Introduction to Classical Education
Classical Christian education is the biblical appropriation of a time-tested method of teaching called “trivium” (grammar, logic, rhetoric), which was practiced throughout the ages since the ancient times, and which produced some of the greatest leaders of history, including the great founding fathers of America.
Classical education emphasizes learning from the “classics,” because it stands on the conviction that God has providentially guided history and that riches of God’s glory can be gained from every age, with its culmination in Jesus Christ.
Classical education also emphasizes languages (ancient and modern), grammar, speaking, and writing because word (language) is God’s unique gift to mankind through which people can learn the deep things of God in Scripture and nature, and gracefully take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.
In all its levels, programs, and teaching, VCA seeks to:
A. CONTENT: Train students to appreciate the truth, goodness, and beauty of God.
B. METHODOLOGY: Emphasize grammar, logic, and rhetoric in all subjects (see definitions below), to help students to develop knowledge, discernment and wisdom.
C. MOTIVATION: Encourage every student to develop a love for learning and live up to his academic potential.
D. MORAL: Cultivate wisdom and virtue, founded upon faith and knowledge of Christ, which reflects the image of Christ.
E. SCOPE: Help the students to critically engage with the great literatures throughout history.
F. SKILL: Master foundational skills and concepts in math, reading, writing, grammar, Latin and the arts.
G. COMMUNITY: Provide an orderly and graceful atmosphere conducive to the attainment of the above goals.
Traits of Classical Education
Classical Education is a Time-tested Method (“School of Athens”)
Classical education appropriates a time-tested method of teaching called “trivium” (grammar, logic, rhetoric), which was practiced throughout the ages since the ancient times, and which produced some of the greatest leaders of history, including the great founding fathers of America.
Integration of All Knowledge
At Veritas, all subjects are taught under the premise that all truth is God’s truth whether it is found in general revelation, biblical revelation, or kernels of truth found in ancient philosophies or classical literature. Each subject is taught and integrated as much as possible with other subjects. Each student is encouraged to ask the deepest and the most important questions of life and discover its relevance to the most mundane details of life.
Lordship of Christ
Abraham Kuyper once said, “Christ claims that there is not an inch of ground in the world of which he does not say, ‘It is mine!’” The Bible teaches us that Christ is the Creator, Redeemer, and Reconciler of all things (Col 1:16-20). At Veritas, we believe that a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the key to knowledge and wisdom, since all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom are hidden in Christ (Col. 2:3).
We believe that true education takes place as the teachers and the staff embody a Christ-centered life and biblical worldview. Teachers are selected based on high academic standards as well as qualities of effectively shepherding a child’s heart and building them up in the image of Christ.
Classical Education Maximizes God’s Gift of Language
Classical education also emphasizes languages, grammar, speaking and writing because word (language) is a unique gift to the mankind through which people can have deep fellowship with God, and gracefully “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.”
Acquiring the Love and the Tools of Learning
Veritas believes that having the love for learning and the tools of learning are more important than having mere knowledge, so that once having acquired these, students are fully capable of learning all things efficiently, effectively,, and most importantly, for the glory of God. The trivium teaching method is designed to do just that. At the grammar stage, foundation is laid with a God-centered view of all things. At the logic stage, students are taught the rules of proper thinking to the point where they know how to analyze, synthesize, and “take every thought captive.” At the rhetoric stage, students are taught to express all their learnings in a way that reflects the goodness, beauty, and truth of God, a process by which they grow to love learning.
Veritas Classical Academy believes that it exists to reinforce the parental authority and responsibility of raising their children in the Lord. Accordingly, Veritas values and encourages parental involvement in the school and works with the parents to build up a Christ-centered family at home.
Educating the Whole Person
Veritas prizes the education of the whole person. Jesus has called us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength” (Mt. 22:37), a command given especially in the context of raising children (Dt. 6:4-9). This is achieved by applying the trivium, presenting information in a way that matches where children are developmentally.
Why Classical Schools are Superior to Modern Schools
What is different in the classical Christian classroom as compared to public or other private schools? In the grammar stage, for example, the chief difference is that the classical student absorbs a large amount of elementary knowledge (such as facts, names, dates, vocabulary, spelling, mathematical tables, etc.) and attains mastery of the fundamentals of reading and mathematics. By contrast most modern teaching methods emphasize “concepts” and avoid rigorous immersion in basic principles and facts. As you can see, classically trained students master the tools and methods of learning in an orderly way, and they are not encouraged to “express themselves” until they first master critical facts and learn how to think logically. Then and only then are they in a position to begin to express themselves in a way that is grammatically correct, cogent, and compelling.
The Stages of Classical Christian Education
Grades Jr. K -1st
In the earliest grades (K-1st grade), children are prepared for the Grammar Stage by learning how to read, use numbers, fit in at school, write letters, sing, build, and play. This is a time of exploration and discovery, in which the student uses all of his or her senses to grasp an understanding of the world around them.
In these grades (2nd – 6th grade), students absorb facts and lay the foundation for further study, what classical education calls the grammar stage—learning the rules or basic facts of various academic disciplines that serve as the foundation for further study.
In the middle grades (7th – 8th grade), students armed with facts and principles learn to reason and think logically through arguments, what classical education calls the logic stage.
In the high school years (9th – 12th grade), students learn to express themselves effectively using the written and spoken word, what classical education calls the rhetoric stage.