What is Classical Education?
A classical education is more than just extra subjects like classical studies, religion, and logic, it is a model of learning that compliments the natural state and progression of the intellect. Classical education is language-focused. Learning is accomplished through words that are written, spoken, and discussed. It is ultimately a dialogue with reality, and a way that the child can use their natural curiosity of the world and ask questions of it. To the classical mind, all knowledge is interrelated. A classical education takes history as its organizing outline, works in systematic progressions, and exercises the child’s scholarly mind in a way which gives them the lifelong critical thinking, but also equips them has a human person to live in virtue and joy.
Classical Education harnesses the natural power and progression of the intellect through a three part process called the Trivium.
The early years of school are spent in absorbing facts, systematically laying the foundations for advanced study. In this first stage, emphasis if placed on grammar, which helps the mind assign meaning to words, objects, and ideas so truth and falsity can be distinguished. These are the years in which the building block for all other learning are laid. Children in 1st through 4th grade are ready and eager to absorb in formation to discern truth about their environment.
By middle school a child’s mind begins to think more analytically. This is the logic stage. Children pay attention to cause and effect, relationships between different fields of knowledge, and the way facts fit together in a rational framework. This part of the Trivium forms the child’s mind in how to put two or more aspects of grammar into harmony which forms more complex ideas. During these years the student begins to apply logic to all academic subjects, rather than simple absorbing information. Learning logic equips studdnt to thoroughly analyze.
The third and final stage of the Trivium is rhetoric, and this is the fulfillment of the first two stages of classical education. Rhetoric is the formation of an argument, that is, taking multiple ideas and exploring their relationship to one another and to reality. This is also known as reasoning. Rhetoric also includes learning how to express oneself well, in ways that appeal to both the hearts and minds of an audience.