Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Freshman Year

A continuation of yesterday's post -- appropriate, I think, as we start another academic year.

Year 1
Year 2
Drawing I
Western Art I
Western Art II
Biology I
Biology II
Chemistry I
Chemistry II
Books I
Books II
Great Books III
Great Books IV
Mathematical Investigations I
Mathematical Investigations II
Calculus I
Calculus II
Greek I
Greek II
Ancient Greek III
Ancient Greek IV

The biology (with lab) is self-explanatory.

The math courses would be self-paced, like B.F. Skinner's mastery learning approach, and include programming, and relational databases, as well as prepping students for calculus. They would be interesting, too, I hope, unlike pretty much every math course I have ever taken. I have had two great math teachers: one was a guy who came into our 4th grade class about once a month (Mr. Barrett) and drilled us on the multiplication table; the other was a professor from the U.S. Naval Academy who reviewed in one hour all the math I needed to know to pass the Foreign Service Officer exam.

The fall seminar would cover, at a minimum, Homer, Plato, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Herodotus, and Thucydides. The spring seminar would add Aristotle, Euripedes, and Sophocles. See here to see how all these works can be read in a year.

Learning to read ancient Greek will deepen one's appreciation for the above works. It will also further distinguish a true college student from the hoi polloi.

The music course is also intended to differentiate the college student from the masses of high schoolers. In addition to music theory, there would be a component that requires identifying hundreds of pieces of classical music. This could be mastered only by spending hours each week listening to these pieces (time that therefore could not be spent listening to pop music). Attending to the soul as well as to the intellect.

Learning to draw during the spring semester would be a great experience. By the time they are 18 years old, most people are convinced that they "can't draw." In a good drawing class, students are shocked at how much they improve in a short time, and they pick up a useful, pleasurable lifelong skill, as well as enhance their observational skills.

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