Classical Education

What Is Classical Education?

“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.”

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


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