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Author Topic: A private home school to be operated by an Objectivist freestater  (Read 1899 times)

cropperb

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Aristotle?s  Academy
A Four Year Home School
********************
Operated by an Objectivist free-stater
To open in the fall of 2007 in
Concord, NH
Wanted:
Up to 10 children, age 9 to twelve, to be educated in
History, Science, Mathematics, and Literature.

?An Educated mind is, in effect, composed of all the minds of preceding ages.?
-Le Bovier De Fontenelle

Dear Parents,
My name is Brandon Cropper. I am an Objectivist and a Free-Stater, I believe in the separation of school and state, and I am going to do something about it.
   Biographically, let me say I was raised in Delta, Utah, and attended a normal public school until graduation in ?98.  I started college with the goal of becoming a history professor.  After 3 years at university, I became certain that the students being sent to higher education from the public schools are uneducated. I couldn?t possibly teach them anything. They lack basic reasoning skills and even a fundamental grasp of world history eludes them entirely.

   The universities today are as bad as the decaying public schools that send the students.
   
   So I decided to start at the root, and educate kids with the goal, not of socializing them or conditioning them to society, but the goal of educating them. I seek to give them a fundamental, historically demonstrated education in all the areas essential to life.
   Aristotle said that ?Man is the Rational Animal.? In other words, he is basically the same as animals in all important respects except one: humans have a mind, language, reason. If reason is a primary virtue, as Aristotle believed, then its cultivation will make a fine human being.
   Briefly, my curriculum will have the following structure, based on four main branches:
History will be taught in a two year cycle, ancient history (up to the Fall of Rome) and modern history (Fall of Rome to the present). I will place an emphasis on major events and important patterns (such as the development of science and government).
Literature: This will also be taught in a two year cycle, corresponding with the History curriculum. The Children will read plays, short stories, poems, and novels of the great writers of history. Starting with a study of Greek Myth and Legend, by the end of the second year the children will be reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, as well as plays by Henrik Ibsen and poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Science will be taught on a two-year cycle, in a style that respects the historical development of science. Early discoveries are necessary to understand later ones, so we start with chemistry and geometry in ancient Babylon, and we don?t talk about the internal parts of atoms until we have learned about the ?atomic war? of the 1800?s, where the reasons for and against the atom?s existence dominated science for generations.
Mathematics: I expect a wide variety of abilities and motivation in math among the children, so I intend to let them work independently in workbooks where they can progress as fast as they want, all under proper tutelage. In teaching math, the rudiments of geometry will be taught before algebra, as it occurred first historically.
   To a great extent, the branches of knowledge will overlap, and the students will be reading and learning ancient myths and literature at roughly the same time as they are studying ancient history and learning the rudiments of ancient science and math. Historically, everything developed simultaneously, and is therefor interrelated.
   The integration of the curriculum is all the easier for me because I will be teaching every class and will know all the material they are learning (which often isn?t the case in today?s public schools).
   Your child may spend up to four years at the Academy. The curriculum will run in two cycles of two years each, roughly: Studying the Ancient history of each subject the first year, studying the subject in the Modern era in the second year, then an in-depth treatment of its Ancient history in the third year, and an in-depth treatment of its Modern history in the fourth year.

The Four key areas of study will be:
History * Science * Literature * Math
   
   Aristotle?s Academy is for your child if you are NOT concerned about your school offering a P.E. program or School Sports. The kid can play soccer after school. School is for learning.
   The Location of the school is yet-to-be-determined, so if you know of a good candidate building in or near Concord, please let me know. The needs are for an occupancy of no more than 12 people, two adults and up to ten students.
   Tuition is effected by the cost of the building we decide to locate in and the costs of ReD tApE to get the occupancy licenses and permissions. However, from a review of the costs of private schools in the Concord area, the following are tentative prices:
One Year pre-paid: $5,000
Two Years pre-paid: $9,000
One Year by Installments: 6 x $1,000
These prices are subject to change.

For an in-depth explanation of the ideas I will use to operate the school, you may purchase
?The Philosophy of Education?
by Leonard Peikoff
available online at   
**************
www.aynrandbookstore.com
**************

