The Classical and Christian Difference

To many, the term “classical education” conjures images of ivy-covered institutions with more interest in striking a child’s knuckles and teaching dry subjects than in educating. As with any image, truth is determined not by the angle or spin applied by Hollywood producers in movies like The Dead Poets Society, but by the real and tested results proven through centuries of educating children with the classical method. Please take a moment to read through this brief outline of what classical education really was and is today. We believe that you will find more myth than truth in the modern image of classical education.

A Lasting Decision

Few investments have more potential than your children’s education. The way they see the world, the way they approach life, and the depth of their character are all influenced by education. The choice of where and how to educate your children can be challenging and complicated.

Public schools, charter schools, magnet schools, home schools, non-sectarian and religious private schools all have something to offer. Educational styles and methods range from the traditional to the progressive. How does your child learn? Does he enjoy art? Technology? Does he learn spatially, visually, or audibly? Finding the right fit can be a daunting task.

Classical Christian education is unique in that it seeks to faithfully restore the most proven form of education ever developed. This education produced the greatest thinkers, leaders, and scientists in the Western world from the time of the Greeks until the late 19th century, including America’s founding fathers. From the heritage of America’s Ivy League colleges and classical day schools, leaders in every field continue to emerge from the fragmented legacy of classical education. Unfortunately, its pure form, including a Christian worldview, has been lost until its revival in the early 1980′s.

What makes classical Christian education so effective?

First, it is based on what has been called the Trivium. No matter how your child learns, he or she goes through three phases. In grades K-6, students are excellent at memorizing. In grades 7-8, students become more argument-oriented. They are ready to be taught logic and critical thinking. In grades 9-12, students become independent thinkers and communicators particularly concerned with their appearance to others. To this end, classical education teaches them rhetoric, the art of speaking, communicating, and writing.

Grace Lutheran School integrates subjects like literature, history, language, art, math, and science. Students read the great works of Western literature and philosophy. Classical languages (Latin and Greek) help students understand and think with greater depth about the world around them. Formal logic and rhetoric help students become great leaders and communicators. Classical teaching methods range from class lectures, to debates, to Socratic (discussion-oriented) teaching. Independent learning skills are sharpened at all grade levels.

Is classical Christian education still relevant? Yes, more now than ever. Our world is accelerating as technological, cultural, and geo-political forces reshape our daily lives. The subject matter and skills required in the market are evolving and changing rapidly. However, thinking, articulate people are always in demand. Those who are able to acquire new skills rapidly and independently are sought after regardless of the field. Classical Christian education has a proven track record of turning out these types of students.