- About the Author
“And having thus passed the principles of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and geography, with a general compact of physics, they may descend in mathematics to the instrumental science of trigonometry, and from thence to set forward all these proceedings in nature and mathematics, what hinders but that they may procure, as oft as shall be needful, the helpful experiences of hunters, fowlers, fishermen, shepherds, gardeners, apothecaries . . . And this will give them such a real tincture of natural knowledge, as they shall never forget, but daily augment with delight.”—John Milton, "Of Education”
Available Now!The academic foundations of classical education do not alone guarantee human flourishing. The liberal arts—the trivium and quadrivium—represent the core frameworks for cultivating virtue and practicing skills vital to our life in the world. And yet, they alone are insufficient, for we must eat, heal, defend ourselves, trade, build, find our way around, and more. It may seem evident that the common arts should be an integral part of education, and yet we see that every generation is losing skill in the common arts as we increasingly rely upon others to provide them for us. In Common Arts Education, author Chris Hall provides not only an argument for an integrated liberal, fine, and common arts pedagogy, but also some practical advice for crafting a robust, hands-on curriculum.
Beginning with the story of the classroom experiences that led him to explore the common arts as a vector for the liberal and fine arts, the author outlines a vision for the resonance between the arts, supplies concrete steps that teachers can take to implement a common arts curriculum, and provides a series of experiences to try in any classroom, at any grade level. As you read, you will find the liberal arts applied, the fine arts situated, and the common arts revealed as a critical element of a classical education.
The practical application chapters of Common Arts Education offer background information; considerations such as the space and supplies needed for teaching each common art; “plug-and-play” lists of the basic skills that students should practice for each art; and resources for further reading. The author discusses 13 common arts, including:
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“Chris Hall is the real deal! He challenges us and our children to unplug from our devices, go outside, and participate in cultivating God’s creation in myriad ways. From braiding rope to raising rabbits, Common Arts Education provides a trove of ideas introducing us to the wisdom and simplicity of traditional practices. Chris is a man who knows of what he speaks, and I for one love learning from him. Every grade-school teacher and city-dwelling parent should own a copy of this book.” —Ravi Scott Jain, coauthor of The Liberal Arts Tradition
“The common arts help us engage the givenness of reality with our hands and hearts as well as our heads. In doing so, these oft-neglected arts teach us about our world, about ordinary embodied human existence, and about the relationship between material subcreation and our ‘thrival,’ as Hall calls it. Common Arts Education not only persuades that the common arts should be taught alongside the liberal and fine arts but, even better, it shows the reader how to do it.” —Brian Williams, Dean, Templeton Honors College and College of the Arts & Humanities; Assistant Professor of Ethics & Liberal Studies, Eastern University
“Whether you are a newcomer to classical education or a seasoned veteran with decades of experience, I highly recommend this book to you. . . . Common Arts Education is an introduction to the so-called ‘servile’ arts that integrates them with the liberal arts and the fine arts, painting a picture of classical education that engages and aims to perfect the head, the heart, and the hands.” —Jeffrey S. Lehman, PhD, Director of the Graduate Program in Classical Education, University of Dallas
“Common Arts Education marks a profound path forward in the renewal of classical Christian education in our day. What began with the recovery of the lost arts of learning has, in Chris Hall’s capable hands, expanded to encompass the largely outsourced arts of serving the basic, embodied needs of human life. His great achievement is not simply to have offered a compelling vision for the importance of common arts education; he has provided both syllabus and lesson plans for putting the common arts into practice in our homes and schools. Common Arts Education will doubtless become part of the syllabus of works shaping and directing the classical Christian renewal for years to come.” —Kevin Clark, DLS, coauthor of The Liberal Arts Tradition
“What makes Chris Hall’s Common Arts Education especially significant is not only his witty, pithy, and eminently useful presentation of the artisanal crafts, but his rediscovery of the vital connection between the common arts and the liberal arts.” —John Skillen, PhD, author of Making School Beautiful
Chris Hall has a BA in philosophy from Gettysburg College and an MAT in elementary education from Towson University. He has been a classroom educator and administrator for 25 years, having served in public, independent, and classical schools. Along with his professional pedigree, he is a lifelong practitioner of several of the common arts profiled in this book, and the founder of Always Learning Education, an organization dedicated to teaching, learning, and propagating the common arts. He lives on a small, homesteaded farm in central Virginia with his wife and three homeschooled sons.