It uses a three-step process to give each child the tools of learning. The classical educational method gives students the tools of learning and mirrors their intellectual development in three stages known as the trivium:
What is different in the classical Christian classroom as compared to public or other private schools? In the grammar stage, for example, the chief difference is that the classical student absorbs a large amount of elementary knowledge (such as facts, names, dates, vocabulary, spelling, mathematical tables, etc.) and attains mastery of the fundamentals of reading and mathematics. By contrast most modern teaching methods emphasize “concepts” and avoid rigorous immersion in basic principles and facts. As you can see, classically trained students master the tools and methods of learning in an orderly way, and they are not encouraged to “express themselves” until they first master critical facts and learn how to think logically. Then and only then are they in a position to begin to express themselves in a way that is grammatically correct, cogent, and compelling.
At its root, classical education rejects modernism and post-modernism in the classroom. In particular, it rejects the pragmatism that underlies modern and post-modern educational theories—the notion that truth is what works or the idea that we somehow need to educate our children to test well. So some modern public schools spend upwards of 30-40% of their limited classroom time teaching to test—trying to inflate their test scores—all motivated by a desire to increase enrollment and get more money. If, however, they gave their students the tools of learning, they would find that the test scores take care of themselves. At classical schools across the country, student test scores often are off the charts. The goal is not higher test scores, but higher test scores do result when true education takes place in the classroom. One Christian observer concurs that the need of the hour is classical education, “When, in the 1890s, the classical curriculum tried to compete with the sciences by becoming ‘scientific’ too, it signed its own death warrant.” Modern, progressive education ends up producing the opposite of real progress—it actually kills true education. Classical education does not train students to take a particular test or to assume a particular trade after graduation. Instead, it trains students to think and communicate with a mind of wisdom so that they can specialize in their studies downstream and pursue any legitimate calling thereafter.