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Classical, Christian Education

What is a classical education?

Our vision of a classical education is essential to utilize that which is truly best in approach and has stood the test of time. This does not mean a blind preference for things ancient over things modern. Rather, it means a commitment to examine works from across the ages and determine which ones are most worthy of our children’s attention. This commitment does, however, lead one to include more ancient authors than one would read in a contemporary public classroom. It is about an approach that follows a clear pattern of learning--first knowledge, then understanding, then wisdom. It is using tools that are genuinely focused on learning and not just on political correctness, teaching trends, cultural whims, or teaching to a test. It really means using time-tested ways and methods to teach students, ensuring they are best equipped for a life of learning.

A classical education is one in which students are taught not simply what to think but, rather, how to think so that they have the ability to learn for themselves. They are equipped with the basic tools of accumulating data, sorting that data, and presenting what they have learned. The content of a classical education is shaped by the flow of the culture and history from creation to the present. Subjects include world history, literature, logic, and languages, as well as science and the arts. Students are firmly rooted in the foundations of math and reading. The method of classical instruction is the Trivium.

What is the Trivium?

The Trivium is a course of study developed in the Middle Ages and reintroduced in Christian education circles in the 20th century by leaders such as Dorothy Sayers and C. S. Lewis. Each academic subject consists of its grammar (accumulation of facts), logic (the study of ordered relationships between these facts), and rhetoric (presentation of this information). These elements correspond to three stages of child development.

  • Young children love accumulating and memorizing facts. This early age corresponds to the grammar stage.

  • When children are around junior high age, they begin to challenge ideas they have previously taken for granted. In keeping with this development, children are taught to argue using formal logic.

  • During the high school years, children learn to present their knowledge through well-written papers, rigorously conducted experiments, tightly constructed arguments, effective debate, and persuasive oral presentations.

The Trivium is shorthand for the three foundational academic categories: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. It is an approach to learning, an approach to subjects, and a set of various subjects. The trivium is applied to every academic discipline, meaning every subject has its grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Becoming educated in any subject involves knowing its basic facts and principles (grammar), reasoning clearly concerning it (logic), and articulating it clearly and effectively (rhetoric). This three-phase model corresponds to the natural stages in child development, a classical model that for centuries has produced men and women of extraordinary achievement and intellect.

The trivium corresponds to three basic, progressing stages in the development of a child: Roughly the Kindergarten-Sixth grade years are the grammar stage; the junior high years are the logic stage, and the high school years are the rhetoric stage.

Grammar, the student learns to accurately receive knowledge;

Logic, to critically analyze and understand;

Rhetoric, to wisely and effectively express himself.

What is a genuine Christian education?

Christian education is not the same as sending your child to Bible school all day. Instead, it simply means that your children will not be taught the concepts of all academics, learn science, the history of the world, and every other subject in an environment void of God. Instead, God is recognized as the true Creator of all of life. In this way the children learn that there is a God who cares for them, is the author of all of life and has a plan for their own lives. A Christian education also means that our staff must be good examples to your students. Legacy Academy requires all teachers to commit to living a morally upright life that is a strong model for your student. It also means that basic time tested principles and manners are a key part of the learning environment at Legacy Academy. Kindness, honesty, obedience, respect for elders, patience, bravery, justice, and mercy, along with other such tenets, are the basic foundational principles we work to instill in our students.

Learn more about Classical Christian Education by visiting the Association of Classical Christian School's website

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