What is Classical Education?

“Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to, convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty.”

— Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787

Classical education is a liberal arts education. “Liberal,” in this case, means “free.” Classical education prepares young men and women to live in freedom and independence, and not in a servile existence. The primary art for which we are preparing is the art of living well. Job skills are a by-product and not the end of classical education. The end is a virtuous young adult who lives not with historical or cultural amnesia, but rather with a sense of who she is in the context of human history. Classically trained students will be well qualified for future studies in law, medicine, business, engineering, technology, theology or any other professional or vocational pursuit. We aim for our students to know the story of our country, and to read and write with facility. We are assured that a young graduate who is able to use her knowledge of the past to make good decisions in the present and to plan wisely for the future will be in high demand and prepared to flourish.

Classical education requires teachers who are trained in academic disciplines (literature, history, sciences, mathematics, etc.), and not just in “education.” Naturally, classical school teachers love to spend time with children, are kind-hearted, and know how to manage a classroom. But subject matter expertise is required. Our vision is to create a faculty that is academically gifted and in full pursuit of intellectual interests, because these habits tend to positively influence students who are by nature looking for leaders to follow.

Articles on Classical Education

What kind of a school is CAL?

By T. O. Moore, Principal, Atlanta Classical Academy, Atlanta, GA

*Adapted with permission

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Core Knowledge: How Do We Know This Works

E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

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The Missing Link in Reading Comprehension

Jason Caros

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Reading Comprehension Requires Knowledge – of Words and the World

E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

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Books on Classical Education

Why Johnny Can’t Read: And What You Can Do About It

Rudolf Flesch

Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong: and What We Can Do About It

William Kilkpatrick

The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education

Leigh A. Bortins

A Thomas Jefferson Education

Oliver DeMille

Cultural Literacy

E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

The Making of Americans: Democracy and our School

E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

The Schools We Need

E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

The Well-Trained Mind

Susan Wise Bauer

The Seven Laws of Teaching

John Milton Gregory

The Lost Tools of Learning

Dorothy Sayers

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