Science and the Classics

by Rachel Olson

What has science to do with Cicero? What has chemistry to do with the Trivium? Why ought mychild to spend his time memorizing the muscles of a cat rather than his Latin declensions?

In order to answer these questions, we ought to pose one more. Why do we educate our children at all? For Christians, the answer is simple. We are raising our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord so they might love and serve Him as well as understand the world in which He has placed them.

The world is a huge, complex, scary place. God has made it that way. But he has also made man to explore this giant maze. The world outside the Garden of Eden was a veritable treasure map. The river flowing out of the Garden split off into four tributaries. One flowed into Havilah, where there was gold and precious stones. Another flowed into the Promised Land, where the soul was fertile. Still a third led to the sea. Later in Genesis, men explored this map, found the treasures and made things of them. That is what man himself is made for. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and it is the glory of kings to seek it out. King Solomon, the epitome of wisdom, was a thorough biologist as well as an excellent rhetorician. And once he discovers a thing, man is called to steward it, but how can he be a good steward if he knows nothing about the world under his care? Ignorance, in this case, is far from bliss. Science relieves this ignorance and thus helps man to love and serve God to the best of his ability.

Having overcome this ignorance, man is better able to love his neighbor. Consider the fascinating modern age we live in. We can re-grow noses if our old ones are damaged beyond repair. We can put a stone cold serving of pasta in a box, push a few buttons and in minutes it is piping hot. We carry around pocket sized bits of metal and wire that send our voice thousands of miles away to tell our Grandparents we love them. If it weren’t for science, we would have none of these blessings. And every surgeon, engineer, or programmer who helped bring them to us was once a child. Each one of them began their education in the back yard playing with the worms, or at the kitchen table dismantling the family’s old phone. Good stewardship does not just involve conjugations and paradigms and five paragraph structures, but also cats, sound waves, and mercury.

With this in mind, Logos Press includes the NOEO science curriculum as an essential piece of their homeschool package. One of Cathy Duffy’s 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculums, NOEO combines solid subject matter with clear instruction. No previous experience in the field is necessary, the parent has only to open the teacher’s guide. The curriculum is experiment driven, giving the student more freedom to explore rather than bogging them down with long lists of facts and charts. Logos Press has also embarked on a project to film the experiments and post them online as a supplement for the curriculum.

The pursuit of wisdom is the beginning of knowledge and God created the world in wisdom, order and measure. As His work, it bears His image in its own imperfect way. Why should we teach our children science? If we want to raise wise and inquiring children of God, a better question ought to be why not teach them science?

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