The classical approach has roots that date back to the Middle Ages. It is based on three stages of teaching called the Trivium. After younger children have a preparing stage learning the three R’s, they begin the Grammar Stage (ages 6-10) where they focus on absorbing information and memorizing the rules of phonics, spelling, grammar, foreign language, history, science, math, etc. The Dialectic Stage comes next (ages 10-12) where logical discussion, debate, drawing conclusions, research, algebra, and thesis writing is introduced. During the Rhetoric Stage (ages 13-18) systematic, rigorous studies continue as the student seeks to develop a clear, persuasive use of language. The classical method often incorporates Latin and Greek studies or current foreign languages. There is a strong emphasis on reading “Great Books” in a chronological fashion and a history notebook is kept so the student sees how their lessons fit together. Socratic dialogue is incorporated to encourage students to achieve a deep understanding of themselves and the world. A typical student’s day may be scheduled with: reading; writing; spelling; grammar; math; adding to a history notebook; logic and reasoning skills studies; memory work; Latin vocabulary; religious studies (if applicable); art; and, music study.
time-tested and proven style of education
the focus on “great books” results in students who are familiar with key texts and ideas throughout history and across the globe
with an emphasis on reading, students often become better readers than most adults
logic and critical thinking skills are taught
there are plenty of clear texts, schedules, learning plans, ready-to-use curricula and learning materials to choose from
the study of Greek and Latin develops a better understanding of more modern languages
POINTS TO CONSIDER
some parents may find the amount of reading too difficult or the level of reading too sophisticated for their students
the heavy focus on reading and seatwork leaves less time available for other interests or practical skills
there is less flexibility to teach things out of order
some parents may question how practical the study of Greek and Latin are for modern day students
“The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home” by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer
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