INTRODUCTION

Note:The following is excerpted from the full SHS Curriculum. Click HERE For more information on aquiring a copy of our curriculum. 

"When we speak of an educated person, we might have different images in mind: a renaissance man who has excelled in a variety of disciplines; someone who can speak intelligibly about a broad range of topics; an academically successful student with grades that open doors to Harvard or MIT; a specialist in a field such as mathematics or physics who is able to reference terms that are only intelligible to the elite few. But what really constitutes an educated person-the end result of years of pedagogy and formation? At what point is a person considered educated, and what target should a student focus on in their quest for education? Perhaps there are different goals for different fields, or perhaps we can come to an overarching goal for all of humanity. Current theorists in education claim that all teachers have their own definition of the purpose and function of education. Some philosophies claim to be more holistic than others. Some even deal with the formation of the soul. To prove this point, in an article on education, one educator presented a series of quotes from different educators and prominent historic figures illustrating the spectrum of beliefs concerning the goals and definition of education:

"No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure."

 ~Emma Goldman

"The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life-by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past-and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own effort."

 ~Ayn Rand 

"The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think-rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with the thoughts of other men."

~Bill Beattie

"The one real object of education is to leave a man in the condition of continually asking questions."

~Bishop Creighton

"The central job of schools is to maximize the capacity of each student."

 ~Carol Ann Tomlinson

Parents should at least be aware of what philosophy their children are being subjected to, especially if it is contrary to their own convictions and beliefs. If the purpose of education is not set in stone, even in the public sector, then it is important for a Christian parent to desire Christian goals for their child’s education. All parents should ask the following question: what are the goals presented to my child as the end result of their education? The answer to this question and the measures that a parent must take in order to act on the answer is a vital topic in the formation of children, and will be addressed from an Orthodox Christian perspective throughout the entirety of this curriculum.