Today we passed another milestone. A small group of us finished the sixth and final year of the Omnibus curriculum.
My wife says she knew about Omnibus before we started the school, and I believe her. She was even interested in trying it out as homeschoolers. I also remember the summer before ECS started, our Headmaster along with our first full-time teacher went to the national ACCS conference and learned about Omnibus. We weren’t following the recommendation of the School Startup Notebook and so we needed something for three secondary students, two 10th graders and one 7th grader (who just graduated on Sunday).
Jonathan (our Headmaster) was very excited about Omnibus, a theology-history-literature class rolled into one. It is a six year program that cycles through Ancient, Medieval, and Modern periods twice (years I-III, then again for years IV-VI).
When we started to tell people what we were getting into, a number of adults at our church wanted in, too. What a great problem. So we decided to invite those who were interested to audit the class. For six years, every Thursday morning of school for two class periods, adults who had read (as much as they were able) of the assigned reading came and participated in the class.
I believe the number of books in the Primary reading (there is a Secondary track as well, but we didn’t utilize that much among the auditors) is 104, plus the introductory articles in the textbooks, along with some additional essays on subjects such as philosophy, art, sociology, and more.
I still remember a conversation I had with Jonathan in his living room in July or August of 2012, trying to decide if I should do the auditing or not. I wondered what effect it would have on my sermon prep. It has taken a toll, and I described it in class today as brutally glorious. I am not the same person as I was six years ago and, though Omnibus isn’t the only ingredient, it has flavored and complemented a lot of other inputs. I’ve referred to it here at my blog many times.
Some standouts for me are Beowulf, The Odyssey and The Aeneid, The Divine Comedy, and Moby Dick. Even 1984 and Brave New World made me appreciate That Hideous Strength more. Add in the likes of Augustine, Bede, Burke, Calvin, Chaucer, Dickens, Livy, Luther, Plato, Shakespeare, Sophecles, Toqueville, and Twain, and it has been quite some ride down the river of Western Civilization. Thanks to Jonathan for leading us, and congrats to him along with the other five auditors who finished the course.