Classical Education

From An Introduction to Classical Education: A Guide for Parents Classical Academic Press – Dr. Christopher A. Perrin

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.

If you are like most, you have probably heard about classical education by means of a friend who either has a child enrolled in a classical school, or who is home-schooling classically. You are doing your research, and are interested enough to do some reading about classical education. If you have visited a classical school or co-op, you may have seen a few classes in operation which have raised eyebrows, interest and many more questions. In any case, you have questions—and a good many of you will have put those questions down in writing.

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.


Book Review—Battle for the American Mind: Uprooting a Century of Miseducation by Peter Hegseth with David Goodwin. – By Kyla Archamboult
The gratitude I have for stumbling upon Classical Christian Education when my first-born was still a toddler makes it hard not to gush given the opportunity. But I’m at a loss for words talking to parents that are fed up with public school. I’ve felt ill-equipped and too self-conscious to have these conversations. Enter Battle for the American Mind, by Peter Hegseth. The book is a synopsis of the last 100 years of education, coupled with what Classical Education is and what it is not—exactly the kind of equipping I needed.
Battle talks much of a key Latin word: Paideia. For the sake of brevity, think of Paideia as culture. From the time of Early Christianity to the mid-twentieth century, our Paideia was what Hegseth calls the Western Christian Paideia (WCP), passed down through the very same Classical Christian Education (CCE) that we are so blessed to have here at MLCA. CCE seeks to prepare children for life on a foundation of Biblical Truth + Wisdom so that they may keep their faith. Studies have shown* that CCE has more fruit on the tree in this area than other educational models—even other religious schools!
If you graduated from public school between 1945 and 2005, you were taught an American Progressive Paideia (APP)—maybe some tenets ring a bell: “American exceptionalism, the pledge of allegiance…patriotism” (97). Other stamps of the APP include “scientism…individualism, equality, a focus on vocation and deemphasis on History” (90-94). Hegseth states “[children] are trained to think with certain assumptions, but are not taught to examine those assumptions (96).”
The WCP, by contrast, “train[s] children how to be free. “Education should ensconce tradition, and a healthy dose of skepticism to critique ideas both new and old. This critique, in light of scripture, develops young minds that will not easily be lorded over by tyrants, but that will also respect the order of God’s world. Western Christian Paideia was “intentionally created for a self-governing people (50).”

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.

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
*page 214, Battle for the American Mind. *www.classicaldifference.com/good-soil