Classical Christian Education Made Approachable (henceforth called CCEMA) felt very much like a simplified synopsis of much of what I’ve read about classical education this summer and before. It is a short, simple, and meaningful read defining classical, Christian education and answering the questions of how then shall we study and what then shall we study.
What is classical, Christian education?
“With God still firmly at the center, a classical, Christian education moves one step beyond a great Christian education by considering the relationships between economics, science, and history and the interconnectedness of math, language, and the fine arts.” (CCEMA, pg.11)
“The ultimate end of classical, Christian education is for students to know God, His ways and His world more fully, and to steward and transmit that knowledge to others responsibly and winsomely.” (CCEMA, pg.15)
How then shall we study?
“In addition to (#1) teaching a core body of knowledge, a classical education prepares students for an adventure of lifelong learning by (#2) teaching them how to think.” (CCEMA, pg.17) Simply put, through use of the trivium. Consider education a progression through grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. Grammar focuses on memorization and recitation, dialectic on reason, analysis, and debate, and rhetoric on discussion, writing, and speaking.
What then shall we study?
“…well-educated students need to master the core subjects of literature, writing, math, geography, history, science, and the fine arts. There are certain books, authors, thinkers, scientists, and artists with whom every educated person must be familiar. The proper material prepares students to discern the difference between truth and lies, goodness and evil, beauty and ugliness.” (CCEMA, pg.34) We’re talking about classics: materials that have stood the test of time and set the standards.
I love this quote from C.S.Lewis’ “On the Reading of Old Books” shared in CCEMA. “Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period…The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can only be done by reading old books. Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes.” It is certainly true that keeping the past in mind through knowledge of it gives us a clarity of thought when approaching the present and preparing for the future.
Knowing all this now, how do we answer who should lead children through these ways of education? “The biblical answer is to be found in parents assuming the responsibility which God has given to them, and only to them, for the education and upbringing of their children.” Douglas Wilson, Repairing the Ruins
CCEMA was yet another reminder to me to begin by first searching the source, the Bible, for the truth. Before making any educational decisions for my children, I need to explore what God is saying and then determine our course. God has given my children to my husband and I to raise. While classically homeschooling our children can be intimidating at times, CCEMA offers encouragement. ‘Parents who are willing to pursue knowledge will find it and can share the joy of his journey with their children.” (p.52)
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them upon your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
– Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Of the books I’ve read written by Leigh Bortins, I’d say CCEMA most connects how and why Christians especially can use classical education. Making this connection is helpful in keeping a firm stead. Also, it’s brief! So, if you’re looking for a quick read to help you better understand classical education – check this out!
Have you read Classical Christian Education Made Approachable? If so, I’d love to hear what you think. Also, check out the reviews of CCEMA by Brandy from Half a Hundred Acre Wood and Melody of And Here We Go.