EDUCATION is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue by nourishing the soul on truth, goodness, and beauty. It should be distinguished from training (for a career), which is of eternal value but is not the same thing as education.
CLASSICAL EDUCATION is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue by nourishing the soul on truth, goodness, and beauty by means of the seven liberal arts and the four sciences. Historically, classical education has followed two streams that frequently flow together:
These two emphases, which have often been in conflict historically but are not mutually exclusive, gave rise to two modes of instruction: the Mimetic and the Socratic.
(Taken from ACCS website, except “Latin, which is from Covenant Classical)
We study our physical universe, and then reach beyond it into transcendent truth about the Creator through philosophy and theology. Rather than viewing subjects as an end in themselves, we approach all learning with a love of knowledge (philosophy) and the love and study of God (theology), and we live these loves before students.
Latin: Our students begin the formal study of Latin in second grade. Studying the Latin language provides an excellent foundation for understanding the roots of English vocabulary and subsequently studying other Romance languages. It also systematically trains the mind to think in an orderly fashion, to perform rigorous analysis, and encounter unfamiliar material in a disciplined way.
Persuasive writing & thesis: We base our writing and speaking in the ancient Greek and Roman training in rhetoric. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, not to be confused with speech, debate, composition, or any other subcomponents of it. The defense of at least one rhetorical thesis before graduation typically completes the K-12 classical experience. (Depending on the school, sources may include the progymnasmata, the five canons of rhetoric as described in Cicero’s Rhetorica ad Herennium, and Aristotle’s On Rhetoric.)
Great children’s books: Grammar school students read higher, excellent literature, mainly from the mid- nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. We use the complete, unabridged, and original languages (or the most poetic and accurate translations) of these texts wherever possible.
Great Books: The Western canon from Homer to C.S. Lewis, read as close to the original as possible, is the core of our secondary education. Ad fontes (“to the source”) is a principle in CCE that values original sources over knowledge digested from textbooks. We encounter each work of art as an expression of some truth, goodness, and beauty. We evaluate each work in light of Christian truth.
Great art, music, literature: You become what you behold. Consistent exposure to the greatness of Western culture (and some others) has a profound impact on the paideia. Regular exposure to and appreciation of great music and art in the classroom helps develop the student’s aesthetic sensibility. Classical and great church music are emphasized. Other, more recent forms, like jazz, may also be studied.
History: We immerse students in the whole sweep of Western history, integrated with biblical and Christian history, from a young age. We emphasize human history and culture, not just geopolitical information. Integration with literature helps achieve this goal at some schools.
The term "classical" refers to the classical period of the Greek and Roman civilizations, from which we obtained ancient teaching in mythology, art, architecture, and languages. Classical education has produced many of the world’s greatest thinkers, leaders, and scientists throughout history.
Classical training in literature, Latin, history, and rhetoric was the norm until the twentieth century, when a gradual shift to a progressive model eroded the stalwart foundation of classical learning. In the last few decades, there has been a shift in education towards interactive and experiential learning. In some ways, this is a return to the classical approach where students learned through experience under a tutor.