Six Questions with Mr. Hemingway

Hemingway 2

1. What do you teach at ILS/what is your role at ILS?

I'm currently serving on the school board. This is my second time serving on the board -- I actually served a term once before a decade ago. At the time, I wasn't married and didn't have kids. Now I have two kids in the school and could not be happier with the education they are receiving.

2. What does classical education mean to you?

Well, there are a number of important concepts that define classical education such as the trivium, which as a developmental and instructional matter, breaks subjects into three constituent parts: grammar, rhetoric, and logic. That's just for starters. A lot of important people have had things to say about inculcating knowledge along these lines from Aristotle to contemporaries such as Susan Wise Bauer. Knowing just enough about this stuff to be dangerous, I've been wowed by the depth of knowledge and application of educational philosophy by ILS's staff. If you want to get the most of your kids' education -- and learn a little something yourself! -- I highly suggest parents learn a little about classical education on their own. It's surprisingly rewarding.

But without going down that philosophical rabbit hole, I would note that classical education used to just be called "education." It works because it is time tested over a couple of millennia.

3. What is your favorite thing about ILS?

My kids are getting a Christian education! If you want your kids to the be the kind of fearless, autodidact risk takers who genuinely make the world a better place, you need to teach them to think independently and act selflessly. Schools today teach no real morality, let alone Christianity, and the results of this speak for themselves. If you took the "IL" out of ILS you'd end up with a curriculum that was somewhere between therapy and babysitting -- it wouldn't be a proper education.

4. Who was one teacher who inspired you?

I had a great journalism teacher in high school -- Hi Barb! -- that took an interest in me at a time when I needed encouragement. Sometimes that's all it takes.

5. What is your favorite book? (What book has most inspired you?)

This is actually a difficult question! The Bible is the obvious and correct answer. But one book I read recently that I enjoyed immensely is Edith Hamilton's The Greek Way, a breezy but wonderful introduction to ancient Greek thought. In the introduction, Hamilton writes, "When the world is storm-driven and the bad that happens and the worse that threatens are so urgent as to shut out everything else from view, then we need to know all the strong fortresses of the spirit which men have built through the ages. The eternal perspectives are being blotted out, and our judgment of immediate issues will go wrong unless we bring them back." I like to think that as boosters of classical education we're doing our part to bring the eternal perspectives back.

6. Please share one thing families wouldn't already know about you.

I used to play guitar in a moderately popular local rock band.

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