Seven years ago, I knew nothing about classical education . . . absolutely nothing. Today, I’m certainly not an expert on classical pedagogy, but I DO know what the word “pedagogy” means, and even how to pronounce it, and that is significant progress! Very soon, I will have two graduates from the Middle School at Clapham School (with two more to go!), so it’s an interesting time to reflect on our experience as part of this amazing, classical, Christian school.
Seven years ago, I knew that my kids needed more challenge at school. I am blessed to be a mother to four boys, and if you’re a boy-mom, you know that boys can be very squirrelly when they’re bored! Though they couldn't articulate it, they craved more challenge in math, science, and reading as well as more challenge in what was asked of their character. So our search began for a school that would challenge our kids in those ways, and would also teach them the unending grace and goodness of God on a daily basis. A school like that may seem idyllic, but they do exist!
To our great fortune, we discovered that there was a school that aimed to accomplish all of that, and it was right in our neighborhood. For the last seven years at Clapham School, our children have been challenged in so many ways, and we have seen great reward as a result. Beyond our personal experience and observations, The Good Soil study has collected data that clearly shows the rewards of a classical Christian education. As is shown to us in the results of the Good Soil study, students who complete this type of education are well prepared for college, they have a positive outlook on life, enriching relationships and a firm foundation of faith in Christ.
In my opinion, perhaps the biggest reward of classical Christian education comes in the form of independent thinking. The middle school years of a classical education are the Logic (or dialectic) phase of education. After spending their early years memorizing scripture, poetry, spelling rules and math facts, classical students then move into the new phase of Logic where they learn to reason through and articulate ideas. I’m not sure if you know of any middle school aged children who love to argue, but I certainly do! In a classical education setting, students are encouraged to respectfully debate, to ask questions and to think critically. With the foundation of goodness, truth and beauty formed by the continual study of scripture, literature, art, music and the sciences, my children have been encouraged to discuss and even argue ideas big and small. I cannot think of a better tool with which to equip my children than Logic.
With the ability to reason, the many obstacles that I know they will face in life can be approached, thought through and overcome. With God’s word planted in their minds and the ability to reason, I believe there is little that my children will face in life that will overwhelm them.
When I think back on the last seven years, I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to partner with Clapham School to educate my children. My prayer for my children as they grow into adults is that they will ask questions, they will seek truth, and they will know Christ’s love and mercy in all that they do.