Have you ever heard of the classical homeschooling method? If you have, I am sure you may be wondering what are classical education pros and cons. Today we will be looking at the pros and cons of the Classical homeschooling method with the help of Joelle of Homeschooling for His Glory, Deana of The Frugal Homeschooling Mom and Heather of The Principled Academy. Let’s walk.
Classical Education Pros and Cons According to Joelle
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Why did I choose to follow a classical model of education? Well, when I was researching the different methods of homeschooling, especially by reading The Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling, the Classical model really appealed to me. Classical education’s emphasis is on mastering the tools of learning (Language and Logic), and on a love of truth, wisdom and virtue. These were exactly what we were wanting to teach our kids, so Classical seemed the way to go.
We wanted our kids to grow to be careful thinkers and this is the ultimate goal of Classical Education methodology. Classical Education goes beyond the acquisition of a set of knowledge, to the skill of being able to interact with and use that knowledge. Classical Education pulls from the knowledge and wisdom of the ancients to foster a love of learning and intellectual rigor in students. I want to make it clear that Classical Education is not a set of curriculum to follow but a philosophy of education.
- Love for the classics and living books (which makes it easier to use your library)
- Strong emphasis and foundation in Language Arts
- Appreciation for the Arts and for beauty
- Appreciation of values and morals, as well as wisdom
- Emphasis on critical thinking and logic
- Encourages mental rigor
- This method of teaching often helps the parents to fill in the gaps in their own education.
- It encourages an integrated view of life and the world.
CONS of Classical Homeschooling
Some of the cons of Classical Education would be (though I have adapted some of these to fit our own homeschool – you can read about it in my series Relaxed Classical Education):
- Emphasis on memorization, narration and dictation. This can be too rigorous and repetitive for some.
- Often times parent intensive (discussions and heavy involvement in the teaching)
- Emphasis on ancient Languages such as Latin and Greek.
- Strong emphasis on History. If you or your child does not enjoy it, it might become a drag.
- Can be weak in the sciences, if not intentionally taught.
When it comes to classical curriculum, there are lots out there. First thing to do when leaning toward a Classical Education is to read The Well-Trained Mind. I do not follow it strictly but this was my starting point 6 years ago. Since then I have moved around lots of different classical curriculum companies and still do. My favorites are:
- Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts
- Susan Wise Bauer Language Arts
- Classical Academic Press
- Tapestry of Grace
- Memoria Press.
CLASSICAL EDUCATION PROS AND CONS ACCORDING TO DEANA
Why We Choose Classical Education for our Homeschool
Classical Education is based on the theory of child development called the Trivium, in which children are naturally geared to learn in three stages: the Grammar Stage (younger students learn basic facts and fundamental knowledge), the Logic Stage (intermediate students learn principles and relationships of concepts), and the Rhetoric Stage (older students learn and practice application and synthesis of knowledge of a subject). Each stage represents a different level of thinking, and a different approach to learning.
We chose a classical-style approach to teaching our children at home, because it just seemed the easiest thing to do. With multiple children to teach, a classical method has made my planning much easier, and my scheduling of our homeschool day less demanding on me. I teach the five children in my care (I teach my own three plus two children from another family) Language Arts and Math with a traditional-style curriculum. But all other subjects are taught together, in a one-room-school type approach, in a Classical style.
Classical education, such as Classical Conversations (which my family participates), is so easy to structure among all ages. In my house, every child learns the same subject together, yet also tailored according to their level of understanding and attention span.
And the output from their learning looks slightly different. The youngest children may have a page to color after being taught the information, while older children show their learning in more challenging ways, such as a notebooking page, comprehension questions, or giving an oral presentation on the subject matter.
There are so many other good reasons to choose a Classical approach to homeschooling. This is just our top reason. It works well for us!
The only con of homeschooling in a classical style is that it is so very different than most other methods of schooling.
Having come from a teaching background, this style of learning has not come naturally for me to teach. I struggled with what seemed like too much rote memorization. It took me reading the books, The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Weiss Bauer and The Core by Leigh A. Bortins, to really grasp the value of classical education and begin to accept it. Once I did, and now that we’re 3 years into it, I’m beginning to see the benefits and the outrageous collection of knowledge my child has gained, and I’ve totally changed my tune.
The only other thing that I feel is important to mention is that teaching your child at home in a classical style is a bit of a risk if you’re not 100% committed to homeschooling. What I mean is that, if a younger (lower grades) child must be admitted to a public school setting after being taught in this way, he/she may possibly have a harder time adjusting to the different style of teaching in his/her new setting. However, older students (middle/high school) would probably do just fine, and in fact, be able to perform better than the majority of their peers in their core classes such as English, Math, History and Science. Just my experienced opinion, having taught public school in the past.
CLASSICAL EDUCATION PROS AND CONS ACCORDING TO HEATHER
Why we use the Principle Approach
My husband and I prayed about how the Lord wanted us to teach our children. When a friend introduced us to the Principle Approach, we had confirmation that this is how He was directing us. Our heart’s desire is to teach our children Bible Principles- and with the Principle Approach they learn Bible Principles in every subject and life areas in general. Naturally, those are pros to using this method of teaching and learning.
Even more so, during all the years we have taught/learned with this method, we see fruit within our children (and ourselves) as we learn together Biblical Truths. So, we have kept with this Classical (Hebraic) Biblical form of education because it is a treasure that draws us closer to Him and His ways. In addition, I can teach many subjects to several of our children at one time because the Bible Principles are overarching.
As far as what some may consider to be cons go, the main challenges are that an actual curriculum is written for K-3rd and beyond that are overviews which direct parents with what to teach over the course of the year for 4th-12th. This can be intimidating and time consuming for people if they don’t have anyone available to help them see how to do it- how to put together lesson plans. That’s one of the main reasons my blog, Principled Academy, exists: to help show people how to use this method.”
AND A BONUS: a video interview about Classical Homeschooling from Amy of LivingandLearningatHome
Join me on Tuesday when we will be looking on the Waldorf Method with the help of Andrea from Waldorf Salad and Cottage Fries.