Classical Approach to Homeschooling {Overview}

When you hear the word classical education, what do you think of?

You might imagine old pen and ink drawings of some kind of schoolmaster from the 1200’s teaching classics. Or maybe you think of “Choral chanting” which monks sang at the monastery.


I’d like offer a new view of classical education.  It’s not dull and it’s not boring. It can be very exciting, and if done right, it will give your kids the tools of learning and a love of learning.

Too often we educate our kids the way we were schooled (traditional textbooks). Then, we take away a love for learning by age seven. Hopefully I can give you a different view from a classical perspective which encourages a love of learning.

Dorothy Sayers

dorothyDorothy Sayers believed schools were teaching everything except “how to think”. She studied how

children learn best and reported her findings in The Lost Tools of Learning. Presented at Oxford in 1947, The Lost Tools of Learning suggests educators adopt a suitably modified version of the medieval scholastic curriculum, or classical approach to education.

Schools have used Sayer’s methodology with great success. Homeschoolers also follow Sayers recommendations as they implement a classical approach to Christian homeschooling.

Sayers’ success is an example of how classical education can be used to truly educate children and give them the tools to think and learn. Her use of middle-age classicism is well-worth examining and can be found in her paper, The Lost Tools of Learning.

To begin, classical education begins with the liberal arts.

Liberal Arts 

What comes to mind when you hear liberal arts?

Possibly, a liberal person in college that’s spouting off philosophy and history. When we speak of liberal arts, it’s not in the sense of Democrat/Republican political views.

Liberal arts refers to “liberating the student from the teacher”. The goal of a classical education or a liberal arts education is to liberate or free your student from the teacher.

What is the goal of our public education? 

Students should be totally dependent on their teachers or their boss to tell them what to do for the rest of their lives. This should not be so! We must reverse our thinking from what we experienced in school.

With a classical approach to homeschooling, your goal is that your kids are liberated, to become free from their teacher. Once liberated from their teacher, your students can learn on their own, love learning, and have the tools to move forward.

End Goal of Classical Education

With a classical approach to education the liberal arts will have an end goal of apprehending truth, goodness, and beauty, while finally acquiring virtue and wisdom as an older student.

Why do we do have this goal as Christians?

So we can know, glorify, and enjoy God.

The ideas of truth, goodness, and beauty are repeated over and over in classical Christian education.

What is truth? We always based everything on God’s truth, the Bible.

What is good? We see goodness in the Bible when we see how God treats His people. Then we see goodness in history, literature and science, in a similar fashion.

What is beautiful?  Go outside and see God’s amazing beauty. The smell of honeysuckle; the beauty of a rose; the pitter-patter of rain refreshing the earth.

As you study a variety of subject areas, pull these ideas (truth, goodness, beauty) out for your kids to realize and to seek.

Our society is very caught up in skills and they usually miss what is true, beautiful, and good.  Don’t miss what God has right before you.

I know that sounds very abstract, but we’re going to bring this down to nuts and bolts.  Next, we will discuss the liberal arts of classical education that lead to truth, beauty & goodness.

kerry beck - HowToHomeschoolMyChild.comKerry Beck homeschooled all three of her children for 10 years. She is now an empty-nester that encourages homeschool moms online and at live workshops. She wants to give you a free ebook: Everything You Wanted to Know About Homeschooling that you can grab by clicking here. She also has a free Passion Week Scripture Reading Schedule for you.