My husband knew this article bothered me. He knew I blogged about it (thank you for reading my blog, honey!) So, when this article entitled Roar of the Lion Father appeared in the Washington Times yesterday written by Toad Zywicki, I was ecstatic. Hooray! The article contrasts Anthony Esolen's boo, release in November 2010 called Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination to Chua's Battle Hymn.
Anthony Esolen is a professor of Renaissance English Literature and the Development of Western Civilization at Providence College. A senior editor for Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, he writes regularly for Touchstone, First Things, Catholic World Report, Magnificat, This Rock, and Latin Mass. His most recent books are The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Regnery Press, 2008) and Ironies of Faith (ISI Press, 2007); he is working on his next title, Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (ISI Press, forthcoming 2010). Professor Esolen is the translator of Dante’s Divine Comedy (3 volumes, Random House), Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered (Johns Hopkins University Press), and Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things (Johns Hopkins University Press). How can I NOT like this guy?
If you don't have time to read the article, please know Esolen's book and philosophy sounds very TJEd. So, if your methodologies for homeschooling your children include 3 hours of mandatory instrument practice, required rote memorization of everything and no social outside interested, you won't like this book. You should read Amy Chua's book. Here's a snippet of an interview with Anthony Esolen. Pay particular attention to the last answer.
What is wrong with “rote memorization”?My hubby bought me the book. I'll write a book report when I finish!
Nothing at all, so long as what you are memorizing is immediately useful (multiplication tables), or beautiful (poetry, ballads, songs in general).
What is the place of technology in education?
That depends. Are we talking about the tool known as a book, that offers a whole world to the young reader, or are we talking about the jitters of the Internet, that offers a lot of sludge?
What does sex have to do with imagination?
Ask the great artists and love poets. Much indeed; but little of it has anything to do with “sex education”, which I believe is destructive.
What difference does it make whether the child is a girl or a boy?
If we have to ask that, then already we have missed the wonder that is girlhood and boyhood.
What do heroes have to do with the imagination?
They are its lifeblood; children need heroes; it is a miserable thing, to destroy in children their natural longing to look up to greatness.
What role does faith play in the development of the imagination?
It is essential, not just for understanding the great art of the west, but for that drive in human beings to look always for what is more, gratuitous, exuberant, and mysterious.
Why do schools set out to ruin the imagination?
They do so because imaginative children are by nature difficult to herd. Schools are built for a certain kind of efficiency and anonymity; they look like factories, and serve many of the same functions.