Maxim of the Week!

Administrator’s note: Welcome new contributor Julie Toshach! Julie is a former CEO of Explorers and has some great insights. The ‘maxim’ at the end is a real conversation starter; let’s get some comments going!

Interesting Fact: There is a great high school class called Classical Writing at Explorers. The students are focusing on Maxims this semester. What fun. Short, pithy, words that convey a lesson or moral. Remember Benjamin Franklin? He is probably the American King of Maxims.

Maxim of the week for homeschool moms: The root of education is bitter, its fruit sweet. Isocrates.

3 thoughts on “Maxim of the Week!

    • terririgby February 24, 2015 / 3:27 pm

      Thanks, Terry. It worked now after I logged in.


  1. terririgby March 16, 2015 / 1:58 pm

    Could your child write even a short essay on the above wise saying or would they have problems coming up with something to say? Would they have trouble arranging what they said into a logical, persuasive whole? The progym Maxim teaches topics of invention which are places for coming up with something to say. It also teaches arrangement of those comments so that both of those skills together assure that essays are more than cute thoughts that are randomly presented. When the college entrance exams contained a writing portion, one of the possible topic options was a wise or witty saying. So higher academia consider the ability to write about a maxim a mark of a good education.

    As the teacher of the class that Julie mentions and as a former homeschooler who has taught my own children to write, I love that maxim and identify with what it says. We worked hard on writing and it has paid off for all four of my children. Our family used the same curriculum that we are using in the Explorer’s class.

    The subject, Maxim, is one of the preliminary exercises or “progymnasmata” of the classical method of teaching writing. This method has a proven track record of teaching writing well. It was used for centuries, since the days of the ancient Greeks, to prepare leaders and orators to not only be influential and persuasive, but also to become better, more thoughtful people. Think of men like St. Augustine who were trained by this method. It is a thorough, calculated way of teaching and may not appeal to all teachers or perhaps fit all students. However, I think that most students benefit from such thoroughness. Those students who need to think things through will perhaps learn no other way. Those who are intuitive writers gain a deeper understanding, a breadth of ability, and a stronger confidence by being taught this way.

    The whole of the progymnasmata develops a mature writing ability, one that prepares students for their lives to come. If they become college students, although they may need a little help with the complexities of research at first, they will be able to handle ANY writing class or assignment. Their research, which the ancient teachers of rhetoric called, “inartistic proofs,” will be strengthened by their practice of the “artistic proofs” that the progym teaches. If they go on to work or a profession, they will be well prepared for thinking and writing about things that they encounter.

    Perhaps there are many ways to teach writing, but this is certainly a good way.


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