“What makes classical education so effective? It is largely because of its approach to how and when students are taught. Regardless of their learning style, children learn in three phases or stages (grammar, logic or dialectic, and rhetoric), known as the trivium. . . It is precisely this kind of education that has produced countless great leaders, inventors, scientists, writers, philosophers, theologians, physicians, lawyers, artists, and musicians over the centuries. Classical education never really disappeared, but it did diminish starting around 1900 with the advent of progressive education. In an effort to restore this most proven form of education, the liberal arts tradition has been being renewed and expanded again over the last thirty years.” (Classical Academic Press)
Grammar – (K-6)
In the grammar stage (grades K-6), students are naturally adept at memorizing through songs, chants, and rhymes. If you can get children in this stage to sing or chant something, they will remember it for a lifetime. Each subject has its own grammar, which forms the factual foundation and building blocks for the higher level thinking of the Logic and Rhetoric phases. In science, children memorize facts about nature. In math, children memorize times tables. In Latin, teachers emphasize vocabulary and basic translation. This fact base is not the sole objective of the classical education process, but it is a necessary chapter in reaching the goal of forming a wise and winsome student. Likewise, beautiful words, rich stories, and wonder at the details of creation fill the Grammar stage. These, in turn, nourish a poetic and moral imagination which becomes a reservoir of inspiration for Logic and Rhetoric students.
Logic – (grades 7-9)
“In the dialectic or logic stage, teenaged students are naturally more argumentative and begin to question authority and facts. They want to know the “why” of something—the logic behind it. During this stage, students learn reasoning, informal and formal logic, and how to argue with wisdom and eloquence.” (CAP) Practice in making written and oral arguments helps to further develop these skills. Teachers encourage the use of argumentation in each subject.
Rhetoric – (grades 10-12)
“This stage is naturally when the students become independent thinkers and communicators. They study and practice rhetoric, which is the art of persuasive speaking and effective writing that pleases and delights the listener.” (CAP) Students read the classics in their original languages and the senior year culminates in a final thesis.
If you are interested in knowing more about Classical Christian education, check out the resource below designed for parents by a former Headmaster!