Yesterday, Tyler asked, “What is a classical education in 50 words or less?” He wanted a start on his own elevator speech to share with his friends and colleagues who express interest in the educational alternative Tyler and his wife have chosen for their children. Recently he recommended Arma Dei Academy, the classical school my wife Robi heads, to a fellow pilot who made this same inquiry. True enough a Dad needs his speech, but what about a headmaster? She needs to be ready not only to concisely describe the target but to drive all school resources toward achievement of the aims of a focused understanding of what she is seeking to achieve. I’ve read, heard, written and spoken on this subject hundreds of times. Most of the statements are lengthy, and the subject deserves the more lengthy treatments contained in books and pamphlets by luminaries such as Dr. Christopher Perrin, Kevin Clark and Ravi Jane, Douglas Wilson, Gregg Strawbridge, Dr. George Grant and many other contemporary reformers. But trimming it to 50 words! After four iterations while wrestling with the 50 word maximum here is my reply. Try it.
Classical education is pedagogy in the Western tradition of becoming fully human through the liberal arts and the gymnasium. It inculcates grammar, ancient and modern language and literature, reasoning and the art of persuasion across the curriculum, mathematics, sciences, arts, and physicality. It is the acquisition of truth, goodness and beauty.