An Introduction to Classical Education

An ACA education aims at far more than practical benefits. We are based on classical method of the Trivium, providing students the tools for life-long learning. The Trivium works through a child’s natural stages of development. It consists of the first three of the seven great Liberal Arts–Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric.

During the Grammar Stage (elementary school), children study the fundamentals of subjects in order to build a foundation of knowledge on which all future subjects can be further built. In the Logic Stage (middle school), the fundamentals learned during the Grammar Stage years are brought into relationships. The goal is to equip students with the thinking skills necessary to recognize sound ideas and detect false ones. When students mature to the Rhetoric Stage (high school), they can then learn to effectively use oral and written language to express thoughts eloquently and persuasively. The primary goal of the Trivium is not to train students what to think, but how to think, logically, deeply and wisely.

This classical philosophy of education is the tradition passed down to us from the ancient scholars of Greece and Rome, to the monasteries of the Middle Ages and further to the European and American schools of the 18th and 19th centuries. It is the philosophy of education that shaped our country’s founding fathers. It includes the study of Latin and Greek which produces practical, cultural and formative benefits. Practically, it provides a foundation for English and all other modern languages and helps increase standardized test scores due to its strong vocabulary and grammar emphasis. The intensive study of Latin develops the minds of students unlike any other subject. Students who have discovered how to learn with Latin become better-equipped to study all other subjects. Too, the study of classical languages increases cultural literacy and develops knowledge of our own historical heritage which becomes increasingly significant in this age of relativism. Formatively, the study of Latin imparts exceptional academic discipline, moral insight and aesthetic judgment. In light of western civilization, education and classical education have always been synonymous.  Based on this time-tested philosophy, we encourage students to develop a strong academic work ethic, developing their potential, as well as, a life-long love of learning.

To help initiate this desire and keep it aflame, our school culture also adopts the principles of renowned turn-of-the-century educator Charlotte Mason. Her popular method of education believes that children are taught as whole persons through a wide range of interesting living books, firsthand experiences, and good habits. The method is centered on the idea that education is three-pronged: an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.

The classical model perfectly suits modern children, and the unique challenges and distractions they face. Our goal is to provide a knowledgeable, enthusiastic teacher who carefully leads students into an understanding of each subject. Lessons are incremental, content is age-appropriate, and students learn the important skill of quality written work completed in a timely manner. Homework is moderate and is for the purpose of practicing or preparing for a lesson. We do not believe in busywork.  We aspire to create an atmosphere and discipline among our students that creates a love of learning and expect parents to partner with us to do the same at home.

To better understand our philosophy of classical education, we strongly encourage families to read the following: