A classical education is what our Founding Fathers’ had. It is what equipped them to write with such clarity and power the Declaration of Independence. It is what empowered them with the knowledge and experience to win the war against Great Britain and then create a federal republic under the banner of the Constitution. And that same kind of education is available for your children today. There are classical private schools (many are Christian) starting up every year. Many homeschools (individual families or co-ops) have also embraced a classical education.
They follow the ancient model from the Greco-Roman world and the Christian Medieval/Reformation world. It is a well defined, structured and systematic curriculum that moves a child in the first grade from simply memorizing facts as building blocks (such as memorizing the rules of phonics) to wrestling with abstract concepts in middle school (algebra), to making persuasive speeches and debating policies or constructing new buildings or inventions (as a high school student).
The early years of grammar school are founded upon memorizing the basic facts to use later. Students memorize their multiplication tables. They memorize the differences between vowels and consonants; they learn what a diphthong is and how silent “e” at the end of a word makes a vowel long. They learn the names and faces of the major characters in history and a basic time line.
In middle school they develop the ability to think in abstract terms, how to write using facts and logic, and why things behave the way they do, not just that they behave a certain way. (Why do the chemicals in baking soda and vinegar create a wonderful demonstration of something similar to a volcanic eruption?) It is here in Middle School that students are introduced to the great classics of literature; everything from Homer’s Odyssey to Huck Finn.
Lastly, in high school, the pieces are all put together in a mind shaped by discipline, repetition, facts, and logic. They don’t read about ancient people; they actually read their original writings…sometimes in the original languages! Don’t scoff at this. Jonathan Edwards, Sam Adams, John Adams, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson could ALL read Latin fluently by their early teens, and by the time they were college-age they were fluent in Greek! All of them could speak enough French or another European language to qualify them as diplomats! How many teens do you know today who can do that?
In a classical education children are rigorously taught reading, grammar, geography, history, economics, music, civics (government), a foreign language, and physical fitness, in addition to science and math.
Do your children learn ALL of these subjects thoroughly, or are they being short-changed?