When you hear the word, “classical,” what comes to mind? There is classical music, classical architecture, classical dance, classical art, classical novels and so much more! This adjective normally connotes something that throughout history that has validated itself to be worthy of ongoing recognition and interest from generation to generation. Subjects deemed classical are worthy of more time, more study, more engagement and more consideration. They survive the test of the ages. This is especially true regarding classical education. A classical homeschool curriculum teaches grammar, dialectic and rhetoric through a Christian worldview—and uses an educational approach ideally suited to a child’s natural learning style.
The rise of secularism has attacked long-taught subjects of education. This is because public schools have deemed a Christian worldview as unintelligible or inappropriate due to America’s belief in religious freedom. As a result, secular educators have altered curricula to exclude traditional books and ideas in favor of modern humanistic thinking. Theology is no longer respected in academia and subjects such as Bible, Latin and Christian Philosophy are now called outdated, narrow and elitist. Though downplaying the existence of God has become the norm, the classical homeschool curriculum understands that educating children about God, life on Earth, and life after death are not just important, but of the utmost importance.
Classical Education Phase 1: Grammar
In a classical homeschool curriculum, the first phase–the grammar stage–focuses on presenting facts that will later serve as the building blocks for learning English, fine arts, geography, grammar, history, Latin, math and public speaking. This begins at age 4 with our Foundations program and runs until age 9. This program is perfect for this age group because it teaches students how to memorize anything, giving them the tools necessary for future learning. In every part of the grammar stage, students are presented these facts with an understanding that God is the ultimate Creator. This emphasis helps students approach each subject with an understanding of its origin in order to learn more deeply and give glory to God, the author of it all.
Classical Education Phase 2: Dialectic
The second phase–the dialectic stage–encourages students to ask questions and give evaluation to the facts presented in the grammar stage. This begins between ages 9 with our Essentials program and runs until age 12. This phase is best for this age group because it’s the stage of life where students really begin to flourish in their sorting and analyzation of facts. This process of comparing, contrasting and constructing is accomplished through dialogue—listening, reading and repeating. This approach is different from education today in that students read and engage through conversation in order to solidify their understanding of the subject. With Classical Conversations, this creates a community of educators who are like minded in their goals of a Christ-centric education. This also creates a vital sense of community in the child’s life so that they feel safeguarded to grow in their education and faith. Classical homeschool curriculum not only preserves the dialectic model of learning but it preserves Christian education. As students work in this phase, including speaking in front of people, children become more prepared for the real world, whether college, work or missions.
Classical Education Phase 3: Rhetoric
Lastly, the third phase–the rhetoric stage–requires that students synthesize their knowledge and apply it to meaningful living. This begins between ages 12 with our Challenge program and runs until age 17. This phase works best in this stage of life because it encourages students to take the analysis skills they’ve learned to become articulate teachers. After learning the facts and asking questions, the student then focuses on the themes and context of the information and applies them to the lessons learned. This stage is designed to help students learn and exercise and communicate their skills across many subjects, all while maintaining the foundations of a Christian worldview. When they graduate they are prepared for their next phase of life, which college and career or many other emerging options that you can find more about at www.homeschoolcounselor.com.
What is Education For?
A classical education understands the essential focus of education—showing children the glory of God. A secular worldview cannot define the true meaning and purpose of education. Some may claim the purpose is to attain good jobs, with others say to improve communities, end poverty, or strengthen the economy. Sadly, our post-modern world gives students the perspective that there are no absolute truths. No secular educators can justify any of these claims nor give a standard purpose for education.
One of the many benefits of homeschooling with a Christian homeschool curriculum is that educators have a standard purpose for education: to glorify God through the pursuit of truth so that our children grow to reflect this excellence of Christ to this lost and broken world. This Christ-centered educational style which combines grammar, dialectic and rhetoric phases has proven immensely successful and has cultivated great Christian leaders throughout history. No matter which stance secular education takes, the Christian foundation will always be the focus of a Classical Conversations. This is the impact of a classical homeschool curriculum, delivered in a warm and nurturing environment, and why you should consider Classical Conversations for your children.
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