What is classical Christian education?

Modern education seeks to train for a job or a career. Classical Christian education prepares students to be excellent learners, rigorous thinkers, and effective doers.

Classical Christian education is about who we become, not what we know.

What is the goal of education? Many schools believe it is about training for a specific vocation. We believe that true education is about forming the soul. As you consider how to educate your child, think about how this choice will influence what your child believes and loves. The truth is, no matter what school your child attends, it will shape their character. 

Who do you want your child to be, not just when they’re 18, but when they are 30, 40, and 50 years old? The goal of classical Christian education is formation, not merely information. We seek to work in harmony with the family, helping to prepare young people to think with depth, believe with courage, and serve with compassion.

By analyzing the great ideas of Western civilization and holding them to the light of Scripture, classical Christian students learn wisdom and virtue. Teaching for wisdom and virtue, rather than knowledge alone, alters the focus of education to who we become, not what we know. 

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.-

THINK.

Classical Christian education teaches you HOW to think, not merely WHAT to think.

Modern education has become focused on teaching to the test – training students to simply memorize information. Classical Christian education instead cultivates thinking, articulate students who are able to reason well, work hard, and communicate clearly and persuasively. Classical Christian students learn in a completely different way — by asking questions, reading original texts, and using logic to reach educated conclusions.

A classical Christian education also helps students link subjects together. Although your child’s day will be divided into subject-based classes, classical teachers make clear connections between the Bible and history, history and art, art and philosophy, philosophy and culture, culture and the sciences, and so forth. Your child will learn the “big ideas” that have been proposed throughout history and see not only how they have influenced our culture but how to view them in light of God’s Word.

BELIEVE.

The Christian in classical Christian education.

We use the Bible as our foundation and standard of Truth in every subject in a student’s day. God is not confined to one aspect of life, and He should not be confined to a Bible class. Watch the video to understand the difference between a Christian school and a classical Christian school.

SERVE.

Being part of a community means to live in response to Christ's love for us by serving and sacrificing for others.

Service to others is a theme reinforced throughout the school—whether in class, on the playground, or at a community service event. As each child grows in the knowledge of his or her purpose as a servant of Christ, opportunities abound and teachers gently guide students to lay aside their own desires and serve their fellow man—whether it’s a classmate who is having a bad day, or a parent who needs a little extra help at home. Ultimately, a pattern of dying to self emerges even though the culture around them says the opposite.

Classical education follows a child’s natural stages of learning

Classical education follows the Trivium, a term used to describe the learning stages of children. By adapting the teaching method to each stage, the Trivium develops a knowledgeable, thinking, and articulate student. The three stages represented in the Trivium are Grammar (grades K-6), Logic (grades 7-8), and Rhetoric (grades 9 – 12).

The Grammar Stage – Grades K-6

Everyone loves to do what they are good at! During the Grammar phase, children are eager to memorize and we challenge them with facts that span all subjects from Bible to history to science. We use songs, chants, and rhymes to help children enjoy the learning experience. These years build a solid framework of knowledge that will serve them for life.

The Logic Stage – Grades 7-8

As your child approaches the middle school years, you may notice a new independence and a persistent question...“Why?” This point in your child's development is the perfect opportunity to train him or her in the art of civil discourse. By learning logic and the art of reason and debate, your child will know how to stand strong in the faith and engage others in a loving way.

The Rhetoric Stage – Grades 9-12

Modern educational methods tend to stay the same throughout a child's K-12 years — memorize some information then reproduce it to pass a test. Classical education changes to match your child's learning stage. In high school, students become concerned with what others think of them. This is a golden opportunity to infuse wisdom and eloquence.

“One of the best schools in Idaho academically, but what really drew us to Ambrose was the Bible-centered curriculum and community of other like-minded families. We love how the teachers focus on the child's heart and character, not just on "good" behavior. Love all our teachers!”
SUSAN STERN
PARENT

Classical Christian education is Christ-centered, which means everything done in school, from studies to sports to interactions with others, is rightly placed in submission to Christ. Education is about shaping our loves, and schools like Ambrose are training grounds for learning how to love the Lord our God and live in community with one another. Students are equipped to live as children of God—to be sweetness and light amidst brokenness and corruption—by developing clear thinking, becoming rooted in wisdom, and understanding the world through a biblical lens.

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