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What is Classical Christian Education?

Posted by truthtalklive on June 2, 2008

Todays guests:  Jeff Johnson, Head of School, Bradford Academy www.bradfordacademy.org and Mark Guthrie, Head of School, Caldwell Academy www.caldwellacademy.com. More information on Classical Christian Education here: www.accsedu.org

Related Articles:
Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_Christian_education

Also, if  so-called hate crimes legislation is enacted,  your favorite Christian broadcast could disappear from the airwaves. Could your pastor also be prosecuted for preaching the word? Todays guest is Dr. Frank Wright of the National Religious Broadcasters www.nrb.org

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27 Responses to “What is Classical Christian Education?”

  1. Zerxil said

    Wow I would have liked to listen to this over the rerun I got.. Now I’m going to listen to it on my own time.

  2. homeschool co-op said

    For Christian parents, homeschooling is the best way to “train up a child in the way they should go..”

    I can personally say that Caldwell Academy is a great school. At least it was a few years ago when Charlie Liebert was over the Science dept.

    Classical Christian teaching is awesome. I so wish that I was able to be trained under that type learning system. Instead, I got a cheap imitation called the North Carolina public school system.

    Thankfully, I can reed, rite, and ritumtic, along with some syints 🙂

  3. jAsOn said

    my wife and I are beginning the journey of Classical homeschooling. We have boys of 6 and 4 and, Lord willing, our plans are to teach them using the Classical conversations curriculum and attending a weekly co-op.

  4. JP said

    It’s great if one can afford home school (staying home) or private schools. We can do neither. My husband and I have been blessed with decent public schools (magnet programs) but are convinced that the schools would never have gotten in the shape they are in now if more concerned christian parents have not given up and yanked their kids out of the public schools or moved to the country in “flight” of inner city schools. Schools don’t do it all. We still need to teach our kids the important stuff at home. Legislation would have to change to reinstate staff led prayers or bible study, but I don’t want teachers teaching my child doctrine anyway. Kids can still lead prayers in public schools and have bible study too, but there has been a void left in public schools due to the huge amount of christian schools that have sprung up in the last decade. The academics have suffered too, since it is because of caring parents that the kids do well in studies. It’s a shame. I am always encouraged when there is a Christian parent who is dedicated to making the public system work for them and their kids. It takes a lot of dedication and commitment and can be very frustrating at times.

  5. homeschoolAlltheWay said


    The word of God tells the parents, specifically the fathers to teach the children, train the children, discipline the children.

    The public school system has always been secular, even in the beginning. Christians are pulling their children out of public school because we see the error of allowing a secular world-view bring up our children. There is a difference between being a witness to a lost and dying world and training up your children in the Way of the Lord. I can be a Christian who is a public school teacher and influence for Christ, yet does that mean I send my children into this atmosphere of godlessness and relative morality?

    As a “mature” Christian, even I am tempted daily and overwhelmed by the ways of this world. Do I want to subject my young child to this? No I do not and no I will not. My child is my responsibility. She is not sheltered but she is shown things from a Biblical world-view.

    Ken Ham has some excellent teachings on “raising godly children in an ungodly world.”

    To be honest, there is nothing that the public school system can offer that is benficial to a Christian’s children. Homeschooling is the way to go, if a Christian parent can’t homeschool, they should strive to get their finances and abilities set to homeschool.

    There is so much information out concerning how to homeschool, co-op groups for support, materials, etc.

    Just look at the statistics, homeschool kids on average receive higher test scores and grades. And no one influences your children in the way that you can.

    I would encourage all Christians to set a goal to homeschool your kids. Give your kids a Biblical world-view. Every subject can be studied from a Biblical point of view: Science, math, reading, history, language, etc.

  6. jAsOn said

    Though my wife and I have decided to home school in a classical model, I am not opposed to letting my kids go to public schools and I won’t say that they never will.

    I think that some Christian parents have attempted to raise their kids in a Kingdom bubble (which isn’t biblical). They send them to “Christian” private schools until college, then “Christian” colleges, then if they’re “lucky” I guess they will work in a Christian environment…that all seems unrealistic to me, but I’ve seen it happen.

