Classical education is actually a modern term used to describe what was once simply called education. The term was birthed out of asking what type of education those in the past received that created the type of faith, character, thinking ability and skills of previous generations. The driving passion has always been to give our children the very best education and upbringing that we possibly can. The revival of classical Christian education is fluid; it is always growing and maturing as a form of education. There is no single defining standard, just a common goal. To understand how we express a classical education at Fortis Academy, it is helpful to understand the difference between methods and pedagogies from our primary objectives. The primary objectives of a classical Christian education are:
- Critical thinking ability
- Christian faith
- Ability to communicate and persuade through writing and oratory
- Proficiency in a wide area of subjects
- Ability to be self-learning (understanding of the grammar, logic and rhetoric of any body of knowledge)
- To engage in the great conversation
All of the classical methods and pedagogies are important and valuable, but we need to be very intentional on how we implement them to make sure that we are always meeting our objectives. These methods and pedagogies include but are not limited to:
Phonics based reading and writing instruction.
- Dictation and copy work
- Memory Work including jingles
- Mastery and usage (as opposed to cyclical/repetition)
- Facilitated discussion and Socratic dialogue
We also have to keep in mind that there is a difference between mastering a body of knowledge and developing skills. Reading, writing and arithmetic are skills as are critical thinking and oration. These skills are of primary importance throughout the whole education of our children. Specialization in a body of knowledge is secondary. For example reading, writing , oration, critical thinking and Socratic dialogue skills can be developed in a history or literature class equally. One of the unique elements of a classical Christian education is an emphasis on Christian thinking, faith and character in all of our classes. This is the emphases of Fortis Academy. Our goal is to use classical methods and pedagogies to achieve a classical Christian education.