y daughter is struggling with preschool Sunday school that she helps teach in her SBC church. The director finds Scripture memorization of a lesser value than “Bible thoughts” and “conversation” with the children. I fear greatly that this is the case in too many of our Sunday-school programs. We are too busy teaching morality from Lifeway to understand the logic of learning.
The Poll-Parrot stage is the one in which learning by heart is easy and, on the whole, pleasurable; whereas reasoning is difficult and, on the whole, little relished. At this age, one readily memorizes the shapes and appearances of things; one likes to recite the number-plates of cars; one rejoices in the chanting of rhymes and the rumble and thunder of unintelligible polysyllables; one enjoys the mere accumulation of things.
Dorthy Sayers, The Lost Tools of Learning; a paper delivered at Oxford, 1947.
The essay from which this quote is taken sparked the home-schooling movement in America. At least one man, Douglas Wilson, picked up on the idea and wrote a magnificant book on classical education called Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning. Dorthy Sayers’ essay is reprinted in the appendix of Wilson’s book.
Oh that more Southern Baptist preachers, teachers, and parents would understand that morality lessons from the Bible cannot take the place of simple memorization of critical passages of Scripture; passages that may one day – by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit – I say may one day take root in the heart of a child to the lasting benefit of their immortal soul. Wilson’s book would be a good start towards that understanding, but God has to change the mind set of many – most in the SBC.