  7. MyMonkies said

    I think it is important that Christians be dogmatic about the things the Bible is dogmatic about and to humbly recognize that God has given some general principles about various things and we need to apply those principles the very best that we can. That may mean that a family chooses not to homeschool. I am, for one, the product of a bad Christian and a bad public education (had a little of both) and feel my inadequacy very keenly to educate my own children as I believe God would have them.

    Therefore, I think parents can “contract” schools to take over the teaching of a variety of subjects while still being faithful to God’s commands to train them up in the fear of the Lord. The schools cannot possibly do it all and as the men said on the show, parents MUST be involved every step of the way.

    In response to #4…the fact is that public schools will never be able to do what the men were putting forth as classical Christian education…not until/unless God sends a great revival! The type of education discussed today is not one that consists of math class, literature class, science class and then chapel or bible class for good measure. It is one in which God and His Word are brought to bear upon every single subject matter – even math! God created math!, and kids need to be pointed to this great and awesome God in and throughout every subject. Public schools cannot do this. Most Christian schools fail at this. And a conscientious homeschooler can accomplish it, with a lot of hard work and study. But the type of school discussed today could lift a great burden off of parents who feel their inadequacy to do this themselves but very much desire it for their kids.

  8. jAsOn said

    well said monkies

  9. homeschoolAlltheWay said

    Inadequate? Lets not forget that Moses, Paul, Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc. all described themselves as “inadequate”, yet it was God who worked mightily through them to change nations.

    Also, Jason, we’re not talking about raising our kids in a Christian bubble. We’re talking about being good stewards of one of th emost important gifts God has given to us as parents. As long as my child is under my authority, she will be raised according to Scripture. And that does mean keeping her from ungodly influence as much as is humanly possible. Adam & Eve lived in a perfect environment, yet even they were tempted and overcame by said temptation. Are our kids stronger than they?

    To send my child to an institution of humanism and godlessness and then think that it won’t affect them negatively is to be ignorant.

    We are all “inadequate” when it comes to raising our children, yet our God and Savior is more than adequate and He lives in His people.

    I stand by my statement. All Christian parents should strive to homeschool. If you feel inadequate, there is more than enough resources available for homeschool parents and there are many co-ops starting up to support you.

    The sad thing is that even if we pull our kids out, our tax dollars still go toward an institution that is antiBible and antiChrist 😦

  10. jAsOn said

    I didn’t say that you in particular are raising your kids in a Kingdom bubble, only that it does happen.

    I say that if you would suggest that those parents who do send their kids to public schools are sinning, then you are trying to impose a command on others which God does not make explicit.

    The public school system is not monolithic.

  11. homeschoolAlltheWay said

    It would depend on the reasoning behind a Christian parent sending their children to public school as to whether it would be deemed sin or not.

    I didn’t say it was a sin. I did say that the best place for a Christian’s children to learn is in their own home. This is a two-fold blessing. The children get a lot more attention and detail. And the parent is forced to be educated and disciplined in their own studies.

    We are no longer in the age of innocence. When this nation was founded, the parents where the teachers. Somehow we have come to the conclusion that the government knows best and we should just hand our children over to them for 5-8hrs a day. While they have around 4hrs a week at the local Church and possibly 4-5 hrs a day with parents before getting to bed. Now, why do we think so many “churched” kids are walking away after graduating high school?

    Knowing what I know, there is no way as long as I am alive that my child will go to a public school – college being the exception and even then there are great Christian colleges.

  12. jAsOn said

    I agree that our children will get the best education if we do it ourselves, but we must be careful not to impose that mandate on others.

    The reason why so many “churched” kids walk away after graduating high school is because they were never saved to begin with. If parents catechized their children an placed them under good Law and Gospel preaching and teaching at church, then God will likely be gracious in saving them; of course He is not obligated to, but the preaching of the gospel is the means by which they are saved, and if saved, then they do not walk away from the faith. God does command us to educate our children in spiritual things and our churches are to come along side us in doing so…the present, American public school system is neither equipped nor does it have the right to educate our children in such a way, thus that education necessarily takes place outside that venue. The child who is equipped in a biblical manner and who has been saved, should have the knowledge and wisdom to bear witness of the Kingdom in a non-Christian environment.

