Classical? Constructivist? Core Knowledge? or Confused?
"Researchers believe Piaget and his followers underestimated young children's competence." p. 182
"However, today's researchers see development as more continuous than did Piaget." p. 186*
I've always enjoyed looking at different education models to see what is true or not true. (Yes, I do believe in absolute truth.) That discussion with Jack was fun for me as he pointed out a short coming of the classical model that I knew (children developing in specific, defined categories) yet hadn't seen much outside evidence to refute it. Last week at the CLUSA conference, we talked about this very thing.
I attended a session titled "Mason Curriculum Compared to Classical Schools, Core Knowledge, Constructivist and Standards Based Curricula." It was only an hour and a half, so we didn't get very far. We were able to hear about "What are the basic principles?" and "How do they inform the curriculum?" in regards to the Classical, Constructivist (current prevailing view), Core Knowledge (E.D. Hirsch) and Mason models.
For those of us who have been comparing/contrasting Mason with other methods for years, it keeps boiling down to a few distinctives. Mason began with Scripture, saw the child as an image bearer and developed her method out of that - not Greco-Roman thought but a Judeo Christian base. This difference should give us pause. Also, that child or image bearer, is a person and should be taught and treated as one - not as a bucket, sponge or blank slate. There were commonalities, too, mostly in the area of content.
Hopefully, next year we will be able to go deeper and further with this discussion. Meanwhile, I will continue to discuss and research different models while continuing to apply Mason's methods in my homeschool as I believe they most reflect truth. And around here, they've stood the test of time and scrutiny.
*Piaget did get many things right and this blog post in no way tries to explain his theories or the classical model, for that matter. Soon, I will write a few posts with the specific answers to those questions mentioned above.