Why Classical? – An introduction

August 18th, 2010 by Nate

There are many schools of thought on homeschool methods and curriculum.  Mandi and I are choosing to follow a modified classical model of teaching.  This post is the first in a series which will explore the reasons why we chose the classical method.  Both of us will share our perspectives on the issue and some of the history behind this decision.  First, we thought we should provide a brief overview of the method.

The book and web site The Well-Trained Mind is our guide on the method.  The model itself hails back to the time of Socrates.  For K – 12 education this is often called the trivium because it proceeds through three stages.  Each subject can be taught using this method.

The three stages include:

  • Grammar – Learn the facts of a subject.
  • Dialectic or Logic – Learn the logic or lack of logic in relation to the facts.
  • Rhetoric - Learn to express a coherent viewpoint based on logic and the facts.


These stages are roughly applied at the following “grade levels:”

  • Grammar: PS/K – 4
    Roman Colosseum By: Jimmy Walker
  • Dialectic or Logic: 5 – 8
  • Rhetoric: 9 – 12


Your mileage may vary so to speak.  Children develop at different rates.  Some children may go faster and others slower.  This one of the benefits to homeschooling, that children can learn at their own pace.

Subjects are not taught as separate items, but as interrelated as they truly are.  This allows connections to be made across various disciplines. Another unique distinction is the entirety of human history is taught three times once during each stage.  The final significant difference is the teaching of the classical languages of Latin and sometimes Greek.

We will go into more detail about the classical method and how we apply it in future articles.

One Response to Why Classical? – An introduction

  1. [...] education, which I find lacking in the current system, is that as students progress through the three stages, they build upon previous learning. Without the proper building blocks, it is difficult for [...]