July 10, 2013 – Some parents and educators have the misconception that classical education is only for “smart kids.” It is easy to understand why some might think this way. Latin at age 8? Homer’s Iliad at age 12? With such high standards, one might reason, surely classical education is only for born geniuses – the very brightest of our children. Certainly for advanced performance at the highest levels of education this theory has merit. But what about the children who are not born geniuses? What about those who, far from being born intellectually gifted, are living with cognitive and learning challenges, developmental delays, language disorders or physical limitations? Does classical education have anything to offer them? Can classical education benefit any child?
Today, special education has strayed very far from the pursuit of that which is true, good and beautiful, and most children with special needs who have been placed in resource or special day classes receive little of what is inspiring, excellent, or formative. The bar has been lowered to a dangerous level, with “services” and “individualized education” becoming the priority over a robust, comprehensive education that challenges the mind and inspires the soul. The foundation of every education should be purposeful instruction in the three arts of language: Grammar (reading, spelling, penmanship); Logic (analysis, reasoning and discernment); and Rhetoric (persuasive eloquence in both speaking and composition). A good liberal arts education also involves the four arts of mathematics: Arithmetic (number), Geometry (number in space), Music (number in time), and Astronomy (number in space and time). These seven liberal arts develop the mind, any child’s mind, and provide the student with the essential tools for learning. Intrinsic to a robust classical, Christian education is also the study of history, good literature, and art. These studies contribute to the formation of a strong mind, noble character, and the teaching of the Christian faith for matters of the soul.
Classical education can address any child’s challenges and cultivate in him a lifelong appreciation for lasting truth, beauty, and goodness. Modifications can help with behavioral or neurological difficulties, language and sensory challenges, specific learning disabilities and development challenges. Any educable child can receive these great benefits of a classical education: timeless tools for learning, a more disciplined mind, and a love of study. A classical, Christian education is a beautiful gift to give any child.
Used with permission from author Cheryl Swope, Memoria Press,
For more information about special education at the Imago Dei School and our innovative Noble Knights peer-mentoring program, contact Trinity Classical Academy at (661) 296-2601 or visit www.TrinityClassicalAcademy.com