Classical Education

A three-part process of training the mind

The classical method of teaching came to prominence in the Middle Ages, and directly influenced the thought of some of the world's greatest philosophers, scientists and leaders. Its roots can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece. More than any other teaching philosophy, the classical method forms the basis of how many of us think about education. It's used in some of America's top colleges, including Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Notre Dame and Princeton. The core idea behind classical teaching is that the most important thing students can be taught is the ability to self-learn.


The Trivium

Practitioners of the classical method believe that the human brain develops in three distinct stages: grammar, logic and rhetoric. These three basic components are called the "trivium."

Divergent Approaches

There are two prevailing schools of thought when it comes to applying classical education concepts in a home schooling environment. The first is referred to as the single-subject method. This entails only teaching grammar in the grammar stage of the trivium, introducing logic-based subjects such as math, science and business only when the child has reached the logic stage and, finally, introducing philosophy in the rhetoric stage.

Others prefer a more modern take on the classical method, and teach all subjects during all stages of development. However, most parents still divide each subject up into the three stages of the trivium and teach them in order.