Wisdom, eloquence, and virtue—these are the goals, i.e., the fruit, that a classical education cultivates within its students. The ancients knew that education should be about more than “basic skills” and mere competency. A good education transformed, elevated, and refined the mind and the soul.
For thousands of years, the classical arts of learning were the standard for education. These arts were timeless and proven because they focused on the timeless and proven. The Good, the True, and the Beautiful were the objects of this sort of education. Eloquent confessors and wise leaders were its results.
Our communities badly need just these sort of men and women. In an endless pursuit of the latest educational dogma, most of our schools no longer have the capacity to judge what is Good, True, and Beautiful, much less teach it. In forsaking the soul for the mind, they have forgotten how to educate both.
Classical Education is a return to excellence in teaching, curriculum, and expectations. Can you settle for anything less for your child?
The first “Lutheran” schools were formed for the precise purpose of offering a classical education to a broader segment of the population than had ever been offered before that time. Martin Luther and the early reformers urged the local governments to set up schools patterned after the ancient academies of the Greeks and Romans teaching the seven liberal arts of grammar, dialectic (logic), rhetoric, aesthetics (music), empirics (astronomy), mathematics, and geometry. These schools became the model for the famous German “gymnasium” and the English “public schools” that set the standard for excellence in education well into the twentieth century.
Unfortunately, this heritage may come as a shock to many Lutherans! Many of our Lutheran schools (the Lutheran parochial school system is the second largest such school system in the United States) have forgotten this heritage or cast it aside in favor of the latest and greatest in education theory. Today, many Lutheran schools, just like so many of our public and private schools seem to presume that no educational paradigm or book that predates 1950 could possibly be relevant to education today.
But this rich heritage and tradition of classical Lutheran education has not been lost. Indeed, the CCLE is dedicated to its preservation. A handful of Lutheran schools and homeschools across the country are restoring this tradition to their classroom. You can find some of them here.
There are seven liberal arts: grammar, dialectic (logic), rhetoric, aesthetics (music), empirics (astronomy), mathematics, and geometry. The first three make up what is known as the trivium, literally the three-fold way. The remaining four make up the quadrivium. This is a natural division to make between them because the first three all emphasize the study of language and thinking. The remaining four concern some form of or are centered on mathematics.
This was the course of study for any “educated” man (or even woman) from age 7 to age 21. Upon completion, the student was ready for a more specialized graduate study. All of the liberal arts have a place in a K through 12 education today, but the trivium is central for a school that teaches classically. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric are not simply subjects as we use that term today to describe history, literature, or science. They describe a systematic approach to learning with the goals of wisdom and eloquence.
A student with a thorough training in Latin grammar is equipped to master English and learn any foreign language, especially those derived from Latin such as Spanish and French. However, the study of Latin offers students more than language skills.
Latin also forms the mind, teaching exactness in observation, judgment, and expression. Every lesson in Latin is a lesson in grammar and logic. These skills are essential to the fast pace of our technological and ever-changing society and cultivate agile and creative minds.
Check the list of Classical Lutheran Schools .