The center of classical education is to love goodness, truth and beauty, and at the very core of a classical education is God. Truth is defined by Him, and knowledge of all things comes from Him. Philippians 4:8 tell us:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
In turn, Plato has the following to say about education:
The object of education, is to teach us to love what is beautiful. The Republic
8 Essential Principles of Classical Education
There are as many as 28 principles of Classical Education, however I was recently introduced to Christopher Perrin PhD, from Classical Academic Press, who focuses on 8 essential principles. You can watch a video lecture here. The principles Dr.Perrin discusses are as follows:
- Festina Lente/Make haste slowly – Work in a way that ensures mastery.
- Multum Non Multa/Much not many – Do fewer things well.
- Repetitio Mater Memoriae/Repetition is the mother of memory – Great education takes time, repetition helps us remember, not necessarily memorize.
- Embodied Learning – Education as formation, learn to cultivate the love for truth, goodness and beauty.
- Songs, Rhymes & Jingles – These help retain information.
- Wonder and curiosity – Students are curious and in awe of creation. Wonder leads to worship, and worship lead to wisdom.
- Educational Virtues – Building the student’s character becomes a priority. The virtuous student will display love, humility, courage, discipline and consistency. The student will “strive to walk in the path of the divine”.
- Scholē, Contemplation, Leisure – Allow a time for reflection, good conversation and feasting.
3 Stages of Classical Education
The stages of classical education, are similar to those of traditional school. In traditional education we break these into the elementary, middle and high school grades. However, in classical education the stages are divided according to the way children learn also know as the Trivium. The Trivium is divided into the grammar, logic/dialectic and rhetoric stages.
- Grammar (K-6) – Soak in knowledge, by observing and memorizing.
- Logic/Dialectic (7-9) – Grow in understanding, by asking questions, analyzing and debating.
- Rethoric (10-12) – Bear fruit in wisdom, by writing and speaking.
The purpose of each of these stages is to continually promote a love goodness, truth and beauty.
Benefits of Classical Education
Striving for mastery gives the student deep understanding and promotes clear thinking. Through a classical education, students eventually become their own teachers, by thinking critically and creatively. They have the ability to discern between that which is true, good and beautiful, and between that which corrupts the mind, heat and soul.
The end goal of a classical education is for the student to discern and to know how to use what he has learned to glorify God.
Classical Education Resources
The following are my go-to websites for all things related to classical education, and some of the books I’ve read on the topic.
Which homeschool method or philosophy do you follow? Have you considered a classical approach?
Join us tomorrow, and we discuss the Principles and benefits of a Charlotte Mason Education, and don’t miss the rest of the Classical Charlotte Mason Homeschooling series.