Latin-Centered Curriculum

07 Feb

A year or so ago I discovered that the classical education model outlined in The Well-Trained  Mind is not true classical education; it’s a reworking of  the old system based largely on Dorothy Sayers’ essay The Lost Tools of Learning, and so has been named neo-classical. I was quite shocked by this and for a while felt a little conned. 🙂 I looked briefly into Latin Centered Curriculum, but dismissed it before really researching it thoroughly.

Now, before I go any further, let me just say this: if, during this post, I sound as if I’m a little unsure of what I’m talking about, you’re wrong. I have no idea what I’m talking about. But I’m going to give it a try, anyway.

I’ve decided to have another look at LCC. Why?

I love what we’re doing, but it still feels too busy. We’re doing a lot of stuff, but not going into anything with any depth. I feel WTM is subject-heavy, but lacks depth and may produce Jacks-of-all-trades and masters-of-none. And I don’t see the point of studying Latin for 2 years and then forgetting it all. I’m a grammar snob (my grammar is far from perfect, but I’ll learn as we go). I love English and I want Esa to have a real master of the English language, as well as fluency in a few others.

There are many reasons to focus heavily on Latin.  Here are a few articles:

LCC also appeals to me because it’s a system that has been around for thousands of years. Well, ok, Andrew Campbell may have tweaked it a little, too, but that’s necessary. We’re not Greeks or Romans living over 2,000 years ago, so we can’t follow the model exactly. Neo-Classical education is not as tried and tested as the old-school classical system.

I can’t seem to find much information on the internet about LCC, but here is what I do know (or think I know) about LCC:

  • Latin is not just a subject that is taught for a few years and dropped. It is the core of the curriculum and studied throughout.
  • It is not based on a 12-year model. Education is for life.
  • The Trivium is not based on child development and is not a set of subjects. (I just read that it is a set of subjects…got a lot to learn)
  • There’s a Quadrivium.
  • There are few subjects and some aren’t approached until the later years.

I know there’s much more to it than that. So, I’ve ordered Andrew Campbell’s book The Latin-Centered Curriculum.

But, I have to ask myself this very important question:

How much of our curricula am I willing to change or give up?

Now, I only ordered the book today, so it’ll be a few days before it arrives and I can read it, so I have no idea what is recommended, but as of now, this is what I’d be willing to change/give up:

  • First Language Lessons
  • Writing With Ease
  • Latin: I’m happy to add this, and was planning on it next year anyway

Here’s what I’m not willing to change:

  • Science. We love BFSU, it doesn’t take much time, and after only a few lessons, I can see Esa relating it to his surroundings. He loves science and it’s benefiting his devlopment.

For the other subjects, we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m willing to consider changing the way we do history. We’ve liked SOTW, but I’m sure there are other good resources out there. I’m not willing, however, to study only Greek and Roman history; it needs to be world history.

After reading LCC, I may look at Climbing Parnassus. Maybe I should  have started with that one, but I wanted to see the practical application of LCC first.

I’d love to hear what others have to say about LCC.


2 responses to “Latin-Centered Curriculum

  1. Suji

    February 7, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I think I have eventually just came to the conclusion that every method has its pros and cons (and ‘cons’). Obviously for us, there’s really no one or even any method out there that’s going to work, unless, it focuses specifically on a science-crazy kid.

    But here’s what I liked about LCC…the concept of Multum non Multa (less is more). I think of it as a WTM that’s not on steroids and hence a lot less overwhelming to read and implement. The types of books suggested match quite well with what I’d really like DS to read. And the schedules are helpful for me to judge whether we are doing “enough” each day just for sanity’s sake.

    The non secular bits I just ignore. And overall I take it with a grain of salt because I’m not able to find how successful the author has been applying it in his own home.

    • whimsyway

      February 8, 2010 at 8:03 am

      ‘WTM that’s not on steroids…’ I like that. 🙂 That sums it up perfectly, I think.

      Yes, I was wondering about the author (and others) applying it, but from the research I’ve done, he is using it with his daughter and other schools use a model almost identical to his with great success.

      I understand what you’re saying about the science. Esa loves science, too, which is why I’m unwilling to cut it out. Also, science is a hugely important in this day and age, whereas during ancient times it wasn’t quite as much. But even the ‘neo-classical’ model hasn’t managed to get it together with science. I’m viewing science as that ‘extra to be pursued in his free time’ that I’ve heard a few people mention is included in LCC. Not that I’m going to slap the LCC label on us just yet…but you know how I like those silly homeschooling labels, lol. 🙂


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