What is Classical Education?
Classical schools are unique among school options in two main ways:
Classical education begins with the end. What is the end of man? What is man’s life ordered towards? What type of life is befitting of man, and why? If we can understand the end of man, then we can understand how to properly attain that end. If men are meant to be happy and free, we must first understand what happiness and freedom are, then we will know how to pursue those things both as individuals and as societies. Classical education is an education befitting a free and happy human being.
No other creature on earth enjoys the level of rationality bestowed upon man. This faculty, therefore, is essential to our nature as man and we have a duty to rightly order this faculty. When reason is ordered by virtue, man finds himself both free and happy. Free because man is no longer enslaved to his passions, but rather has the ability to do what he ought. Happy, because the virtuous life is enriching to the human soul, breathing fresh air into the recesses of his being.
To accomplish this requires participation in great conversation. At CCA, we do not teach students to banter or simply dismantle their opponents’ arguments piecemeal. Rather, we seek the best kind of conversation, the one that asks: what is good for a human being? What is beautiful? How should I live my life in accord with those things?
Through a rigorous curriculum and conducted in a traditional classroom environment, classical education challenges students to conquer their vices, encounter the greatest thinkers in history, and ultimately engage with the world as a virtuous, rational being capable of self-government. To this end, a classical education delivers real content. Students engage with texts that have stood the test of time for their ability to speak to the intrinsic questions that come with being human. A classical student uses primary sources to enter into the conversation of the good, the true, and the beautiful with the greatest philosophers who ever lived. The student learns about historical events, characters, stories, fables, myths, scientific facts, and mathematical proofs. They read whole literary works in great depth, master Latin, memorize poetry, and learn to approach books both with moderation to learn and courage to question.
The end result: Joyful people, and societies, who experience true freedom because of their rightly ordered lives.