What is Classical Christian Education?

Classical Christian Education is an approach to learning which emphasizes biblical teachings, focuses on the seven liberal arts, and incorporates a teaching model known as the Trivium, consisting of three stages: grammar, logic and rhetoric. This form of education was begun by the Greeks and Romans and was the standard method of education even in the U.S. until about 100 years ago when progressive education began to override classical methods. Classical education has been revived over the past 40 years, and now there are over 250 classical Christian schools in the U.S. and beyond.

It can be helpful to view Classical Christian Education as a combination of approach, curriculum, and development of virtue:

  • Curriculum: We participate in the "Great Conversation," studying works and ideas that have stood the test of time. This includes rich material, from primary sources, that has deep meaning and can be unpacked again and again. We know that the books and ideas that we consume shape who we are, so classical education seeks to offer our students the very best examples of those things.

  • Approach: We teach our students in the way that aligns with their natural development: When children are young and want information, we supply facts and help them memorize. When they are tweens and begin to question, we teach them how to ask thoughtful questions and find logical answers. When they are young adults and want to express what they think, we teach them to formulate meaningful ideas and persuasively communicate. These three stages of learning are called the grammar stage, the logic stage, and the rhetoric stage or, collectively, the Trivium.

  • Virtue: We focus on cultivating virtue. Our students learn stewardship, honor, wisdom, and self-control. The growth of these virtues shape character in a deep and lasting way. These virtues are part of our common school language and create a culture where truth, beauty and goodness can flourish.

Because of the way the classical method of education advances, students progress naturally. Instead of instructing them on a limited set of items, teachers give students the “tools of learning” that allow them to become life-long learners. This idea is foundational to classical education. The end goal is not that students would simply acquire knowledge, but that they would know how to think for themselves, how to learn, and that they would enjoy doing so. A student’s love for truth, goodness, and beauty is the ultimate success for a classical educator. Equipped with a solid foundation in the facts and rules of each subject, with the ability to reason and evaluate, and with a confidence in written and spoken communication, classically educated students emerge as critical thinkers who can serve in whatever capacity they are called and in whatever area most interests them.

For a further introduction to classical education, we strongly recommend that you visit our resources page.