Classical Education

Classical Education

Classical

The classical approach makes use of the natural wonder given us by our Creator, which is the path to cultivating joy, and employs rigorous mental discipline which leads to academic excellence. A classical approach to education is characterized by an emphasis on the liberal arts. At St. Augustine, we focus on organized and integrated learning of: languages, mathematics, humanities, sciences, logic, and rhetoric, providing the tools of clear thinking and persuasive expression.

Classical education seeks to emphasize the truth that all knowledge is unified. This means that every subject has relevance for every other subject, and thus the well-trained mind looks for the core principles of wisdom from which it can learn all later knowledge. Practically this means that subjects are not taught in isolation but rather in constant conversation with one another.

Additionally, classical education professes that truth, goodness, and beauty are objective.  The student does not shape knowledge but is rather shaped by it as he pursues it.  Ultimately all knowledge leads to the One God, since, as all truth reflects his very nature.

At St. Augustine, we believe that a classical education is the fullest expression of the attempt to glorify God with all our mind.

 

End-Oriented

One of the distinctives of Classical education is that it has an end in mind with each of its endeavors.  We do not teach a first grader or a fifth grader with merely the completion of first grade or fifth grade as our end goal.  Classical education always teaches toward a mastery of the whole wisdom of the Lord, as shown in objective truth, goodness, and beauty.  This form of education does not tend to focus on modern benchmarks; rather, the goal of the classical curriculum is to ultimately transition the student into a self-teacher, so that he understands not only how to complete the course, but how to learn.

 

Humanities

Classical education studies the classic works of literature, history, philosophy, and religion.  Together, these make up the Humanities. Truth is cumulative and the great works of Western Civilization are the foundation for all modern thought and culture. And while the Western world was the world most immediately infused with Christianity, one of the benefits of classical Christian education is that the focus is moved away from the modern self towards the giants on whose shoulders we stand, and it is finally moved to the person of Christ himself, for “he is before all things, and in him all things consist” (Col. 1:17).

 

Maths and Sciences

At St. Augustine the maths and sciences are emphasized and pursued with rigor.  God’s creation is meant to be studied through the sciences, and He orders his universe through the laws we study in science.  Mathematics have always been at the core of the liberal arts curriculum, and classical philosophers engaged with numbers and what they tell us about truth, as much as they did words.  Classical education honors our history, but does not reject our present advances in any of these areas.  We study the present, sitting under the tutelage of the past.

 

Latin, Logic, Rhetoric

In addition to maths, sciences, and the humanities, St. Augustine students will learn Latin, Logic, and Rhetoric. These fundamental disciplines will enable them to master more specific topics and to see the inherent connection between each discipline. These subjects could be renamed knowledge, wisdom, and eloquence, as they seek to explain the basic mechanics of language and thought, the proper organization of language and thought, and the persuasive and effectual use of language and thought.

 

Additional Reading

Classical Education: An Old Paradigm for a New Path

by Steven Wedgeworth

An Introduction to Classical Education

Christopher A. Perrin M.Div., Ph.D.