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What is a classical education?

Elvis Elvis

The best resource I know of for teaching a classical education is “The Well-Trained Mind, A Guide to Classical Education at Home” by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer. This is the book I wish I would have known about and read BEFORE I started to homeschool. It contains a wealth of information. It would be easy to be overwhelmed by the information provided in this book. Please take heed to what the authors say. Most people will not follow the program exactly. The reader is encouraged to pick and choose which parts of the suggested curriculums fits their individual needs.

I wish I had read this book from the beginning because I would have loved to have started out doing things the way they do things. I love that they do history starting from the beginning and I wish I would have done that. I’m doing that now, but I feel as though we are “behind”. And I love how they spend a whole year on life science, another year on earth science and astronomy, a third year on chemistry, and a fourth year on physics. I wish I would have done that too. It makes so much more sense than what the science textbooks have you do. They lightly touch on each subject each year and then they do it all over again and again and again while adding a little bit more information each time. You never feel like you are really getting to the meat of anything.

A classical educator divides learning into three stages. The grammar stage, the logic stage, and the rhetoric stage. This is called the trivium.

What is a classical education?

The grammar stage covers the elementary years from grades 1 to 4. This is when the mind is like a sponge, ready to adsorb information. This is when the rules of phonics, spelling, grammar, poems, the vocabulary of foreign languages, the stories of history and literature, descriptions of plants and animals and the human body, and the facts of math are learned and memorized.

The logic stage is the why stage. It is the middle school age 5th, 6th, and 7th grade. It is when the child wants to know why things happen.

The rhetoric stage covers the high school years. By now the student knows what happened, has some understanding of why and now is reading to form their own opinions about it.

Read this book before you do anything else. It is an excellent place to start.