Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Online Resources That Have Been Most Helpful to Me in My Efforts to Educate Myself

If you're like I am, you received an "okay" education from your government school system. The more I talk to people, the more I realize that my schools were actually better than average. Some vestiges of the classical education model that had been universally pervasive before the advent of John Dewey in the early twentieth century still remained. The old, time-proven methods hadn't been entirely jettisoned in favor of the new educational progressivism. That being said, there was still much lacking in my formal education, including my college education, though it is unfair for anyone to think that any form of education is going to give him all he needs or wants for life in twelve or sixteen relatively short years. There is so much to learn and know and understand and the world is so interesting that education should be a lifetime pursuit. But very few of us have the luxury of continuing our formal education indefinitely. There are livings to be made, children to be raised, needs to be met, other people to think of. Nor do I think formal education is always the best way to achieve a true education. A lot can be said for pursuing wisdom and knowledge on one's own, and a lot can be gained from it.

So, here are a few key online resources that have been invaluable to me as I pursue self-education. These have been the most helpful and valuable to me overall, and they are ones I keep returning to over and over.

Circe Institute

If you are interested in true education and not just the information-processing that modern schools engage in, then you can do no better than reading, marking, learning, and inwardly digesting what Andrew Kern and his fellow Circe-ites have to say. Read the blog and listen to the podcasts to enrich your life. Circe aims at helping the classical educator, but you don't need to be a teacher or homeschooling parent to gain wisdom and understanding from its resources. If you're alive and breathing, then Circe will help you to understand what "the good life" is and how to live it. There is much wisdom here . . . and it's FREE.

Issues, Etc.

IE's motto is "Talk Radio for the Thinking Christian." Hosted by Pastor Todd Wilken, this two-hour daily program (which is available on-demand at their website) is a treasure trove of political, intellectual, theological, philosophical, and sociological insight as relates to life in the 21st century. Guests are really top-notch and come from a wide diversity of fields and theological persuasions. Topics cover current events, recent scientific research, historical discoveries, theological debates, ethical conundrums . . . just about any issue you can think of is intelligently discussed by Pr. Wilken and his guests. . . and it's FREE.

ClassEd

ClassEd (short for CLASSical EDucation) is a Yahoo Group of eighty to a hundred classically homeschooling Christian parents (mostly mothers) who offer each other support and advice via email list. The month of May will mark my tenth annuiversary as a member of ClassEd, and I am so thankful that I have been a part of this group since almost the beginning of my family's homeschooling journey. I am a better educator, parent, Christian, and person because of the input of ClassEd members over the past decade. The collective wisdom and experience of this group is astounding. I sometimes feel like a swindler and a fraud because my contributions to the group are exceeded by far by what I receive from them. It's not a fair exchange, but the benefits for me and my family have been tremendous. If you are a Christian and are homeschooling classically (or attempting to), then I urge you join this list. There may be a bit of a wait, but it is worth it. . . and it's FREE (if you don't count all the books that you'll be tempted to buy based on member recommendations!).

Cranach: The Blog of Veith

Dr. Gene Edward Veith, author, literature professor and provost of Patrick Henry College, has a knack for finding news stories that get to the heart of American culture and for providing insightful and cogent commentary on those stories. He is adept at applying the Bible to the ethical and theological questions of modern life and excels especially in the application of the doctrine of vocation. He is humble, wise, and thoughtful. . . and, of course, it's FREE.

So, there you have it. There are many other online resources that are worthy of attention, but these are the four that I go to almost daily and that have had the biggest influence on me and input into my educational development. I heartily commend them all to you.

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