Monday, April 18, 2011

Plans for Toward the Quadrivium

On April 30, 2011 in northern Virginia, Classical Conversations is offering a one-day seminar in which we will consider how to move "Toward the Quadrivium" as we complete our understanding of the seven liberal arts.


We have all asked and answered many questions about the Trivium. I find as the classical education movement, I, and my family mature, my questions must also mature. And so, I want to begin a new conversation as many of us move toward the Quadrivium. Answers about the Quadrivium will come too late for my own children's childhood education, as that is ending soon, but I believe the knowledge will arrive at the perfect time for their journey as life-long learners.

Our ancestors tell us the Quadrivium is significant. I want to know how and why. How do I teach it? How will it help me be more human? What do I do with it? What is the Quadrivium?

My current understanding is that it is the study of harmony or music, arithmetic or algebra, geometry, and astronomy. When do we study the Quadrivium? If you were an ancient Roman or Greek, you would have studied it before the Trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. But since medieval times, it was studied after the Trivium. When should we as post-moderns study the Quadrivium? I think that the answer currently lacks consensus among those who think about it, and that is the main reason for this seminar: to engage in the dialectic as we work toward answers.

A headmaster of a classical school told me the reason Classical Conversations is so successful. He said, "When Christians learn to think, they want to think with the Body. We are created for relationship and reconciliation." I don't want to think about the Quadrivium alone. I have all of you and your wealth of thoughts to guide me. I need to be influenced by the body of Christ. Since 1997, I've been asking you to talk with me about the Trivium. Now it is time to talk about the Quadrivium. So once again, I invite you to share in a classical conversation, a conversation new to me and many reading this blog, but old to the world. To be unable to study history and learn from it is to be always a child. I'd like to be able to grow up.

So, here is the schedule for April 30. Should the conversation prove successful, I'd like to schedule additional conversations as we move Toward the Quadrivium.

We have many special guests.

First, Nancy Pearcey will speak on her book Total Truth, a book that is significant to our free summer Parent Practicums where 14,000 parents will spend 3 days in hundreds of locations across the country discussing the Trivium. We need to summarize what we've learned so far and establish the Christian context that embodies the seven liberal arts.

Next, Nancy and I will have a conversation related to another of her books, The Soul of Science, which CC has used since 1998, and which was significant in developing the philosophies of Classical Conversations. I expect more classicalists will read this book over and over again as they gain a better understanding of the importance of the Quadrivium.

Then, a panel of our students will talk with me about their experience as their families try to recover a classical education through the Trivium. We will discuss how the Trivium has prepared them for the Quadrivium.

After lunch, Nancy will speak about the arts and her new book, Saving Leonardo. The heart hungers for beauty, and the seven liberal arts equip us to pursue excellence in all things. We live in a material world - a world of atoms and machines and processes. We need to honor the created world. We can do so by teaching our children how to imitate its magnificence.

Next, Charles Carpenter will speak to us about the university accreditation process. He will give us an honest assessment of the goals of modern universities so that we will be informed as we develop expectations from advanced education for the classically educated student.

When these folks are finished leading the conversation, I will end with some summary points and ideas on the direction we may want to take as we move Toward the Quadrivium.

Remember, this is a classical conversation, not a monologue, so we will make time for questions and participation from the audience.

I can't wait to hear your part of the conversation.

Love, Leigh

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Sounds great!
I hope to be there!