Classical Approach - What Is It?
by: Kerry Beck

In continuing my series on approaches to homeschooling, I would like to introduce the classical approach.

The core of Classical Education is the trivium, which simply put is a teaching model that seeks to tailor the curriculum subject matter to a child’s cognitive development. The trivium emphasizes concrete thinking and memorization of the facts of the subjects in grade school; analytical thinking and understanding of the subjects in middle school; and abstract thinking and articulation of the subjects in high school. Subjects unique to Classical Education which help accomplish the goals of the trivium are Grammar, the science of language usage; Logic, the science of right thinking; and Rhetoric, the science of verbal and written expression. Classical Christian Education is further characterized by a rich exposure to the history, art, and culture of Western Civilization, including its languages (Latin and Greek), its philosophy and literature (the Great Books of Western Civilization and the Christian tradition), and the development of a Biblical worldview with Theology in its proper place as the Queen of the Sciences.
~~from Christine Miller's site

Sources to learn more about Classical Education:

Teaching the Trivium, Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style
by Harvey & Laurie Bluedorn                                                          Buy Now!
I have read this book and it is EXCELLENT. One of my favorite aspects of this book is that it is packed with Scripture to support the classical philosophy & approach. Below is a review by Christine Miller of Her review sums up my view of this terrific source:

Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.00 until you have this book. If you can only get one book on this page, make it this one. The Bluedorns have done an excellent job explaining the Biblical foundation of homeschooling, of Christian education, and how to apply the Trivium to a uniquely Biblical, Christian education at home. “Long ago, students were first taught how to learn. Today, students are taught an encyclopedia of subjects -- trivia -- but they are not taught the basic skills of learning: to discover, to reason, and to apply. They are not taught the Trivium. Because we are Christians, we do not want to pursue non-Christian goals. Classical Education must be sifted through the critical screen of the Scriptures to be transformed into the Biblical model.” The Biblical model is thoroughly explained and applied throughout the book. Packed with Scripture, guides for teaching discovering (grammar), reasoning (dialectic), and applying (rhetoric), and many, many practical how-to’s and helps of all kinds, with an out of this world appendix of resources, this is the Well-Trained Mind for those that want their children to have a uniquely and thoroughly Christian education and grounding in a Biblical worldview (that’s all of us, right?). It is inspiring, encouraging, and hopeful -- the Bluedorns have lived this life with five children, the youngest of which is 17.

Well Trained Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer and Jesse Wise
I have audio tapes of Susan and Jesse speaking about their view on classical education. The Well Trained Mind is a great handbook in walking you through all the stages of classical education, as well as extensive resource lists. Please know that their publisher asked them to give suggestions for every subject area they discussed. Both Susan and Jesse do not believe you should do everything they have listed, every grade level in school. You do need to pick and choose what is best for your family. Below is a review by Christine Miller:

This book by a mother and daughter provides much practical advice for pursuing a classical education at home, as Mrs. Wise has successfully homeschooled her daughter using classical education, who earned a perfect score on her GRE. The book is based on Mrs. Bauer’s experience teaching university-level English, and her mother’s experience homeschooling classically, and what each of them believes they did right, as well as what they would change if they were to do it all over again. Their thoughtful graded plan to give your children the gift of a well-trained mind is included. Cautions with this book: it takes a secular view of classical education, and although a brief section on religious education is included, Biblical admonition or building a Biblical worldview is not the underpinning of learning language, logic, or expression -- the trivium. Caution number two: Genesis is divorced from both history and science, and therefore from the foundational place it serves to Christian doctrine and moral living.

Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum, by Laura Berquist
Mrs. Berquist has homeschooled her children for 15 years and gives suggestions, with experience in her book. She follows Dorothy Sayers guidelines of grammar, dialectic and rhetoric stages as she outlines suggestions in all subject areas. Protestants should also find much practical help in this “treasure for Catholic parents.”

Seven Laws of Teaching, by John Milton Gregory

Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, by Douglas Wilson

Repairing the Ruins, by Douglas Wilson

Classical Education and the Home School, by Douglas Wilson, Wesley Callihan and Douglas Jones This is one of my most favorite websites!!! Christine Miller continues to add to this terrific source in educating your children classically from a Christian perspective. Her website has a link to her publishing house, Nothing New Press

Fallacy Detective, by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn

Thinking Toolbox, by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn

I forgot to include some classical curriculum suggestions and some websites. These are listed below:


Mott Media
Veritas Press
Trivium Pursuit
Canon Press
Memoria Press
Critical Thinking
Audio Memory
Cumberland House
Rummy Roots
Greenleaf Press
Learning Wrap Ups
English from Roots Up
Logos Curricula
Jim Stobaugh
Excellence in Writing


Classical Homeschooling
Trivium Pursuit
Well Trained Mind
Fallacy Detective
Forest of Rhetoric
Circe Ministries
Laura Berquist
Logos School



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