As the headmaster of a classical school, I often speak with parents who are examining our school, who are both interested in and puzzled about classical education. “How does the classical approach differ from what is offered in public schools?” “Are there any other schools doing what you are doing?” “How do your students perform on standardized tests?” After seven years, the questions are predictable, but wholly justified. Unfortunately for me, even my answers are now predictable, which is one reason I am writing you. If you will read this before you talk to me (or someone like me) you can spare both of us my stock replies. Secondly, if I put my answers down in writing, I am bound to say something new.
I wish to commend you for your questions, for your thinking. To come with hard-boiled questions is something, as you shall see, that is quite classical. Classical education is a long tradition of asking questions and digging up answers, consulting others, then asking, seeking and finding once more. It is joining, as one writer puts it, the “Great Conversation.” That means reading great books (the classics), studying them, mining them, talking to others about the influential ideas they contain. Whatever else classical education is, it is an ongoing series of questions and answers. So you see why I am glad you come asking all manner of things besides the yearly tuition.
I’ll leave it for you to read, but there is a new Paideia in schools that most parents today narrowly escaped. Many of our God-fearing friends, neighbors and relatives feel their only option is to pray for their children and hope for the best. Classical Christian Education is the real answer to their prayers, but they won’t know it unless we are ready, willing, and able to tell them. Share this book (Purchase with your Amazon Smile account with donations set to go to MLCA) and this article from The Classical Difference Newsletter. Let’s talk about how grateful we are that classical curriculum supports (not supplants) what we teach in our homes. And most importantly, let’s encourage folks to visit, to tour a school, and to see the classical difference for themselves.