Table of Contents
Articles on Classical Education
Here you will find articles written by our Headmaster, which in large part seek to educate about education. The first article, called “Wanted,” introduces the sort of men and women that Christian parents desire to raise up. If you agree with our summary of the ideal man and woman, there’s a very good chance you’ll enjoy the rest of the articles.
There are several series of articles. “The Classical Curriculum” outlines the subjects, or “arts,” of a classical education. “The Goal of Education” is a pair of articles considering why we educate children. “The Nature of the Student” examines in four articles the connection between man’s nature and the sort of education he ought to receive.
The three arts of the Trivium are Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. Grammar covers the basics of language: the alphabet, vocabulary, syntax, and so forth. Logic has to do with reason and argumentation. Rhetoric is most simply defined as the art of persuasion.
The four arts of the Quadrivium are Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy. Arithmetic is number. Geometry is number in space. Music is number in time. Astronomy is number in space and time.
If there’s one thing that makes classical education “classical,” it is the study of the classical languages: Greek and Latin. Classical education also involves reading the famous literature written in those languages, and studying the times when those authors lived. But a classical education is made classical with the classical languages.
What is the purpose of History? This is as broad as asking, “What is the purpose of life?” And both questions assume that there is some overarching purpose: that there’s not only the historiographer (the writer of histories), but also an Historiokrator – a Lord of History.
The Church has long understood nature to be God’s second book (second to the Holy Scriptures). From nature we can learn of the existence of God, his power, orderliness, providence, and beauty, plus the objective nature of reality.
A common goal of education is to turn children into money-makers. This goal has two flaws. First, it treats the child as if he has no soul, as if this body and life are all there is. And second, it pretends that it’s acceptable, and even good, to live for oneself, to amass a pile of Mammon and be satisfied.
What is the goal of education? Not the acquisition of Mammon. The goal of education is Fides ad Deum, Caritas ad Vicinum, faith toward God, love toward the neighbor. Or as John Chrysostom very nicely sums it up: Χριστιανὸν αὐτὸν ποίησον: Make him a Christian.
Is man by nature good or evil? The modern world rejects the validity of the question; and yet the modern world treats man as if he were by nature good. If the modern world would but open its eyes, perhaps it would see the true nature of man: we are far from good.
Is man by nature good or evil? Man was created good, yet by his sin brought deep corruption on all mankind, such that now man is by nature evil. He is incurvatus in se, turned in on himself. He is a slave to the passions and desires that rage within him.
The Christian view of the Christian student is that he is simul iustus et peccator, simultaneously saint and sinner. Educating this Christian according to his nature, we instruct him in God’s Word, teach him virtue and vice, and give him the knowledge and skills necessary to be of service to the world wherever he is needed.
Even though they were pagans, and even though, when it comes to religion, they had ugly stick figures compared to the beautiful portrait of Christ in the Holy Scriptures, the ancient Greeks and Romans do have masterpieces on morality and ethics and language that can be of great use to us in raising our children.