Classical Christian Education

What makes classical Christian education so effective? First, it is based on what has been called the Trivium. No matter how your child learns, he or she goes through three phases. In grades K–4, students are excellent at memorizing. In grades 5–8, students become more argument-oriented. They are ready to be taught logic and critical thinking. In grades 9–12, students become independent thinkers and communicators particularly concerned with their appearance to others. To this end, classical education teaches them "rhetoric," the art of speaking, communicating, and writing. It should be noted that though critical thinking skills are formally taught and emphasized at the middle school level, they are introduced and utilized during the elementary years. By the same token, students at the rhetoric stage are still responsible for the memorization and recall of material.

At Sacred Heart Catholic Cooperative, the Classical Trivium influences what we teach as well as how and when we teach it. The elements of the Trivium naturally line up with the developing stages of a child, thus Classical education capitalizes on the natural abilities and desires of the student at each stage. The Classical Christian Education integrates subjects like literature, history, language, art, math, and science and religion. Students read the great works of Western literature and philosophy. Classical languages (specifically Latin) help students understand and think with greater depth about the world around them. Formal logic and rhetoric help students become great leaders and communicators. Classical teaching methods range from class lectures, to debates, to Socratic (discussion-oriented) teaching. Independent learning skills are sharpened at all grade levels.

The Christian faith is present throughout the curriculum. Classically educated students will not distinguish between "God's creation" and "science"; between "God's order" and "mathematics"; or between "Church history" and "world history." Throughout the curriculum, an inseparable association exists between "subject-matter" and "spiritual matters."

A common question many parents have is, "Is classical Christian education still relevant?" Yes, more now than ever. Our world is accelerating as technological, cultural, and geopolitical forces reshape our daily lives. The subject matter and skills required in the market are evolving and changing rapidly. However, thinking, articulate people are always in demand. Those who are able to acquire new skills rapidly and independently are sought after regardless of the field. Classical Christian education has a proven track record of turning out these types of students.

Classical education furnishes students with the basic thinking and character skills needed for a lifetime of growth and learning. By implementing these proven educational practices in a purposefully Christian atmosphere, Sacred Heart is raising up a generation of leaders who are equipped to impact their culture for God's glory.