Classical Education is about equipping children for the future with what has been proven successful in the past. The classical approach focuses on the time-honored “tools of learning,” a phrase coined by 20th century Oxford author, Dorothy Sayers. The roots of classical learning can be traced back to the Greeks, just before the time of Christ. The classical emphasis is built on a three-fold approach called the trivium. The three foundational academic categories are grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The trivium corresponds to the three basic stages of a developing child.
The Grammar Stage
The student learns the basic skills of reading, writing, and mathematics. Students K–6th grade are naturally good at memorization, and the grammar stage takes full advantage of this fact. This forms the foundation from which all other subjects can be approached.
End result: Student becomes knowledgeable.
The Logic Stage
The student studies formal logic and argumentation. Students 7th–9th grade have a natural argumentative tendency, which if properly channeled will enable children to think and draw their own conclusions based on facts.
End result: Student becomes a thinker.
The Rhetoric Stage
The student learns how to give expression to thoughts. In the high school years, self-expression is very important. The student who is classically trained will be able to communicate their thoughts with eloquence and clarity.
End result: Student becomes articulate.
By following the path of development that children naturally take, classical education teaches “with the grain” and equips students to master the art of learning. Classical Christian education can be summed up this way: the trivium provides the framework of learning, Scripture and classical curriculum furnish the core content, and Biblical truth is the fixed point of reference.