Education Methods

Classical Approach

The Classical Approach has roots that date back to the Middle Ages. It is based on three stages of teaching called the Trivium. After younger children have a preparing stage learning the three R’s, they begin the Grammar Stage (ages 6-10) where they focus on absorbing information and memorizing the rules of phonics, spelling, grammar, foreign language, history, science, math, etc. The Dialectic Stage comes next (ages 10-12) where logical discussion, debate, drawing conclusions, research, algebra, and thesis writing is introduced. During the Rhetoric Stage (ages 13-18) systematic, rigorous studies continue as the student seeks to develop a clear, persuasive use of language.

The classical method often incorporates Latin and Greek studies or current foreign languages. There is a strong emphasis on reading “Great Books” in a chronological fashion and a history notebook is kept so the student sees how their lessons fit together. Socratic dialogue is incorporated to encourage students to achieve a deep understanding of themselves and the world.

A typical student’s day may be scheduled with reading, writing, spelling, grammar, math, history, logic and reasoning skills studies, memory work, Latin vocabulary, religious studies (if applicable), art, and music study.

Mother helping daughter with homework


  • Time-tested and proven style of education;
  • Great Books focus, resulting in students who are familiar with key texts and ideas throughout history and across the globe;
  • Exceptional reading skills are developed and students often become more perceptive readers than most adults;
  • Critical thinking skills and logic are taught;
  • Copious texts, schedules, learning plans, ready-to-use curricula, and learning materials are available;
  • Deeper understanding of more modern languages is possible through the study of Greek and Latin.

Points to consider

  • Parents may find the amount of reading too difficult or the level of reading too sophisticated for their students;
  • Focus on reading and seatwork is heavy, leaving less time available for other interests or practical skills;
  • Teaching choices are less flexible: order, interests, time frames;
  • Parents may question how practical the study of Greek and Latin are for modern day students.


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