  13. Munchkin Mommy said

    Scripture does not say we are to educate our children by a specific method. I believe it is something that each family should seriously pray about and determine for themselves what God would have for them. Yes, parents should be heavily involved, but we should also humbly recognize that we can’t be “everything” for our children and God hasn’t created us all with the same talents and abilities.

    He has also providentially put some families in a position where it would be unwise for them to homeschool and I am not talking about financially. For example, I do not have the education or ability to teach my own children certain subjects. I am a product of a Christian school and 7 years of homeschooling. I have to say that my education was seriously lacking in many areas. My parents certainly did not set out for that to happen, but they made the best decision they could make based on what was available to them. My highest math was Algebra 2. I barely passed. Biology was my highest science. I passed that with flying colors because all I had to do was read a book and I really didn’t learn a thing. To put it simply I don’t have the ability to teach all the maths, sciences, Latin, Logic, Debate and music. If I were to homeschool my children I would just helping in the downward spiral education. I would have to co-op out so many things that I would essentially not be teaching my kids anyway. Yes, I am currently trying to learn some of these subjects now, but whether I would have mastered it well enough to educate my kids at the standard I expect…
    I’m not willing to risk my kid’s education over this when there are other options out there.

    I’m not trying to paint a bad picture of homeschooling. I recognize that some are able to do it well, but I AM arguing the point that homeschooling is NOT the one and only way and honestly it would be quite foolish for me to attempt. Each family must seek God for wisdom and direction. This means for some it will be public school and others it will Christian classical school.

    Praise God that He HAS brought up godly men and women that are truly gifted in teaching these subjects from a Biblical point of view. What those two men are offering at their schools is a direct answer to many of our prayers.

  14. homeschoolAlltheWay said

    I have to say this and then I’ll be through.

    I am a product of 12 yrs of public education. My highest math was Algebra 1b and I barely passed. I too passed the Science classes.

    The great thing about homeschooling is that you have so many resources, not to mention co-ops. While you are teaching your children, you too are learning. A lot of the resources are online. A lot are at your local public library.

    Do we honestly believe that the public school system can do a better job at raising our children than we can? If we do, then there is something wrong with our point of view.

    A homeschool parent doesn’t have to be perfect, just willing.

    What did the early Christians do concerning teaching their kids? What do missionaries in foreign fields do concerning teaching their kids?

    One last thing: Is a childs education more important or their souls salvation? Your child will be indoctrinated with anti-God propaganda from kindergarten all the way through college. Evolution will be the way of origins and relative morality will be the standard of law.

    As Jason alluded to, unless you are in a very sound Bible teaching church and you yourself are in the Word, then odds are your child will walk away from Christianity upon graduating high school.

    So, if God “providentially” leads you to put your kids in public education, then let the other two be true – strong church, strong parents.

    My cousin went through 8 yrs of Christian school. She is not a believer. She did not have a strong home and she didn’t go to Church. she was sent to Christian school because her dad was a racist. This “Christian” school was also racist and legalistic. Thankfully it is closed now.

  15. Zerxil said

    I think the number one difference from homeschooling & public schooling. Home school teachers can put lessens into context for real life and usually do. Public Teachers should try to do the same. By the way you can teach most biology & all medical, math, lit without having to state evolution as fact or fiction. So why doesn’t the public school teach the 99.9% and let the parents & environment prove the whole creation-evolution thing.

  16. abc's said

    Well said Munchkin Mommy.
    I think the major peril for homeschooling is just as you’ve stated. Many people are not qualified to teach children or to prepare them for college.
    No doubt there are many homeschooled children who grow up and make the adjustment into the real world relatively unscathed, but many other children could be lacking a lot of real knowledge about the world, specifically in the areas of math, biology and history.

    Public schools have an advantage in that the education given to all children is standardized, meaning that all students will be proficiently taught the same material. They will be taught truths about the world and science.
    Children also learn important social skills when they are forced to interact and participate with other children of different age groups, lifestyles and backgrounds. This alone may be the most important part of their development.

  17. Munchkin Mommy said

    Here is what it boils down to for our family.

