About Classical Christian Schooling
Classical Christian Schooling:
- Reflects the dominant educational paradigm from 600 B.C. until the mid-1800’s A.D., providing a highly intellectual educational form that focused more upon educating the child than upon socializing or training him (as often does the modern system of schooling). There is little experimentation or trial and error in the classical model; it relies upon an age-old, tested, and proven model that works.
- Emphasizes well-roundedness and students’ participation in the “Great Conversation” that has developed Western Civilization. The classical approach provides a genuinely broad liberal arts education with rich selections in the study of language and literature, chronological history, theology, and the arts.
- Includes extensive study of math and science, which are part of the liberal arts. An historical survey will reveal that the great minds that formed some of the most significant innovations of their time–such as Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, and Albert Einstein–were both remarkable scientists and logicians, linguists, rhetoricians, theologians, and historians. A quality liberal arts education embraces all of these areas (and the proper definition of “liberal arts” must include science and mathematics). It also rejects the false dichotomy suggesting that one must choose between either the intellectual rigors of the humanities or good training in the sciences and in mathematics.
- Embodies a thorough grounding in the truths of God, which are revealed both in His Word (Special Revelation) and His world (General Revelation). We believe that the study of Creation must never be separated from the One who made it.
- Weaves the humanities of Bible, literature, history, and fine arts into a common narrative. For instance, when students read about Egyptian history, they also study the life of Moses in Bible class. When they read the Epic of Gilgamesh in literature class, they reference the Great Flood in Genesis. When students discover Paul’s missionary journeys, they also learn about the Roman Empire and culture.
- Often picks up Dorothy Sayers’ suggestion that the Trivium provides a model of developmentally-appropriate learning for students. In the grammar stage (roughly K – 6), students are taught the “pieces” of learning. Because they enjoy and take pride in the process of memorization, young students are immersed in rich facts, stories, and information. Teachers extensively use song, chant, and repetition to ensure that students obtain a broad informational knowledge that may be used in later stages of their education. By the time they reach the logic stage (roughly grades 7-9), students have already obtained the “building blocks of learning,” and are ready to put them together. While students enjoy debate and argumentation, they are encouraged to think through the “Why?” of their studies, making a complete whole out of the information that they learned in the Grammar School. When students reach the rhetoric stage (roughly grades 10-12), they are offered an emphasis upon expression – both oral and written – of the knowledge they have assembled in the logic stage.
- Seizes on repetition of content to expose students to content multiple times and at progressively complex levels. For instance, Dominion students study the history and literature of the Ancient Near East in second, fifth, and ninth grades. Other periods of history and literature are discovered in increasing depth at each stage.
- Underscores the importance of student discussion, particularly in the upper grades. For more information about this aspect of our model, please visit our page on the Harkness Method.
- Produces some of the strongest students in the nation. On average, classically schooled students score approximately 358 points above the national average on the high school SAT, and Dominion’s students score about 390 points above the national average. Likewise, Dominion’s students score more than 150 points higher than their peers in other parochial and independent schools, which tend to offer more selective admissions policies. It is notable that classically educated students also tend to enjoy much higher scores in mathematics and science on the high school SAT, bringing further emphasis to the point that a truly classical education values serious study of these areas.