A classical education divides the span of education into three stages: the grammar stage, the logic stage, and the rhetoric stage. The focus of the grammar stage is memorization and learning facts. In the logic stage, the student learns the “why” of what happens and begins to connect the dots between events and subjects. The rhetoric stage is when the student creates original works and learns how to form an argument and to debate it.
Classical education is cyclical with three or four year cycles. The child repeats each cycle three or four times in the span of twelve years of education. The first time the student goes through the cycle, he creates memory “pegs” on which he’ll later “hang” more and more information. For example: A first grade child in the grammar stage, might memorize basic facts about the Punic Wars (they were fought for over a hundred years between Rome and Carthage in the 3rd to 2nd century BC). A fifth grader in the logic stage covers this material again, but in more detail (such as why the war was fought). He adds to his basic knowledge of the war. A ninth grader in the rhetoric stage, might write an essay on the progression of weapons from the Punic Wars to modern day, or whether each side of the war was justified in their military tactics, and present his argument to his peers. Each time the student covers the subject matter, he adds more and more information to his knowledge base.
Finally, a classical education is very intense, particularly in language arts and history. The commitment is high, requiring a great amount of time and energy on the part of both parent and child. The result is a student who seeks out knowledge and understanding, who asks questions and does not cease until he is satisfied with the answers, who is well-read and is able to present an intelligent and persuasive argument. We highly recommend that you invest in your child’s education by choosing classical education as a model for your homeschool. When researching classical education, we found that The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise clearly outlines the methodology of classical education.
Please contact us with any questions regarding the practical how-to of implementing classical education methods. It is our hope that our products assist you in accomplishing the memory work throughout the grammar stage.