Classical Education

Simply Stated


If you are looking for a more “simplistic” or expounded explanation of the Classical Education method and the Trivium...Here it is, according to my understanding...

Let us first decipher the “Trivium”.

The Trivium refers to the 3 part approach of education - Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric.

The first stage or phase of the Trivium - Grammar - is the foundational groundwork of memorized facts and useful information. You might find your K-6th (roughly) grader in this stage of information assimilation. I am always amazed at a child’s capacity for memorization when the information is presented in the proper way.

Have you noticed your child memorizing every Pokemon (or Star Wars) character and relating far too many details to you about each one? You have probably asked yourself, “Why couldn’t this be useful information that he has memorized?”

Certainly, it’s moments like this that affirm your child’s capacity for memorization. So then, why not approach the introduction of useful, factual, and future relevant information in a way that engages your child and teaches him to file it away in long term memory storage?

We can use songs, chanting, flash cards, and games to drill basic facts for all the interrelated “subjects.” Daily recitation periods are part of the classical education model.

Each core subject has it’s own “Grammar” for memorization. “Grammar” is defined as the “Science of vocabulary.”

This “vocabulary” is the focus of the first stage of the Trivium.

Embarking upon the second stage of the Trivium - Dialectic - we learn how to effectively use this “vocabulary” we so enthusiastically committed to memory. You will likely find your 5th - 9th grader (roughly) at this stage. You will find this a very inquisitive age - this is delightful.

In the Dialectic stage you will find your child asking the deeper questions about the “vocabulary” facts committed to memory. Now is the appropriate phase to teach your child how to organize this information and understand how it is all inter-related. While seeking to comprehend all that is beautiful, truthful, and good. A child at this level is developing integrity.

Although students at this age tend to seem rebellious and intent on debate, we can properly focus these desires to respectfully ask meaningful questions and to use formal logic in their reasoning.

The art of communicating clear thoughts and obtaining effective writing or speech skills are an integral part of this Dialectic stage. This dictates that parents should not be afraid to allow children ask the hard questions, seek relevant truths, and engage in intellectual conversation about current events. Dive into classical literature and the brilliant minds of science. Thoroughly examine history in the scope of action and consequence, pause to morally discern spiritual light and darkness and thoughtfully apply these truths to current events.

At the Dialectic stage, a child should be learning to write brilliant essays, parsing and dissecting sentences with ease. He should always understand the power and impact of an intelligently written paper.

Now let’s examine the final stage of the Trivium - Rhetoric. A student at this phase is in roughly 9th - 12th grade. As the student matures in this stage, he becomes a master in the “subjects.” He learns to brilliantly debate various topics with the ability to discern and reason in a logical manner.

A student should learn to compose a very persuasive and elegant essay from unique perspectives. At this stage, he would be well equipped to debate and defend his faith. There is a clear understanding now about how every “subject” is interrelated and how logic and simple truths effortlessly qualify the existence of the Creator.

We see a well grounded, young adult, not easily swayed by the circular reasoning and double speak that flows so effortlessly from the mouths of liberal clones who never address the topic of debate.

The culmination of this purposeful education in Trivium can burst forth nothing short of a true Renaissance man, skilled and knowledgable in all subjects sufficient to face any challenge.

I am very inclined to believe that a generation fortified with such knowledge and skills will have the power to impact the world in only positive ways.

Only when the Creator is at the center of our children’s education can we truly visualize the interconnectedness of all things in the universe. Only then can we see, and attempt to understand, purpose in His design.