Also of value is any course on that same website by Lisa Van Damme, who opened a home school in Irvine, California in the mid-?90?s with Peikoff?s occasional assistance, and has had spectacular success. You can visit her Academy?s website at
****************
www.vandammeacademy.com

more to come...
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cropperb

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ARISTOTLE?S ACADEMY

Why did I choose the name ?Aristotle?s Academy? for the new school? It is because of the view of history I have acquired by learning about the Greeks and their contributions.
   Most people only have a vague idea of the difference between the Greeks and the Romans. And most people would probably have a rather hard time pinpointing any key events in the history of either civilization to within 500 years. But a careful study reveals that the Greeks were in all important ways superior culturally and intellectually to the Roman civilization. Before the Romans encountered the Greeks, Romans had written no poetry, no plays, no science, no math to speak of, and certainly no philosophy. All this and more they got from the Greeks. It is my conclusion (and the conclusion of many scholars on the subject) that the primary contribution of Rome to history was the institution of law. Where previous civilizations had used law to solve neighborly disputes, the Romans used it to build an empire. Even this endeavor would have been in vain without the cultural inheritance from the Greeks.
   If Rome gave us law, the Greeks gave us the all of philosophy, the sciences of astronomy, geography, medicine, biology, history, politics, ethics, epistemology, esthetics, the power of democracy (along with its dangers - witness the death of Socrates), and the beauty of drama and the theater. The Greeks invented the steam engine, but failed to put it to practical use and it was forgotten, not to be reinvented for about 2,000 years. The Greeks were the first to discover that the world was round, 1,800 years before Columbus. Greek calculations, the best known of which were perhaps those of Aristarchus of Samos, made it down through history to Christopher Columbus, who took the Greek estimate of the earth?s circumference of 17,000 miles, and realized he could reach Asia and India by sailing West. (The actual circumference is 25,000 miles, so Columbus was lucky to be wrong. If it weren?t for the accidental discovery of a new continent, he would have died of thirst long before reaching Asia.)
   A closer study of Greece along with a study of philosophy and science, will reveal that the Greeks had one preeminent philosopher, and indeed he is the preeminent philosopher of all history up to the modern era: Aristotle. He is an intellectual giant, whose footprint lays the landscape of whole branches of human knowledge. After Rome fell and Europe descended into a Dark Age, Aristotle?s philosophy remained dominant in the Middle East, the world of Islam. It was during the time of Europe?s Dark Age that the Muslims experienced their Golden Age, a truly inspiring period of history which saw the creation of algebra and the ?Arabic Numerals? we use today. The Muslims copied and recopied Greek writings, preserving them for future ages, and commented on them endlessly.
   Around the year 1150 AD, a man named Albertus Magnus (Albert the Great ), a monk and scholar from Western Europe, traveled to north Africa and brought back some of the Muslim commentaries on Aristotle. Though he would never see the full consequences of his action, this was the beginning of the Renaissance, or rebirth of learning. One of Albert?s students, a fellow monk, was Sir Thomas Aquinas, who reconciled Aristotle?s philosophy with the Church Doctrine, and effectively sounded the death knell for the dictatorship of the Pope.
   From all of this, I see that history over the last 2,400 years has been a measure of to what extent a culture is practicing the philosophy of Aristotle. I believe the culture of our times is Platonic, or Kantian which is Plato on steroids. And I believe the remedy is Aristotle. So I have started an academy in his name.
   Because the Greeks were the first in so many areas, it is wise to begin many areas of study by referring to what the Greeks had to say on the subject. The students will start sections of study, where possible, with a lesson on what the Greeks thought. In some areas, such as where mystical causes were proposed, this would not be appropriate. But where the Greeks suggested a natural cause is surely a good place to begin. Because of the Greek?s primitive knowledge, they were confounded by simple principles that we take for granted, such as inertia. The student should be introduced to science with the questions that the first scientists dealt with. Necessarily on the perceptual level (available to the five senses), this is a great way of starting the kid out by saying, ?The subject of science is this stuff -- real stuff, all around us. It isn?t equations in a politically correct textbook.? Teach them that the Greeks were baffled at why a stone continues to move after it has lost contact with the hand that throws it. Ask them to explain it. Then, to motivate them, hint that it wasn?t solved until 1,900 years after Aristotle tried to explain it. ?But we?ll earn the name of that when we get there...? Science and history taught in this way are irresistible.
   This is the introduction to the various sciences - the original Greek thoughts. Science, math and history will be intimately interwoven from that point on. All that leaves is Literature, the fourth of four main subjects at the Academy. The first literature the children will read will be Greek myths. Reading the legends of the Greek alongside the legends of other primitive societies, one is constantly struck by the relative sophistication and subtlety of the Greek stories. Greek mythology deals with timeless questions like love, justice, pride, perseverance and more. I believe it is a fine place to start the child?s literary education.
   To recap the four branches of the curriculum:
Literature will be taught beginning with Greek Mythology.
History will be dominated by Greek History.
Math will be taught beginning with Greek math. Geometry will be learned early in the math career.
Science will be taught beginning with Greek science - i.e. Aristotle.

And the school is called Aristotle?s Academy.

the end
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Lex

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Re: A private home school to be operated by an Objectivist freestater
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2006, 10:13 PM NHFT »

Have you read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?
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cropperb

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Re: A private home school to be operated by an Objectivist freestater
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2006, 10:46 PM NHFT »

No, I haven't read that one. I am actually very suspicious of any book that is popular in the universities today. And the title is more than enough to turn me off.

A good criteria for what philosophy texts to read is to check the publish date. Almost without exception if it was published after the year 1900 its junk. A few exceptions are Ayn Rand, FA Hayek, Leonard Peikoff - and even Hayek gets some stuff wrong.

Is there a principle you would suggest I might learn from Zen and the Art...?
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Lex

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Re: A private home school to be operated by an Objectivist freestater
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2006, 11:00 PM NHFT »

It is a pretty influential book and has changed many peoples lives including my own. The author has a lot to say about Aristotle and philosophy and it would be helpful I think for you to see the other side of the coin.

The book is about "quality".

I did not read the book as part of any school assignment it was on my own accord.
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aries

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Re: A private home school to be operated by an Objectivist freestater
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2006, 11:26 PM NHFT »

 ;D

I would love more of these to start popping up. A libertarian education!
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KBCraig

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Re: A private home school to be operated by an Objectivist freestater
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2006, 03:02 AM NHFT »

Have you read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?

I read it , c. 1976, when I was in my early teen years. I owned and loved motorcycles, thought the title was catchy, and picked up a copy.

I found it had little to do with motorcycles, and a lot to do with Life. The major lesson was: "Simplify your life, and focus on doing something you love really well."

I haven't read it in almost 30 years. I should pick up a copy as a refresher.

Kevin
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Rocketman

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Re: A private home school to be operated by an Objectivist freestater
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2006, 10:25 AM NHFT »

Zen and the Art... a great, thoughtful novel.

Cropper, will you be at PorcFest?  I look forward to hearing more about your ideas for the school.
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cropperb

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Re: A private home school to be operated by an Objectivist freestater
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2006, 10:47 AM NHFT »

Yes I plan to be at Porcfest, and I hope to spend most of my time talking to people about the school. I'm really looking forward to it.
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jgmaynard

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Re: A private home school to be operated by an Objectivist freestater
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2006, 02:32 PM NHFT »

So what are you doing for a pysical place for it? We tried something similar a while ago in Keene, but couldn't find a spot.

I like the name Aristotle's Academy. I guess Lyceum was too vague for the general public. LOL.

It's actually funny - I thought of Aristotle today while teaching homeschoolers in Dublin - The subject of the day was about plant and animal adaptations, so I took the kids out to the woods to talk about what we saw. Very cool.  8)

Have you checked out the website for my book about ancient science yet? I put it together after four years of collecting information from ancient and modern sources. If I NEVER read another work of Plutarch, I'll be happy.  ;D

It's such a fascinating subject. I love both science and history so much that it was just a natural, really.... LOL.

JM

« Last Edit: June 01, 2006, 03:10 PM NHFT by jgmaynard »
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cropperb

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Re: A private home school to be operated by an Objectivist freestater
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2006, 03:27 PM NHFT »

Thank you, James, for the reference to your book. It looks very interesting. I'll be buying a copy soon.

What problems did you have finding a place in Keene? Were you looking for a large place? (I am thinking small for the first two years - maybe a dozen kids.) Did you have problems getting the government to license the school, or some other type of difficulty?

I considered Keene since a lot of freestaters seem to be there, but Concord is the seat of governmment, for what that's worth. You can't influence the rascals if your not around them.

I chose "Aristotle's Academy" in spite of the fact that Plato ran the Academy and Aristotle ran the Lyceum, for exactly the reason you mention: the public wouldn't get it. Lyceum sounds like a place to get de-loused or something. :o

Besides, Aristotle's Academy has some nice alliteration to it.
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Kat Kanning

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Re: A private home school to be operated by an Objectivist freestater
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2006, 04:12 PM NHFT »

Basically we didn't have any money for it.
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Pat McCotter

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Re: A private home school to be operated by an Objectivist freestater
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2006, 05:31 PM NHFT »

BTW, everybody, Homeschool Bookstore and Family Activity Center has left Concord and moved to Chichester.

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jgmaynard

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Re: A private home school to be operated by an Objectivist freestater
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2006, 05:28 PM NHFT »

Hi Cropper:

Thanks for your comments on the book.
The problem was that city places (the library, rec center, etc.) wouldn't let us use the spots and charge admission. The private places were all about monthly rents. We found a nice small space right on Main St., and it was only $250/mth but it was still enough where no one was willing to take a chance signing their name onto a lease (myself included).....
We don't need no steenking government license......  ;D

JM
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Objectivist

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I'm back- cropperb is now Objectivist
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2006, 02:38 AM NHFT »

I'm back. I erased my old profile and cropperb is now Objectivist (the name wasn't even taken yet!  ;D ).
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