What is Classical Education?

Classical education is all the rage right now! You probably know someone who uses it and may be wondering what it is all about.

Classical education is all the rage right now! You probably know someone who uses it, and may be wondering what it is all about. Classical education prides itself on the return to fundamentals.

Classical education is all the rage right now! You probably know someone who uses it and may be wondering what it is all about.

What is Classical Education?

Classical education prides itself on the return to fundamentals. A way that learning used to be, that effectively trains children to become lifelong learners. Classical Education claims to provide every student with the opportunity to learn. This learning begins with the skills of repetition and memorization.

Classical education uses a systematic approach to training a child’s mind based on three stages of learning. These stages are intended to parallel the child’s natural development, and is referred to as the “trivium” which is Latin for “the three ways”.

A classical education recognizes that we learn anything by going through three distinct phases: learning the words and basic facts associated with the subject, sorting, understanding, and practicing using those words and facts, and finally, using the information by teaching the subject to someone else, writing original essays on the subject or solving problems with the information.

Throughout a students twelve years of education they will complete three repetitions of the same four-year patterns:

  • Ancients
  • Middle Ages
  • Renaissance and Reformation
  • Modern Times

The Three Stages of Classical Education 

Grammar

Classical educators call the kindergarten through elementary grades the grammar stage. At this stage, the main focus is on memorization and facts throughout different subjects. This first step in learning any subject is to learn the vocabulary. For example, when you learn to read, you learn the names of the letters and the sounds they make. Young children enjoy this phase: they love repeating songs, chanting rhymes, and pronouncing big words.

Dialectic

This is the second step in learning a subject is to sort, compare, and understand the words and the rules that apply to them. For example, when learning to read, students will learn how to put letters together to form words and how to construct a sentence. At this stage, much of the work is done in this process through dialogue. Children generally enjoy this process most between the ages of ten and thirteen.

Rhetoric

Throughout the high school years, the emphasis is on debate/speech, communication in writing and thinking independently.  At this stage, after studying a subject, you use what you have learned to write an original paper or speech or lead a discussion.  Older teens usually enjoy this process because they long to express themselves and be creative problem solvers.

These stages are filled with solid literature or classical books, the learning of classical languages such as Latin and Greek, and a strong emphasis on history. Math, Science, and Bible are essential subjects as well.

 

Why Classical Education

As with any education method, there are many pros and cons. The cons are that the curriculum in itself can require a great amount of research, and monitoring a child’s progress through the different stages. Children who are not history fans, may not like the curriculum, and it is overall very teacher intensive.

Pros are that resources abound, and it is well ordered and well rounded. It would be great for a child who loves history and who is a bright learner. It promotes the study of the classics at a young age and tends to produce well-rounded, highly educated children who do well in higher learning.

Famous Classical Education Students 

The classical model of education has been used by the great thinkers and leaders of the past. Some of the famous classical education students include:

  • Aristotle
  • Plato
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Copernicus
  • Martin Luther
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Frederick Douglas
  • Marie Currie
  • Albert Einstein

If you are interested in learning more about the classical education method of homeschooling check out these resources:

Well Trained Mind

Classical Conversations

Classical education is all the rage right now! You probably know someone who uses it, and may be wondering what it is all about. Classical education prides itself on the return to fundamentals.

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