The Classical Method of Homeschooling

What is Classical homeschooling? Isn’t that totally outdated and for old folks? This homeschooling is indeed based in antiquity. Think Graeco-Roman era.

Homeschooling the classical way involves the Trivium and the Quadrivium. What are those? The Trivium means Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric. While the Quadrivium means Arithmetic Geometry, Astronomy, Music, plus Theology as the capstone, the chief end, or chief goal.

The Trivium ( Latin “three roads”) and Quadrivium (“four roads”) completed the seven liberal arts. The Quadrivium was taken up as the upper four divisions in a liberal arts education medieval universities. Arts back then meant “a principled study,” as opposed to todays’ fine arts.

Classical education is what Dr. Christopher Perrin says that “was eclipsed as the reigning model only about a hundred years ago after reigning for over a thousand.”

The way classical schooling goes is it cuts with the grain in childhood deveopment. Its actually the solid way of teaching for two millenia before the 19th century.

The Grammar or Poll-Parrot stage emphasizes observation and memorization, teaching the basics of language construction, this is grades K to 5. Here they memorize a lot through singing it. They easily narrate back to you what they know. Children love to repeat what they know at this stage don’t they?! They just love to know, and to tell you they know!

The Logic/Pert or Dialectic stage comes in when the child begins to argue, analyze, and contest based on what they know, thus this stage includes logic. In grades 6 to 8, they are taught how to use language to construct valid arguments. Think Cicero and Socrates.

The Rhetoric or Poetic stage includes synthesizing, and the study of ways of communicating respectfully, winsomely, and thoroughly; comprising grades 9-12. It includes the study of the great books in their original languages, learning how language can be used for effective persuasion, and acquiring wisdom and virtue in the process.

The goal of classical education is to order one’s affections. It is also generally called “character education” in times past.

Who were classically educated?

To be in the company of people such as Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Quintilian, Copernicus, who doesn’t admire them one way or another?

Martin Luther, Charlotte Mason, Marie Curie, Niels Bohr, and Albert Einstein, or basically anyone from the Greaco-Roman era up to the last 200 years, they were all classically educated.

A Defining Inclusion

The study of Latin is also undertaken in grade 2 onwards. Latin is arguably “dead” but really, it just exists in other forms such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese. There are numerous Latin teachers, speakers and even conversationalists in podcasts today.

Why study Latin?

According to Cheryl Lowe:

  • Half of our English vocabulary came from Latin words and roots.
  • Latin provides the root words for all the modern sciences.
  • Latin is the language of law, government, logic, and theology.
  • Latin is the most efficient way to teach English grammar.
  • Latin is the best preparation for learning any language.
  • Latin is transformative, and effectively trains the mind.

“The original thinkers in the ancient world were the Greeks and the Hebrews, but it was the Romans that summarized, synthesized, codified, and handed it down to us—in Latin. It could have been Greek or Hebrew, but it wasn’t. In the providence of God, it was Latin. And now Latin has spread over the world in all of the sciences, law, five Romance languages and one hybrid: English. Latin is the most influential language in human history.”

Cheryl Lowe

So that’s for Latin. In what way do I lean then? In all these I am unashamedly teaching them Christian classical. There may be numerous schools of thought regarding styles within the classical method of education; but for our family’s intents and purposes, we intend to inform and shape our children’s deceitfully young yet moldable hearts in distinctly Christian worldview.

How is it applied today?

Todays’ international leaders, materials and curriculum providers in this field or movement are:

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Since this is a method of homeschooling, it can be done anywhere and right here in the Philippines, with the right materials, and the right homeschool provider offering a Charlotte Mason/classical-leaning curriculum, or even better, an open curriculum homeschool provider.

Free online resources include: