Education in a Single Book
Many;of;us;can;look;back;on;a;few;piv-otal books that mark our progress in the
intellectual journey. These are books
with which we connected at particular
points;along;the;way,;books;that;chal-lenged our ideas or illuminated important truths. Our encounter with these
outside of the small cubicle of self and
into the larger expanse of the world.
Through them we came to better know
ourselves and our neighbors.
We craft booklists for our students
with these moments of insight in mind.
While the lists themselves provide our
kids;with;context;in;a;literary;and;cultur-al tradition, we must never equate cultur-al;literacy;with;education.;It;is;education
we seek, and this miracle can occur with
a single book.
Knowledge of one’s creaturehood cre-ates;empathy;for;other;creatures.;Sight
of knowledge bears little resemblance to
the “education is the perfect booklist”
model, which promises to set a student
apart from his peers as a superior in accomplishment and intellect. How often
do pretentious booklists puff us and puff
our children up and produce effects opposite to those of real education: pride
the Apostle Paul (see Galatians 3: 24).
This is true regardless of where the law
appears, even in the throes of homeschooling. A beautiful, ambitious book-list;can;educate;us,;but;not;in;the;way
we expect. Looking into the “law of the
booklist,”;we;find;that;we;are;finite;crea-tures who will never know it all! Voilà,
purpose of the booklist,
liberates us from the
bondage of the law of
performance and infuses
to this end. When we make the booklist
our goal, we confuse the means for the
end and discover not life, but death.
education is not a booklist. Instead, education is the process of coming to know
books: The Bible, Milton’s Paradise Lost,
and Richard Mitchell’s The Gift of Fire.
The Law of the Booklist
Education;as;a;booklist;can;become;a;ty-rannical law for Christian homeschool-ers.;And;wherever;we;find;the;law,;we
can;be;sure;to;find;death;( 2;Cor.;3: 7).
But God gives more grace (Romans
us to its Master, Jesus Christ, so does
this law, He became for us its perfect expression and liberated us forever from
Just as the Law of God is beautiful
and perfect, so is the “law of the book-
identity, peace, and life—we become
most miserable. “Wherefore the law was
our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ,
that we might be justified by faith,”;says
Reexamining the purpose of the book-
cation with Him liberates us from the
bondage of the law of performance and
education is coming to know the implica-
Missy Andrews is co-founder of the Center for Literary Education and a homeschooling mother of six. She is co-author
of Teaching the Classics, Reading Road-maps,;Ready;Readers;I,;II;and;III; and
just about every other product offered by
CenterForLit. Missy graduated summa
cum laude from Hillsdale College in 1991
with a BA in English Literature and Christian Studies. Two of her own children now
attend Hillsdale, having received their entire K– 12 education at her hands. Missy
and her husband Adam teach in their local homeschool co-op and also conduct online literature classes for students around
the world. More information about her
work is available at www.centerforlit.com.