Trivium Pursuit

Classical Education

What do you mean by a Classical Education, and how do you define it differently from other homeschoolers?

We commonly understand the term classical as referring to everything which the world highly esteems of ancient Greek and Roman culture, especially the literature. We broaden our definition of classical to include what is of good form and of lasting value, regardless of the specific time period. We then put these things to the test of what conforms to a Biblical standard within a Biblical worldview. In other words, we don’t limit ourselves to Greek and Roman culture, and we pass everything through the critical screen of Scripture.

When we narrow our discussion down to classical education, we are speaking of ancient Greek and Roman – and some Mediaeval and Renaissance – practices in education. One of the prevailing concepts among them was that of the trivium. Scholars can only speculate as to whether the ancients inherited the trivium from earlier sources, borrowed it from contemporary sources, or stumbled upon it themselves through natural observation, or all three. We say the ancients stole it, and by that we only mean that they took what is properly God’s order and they appropriated parts of it to pursue their own glorious ends instead of pursuing the glory of God. The trivium was used by pagans, just as the alphabet and the wheel and architecture were used by pagans, but there was nothing inherently pagan in the alphabet, wheels, and architecture. They may have used these things in pagan ways, but the things themselves were not inherently pagan.

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