In a previous post, I said that Classical Education gives our children the tools to think, reason and discourse about life. That is no small thing in a time when bumper-sticker-solutions to complex problems are the norm.

In the following posts, I will discuss what constitutes a Classical Education, beginning with a look at its roots and purpose.

First and foremost, classical education has its roots in Ancient Greece. The Greeks believed in man’s immortal soul, and therefore, it was important to nourish that soul, as well as the intellect. They used the word paideia, or education, to mean the upbringing of children, and the purpose was not merely to impart a certain body of information, nor was it to ensure one had the skills to pursue a trade. Paideia, made a man good and capable of living as a citizen or a king. This education was about training for freedom and virtue. To the Greeks, education was enculturation which led to the formation of virtuous capable citizens. Education formed their identity as Greek citizens and it encompassed all that they as a people considered necessary to ensure their happiness, which was based on knowing what was good and what wasn’t, and on choosing what was good for themselves and others. There is much here for us to consider as we ponder the fact that patriotism is under attack and the idea of being a citizen of America is giving way to the idea of being a citizen of the world.

The Greek idea of paideia is the basis, whether we are aware of it or not, for the current views on “socialization” which homeschooling families take for granted, but which much of the world fails to understand when it questions us about “socializing our young.” We are trying to teach our children the art of living rather than merely teaching them a body of facts, because we want them to live lives of virtue and get to Heaven.


Next time, we will look at the Trivium, or the early part of Greek education.

 

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