In June 2013, nineteen college-aged students from across the nation joined my family in our Pinehurst community to participate in the Mandala Fellowship, a program of continuing classical education focused on the Quadrivium, the four liberal arts that deal with numbers (arithmetic, geometry, harmonics, and astronomy). We are rapidly approaching the end of our first year together, which has culminated in the opportunity to participate in the start-up of a company called National Number Knockout (N2K).
The first three liberal arts (grammar, logic, and rhetoric), called the Trivium, naturally point us to the study of words and ideas. The Quadrivium equips a student to apply those ideas to practical endeavors. So, as part of the Mandala Fellowship, we have intently studied arithmetic, physics with astronomy, geometry, and harmonics. The students’ focus on these subjects has been deep and penetrating, leading to more questions on how this knowledge will form them as adults. The entrepreneurial portion of the Mandala Fellowship was designed to point them in new, important directions.
The aim of a liberal education is to make men more free. I think it is imperative that students know which movements point toward freedom and which suppress it; thus we chose to use crowd-sourced funding to start a technology company that supports mathematics education.
We have learned a lot. As classicists, we tend to spend more time with books than with social media. As a result, we had to learn the fundamentals of marketing, technology, pricing, leadership, teamwork, and legalities, all while developing the rules of a game that has never really been played and answering hundreds of questions from parents, teachers, students, and corporate sponsors. The students who poured their lives into this project have learned a great deal about liberty by studying alternative ways to raise money, structure companies, and offer employment.