Core Values of Subjects Taught Classically (Part I)

Last Friday evening, Veritas teachers gathered at a hotel meeting room in Dana Point for a productive and refreshing overnight work retreat. Especially refreshing and energizing to everyone was when teachers shared their core vision for each subject with one another so that everyone grasped not only a more clear overall vision for each subject and their eternal impact on our children, but also a more clear picture of what each teacher does at each level. Here, I would like to share just a glimpse of those core values we discussed in two subjects: history and philosophy.

History—Students study the providence of God, both in redemptive history and general history, so that they clearly see God’s truth, goodness, and beauty, and develop the love and passion to play their critical role in the unfolding drama of God’s story. We shared examples from history how the great history makers all had a deep understanding of history from biblical perspective. A recently published book titled, For the Glory of God by Rodney Stark, proves not only that major scientific advancements were made by Christians, but it was their belief in a monotheistic, personal, moral God that lies behind these great advancements. At Veritas, grammar students learn the “grammar” of history—who (biography), what, when (timeline), and where (geography) of history from providential perspective. Logic students learn the why’s and how’s of history—causes and consequences, how man’s relationship with God has consequences in history. Rhetoric students learn how to analyze and evaluate people and events in history from a Biblical perspective, sharpening their wisdom through debate.

Philosophy—A study of history should culminate in a study of philosophy, which is a study of ideas. Veritas students take 2 years of philosophy in their Junior and Senior years. Combined with history, students will understand how ideas—beliefs about what man is, whether there is God, whether there is purpose and meaning in life, and what is truth—have radical consequences, good or bad. Greatest leaders in history are Christians who can articulate the wisdom of a Christian view of life. A few examples are Augustine (City of God), C. S. Lewis (Mere Christianity), Chesterton (Orthodoxy). Grammar students learn the Christian view of life through songs, catechisms, and Bible memory verses. Logic students learn the “logic” of what they believe by learning the reasonableness of Christian worldview as it is related to all aspects of life, and the Rhetoric students learn to articulate and defend that view in contrast to other belief systems. Thus trained, students of classical education become both counter-cultural yet winsome in the world at the same time, as the recent Cardus study shows.