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A Primer on Homeschooling Methods & Approaches

What is Liberal Arts?

"The liberal arts are the general linguistic and mathematical skills that enable a person to excel in every academic area—as well as in the practical activities of life. In classical and medieval times, there were thought to be seven of these arts or skills: grammar, logic, and rhetoric (the “trivium”), as well as arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music (the “quadrivium”). The first three were linguistic arts, and the last four were mathematical. We would probably say today that there are more than just the four mathematic skills worthy of mastery, but the liberal arts remain the greatest summary of the skills a person should be expected to know in order to be accounted an educated person.

Through the study of the greatest that has been thought and said by Western writers and thinkers, we pass our cultural heritage on to our children. Western civilization is made up of three elements: the Greeks, the Romans, and the Hebrews—and the coalescing of these three cultures into what later became known as Christendom, the Christian civilization that remained the dominant cultural force in the West until the early twentieth century. A familiarity with the Greeks, the Romans, and, most importantly, the Christian Bible is essential to understanding our culture.

The liberal arts are the “how” of education, and the study of Western culture is the “what.” A mastery of both of these is the best way to prepare a child, not only for college, but for life." ~Memoria Press

What is Classical Education?

"Classical education depends on a three-part process of training the mind. The early years of school are spent in absorbing facts, systematically laying the foundations for advanced study. In the middle grades, students learn to think through arguments. In the high school years, they learn to express themselves. This classical pattern is called the trivium.

The first years of schooling are called the “grammar stage” — not because you spend four years doing English, but because these are the years in which the building blocks for all other learning are laid, just as grammar is the foundation for language. In the elementary school years — what we commonly think of as grades one through four — the mind is ready to absorb information. Children at this age actually find memorization fun. So during this period, education involves not self-expression and self-discovery, but rather the learning of facts. Rules of phonics and spelling, rules of grammar, poems, the vocabulary of foreign languages, the stories of history and literature, descriptions of plants and animals and the human body, the facts of mathematics — the list goes on. This information makes up the “grammar,” or the basic building blocks, for the second stage of education." ~Susan Wise Bauer http://www.welltrainedmind.com/classical-education/