Education Is Repentance

Our high school Humanities studies at Providence Prep are anchored by King’s Meadow Curriculum with Dr. George Grant’s outstanding moral philosophy lecture series. A key theme that we come back to over and over as students and teachers alike is the idea of education as a form of repentance.

Education is that unique form of discipleship that brings us to the place of admitting our inadequacies. It is that remarkable rebuke of autonomy and independence so powerful and so evident that we actually shut up and pay heed for a change. C.S. Lewis said it well: “The surest sign of true intellectual acumen is a student’s comprehension of what it is he does not know; not what he does. It is a spirit of humility that affords us with the best opportunity to grow, mature, and achieve in the life of the mind. It is knowing how much we do not know that enables us to fully embark on a lifetime of learning; to recover to any degree the beauty goodness and truth of Christendom.” ~ Dr George Grant, Grantian Florilegium (8.23.05)

I recently received an email from a Cottage Press mom who is a latecomer to classical education. In her concern over how much her students have missed, she asked me how to redeem her homeschool. My answer: the best place to start is with this kind of humble and ongoing repentance, intertwined with daily diligence, beginning with our own pursuit of a life well read. As our children see us seeking to educate ourselves, seeking to love what we ought to love, seeking to know what we ought to know, they are inspired to become lifelong learners as well. If it is worth doing at thirty-something—or forty- or fifty-something—it is certainly worth doing at fifteen!

As a side note, Dr. Grant is one of my educational heroes and a mentor-from-afar. Circe Podcast Network recently aired,  “Quiddity #68: Get to Know Dr. George Grant.” I especially appreciated his comments on the biggest concerns he has for classically educated students (and their parents), in which he returns again to the idea of education as repentance. I commend this fun and informative interview to all of you. Enjoy!

Girl Reading by R. Edmund Tarbell, 1909

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