2014-07-07 RomanNumrls

Teaching Classics, grammar, et cetera, in New York

This past summer (2014) I had the great pleasure, honor and gift of teaching mythology, Latin, grammar and phonics to a group of inner city kids in Queens, all between the ages of 7 and 12. I was teaching in a private, six-week summer program called the Math and Latin Academy, because all kids had daily Math and Latin classes. The younger ones also studied mythology, the Odyssey, grammar, phonics and penmanship (how to write cursive). The older ones had classes in formal Logic, and in Geography & Timelines (they learned to draw maps of the world freehand!) — and in the afternoons they had swimming lessons, archery lessons, and/or free play in various parks. This program was the brainchild of my friend Lovina, whom I tutored in Latin years ago when she was working on her Master’s in Classics at CU Boulder. Lovina worked as a tutor in New York, and she learned about the movement to bring back strong classical education based on the trivium of the seven liberal arts. She opened her own business, Bridgesmart Tutors, and also the summer Math and Latin Academy, and she’s been running them for several years, offering a powerful educational booster to inner city kids — most of whom go to public schools in Queens, schools that can most charitably be described as weak. She charges for these services, but all her work is driven by inspiration, not by capital. She operates on a shoestring, and she charges less than the parents would have to pay for babysitting for six weeks. She drives herself relentlessly to get everything done, but if a student drops out, or a family suddenly can’t pay the tuition, she’s short, and she can’t catch up. This program needs and deserves to be supported. Lovina can’t maintain the punishing intensity of work of the last few years, and the students in the community she serves deserve continued access to this brilliant program. I’m hoping that you’ll feel moved to make some donation, however small. And if you know someone who’d interested in classical education, or in improving education for inner city kids, please pass the word along. Maximas gratias vobis ago!

Addendum, fall 2015: The Math and Latin Academy of 2014 was a great gift to the students who attended, and to me as a lead teacher. Lovina has gone on to other work, and I have returned to my home in Maine.