A classical education is an education aimed at human excellence. It is traditional in the ends it pursues, in the materials it uses, and in the methods it employs. Classical schools seek to cultivate virtuous habits of thought and action in order to orient students’ minds and affections to the true, the beautiful, and the good. To this end, classical schools offer a traditional course of study that focuses on the liberal arts and sciences, and a traditional pedagogy that emphasizes active forms of learning. 

Classical education employs a three-stage process of training the mind: (1) the grammar stage, which focuses on learning facts and laying the foundations for advanced study; (2) the logic stage, which teaches students to reason out the relationships between facts and think through arguments; and (3) the rhetoric stage, which focuses on wise and persuasive use of facts and arguments through speech and writing. This ancient pattern is called the trivium, and was thought to be the essential foundation for success in all subsequent courses of study. 

It makes no small difference, then, whether we form habits of one kind or of another from our very youth; it makes a very great difference, or rather all the difference.
— Aristotle

Further Reading on Classical Education


Articles

Books

  • Classical Education: The Movement Sweeping Americaby Gene Edward Veith, Jr. and Andrew Kern
  • The Making of Americans: Democracy and Our Schoolsby E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
  • Cultural Literacy, by E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
  • The Great Tradition: Classic Readings On What It Means To Be An Educated Human Being, edited by Richard Gamble
  • The Seven Laws of Teaching, by John Milton Gregory
  • Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong: and What We Can Do About It, by William Kilpatrick