Why classical education appeals to me

{Quick note: My new newsletter will be launching soon (this week, I hope!). Have you signed up yet? Ok, carry on!} truth-fishing

Last April, I went to a seminar with Andrew Kern from the CiRCE Institute.

It was an inspiring, eye-opening day where I learned, on a deeper level, what classical Christian education is and entails, what its benefits are and how it differs from conventional schooling.

That seminar strongly confirmed that this is not only the path I want to take our family's "school" down, but also that it's the education that I would love to have myself (can I tell you how excited I am to learn Latin with Gigi in a few years?! #nerdalert). I'm not saying I won't incorporate other philosophies into our schooling, but I see the classical model as my foundation.

For several months now I've wanted to write up a few of the main takeaways from the seminar that really spoke to me in case they might inspire you as well.

If you don't homeschool, I hope you'll bear with me as my hope is that you might glean something valuable from this series as well.

So first, what is a classical education?

From the CiRCE website,

First, one way or another, classical schools and educators are committed to cultivating wisdom and virtue in their students.

Second, classical education believes in and pursues a logos, or a unifying principle, for all knowledge and action.

In essence, then, it seems fair to say that classical education is the logo-centric quest for the ideals of wisdom and virtue.

Other common features of classical education include:

~~the use of classical books and art, ~~a general preference for great art, music, and literature, ~~an integrated curriculum, ~~and idea-focused teaching.

Rather than give a description of the components, I want to share the list compiled by the seminar attendees of why classical education draws those of us who are so intrigued by it. I hope it will in turn also give a glimpse of its attributes as an educational philosophy and pedagogical method. I'll also share some principles that Andrew shared with us.

Classical Education appeals to me because it:

~ educates the whole person to full development ~ gives students the freedom to know what to do ~ seeks and points out truth, light, beauty & goodness ~ fosters discussion and questions ~ promotes "soulishness" ~ focuses on wisdom, virtue, a nurturing environment ~ keeps a historical perspective ~ creates a life-long learner ~ creates opportunities and preparation ~ is Biblical, promotes confidence and dependence on God ~ is outside the (conventional) box ~ teaches students to dig deeper & find core beliefs

Classical Christian Education Principles:

1. Truth is. 2. Truth can be known. 3. Known Truth can be communicated from one soul to another.

Practical application: The essence of education is to equip/teach/train the human being to perceive truth. 

"Much worse than uselessly he leaves the shore

More full of error than he was before

Who fishes for truth but lacks the art."

~ Dante's Divine Comedy

Classical Education teaches the art of truth-fishing, and as a mom and educator, I can't think of a much loftier goal.

If you want to better understand or learn about the actual components of a classical education, I recommend my friend Mandi's explanatory post and for a deeper and even more practical understanding, be sure to read The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer (it's currently my own personal guidebook/handbook for homeschooling).

It's fascinating how many ways there are to educate a child and I'm always wanting to learn more. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the classical model if you have experience with it, or what other methods you use in your schooling. 



From old tablecloth to BBQ cover {a repurposing tutorial}

10 on 10: February 2014