Our Study of the Great Ideas Through the Great Books is unique among other “Great Books” programs in that it takes a thematic rather than chronological approach. Every consideration has been made to choose what might arguably be the greatest of the Great Ideas. The books (both fiction and non-fiction), the short stories, and the poetry have all been selected to help the student explore these topics. The fact that resources chosen to study each of the Great Ideas span the whole of human writing results in a program that is also much more interesting and varied.
To further meet the needs and interests of every student and family circumstance, each level can be studied either independently (correspondence) or in an on-line format with other students and a supervising facilitator. This last option has proven to be a great way to give students a practical way to discuss ideas and to keep them on track with their reading and assignments.
Tree of Life’s Great Ideas studies have been divided into four levels: each designed to be completed in one academic year. The plan is as follows:
Year One: The Ideas of God and Man
Year Two: The Ideas of Truth and Lies
Year Three: The Ideas of Good and Evil
Year Four: The Ideas of Beauty and Ethics
Why these ideas? First of all, it is in God that we live and move and have our being. Everything begins and ends with Him. To deny God is to deny our entire existence. Therefore, we must first and foremost come to an understanding of what we believe about God. Ultimately this will shape and determine how we perceive Truth. Truth gives us a basis for determining what is Good and what is Evil. Together all of these ideas shape our understanding of what is Beautiful and how to live Ethically.
Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, singly and together, have been seen by many as the heart of the age old controversy concerning such topics as the absolute and the relative; the objective and the subjective; the universal and the individual. In a postmodern Western culture a right understanding of these three ideas is foundational to living Godly lives in this present age. Experience has taught us that the life of a student who completes one or more levels of our “Great Ideas” will be enriched and will be better equipped to be a biblical agent of change in our culture.
NOTE: Many parents ask us which level of the Great Ideas they should choose. Ideally a student will take all four levels in the order they are presented. However, time does not always allow for this so our advice is to enrol in the level that best meets your requirements or interests. We are confident that each level can stand alone as a study and significant benefit will be derived from its completion. It should be pointed out though that ideas in each level build on those studied in the previous ones. Take some time to browse through each of the four levels below and build your order once you have decided which is best for you and your child.