connections :: notes on christopher perrin

nov 09 012in addition to her wonderful collection of lectures, last week Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things offered a link to an interview with Christopher Perrin. for the most part i am a newcomer to the world of classical christian education, and my views are probably not quite orthodox.  that said, Perrin presents some really useful, downright unschool-ish, ideas.  this is my rough transcription from the audio…any errors are mine!

“Education is not just schooling…it’s developing a human soul–that’s larger than a classroom.”  as St Augustine said it’s “learning to love those things that are lovely”(6.30).

“Leisure or contemplation or refection–what the Greeks called schole–should be a part of education, so that there’s something refreshing + contemplative that strengthens us as human beings–as souls–in our educational enterprise”(7.20).

“The setting changes, the format changes, but the education of the soul continues….We tend to mistrust everything that’s without effort.”  but there’s an “effortless refreshment from receptively gazing on truth, goodness, and beauty”(7.56)  if there were “more contemplation, wonder, love, students would be refreshed”(8.22).  there could be an “on-going, thoughtful renewal”(9.38).

“What a good homeschool mom does is cultivate + stoke + preserve that natural wonder, that thirst for wisdom”(31.20)  how? “You recover your own sense of wonder….You embody it….It must be modeled + seen.”(32.47)

what was so striking to me was his description of the seasons in the school year.  waldorf educators would call it rhythm or maybe remembering to provide time + space for the in breath + the out breath.  as homeschoolers, we seem most able to respond to these natural seasonal shifts.  i also think this is part of what our Advent celebrations can do for us–mark out a time outside of time, a time of reflection + refreshment, a time that can help us shift away from merely schooling and toward true education.


  1. This is lovely. Sadly, I find most classical education devolves into memorizing lists of words, facts and definitions (and using latin words to decribe ordinary learning processes as if they were arcane mysteries.) And classical education is strongly masculine. We’re in a “Classical Conversations” group right now and all my inner instincts are complaining loudly! Ha! I bet you would find a way through classical education that retains your unique perspective while using the best the classical world has to offer.

    1. t, when you say “classical education is strongly masculine,” you put your finger on something that i had felt, but didn’t have the language for. and i love your description of the Latin making everything sound so much better, higher, secret.

      did you take a look at the link above from Melissa Wiley? i really like her formulation: classical is the what, unschooling is the how. makes so much sense to me and the shape of our life. Melissa also links to Willa who is wise, wise, wise. read all you can!


      your presence here and your comment made my afternoon so much brighter! peace keep you, dear friend.

      p.s. do you need to borrow a copy of Pen Wilcock’s new novel? i’ve got one to lend…

  2. It just came in the mail this week! Thank you! I would so like to visit with you and your littles. Maybe out at the little old house? Let’s work that out.

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