Purposeful . Joyful . Intentional . Classical Christian Education
For the classical mind, all knowledge is interrelated. Biology isn’t studied in isolation, it is learned along with the history of the scientific method, which leads into the church’s relationship with science and how that affected art during the different church periods. Thus, the reading of Julius Caesar leads students to consider Roman history and the nature of heroism, the fall of a republic, the pitfalls of greed, mathematical ingenuity of the day and man’s understanding of the divine.
A Christian Classical education understands all subjects were made by God, are connected together by God and all point back to God as the center of all knowledge. This allows students to understand what is true, beautiful, and define what is just and virtuous. Unfortunately, instead of God being at the center of all subjects and all subjects connecting and pointing back to him, today’s student is at the center of all subjects and each subject is distinct from other subjects. Classical education puts academic learning in its proper order.
Spending enough time on a subject to gain mastery is foundational. The modern educational institution has reduced learning to outputs of facts. The focus has shifted from subject mastery to state standardized testing preparation in order to maximize the school funding by the state. This has resulted in a deficit of understanding and mastery of subjects. Students have little opportunity to make connections between the past and the current.
In contrast, Classical education remains with a subject long enough so that even the youngest of learners has the ability to make connections, see patterns, and be shown different lines of reasoning. Whether in a math problem, a story, an experiment, or historical event, the approach and sequence remain the same; knowledge, understanding, then wisdom.
Amicus Deo’s immersive Christian Classical Education program believes God is our path to learning all subjects and seeing Him rightly, in all subjects, is our destination. We trust that having God at the center of each child’s education will allow their hearts and minds to be shaped with understanding, knowledge and wisdom to use what they have learned rightly.
At the heart of Classical education is the Trivium (3 roads in Latin) which is composed of 3 distinct arts: grammar, logic and rhetoric. These arts contain the skills that allow people to learn how to learn, not what to learn. Classical education is not vocationally focused. It teaches students the skills of learning to transfer to any subject.
The trivium is a process of education that matches the natural development of a child. Grammar helps students absorb facts and learn the words of a subject to communicate. Logic helps students sort, order, compare, understand and practice using facts from grammar. Rhetoric equips students to write original papers, teach someone else a subject, express themselves creatively, persuade and solve problems uniquely.
Grammar (Knowledge) is the first art to learn any subject through memorization and repetition. Smaller children do this naturally as they learn to talk and read. They memorize the names of letters, numbers, sounds, people, places, phone numbers, addresses, etc. They are learning the grammar of language. Students will learn the grammar of all subjects by learning the vocabulary of that subject. To illustrate; instead of singing a nursery rhyme, we sing the 50 states to a nursery rhyme tune to start learning the grammar of American geography.
Logic (Understanding) is the second art of learning a subject. Students are starting to compare and contrast facts, ask why, determine if one idea is superior to another, if one idea is inferior, and understand the rules that apply to grammar. This is accomplished by asking a lot of questions and can sometimes appear argumentative, but actually, students are trying to sort out what they believe and why they believe.
Rhetoric (Wisdom) is the third art of learning a subject. This is where students are beginning to gain mastery or have mastered a subject. They can teach something to another student, come up with original papers, are able to share and defend what they know and persuade with virtue. Often the art of rhetoric allows students communicate their thoughts and ideas as an expression of themselves.
This thinking skill is concrete. The student demonstrates a tangible knowledge of the subject.
Students can answer tangible questions such as:
Who? What? Where? When?
Subject: Civil War
What were they fighting over?
Where were the battles?
When did it happen?
This thinking skill is reasoning. The student demonstrates their understanding by questioning, comparing, contrasting information.
Students can reason to conclusions:
Subject: Civil War
Why did they fight?
Was it a just war?
Will there be another Civil War?
Did it benefit the US?
This thinking skill is philosophical. The student demonstrates their understanding through explanation or argument.
Students can argue their point, teach about the topic, and discuss.
Subject: Civil War
Write a thesis
Hold a position in debate
Explain their reasoning
Teach on the topic
We focus on learning rather than only focusing on grades, affording students the opportunity to puzzle through questions, take risks in their conclusions, and discover truth. We are committed to an intellectually robust education through copious reading, a stimulating classroom environment, and strong academic teaching. With the overarching aim of love for God and others, we strive for a culture of humility, excellence, and servanthood. Our hope is to offer education for the whole child that equips future men and women to advance the Kingdom of God.