Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Essentially Yours

Hi Friends,

If you're part of an Essentials community, I have good news! The new Essentials of the English Language - 4th Edition is now available to ship! Visit the Classical Conversations Bookstore to order your copy! You can get a special discount price at Parent Practicums this summer or by ordering online today. You will need to enter your director's name for verification when you check out.

If you've just happened across my blog and you're not in an Essentials community, you might be wondering what it's all about.

An "essential" (going back to the Latin esse, "to be") is something that is absolutely necessary or foundational.

The Classical Conversations Essentials program (read more about it here) is all about the essentials of language, writing, and arithmetic. By memorizing core information and then analyzing it and asking questions about it, students -- and parents -- learn to identify and apply the structure of language arts and mathematics.

What's so important about that?

Well, first, knowing the structures of language and math prepares you to use them well. You learn to write coherently, speak persuasively, and calculate complex equations once you master the basics. From there, you might go on to testify before Congress, write a book that touches millions, or use mathematics to advance cancer research.

But there's another, equally important reason to seek out this kind of knowledge.

The intermediate origin of the word "essential" is the word "essence," or "being." Until the 1600s, essence was understood not just to mean the basic nature of something, but to point back to the Trinity. You see, the root of "es," in the earliest languages, means "I am."

So when we study the structure of languages and mathematics, we do so to discover more about God's creation. As Proverbs 25:2 says, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings."

Stop and think about that for a moment. Memorizing parts of speech and the multiplication tables can be the glory of kings. Imagine that!

That's why we get excited about the Essentials.

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