and parent.

Walkabout and the Liberal Arts

by Brett Vaden

Between 10 and 16 years of age, boys growing up among the Australian Aborigines are sent out to survive on their own in the wilderness, marking their transition to manhood. This rite of passage has been called “walkabout.”

The Highest Goal of Government, and of Education

by Brett Vaden
One of the greatest statesmen our country has ever known, John Adams, once wrote a letter to his colleague Henry Lee, another signer of the Declaration. (more…)

Is the magic in fairy tales and fantasy books a problem for Christians?

by Martin Cothran

Someone wrote me recently about being admonished by a friend for recommending that her friend’s daughter read the fantasy books of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The books contained magic and witchcraft and her friend felt that this would only encourage an interest in such things.

Learning Latin to Grasp Grammar

by Brett Vaden

In a recent blog post, Simon Horobin (Magdalen College, Oxford) asserts that learning Latin in order to grasp English is a misguided idea.

What makes a classical school “classical”?

by Brett Vaden

How high college tuitions suppress wisdom

Over the past year the media has been reporting general discontent with the state of higher education, particularly its cost. Politicians have noticed this too and are trying to find governmental ways to address it.


What makes a Christian school “Christian”?

by Brett Vaden

When you hear a school is a ‘Christian’ school, what does that mean? There are a few popular misconceptions about what makes a Christian school ‘Christian.’


Latin students lean on NFL to bring their Super Bowl letters back

by Martin Cothran

John Lennox Explains Why Science & Faith are not in conflict


A Classical School Promotional Video Worth Watching

Holy Trinity Classical Christian School has been a member of the Classical Latin School Association since 2012 and has been growing by leaps and bounds. In their fourth year of operations they already have 240 students enrolled.

They recently released a promotional video that is worth watching. (more…)

Picking a Standardized Test for K-8 Private Schools

by Brett Vaden (more…)

What Teachers Need to Do their Job

by Brett Vaden (more…)

Why Study Latin: The short version

by Martin Cothran

There are three reasons to study Latin. (more…)

The Problem with “Deeper Learning”

by Brett Vaden

In a report by the National Research Council, Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century, the Committee on Defining Deeper Learning and 21st Century Skills gives the following definition for “deeper learning”: (more…)

What to get with that technology grant your school just received

by Martin Cothran (more…)

Private School Descendants of Descartes

by Brett Vaden

For the past century, the agenda of “progressive education” has been to convince us to abandon the methods and content that students were taught for thousands of years. (more…)

Why Spelling Matters: The spelling mistake the L.A. school district missed

by Martin Cothran


7 Gift Ideas for a Classical Educator

by Brett Vaden

Recently, someone told me about the “4 Christmas Gift Challenge.” The idea is to buy only four presents per person in your family: something to they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. Regardless of whether you limit your gift-giving to four presents, the categories themselves provide a handy method for deciding what to get that classical educator in your life–or to help others decide what to buy for you.

In this post, I will give seven gift ideas for “something to read” for a classical educator. (more…)

What is Classical Education?


Ten Great Christian Books

by Martin Cothran

AnnaKareninaBookCoverMy new article, “Ten Great Christian Books,” is up at Memoria Press’ website:

This is a list, not of the ten greatest Christian novels, since I haven’t read all the Christian novels ever written, but at least ten of the greatest. Any one of these would make a great Christmas present for the reader in your family (hopefully there is more than one). These are not children’s books, of course, but they are books that an adult or even a well-read, classically educated highschooler could read for profit and enjoyment. They are also books that warrant spending a little extra money on and getting a nice, hardback edition, maybe one with nice illustrations—one someone could hand down to his children or grandchildren …

Check out the annotated list here.

The Rise of Modern Education

by Paul Schaeffer

I was recently reading an article arguing that technology will eventually replace public education. While I disagree with some of the author’s premises and his conclusion (he ignores human nature), his analysis of how we got to where we are in education was utterly fascinating: (more…)

Herman Melville’s Literary Imagination

by Brett Vaden

A friend once said to me, “I don’t know how you literature teachers do it—finding stuff to talk about in class.” He, like many people, was mystified by the subject matter of literature. What does a literature teacher teach students? (more…)

When does now come?

by Martin Cothran (more…)

Highest ACT in Louisville for Highlands Latin School Graduating Class

According to Louisville Magazine, Highlands Latin School had the highest ACT scores of any other school in Jefferson County, Kentucky: (more…)

School System Realizes Discipline is Important

A recent opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal makes the seemingly obvious assertion that students should be required to “sit up and pay attention.” The success the author, Eva Moskowitz, has had with underpriveliged children in New York using this philosophy highlights the truth of the assertion. Read the article here.

Ipad woes in Los Angeles schools should be a warning to the rest of us

by Martin Cothran

The education technology train wreck in the Los Angeles Unified School District should serve as a lesson to schools on the inadvisability of trying to throw technology at education problems. It’s hard to fathom the mindset of people who think that simply distributing iPads will solve the education woes of school.


Tech startup CEO tells why he isn’t looking for computer science majors

How many times have you been asked why you’re teaching so much Latin and literature in your school and so little computer science?

