Academics – Classical Education
Classical education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue by nourishing the soul on truth, goodness, and beauty by means of the seven liberal arts. A Judeo-Christian worldview fulfills this view of education by recognizing its ultimate purpose: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We believe that since learning occurs over the span of a lifetime, that schools should provide a student with the tools necessary for the lifetime educative process. Thus, our school is designed to provide the two basic needs of starting a student on the path to a lifetime of learning: communicating and modeling wisdom and virtue.
We are constantly seeking to increase our students’ knowledge, actions, judgments, and thoughts by teaching them the habits and knowledge of the Western canon. Even though knowledge in and of itself is of great worth, we believe that education in addition to knowledge also encompasses moral behavior and virtuous character. Through the means of rational and critical thinking, knowledge is heightened into understanding. Understanding, when it is experienced in the classroom begins to form the habits of wise and virtuous living. The habits of thinking and judging are tempered by an appreciation of that which is beautiful. In all these content areas, a harmony is brought to the true, the good, and the beautiful through a focus on Christ and His revelation of God’s love.
Another way of setting forth this path of learning is to reference the seven liberal arts. Long a historical construct, the recent disappearance of the arts from education is something we are seeking to recover. The seven arts are skills that all learners use with greater or lesser felicity, to study any of the disciplines. The Trivium, or three grammatical arts, covers the inventing and combining of symbols (grammar), thinking (logic), and communicating (rhetoric); together these form the three verbal arts. The Quadrivium moves from words to number by addressing the concept of numbers (arithmetic), the application of numbers (music), the notion of space (geometry) and how numbers and space relate to motion (astronomy). The fact that we think of such different things (usually disciplines of science) when using these terms in our day indicates how “lost” these arts are in our culture of learning.
As our students pursue these disciplines and skills, their own behavior will naturally be impacted. The characteristics of a Christian scholar are preeminent in our school. Both the student and the teacher share in a love and pursuit of intellectual curiosity, intellectual justice (including honesty and fairness), a personal commitment to one’s moral duty, a passion for virtue and the goodness, a growing love of beauty, a commitment to giving reasons for what is believed, and a commitment to knowing God and His holiness.
We believe the teacher in our school must see his position as one of fellow learner alongside his students. He will seek to develop a relationship of tutorial love with them. The teacher must be an accomplished student of the specific content he is to teach. He is to model the characteristics of a Christian scholar mentioned above. Not only should his intellectual depth and breadth be continually growing, but his spiritual life should be characterized as constantly moving “further up and further in.” Inherent in this relationship is the notion that a teacher will pray for his students and pattern all his dealings with the students after the ethic of Scripture.
Along with study of such a scholarly Christian character, the teacher should have a growing facility with the seven liberal arts (Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Mathematics, Music, Geometry, and Astronomy) that allows him to be coach of these arts to his students. His focus should constantly be on developing these arts and skills in each of his charges. Teaching is above all else relational in its nature and tutorial in its methods. The two most common forms of classical teaching, Dialectic and Didactic Instruction, will be the main technique employed in pursuing the seven liberal arts.
The student must also be actively involved in his pursuit of his education. Learning is not a passive activity, but makes demands upon the learner. Above all, the student must be a lover of wisdom and virtue, and must seek it as for great treasure. If this love is intact and growing, there should be a growing relationship of love and respect for his teachers, especially those who emulate the vision set for above. The student will follow his teacher as his teacher follows after Christ.
We recognize the God given role that parents play as the primary educators of their children. At CCS our goal is to develop a culture of learning within which teachers and parents function as co-educators. We are not content with the traditional model of parents as passive onlookers. We actively promote the participation of parents in the education of their children and believe that by adding your own unique insight and experience to the lessons your child receives in the classroom, you will help to augment and reinforce the work of our teachers. By working closely with our parents we hope to integrate learning into all areas of your child’s life.
The first goal of a student then becomes that of striving to acquire specific content in order to grow in what he knows, how he acts, how he makes judgments, and how he thinks. Secondly, he will continually be developing behaviors and character traits that facilitate the lifelong enterprise of acquiring knowledge, becoming virtuous, acting morally, judging rightly, appreciating beauty, thinking rationally, and becoming holy. Thus our school is a place where truth, goodness, and beauty cultivate wisdom and virtue in the hearts and lives of its participants, both the teachers and students, by following after Christ.