What is classical education?

 

ensminger toadClassical education is a time-tested and systematic educational approach that has flourished for over two thousand years. Students in classical schools have strong content knowledge in a broad range of subjects and are trained to reason, write, and speak well. These young classical scholars understand and live by the ideals of truth, beauty, and goodness. This understanding is essential to preserving our republic and helping our people live joyful and meaningful lives regardless of chosen profession.

Classical learning centers on the Trivium, a Latin word that means “three ways” and that describes the three core disciplines of a classical education: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. They form the basis of the seven liberal arts that prepare students to thrive in a free society. Instruction in virtue is a critical counterpart to intellectual formation as it is not our only goal to educate people who are smart; we also seek to educate people who are good.

A systematic, Trivium-based education looks like this:

1. Amass a storehouse of facts in a broad range of subjects (Grammar stage)

2. Learn principles of logic to think analytically and abstractly and to synthesize facts across topics (Logic stage)

3. Apply facts, logic, and virtue to express original and coherent ideas on what is true, beautiful, and good (Rhetoric stage)

For families who are new to classical education, we believe the following texts provide a good starting point to learn more:

1st readersEssays:

  • “The Lost Tools of Learning” by Dorothy Sayers
  • “What is Classical Education?” by Susan Wise Bauer

Books:

  • The Making of Americans: Democracy and our Schools
  • The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them, both by E.D. Hirsch, Jr.