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Classical Christian education is an approach to learning which emphasizes biblical teachings and incorporates a teaching model from the classical education movement known as the Trivium, consisting of three parts: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. According to Douglas Wilson, this method of instruction was developed by early Christians as part of the Seven Liberal Arts.[1] Wilson's writings and the Logos School he founded have been cited as being influential in reviving the Trivium and fueling a modern educational movement, primarily among American Protestants.[2][3][4]

Classical Christian education is characterized by a reliance on classical works by authors such Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Josephus, Dante, and Shakespeare, and an integration of a Christian worldview into all subjects.[5] In addition, classical Christian education exposes students to Western Civilization's history, art and culture, teaching Latin as early as the second grade and often offering several years of Greek.[3]


The modern Classical-Christian educational movement began when Douglas Wilson published "The Lost Tools of Learning". In it he expanded on a paper written by Dorothy Sayers by the same title.[6] She lamented that the “great defect of our education" was that schools taught information, but did not teach students how to think. Wilson described an educational model based on the child's developmental capabilities and natural inclinations.

  • From birth, the child learns language and about itself.
  • From about age 2 to age 4, the child develops social skills and gains mobility and dexterity
  • The Grammar stage begins around age 5. In this stage, the child is in a "parrot" stage of repeating what they are told. This phase sees them enjoying simple songs over and over, so songs, rhymes and memory aid teach the basics of reading, writing, numbers and math, and observational science. Many schools begin Latin language training in 3rd grade. Some schools will also teach a Christian Catechism while students are in this phase, as foundation for intensive study of the texts and structures of the Bible.
  • The Logic stage begins in 6th grade. At this age, students naturally develop an argumentative behavior, and are equipped with tools of logic and how to formulate a defense for an idea. This provides the foundation for Sayers' 'teaching them to think' model.
  • The Rhetoric phase happens during high school, blending the prior learning with specialized knowledge, generally in a college preparatory curriculum. [7]

The Association of Classical Christian SchoolsEdit

Since the 1980s, according to Andrew Kern, the classical education movement has "swept" America.[8] The Association of Classical Christian schools consists of hundreds of member schools and approximately 40,000 students in the United States alone.

See alsoEdit


  • An Introduction to Classical Education: A Guide for Parents (2005), by Christopher Perrin
  • Norms and Nobility: A Treatise on Education (1981), by David V. Hicks
  • Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning (1991), by Douglas Wilson
  • The Case for Classical Christian Education (2003), by Douglas Wilson
  • Wisdom and Eloquence (2006), by Charles Evans and Robert Littlejohn
  • The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (2009), by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise
  • The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education (2011), by Leigh Bortins
  • The Liberal Arts Tradition (2013), by Kevin Clark and Ravi Scott Jain
  • The Question: Teaching Your Child the Essentials of Classical Education (2013), by Leigh Bortins
  • The Conversation: Challenging Your Student with a Classical Education (2015), by Leigh Bortins

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Wilson, Douglas (1991). Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctively Christian Education. Good News Publishers. ISBN 0-89107-583-6.
  2. ^ Leithart, Peter J. (2008-01-29). "The New Classical Schooling". First Principles. Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
  3. ^ a b Ledbetter, Reed Tammi (2003-03-12). "University model, classical education emerging anew as schooling alternatives". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on 2007-08-23. Retrieved 2008-09-11.
  4. ^ Copeland, Libby (2001-11-27). "Higher Yearning: At Patrick Henry College, Home-Schooled Students Learn to Confront the World". The Washington Post. p. C01.
  5. ^ Peterson, Patti (2008-08-24). "Veritas: School Combines Christian, Classical Education". The Virginian-Pilot.
  6. ^ "The Lost Tools of Learning".
  7. ^ "Classical Christian Education Overview".
  8. ^ Kern, Andrew. "Classical Education: The Movement Sweeping America". Retrieved 2019-02-14.