One response is to point out that the thinking skills you get from studying an inflected grammar and the interpersonal skills you learn from literature are far more useful. But here’s another perspective from a tech CEO, who says that tech education, even at some of our most prestigious schools, doesn’t make graduates any more attractive to him: (more…)

Grammar and the Fall of Education

 From the excellent Imaginative Conservative blog: “Dionysios Thrax, an ancient Greek grammarian, outlined the hierarchical structure of grammar from the least to the greatest. He began with prosody, followed by an understanding of literary devices, followed by considerations of phraseology enhanced by etymology. At the upper reaches of grammar we find analogy and metaphor, followed by the highest aspect of grammar: the art of exegesis.” (more…)

Why the liberal arts are worth preserving

by Martin Cothran

From the August 7th Wall Street Journal article, “The Suicide of the Liberal Arts,” by John Agresto: “To restore the liberal arts, those of us who teach should begin by thinking about students. Almost all of them have serious questions about major issues, and all of them are looking for answers. What is right? What is love? What do I owe others? What do others owe me?”


Liberal arts graduates are in more demand than you think, even in tech businesses

From Big Think:

“Throughout the major U.S. tech hubs, whether Silicon Valley or Seattle, Boston or Austin, Tex., software companies are discovering that liberal arts thinking makes them stronger. (more…)

The Latin oration at this year’s Harvard Commencement

Part of Harvard University’s commencement ceremony involves a Latin oration by one of its students, a relic of Harvard’s classical past. Here is this year’s address: (more…)

What Two Scholars Found When They Looked at the Quality of Education Research (And It Isn’t Pretty)

by Martin Cothran

How many times have you been told that some trendy new education practice is “research-based”? The implication, of course, is that the mere application of this scientific-sounding label to the practice should cause the hearer to lay aside any further critical inquiry on the matter. (more…)

Interview with Martin Cothran on Common Core at CiRCE Institute

You have written and spoken quite a bit in opposition to Common Core, especially the science standards it promotes. Why is this so important to you? (more…)

Defending the Poor Shakespeare

Modern literature studies always raise the question “Who was Shakespeare?” Some claim he was the Earl of Oxford using a pseudonym while others say he was a man from a poor background in Stratford-upon-Avon who actually had the name of Shakespeare.


Defending Latin in Public Schools

I just found this article about Latin “not being dead yet.” It is a great apology for Latin–it points out that it should be for everyone, not just for the “smart kids.”


Learn English Through Latin

It is amazing how many people are now defending learning Latin in school. This blog post points out its fantastic benefits in learning English grammar and vocabulary. I found it to be very well written and to the point. Honestly, even though I work day in and day out promoting Latin, it nearly knocked my socks off with its straight-forwardness. It is well worth the read.


Education and Politics

In the midst of a recent conversation, a logical syllogism started to form in my mind:


An Interesting Way to Practice Latin

Whether or not you have a passion for Latin, you’re inevitably struck when you hear about a radio news program broadcasting in the ancient tongue.


Latin helps boost scores on the SAT

We have always said that Latin boosts students’ scores on the SAT. However, concrete data has never been provided. Here is an article that gives average scores for the SAT, not only of Latin students versus the average, but also compared to students of Spanish and French. The stats are about a third of the way down.

Sapientia et Virtus

Our motto is “Sapientia et Virtus” which means “Wisdom and Virtue”. Why?


Docere, Delectare, Movere

The motto of Highlands Latin School is “Docere, Delectare, Movere,” or “To Teach, To Delight, To Move.” That school, where the Classical Core Curriculum is developed, believes that the key to teaching is making sure that the students enjoy learning.


Learning Virtue

by Paul Schaeffer

In elementary school I learned the story of Cincinnatus from the book Famous Men of Rome. When I try to recall the stories I learned that year, he is the first one to come to mind. Romulus and Remus came second, followed by Horatius. So I had to ask myself, “Why would Cincinnatus come even before the founders of Rome?”


Latin inspired the standard for all poetry

by Charles Moore

A great explanation and defense of Latin poetry. Read it here.

The Science of Teaching Science

by Paul Schaeffer

My high school chemistry teacher’s favorite word was “wonder.” Nothing was done in class because some outside power required us to do it. After a while, we all knew that we learned what we did because it was worth knowing–and that’s why we wanted to learn it. The first day of class he taught us to use our sense of wonder in our observations.


Rhetoric: Much More Than Public Speaking

by Paul Schaeffer

Current educational trends either ignore public speaking altogether or attempt to teach it by making the student do it repetitively. However, this approach does not seem to be working. Look at the people who make their living by speaking to the public: talk show hosts try to persuade their listeners by shouting more than their opponent while others bore their audiences to death with long, drawn-out monologues. The fruits of our education beg us to find out what current trends miss. (more…)

How knowing Latin helped one reporter get the scoop of a lifetime

“Qui res mundi vellet scire linguam Latinam cognosciat.”

If you don’t know what that means, then join all the reporters who missed one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the 21st century.


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