“Classical Christian education (CCE) is a time-tested educational system which establishes a biblical worldview (called Paideia), incorporates methods based on natural phases of student development, cultivates the seven Christian Virtues, trains student reasoning through the Trivium (Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric), and interacts with the historical Great Books.”
We seek to educate through a tried and true tradition of liberal education. This is not mainstream education in any way, it aims at wisdom and not wealth, educating the whole person, body and soul, and cultivating excellence rather than conformity.
Classical Christian education teaches students how to think and how to live, to read and write and think logically and creatively. In a time where the mass majority of people are ruled by emotion and quickly persuaded by the flow of culture and what the media (and social media) is proclaiming, it is essential that we develop the minds, wills, and affections of our children to be able to know and discern what is true, good, and beautiful and to eloquently articulate to others what is right.
Eight Common ObjectionsPeter Kreeft, though a Roman Catholic teacher at Boston College, excellently refuted the 8 common objections to Classical Christian Education.
In Ephesians, Paul uses the word paideia when he addresses fathers and how they are to raise up their children: “and you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the [paideia] of the Lord.” The Greek word for the ancient concept of paideia has no exact English translation. The term is one of the more broadly used foreign words in the classical Christian education movement. It is often translated as “nurture and admonition,” or “discipline and instruction,” as seen in different translations of Ephesians 6:4. It is essentially the way a culture is formed and includes the entire upbringing and education that forms the soul of a person. Paideia shapes what a person loves and enjoys, and how they think and act. It does not refer only to the transfer of knowledge from teacher to student, but the transmission of culture from teacher to student. Ultimately, that is what education is- enculturation. It is teaching not only the facts and figures, but the values and morals of a culture. To the Christian, this means conveying the culture of the Church, the Paideia of God. We do not seek to convey the flawed sin-marked culture seen in many churches, and in our surrounding society but the true biblical culture seen in scripture. This is the Paideia of God.
”Classical education considers the whole person, including their worldview, habits, thought patterns, character, and culture. As a person grows up, they absorb their surroundings, not just the answers to test questions. Their education shapes who they are, and how they see the world and act within it. Education should be first and foremost about the cultivation of virtue and a deep appreciation of truth, goodness, and beauty in the souls of our kids. The objective, then, is to shape the virtues and sharpen the reason of students so that these things are in line with God’s will — a Christian Paideia.”
The Seven Christian Virtues.We aim to instill these virtues into the culture of the school and to design our assignments and assessments to develop them.
The Seven Liberal Arts.The seven liberal arts are skills that will free (hence the word “liberal”) a person to learn for themselves, direct themselves, and lead others well. They build one’s reasoning skills and provide one with the tools of learning through seven arts split into the trivium and the quadrivium.
The Trivium"Where three roads meet.”
The Trivium is commonly known as the three arts of language- grammar, dialectic (logic), and rhetoric. Practically, the trivium refers to different stages of education in the K-12 system. The Grammar Stage is often synonymous with elementary school, The Logic/Dialectic Stage with middle school, and The Rhetoric Stage with high school.
The Grammar Stage
The Dialectic/Logic Stage
The Rhetoric Stage
The QuadriviumThe quadrivium involves mathematics: reasoning with numbers and quantities. The four subjects that the medievals categorized under mathematics were arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. These arts are developed to refine our ability to use numbers, shapes, and their relations. In ancient academics, these mathematical arts were built upon the language arts.
In 1948, Dorothy Sayers wrote an essay titled "The Lost Tools of Learning". This short essay is an integral work to the beginnings of classical Christian education. In her essay, she discusses her insightful observations suggesting that the three arts of language- grammar, logic and rhetoric are well suited to the stages of development of a child. Young children enjoy repetition, songs, and chants and at this stage learning focuses on memorizing facts and rules and any ‘grammar’ of a subject (i.e. multiplication tables, geography of a place, dates and events in history, etc). As they grow, junior high students become argumentative and want to know why things are the way they are. Here they begin to learn formal logic and start to make connections between the facts that they have learned in previous years. High school students begin having a strong desire to express themselves and at this stage they learn to do so in meaningful, clear and eloquent ways, through the art of rhetoric.
While the opening year of The Terra Nova School will only include The Grammar School, we hope to grow quickly, yet wisely into developing our Dialectic and Rhetoric Schools in the future. Please pray with us for that end!