If you’ve been researching homeschool methods, you may have heard about the classical education movement.
What is the definition of classical education?
Classical education is a long-term, three-part process of learning which begins in the child’s elementary years and is completed at the end of high school. It is commonly referred to as the trivium and takes advantage of a child’s natural stages of learning. Trivium means “three paths” or “three ways.”
What is the purpose of classical education?
Each stage of a classical education builds upon the next, promoting a solid foundation for academic achievement.
A classical education teaches children how to:
- Think logically
- Communicate effectively
- Solve problems in innovative ways
Ultimately, a child is taught how to think, not what to think.
What are the three stages of classical education?
The three stages within this classical model are:
- Grammar stage
- Logic stage
- Rhetoric stage
Classical Education: Grammar Stage
Let’s start with the grammar stage.
A classically educated child’s formal learning begins in grades one through four.
Don’t assume it’s called the grammar stage because children are concentrating on English this whole time.
Think of it as more of an old-school term.
As in, “the youngsters in grammar school enjoy singing songs”.
It’s a simple descriptive word used for elementary age students.
Children at this age find memorization fun because the mind is like a sponge.
The grammar stage is full of memorizing facts and more facts.
This is usually done in an exciting and appealing way.
A classical education simply takes full advantage of how a young child’s brain works and uses it to the child’s advantage.
The information acquired makes up the basic building blocks of their education and prepares them for the next stage.
Classical Education: Logic Stage
Grades five through eight make up the logic stage.
These middle school aged students are naturally beginning to think more analytically.
They aren’t satisfied with simply knowing basic facts, they want to know the answer to the question “Why?”
Unlike a toddler who asks the same question 4500 times a day, these maturing young minds can actually understand the answers and apply them to their educational experience.
Once they get solid answers to their questions they are ready to move on to the next stage.
Classical Education: Rhetoric Stage
The rhetoric stage is high school.
According to Susan Wise Bauer at welltrainedmind.com, young adults in the rhetoric stage apply “the rules of logic learned in middle school to the foundational information learned in the early grades.”
Ultimately, they are encouraged how to express and defend their beliefs, conclusions, and opinions about the world they inhabit.
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What is a classical school curriculum?
A classical education definitely follows a pattern of learning.
It is also extremely focused on language; a great quantity of this type of learning method has to do with words, written and spoken.
Learning the ins and outs of any language (including the one you speak) requires the mind to work hard actively.
There’s not a lot of passive learning going on in a classically educated child!
Bauer sums it up nicely. “A classical education, then, has two important aspects. It is language-focused. And it follows a specific three-part pattern: the mind must be first supplied with facts and images, then given the logical tools for organization of facts, and finally equipped to express conclusions.”
These well-trusted resources will help you further investigate classical education.
• The Well-Trained Mind at welltrainedmind.com
• Classical Conversations at classicalconversations.com
• Memoria Press at memoriapress.com
• My Father’s World at mfwbooks.com (a combo of classical, Charlotte Mason, and unit studies)
What is Classical Conversations homeschool?
You may have also heard of Classical Conversations and wondered if it’s the same as a classical education for homeschooling.
Classical Conversations is a popular, classical, Christian-based learning program in the United States.
Each week, the Classical Conversation group meets and is taught either by a hired tutor or a group of parents that alternate the teaching responsibilities.
Classical Conversations is often seen as a type of homeschool co-op.
ALSO CHECK OUT THE CLASSICAL EDUCATION BOOKS:
I hope this helped you better understand classical education and make a choice if it’s right for your homeschooling!
Angelene is a wife, an unqualified homeschool mom of three, reluctant writer and blogger, and can be found hiding in her van eating a Frosty when her days are overwhelming and stressful. You’re invited to follow along at www.unqualifiedmom.com.