Why Classical Education

Classical Education Primer

The humanistic educational reforms led by Horace Mann, John Dewey and others, which birthed contemporary education in America, have gradually engulfed nearly every sphere of American education. The result has been a steady deterioration of standards and results as our nation’s youth are subjected to efforts to conform them to a vision that is antithetical to their created nature. In an effort that is turning back this tide, the movement to revive classical education seeks to build new schools on the neglected foundations of an educational philosophy that was developed and utilized over hundreds of years to be consistent with our created nature and Biblical truth. Rather than try to adapt popular methodologies in an effort to make them effective and God-honoring, we desire instead to build our school and our students’ education on a wholly different, tried and true foundation that is biblically consistent and educationally excellent. In so doing, we join a robust, quarter-century old movement to revive classical Christian education with hundreds of schools nationwide, multiple publishing houses, two accrediting associations, and excellent resources for teacher training and curriculum development. We have no denominational affiliation, and the larger classical Christian education movement is similarly unaligned.

What is the Trivium?
(As adapted from Rockbridge Academy)

The Trivium is a centuries old, three-stage educational method which conducts a student through his course of learning in a way which correlates systematically with his natural developmental stages.

The first stage of this three-part methodology is the grammar stage, during which time young students are most able to memorize the many facts and particulars of each subject area. The grammar stage corresponds approximately with the elementary school years. Students learn and memorize the grammar of math (addition and subtraction facts, multiplication tables, the ordering of time and money), geography (mountains, rivers, state capitals), science (formulas, definitions), history (wars, kings, dates), and so on.

Students then proceed (at around the time of the middle school years) to take the facts and knowledge they’ve accumulated and study their relationships during what is known as the dialectic (or logic) stage. Students analyze how the many pieces of what they’ve learned affect one another and learn to reason using the laws of formal logic and correct argumentation.

In the third stage of the Trivium, students focus on learning to express themselves with eloquence. The material which they’ve accumulated in the grammar stage, and learned to analyze and understand in the dialectic stage, is now polished and presented in the rhetoric stage. The later high school years, which correspond with the rhetoric stage, are a time of learning to communicate and present knowledge in a winsome and engaging manner.

These three stages, grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric, compose the Trivium and are the methodological backbone of an Augustine Classical Academy education.

Classical Christian Education: The New Old Way from Veritas Press.