Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Importance of the Teaching of History

"By dismissing the past or by giving it only cursory textbook treatment, modern education produces students whom T.S. Eliot called "provincials of time." These students regard the past with ignorant condescension, assuming that all its scant benefits, through some mysterious process of progressive evolution, have been retained, while its evils have for the most part been shed away. They are infected with the fever of progress, supposing that the mere passage of time acts like a great threshing machine, discarding the chaff and preserving the wheat. Whatever kernels of truth this world ever possessed are somewhere in the loaf now being proffered by science. Nor, in this condition, can the young stomach the medicine of the past, with its stern warnings and meticulous instructions for human improvement printed on the label. In a school predicated only upon science, the student can be nothing more than what he is. That, to be sure, can be developed- and human development results from yielding to certain inner patterns of truth (to which only the psychiatrist is privy), not from imposing the crushing obligations of a historical dogma or of an Ideal Type. The student is not asked to bear any responsibility for a past from which he is intellectually and existentially cut off."

David Hicks
Norms and Nobility


  1. I had to read this post twice!
    David Hicks' Norms and Nobility
    is my next book purchase.
    I noticed that Ambleside gives him credit for his ideas that they used.

  2. Anonymous13.5.09

    THANK YOU so much for this blog. As a soon to be homeschooling family (oldest daughter 4 yo), it is so reassuring to find your tried and true methods. For someone who "got it right" and must be very busy, to freely share your knowledge is such a gift. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your work homeschooling me, too!

  3. Andrea13.5.09

    Although I never comment I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your posts-- depending on them frequently for structure and motivation in homeschooling.
    Much thanks!

  4. Thank you again Linda Fay for all your wonderful posts on your blog!!

    Also, just letting you know that my friend Cindy (Our Journey Westward) and I have just launched a brand new company offering nature-themed e-book unit studies. We are having a giveaway to celebrate. We'd love to have you come visit.

    Blessings, Melissa

  5. Keri,
    This is one of my favorite education books. Hicks is very good at explaining WHAT and WHY we read particular books. Miss Mason, however, explains HOW to read them in a child friendly manner. I highly recommend his book.