Andrew Kern of Circe Institute and Lost Tools of Writing is the seasoned miner on the hill who points out the vein to follow as I dig gold that will buy me a character of virtue. Intensely desiring to become a classical tutor through and through, convinced of the value of leading students by questioning and wise guidance to discover Truth in all their studies, I have been able to find food for thought from this fellow and his apprentices. I love the way he thinks–not just the kinds of things he says, but the freedom he demonstrates in leadership as his well-trained mind navigates complex thoughts and doesn’t lose hold of the essentials. Rational and warm, brainy and passionate, exhorting and comforting, he models for me the character of a wise parent and tutor. He is my hero.
In this interview at a homeschool convention in March 2011 he explains why he asks questions of virtue when he studies literature, rather than dissecting it in dispassionate analysis. He sketches out the five kinds of questions we can ask when we have to write, lines of thought we already take when we encounter new ideas. But toward the end, Mary Jo Tate asks him for the one thing which he, in his opinion, thinks is the most important message for homeschoolers to know. His answer delighted me, for it is this very thing the lack of which troubles my days and nights! All hard working teacher-mothers should hear this.