Monday, April 20, 2009

Initial Talk Outline - Choosing Educational Materials

I have loads of material and notes for my talk on Saturday at the GMCHE homeschool conference on choosing educational materials. The hard part is organizing it and keeping it within the allotted time frame. This is my current outline. I've also included some background links that I may quote from in places (or provide URLs in the hand-outs).

Intro: Books are tools - one part of the whole. Parents' job as mediator and advocate is essential.

A. Defining terms (for the purpose of our discussion - not because they're hard to understand, but because they are used in different ways)

1. Catholic

2. anti-Catholic

3. bias

4. educational philosophy

5. educational method

B. Catholic truths relating to education

1. God is the author of all truth. cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church 159

2. The Catholic Church is a sure guide.

3. We are made to learn, but we have a fallen nature. link

4. The virtue is in the mean. link

5. Be not afraid! link

C. Developing your Skeptometer

1. Become a learner yourself.

2. Don't expect perfection (and rejoice in the good!)
"Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise." Cato the Elder
3. Some things are black-and-white, but not everything is!

4. Importance of filters - not just for keeping bad things out.
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Aristotle
5. Recognize your danger spots.
"Most people tend to allow the truth they possess so to dominate their thinking that they see few other truths that place their one truth in perspective and balance it out. There is probably no heresy in the history of the Church that did not have its truth. The problem invariably is that the one truth so took over the heretic's mind that he was committed to cast out any number of other doctrines that clashed with his interpretation of it." (Authenticity by Fr. Thomas Dubay, pg. 34)
D. Mistakes to Avoid

1. arrogance

2. knowledge=virtue

3. old = good, new = bad or vice versa (c.f. C.S. Lewis on old books)

4. clean = good (looking only at the surface)

5. faith vs. reason

"Science can purify religion from error and superstition, religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes." Pope John Paul II

E. Things to Remember

1. True, good, and beautiful

2. Dangerous vs. offensive

3. Diversity of the Saints

4. Don't let the experts think for you.

5. Adjust books, programs, etc. to fit you and your child's needs.


J.C. said...

Will your talk be available later online or some other venue? Sounds wonderful!

Love2Learn Mom said...

Thanks! I will share more thorough notes when I have them put together. I'll probably post them on

Karen E. said...

What a great talk this will be!