“If classical Christian education is more than simply a refuge from troubled, dumbed-down, secular school systems, what is it? In his introduction, Joshua Gibbs offers a teacher’s clear, concise, and thoughtful answer. Classical Christian education is a choice. Every parent ought to read this pamphlet before making it.”
David Hicks, author of Norms & Nobility
Read lengthy excerpts of the pamphlet and order copies here. A full audio version of the pamphlet is coming soon, hosted and sponsored by the Classical Learning Test.
“There are aspects of the aristocratic life which people born average are never going to participate in. They’re never going to shop on Saville Row. They’re never going to pay a talented composer to write a requiem mass. They’re never going to subsidize the composition of an epic poem which pays tribute to the historic glories of their nation.
However, it’s not as though every aspect of an aristocrat’s life is cut off from the common man. An aristocrat doesn’t hold out a vision of the good life to the common man to taunt him—but to inspire him.
While a common man can’t patronize the arts, he can adopt the manners of someone who does. Even if a common man can’t spend like an aristocrat, he can behave like an aristocrat. He can listen to the sort of music which an aristocrat patronizes. He can hold his fork like an aristocrat, pass the salt like an aristocrat, and stand for women like an aristocrat. He can speak like an aristocrat and hold his tongue like an aristocrat. He can iron his shirt. Just like an aristocrat, he can come home in the evening to a clean home and made bed—the fact that it’s he who has made the bed matters little.”
“Classical Christian education is a movement caught in a strange moment. Because classical Christian education is a rapidly growing movement, it is presently filled with both many newcomers and many veterans. One of my goals in authoring this pamphlet is to get newcomers and veterans on the same page. It is tempting to speak to each group separately and offer a slightly different message, but I believe that would only deepen divisions currently present in the movement. For this reason, I have written a treatise on classical Christian education which is both meant as an introduction to newcomers and a plumbline by which veterans can measure their own grasp of the movement’s purpose.
If you are new to classical Christian education, greetings. Welcome. If you do a little digging, you will find that the classical Christian schools in this country have a good deal in common, but there are also differences between them. Some of these differences are insignificant, but as the movement continues to grow, some of the differences are becoming quite significant—significant enough that two schools both claiming to be “classical Christian schools” might not really be doing the same thing. Regardless of which school has the better understanding of classical Christian education, the differences become a problem for both schools if they do not carefully and clearly articulate what the “classical Christian” label means up front. Failing to do so will mean that a school brings in new families and teachers who think classical Christian education means one thing while the administration and older teachers think it means something very different, in which case the school will slowly become divided against itself. If this happens often enough, the entire movement will become divided against itself. I have written this pamphlet to help prevent this from happening.”
-from “A Short Introduction to Classical Christian Education,” available 3/18 through Gibbs Classical
My life is already sufficiently taxing that the idea of watching Everything Everywhere All At Once is rather overwhelming. I’d rather see A Few Nice Things Nearby Arranged In A Pleasing Chronological Manner.
“In many Christian schools, the ethos of an “ideal” teacher is far more defined by Christian radio, youth group, books about the family, and devotional literature written for small groups than it is by, say, the Rule of St. Benedict. The contemporary Christian teacher is aghast by old adages like, “Don’t smile until Christmas.” We’re convinced that the only way students will like a teacher is if the teachers tries his hardest to be likeable. If karate were taught at a Christian school, we’d fire Mr. Miyagi and his pointless “wax on, wax off” schtick after five minutes. Too hard. Too pointless. Not friendly enough.”
“Classical education is growing rapidly, which means the average school has teachers who have been around for ten years, five years, and five months. They’re not all on the same page—there’s no way around this, but it needs to be acknowledged. The way to get them all on the same page isn’t to make them read and discuss the same books—which won’t hurt, but won’t really do all that much, either.”