Is it too late for a 40-something-year-old?

by | Classical Education, How Would You Answer This? | 4 comments


Gerrit Dou (1613-1675) — Old Woman Reading a Lectionary

I would like to know if you think it is too late for a 40-something-aged individual to learn how to learn? I just heard about the Trivium and thought I would look it up and found you. Where would you recommend that I start if I’m not too old to learn how to learn. Sometimes I feel as if I am slowing down but there is a burning desire to learn within me. We were never taught how to critically think in school during my time. As a matter of fact, I felt constant fear in school and was bullied and made fun of because my twin brother and I didn’t have the best clothing and smelled of cigarette smoke at times because one parent was a smoker. School wasn’t a pleasant experience for me, to say the least, but I have a burning desire to realize my fullest potential. Any recommendations would be well received.

Thank you,

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Read something every day — develop the habit of reading. Start with subjects which interest you and then branch out to other things. I suggest you start by reading at least an hour per day.

2. Study logic. The Fallacy Detective is a good place to start.

3. Write something every day. Letters, journal entries, start a blog, book reviews, essays. Write one page per day to begin with.

4. Avoid wasting time staring at a screen.

5. If possible, find people with whom you can discuss your readings (join a book club).

After you have happily and comfortably incorporated these things into your life, then you can add more. The goal is to alter the appetite — which is the hardest part.


  1. Frieda

    Hello, Charlotte. I’m so sorry you had such a poor, wasteful experience at school. I did, too, and I so lament the lost years (I’m also a 40-something.)

    But congratulations on your burning desire to learn now! I suggest you pray for God to redeem your brain-power and make good use of the time.

    Follow the good advice given above, and also consider these:

    -My favorite books for education:
    -“Teaching the Trivium”, by the Bluedorns
    -“A Thomas Jefferson Education”, by DeMille
    -“The Latin-Centered Curriculum”, by Campbell

    -If you have interest, learn to play a musical instrument. I took up violin 2 years ago, and it gives me peace and something to look forward to, in addition to enhancing my brain function.

    -Gradually learn a language. I’m learning Latin along with my older children — actually much faster than they, since I desire it. I believe the memorization required is a benefit for me. The First Form series by Memoria Press is what we’re using, and I think very highly of it.

    Best Wishes,

  2. Dee

    May I recommend that, first, you must delve into the Scriptures, which is the means to all ends and the end of all ends. It is the Lord who gives liberally to those who diligently seek Him and ask and have a willingness to learn. He even helps you with that!

  3. Terri

    Dear Dee, I agree that this lady would be best served by first studying the Scriptures. However, according to Jesus, you err when you say that the Scriptures are the end of all ends. He says in John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;” And please note what Jesus says in Revelation 21:6, “Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.” It is true, Scripture will lead her to Jesus, the beginning and the end! God bless!

  4. Patricia Christianson

    What the bluedorns suggest, read, write, study logic, avoid mindless screen time, share with others what you are learning, and delving into Scripture, as Dee says, too, combine to be a good plan. Also add physical exercise and adequate sleep. For more encouragement, you could take a class! Recently, I took, and thoroughly enjoyed, this free on-line course “Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects.” Much success to you!


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