Saturday, January 12, 2008

Liam got all A's again. He is presently in the second semester of his junior year at Thomas Aquinas College.

This is a bit of bragging, I suppose, and I do apologize, but it fits into the "homeschooling successes" category and I'm tucking it into this small blog so it won't seem so much like, well, bragging.

I am proud of him. You know, I am not really about grades per se. But I know they do something towards reassuring and convincing various acquaintances that we didn't totally mess the kid up.

They might still worry that a great books, liberal-arts degree isn't very useful but then what is this "use" criterion anyway?

Now this is what some great men are very slow to allow; they insist that Education should be confined to some particular and narrow end, and should issue in some definite work, which can be weighed and measured. They argue as if every thing, as well as every person, had its price; and that where there has been a great outlay, they have a right to expect a return in kind. This they call making Education and Instruction "useful," and "Utility" becomes their watchword. With a fundamental principle of this nature, they very naturally go on to ask, what there is to show for the expense of a University; what is the real worth in the market of the article called "a Liberal Education," on the supposition that it does not teach us definitely how to advance our manufactures, or to improve our lands, or to better our civil economy; or again, if it does not at once make this man a lawyer, that an engineer, and that a surgeon; or at least if it does not lead to discoveries in chemistry, astronomy, geology, magnetism, and science of every kind.
Newman, Idea of a University.

So there you go. Newman goes on to add that a liberal education is useful as a byproduct of its value, because someone trained in the liberal arts is fitted to do well in almost any technical or academic branch (sometimes after post-graduate education or training, of course -- it's hard to get by without at least a master's nowadays, I understand).

I am glad he is doing well and the grades as well as his own conversation indicate to me he is thriving in this environment. I am glad he is a kind older brother and a devout Christian and a diligent worker, who also likes to write stories like his mother and design computer games like his father. I'm glad he talks about what he read in his classes and ponders it in his own time, and doesn't just do the work to get the grades. I think the Catholic Great Books education encourages the student in a lifelong habit of learning, so I am glad he is pursuing this course, though if he had chosen otherwise we would have supported him so long as the choice was an honorable one.

So there you go -- end of small bragging session.


  1. You need to "brag" more often!

    WE are EXTREMELY proud of Liam up here in snow country!

    Please send him our regards!

  2. Wonderful new Willa....'brag' away!!