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Supplemental Post to My Review of Old Western Culture: The Greeks

Oh my goodness! I had no idea that the review for Old Western Culture: The Greeks would be so difficult for me to write, which is funny since I love the program so very much. My problem is that I have so much to say about classical education in general that too much of it was bleeding over into the review. I wanted the review to be about the program; hence, I decided (for the first time ever) to write an "extra" post. It explains why I am so passionate about this program and why I feel qualified to speak on it. As usual when I write something like this, I agonize over whether I sound egotistical. I don't mean to, and if I do, I'm sorry.

Below is a section that was originally in my review. I took it out when I realized that I was taking too long to get to the point of the review, which was to talk about how much I love this program. Still, I felt fairly strongly that these comments had some kind of place in my discussion of this program. Thus, I simply ended up moving them to a new post.

Before I talk any more about The Greeks, and I could talk for days about this program (I have no doubt that I will), I think it's important to mention that I know whereof I speak (although I couldn't even occupy the same polis as Mr. Callihan). I have very strong opinions on classical education programs. It's trendy to say that you are a classical homeschooler, but there is a wide range of understanding of what that definition entails. For my family, classical homeschooling focuses on The Good, The True, and The Beautiful, but I have only found one other program that takes as its approach the pursuit of this Platonic ideal...until now.

I was blessed more than I can say to get a true classical undergraduate education at the hands of masters (or doctors - ha! I'm punny!). Later in life, and for a very brief time, I knew another great advocate of classical education who also knew his Plato cold. All of the people whose views on classical education I have trusted, and with whom I have had the privilege of studying, have favored the Lattimore translation of The Iliad. After branching out and reading several translations myself, I always come back to the Lattimore translation. Tragically, I can't read the original Greek, but no other translation sings like Lattimore's. When you read Lattimore out loud, you really can imagine the epic the way it must have once sounded when it was recited, rather than read.

To some people, one translation is just as good as the next. I completely understand their attitude, because to me one biology textbook is just as good as the next! I realize that that approach is anathema to a lover of science because there are differences in textbooks that matter. From my perspective, if the book teaches biology, it'll work (fear not opponents of homeschooling - my husband's background is in biology and chemistry: my children will learn their sciences and their texts will be chosen with loving care!). Hopefully, though, my elation at learning of Mr. Callihan's choice of translations will make a little more sense to the "science people" out there!

In any case, the entire preceding passage was simply to explain why, when I read that Mr. Callihan recommended the Lattimore translation of The Iliad, I knew that Therese was in secure hands.

I kid you not when I say that ever since I graduated from UST's Great Books Honors Program (So Many Capital Letters), I could not wait to have children so that I could pass on to them what I gained from Drs. S, H, and others. I say all the time that I use my Great Books "degree" every day, but my Ph.D. from Rice rarely. My problem, though, is perfectionism. I want to teach Therese (13) everything. I want to do it all myself. I want to read everything to and with her. I want to have every discussion with her. The problem? There are a couple: winnowing and time. I have 3 other children, one of whom is difficult. Also, you can't do everything. This will come as a surprise, but it's impossible. However, and I'm sure other homeschool moms know this feeling full-well, no one else can do as thorough a job as I can! Well - almost right.

It turns out that I think that Wes Callihan can handle this job with aplomb! If you haven't read my review of Old Western Culture: The Greeks yet, be sure to click here to learn about the program that will be forming the cornerstone of Therese's high school education. 

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