Saturday, November 25, 2006

A plug for reading ancient philosophy from Will Smith!? (from an interview with Reader's Digest found here...)

"Smith: The things that have been most valuable to me I did not learn in school. Traditional education is based on facts and figures and passing tests -- not on a comprehension of the material and its application to your life. Jada and I homeschool our children, because the date of the Boston Tea Party does not matter.

RD: But there are some basics in education that need to be taught.

Smith: Of course there are. Reading, writing and arithmetic, because those are the languages of our country.

RD: When you say you homeschool, do you mean you actually teach them?

Smith: No, we have hired teachers who teach what we feel is important. For example, Plato's Republic -- kids need to know that. Why is that not taught in first grade?

RD: You think kids in elementary school should read Plato's Republic?

Smith: Yeah. You cannot be an American without reading it and Aristotle's Politics. That is what the forefathers of this country read, and they used them to create what I believe is the finest system of government that has ever existed."

Of course, Smith's also rather down on formal education, including college. But what do you think?

7 Comments:

Blogger wacome said...

So, there are about four Americans in Orange City, and we all live on the second floor of VPH!

8:25 PM  
Blogger Buffalo Doug said...

Alas, I have not read either work ... I suppose I should resign my post now, before anyone else finds out all the gaps in my education ...

7:36 AM  
Blogger joonna said...

Hey, there at least one of us in Granberg! Maybe Smith is on to something. His son appeared both intelligent and talented in the recent film--Pursuit of Happyness.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does he think the date of the Boston Tea Party is not important. I often had teachers who said dates were unimportant. While I like them because I didn't have to remember the dates, dates are critical to understanding history.

Moreover, why should a FIRST GRADER be reading Plato? Do you remember when you were a first grader eating glue? Could your tiny brain comprehend philosophy? For me, all I can remember from first grade is getting candy during a math game.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Education, first of all, starts with the curiosity of the kid, the adolescent, the adult. It begins from birth and, one would hope, continues from that point. Formal education is merely that, a formalized process, a way of punching one's ticket, making life easier by coloring within the lines and connecting the dots. Home schooling, or the method I prefer the most, un-schooling, is merely a less-formalized form of learning. It's much more flexible and allows a student, young or old, to pursue learning.
Oh... Why not read the primary material? If a person gets interested, there is much to learn in that material. Might even rock your world.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Marit said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Marit said...

As a homeschool graduate myself, K-12, I'm an advocate for the system as a whole...the most important and difficult requisite for learning in any environment is to ensure that the student is interested, curious and inspired to learn. Something I personally think the child's parents may have the best knack for!

I think it's interesting that Smith considers employing private tutors synonymous with tradition home-school education -- "Jada and I homeschool our children...". Granted, they are determining the course of their children's education...

7:01 PM  

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