Two chief goals of classical education are to help students become lifelong learners and to give them the tools they need be successful at learning for the rest of their lives. While a person may catch the bug for learning any time in life, there is no better season for inspiring that love of learning right down into a person’s bones than in the early years before he or she becomes a teenager.
I met a student recently who was about to graduate high school and the first two years of college all in the same day! Not only is that an impressive accomplishment, but also it is an accomplishment that has become increasingly common over the past decade or so. The rise of dual enrollment opportunities that allow high school students to take college courses has made it possible for thousands of American teens to graduate high school with an AA degree from a local college or university. Again, that is a pretty amazing accomplishment!
Perhaps we should ponder the meaning of the word “education” before we try to discern what a good education is. The word is derived from the Latin infinitive educāre or educere or a combination of the two. Either way, the word carries the meaning “to lead” or even “to lead out.” Understood this way, it is easy to see that any good education must lead the learner to something. Anything that claims to be education but is passive in its application, perhaps allowing the learner to find his own way, isn’t exactly education. To be educated then is to necessarily be led out of ignorance and into a particular knowledge, a particular way of understanding that produces wisdom. Such is a proper classical Christian education.
When Janice and I visited Trinitas Christian School at the invitation of Justice Ken Bell (father of three Trinitas alums) fourteen years ago, it wasn’t because we were looking for classical education. We were looking for Christian education to be sure, but we didn’t even know enough about classical education to ask a good question about it. Seeing was believing for us that day though, and one tour of the school during a normal day of classes convinced us that this classical education was worth a try.