    If we chose to put our kids in public school it doesn’t mean that God can’t to save them. If we homeschooled it doesn’t mean that God WILL save them. I’ve seen homeschoolers leave the church just like public and Christian school kids. Our kids are sinners and no matter what education I give them I can’t keep them from “walking away from the church”. Christ must save. It sounds as if you are saying that if people homeschool then their kids are more likely to be saved and not leave the church. You can’t make a case for that from Scripture.

    I don’t think anyone here is saying that the public schools know how to raise our kids better than us. I also think everyone agrees that the parents MUST teach their kids about God.

    The willingness is there, but my standards for education are much higher than what I am able to give them. I don’t want to be a student trying to teach another student. That sounds like a bad idea. I understand about the resources out there, but they would still end up being under another’s influence. So what would be wrong with a Classical Christian school where they are taught by godly teachers?

    The Christian Classical approach works WITH the parents to teach kids how to think, debate and express their thoughts based on God’s word and to take this knowledge and be useful in the world.

  18. Munchkin Mommy said

    Just one comment about what you said, ABC’s… 🙂

    “They will be taught truths about the world and science.”

    They aren’t being taught the MOST important truth.


    By ignoring God in all their schooling we are subconsciously telling them that God is irrelevant to every day life and that God is the “thing that Christians do on Sundays”. This is the risk we take if we enroll kids in public school and as Christian parents we had better be prepared to battle that thought if that is what we choose for our family.

  19. jAsOn said

    Abc, if the product of public schools is reflected in the culture we have in America today, the I’d say that the public school system as a whole produces largely socially inept individuals; I’ve heard that argument against homeschooling before and it doesn’t appear to play out in reality. And, the resources available to parents who are willing to invest the time and money into providing their children with a quality education are quite good, and there is always a better student to teacher ratio.

    As I said before, though my wife and I have decided to home school, I’m not against public schools, but those two arguments are not very good ones.

    I think the classical approach is fantastic, and our kids will be attending a co-op weekly. For those of you concerned about the quality of the education your kids will receive, thus you choose to send them to public school instead of a classical school, you would be making a mistake. the quality of education they would receive at a classical school is far superior academically than that of our public schools.

  20. homeschool co-op said

    Jason #19,
    Very much agree! I was not trained classically, yet I have no doubt, with the curricula available, that my wife and I can teach our child in that manner and her education not suffer.

    Neither my wife nor I have a college education, both products of the public school system and we are confident we can teach our child every “standardized” course offered just as well as the college educated teacher in the public school. Simply because we have the desire, the willingness to learn ourselves, and the understanding that the public school system is failing in so many ways. The benefits of public school don’t even come close to the insufficiencies of homeschooling.

    And I have no problem with sending a child to a classical Christian “group” school, as to distinguish it from “home” school.

    And no, I do not believe that my child will automatically be guaranteed salvation because we homeschool. I do believe that because she will be taught all subjects from a Biblical world-view then she will see the truthfulness of the Word of God and the Sufficiency of God in Christ. Her salvation is of God through the Spirit working in her life as she is instructed in His word. God can save her even if I were not a Christian. But that doesn’t change the fact that God instructs the parents, specifically the father’s to be the teacher/trainer of the child.

    As far as making a case from Scripture, I probably can. But regardless, the assembly that I attend, the majority of the parents do homeschool and quite a few have homeschooled and their kids have gone on to college. The % of those homeschooled kids, just at the assembly, that continue on in Christ, even doing mission work, is very high. Of course, the assembly also has strong male leadership that takes their Biblical role very seriously and the fathers are very much involved in the lives of their children. From speaking to other homeschool parents in other churches, again with the parents being heavily involved, the % is high there as well.

    Now, see if that % is just as high with those parents who send their kids to public school. Even if the parents are heavily involved in the kids lives. I’d say, overall, it probably is not.

    Again, Ken Ham, on ‘Raising godly children in an ungodly world’ makes this point very clear. And again I say, if at all possible, Christian parents should do what ever they can to keep their kids out of public school. Homeschooling would be best, but a great classical Christian “group” school would be “2nd” best.

    It would depend on what world-view you are trying to train your child up in as to whether your statement is true or not. The Science curricula in the public school system unashamedly leaves a Creator out of the equation. The history books and even language studies of the public school system are secularized, leaving out any thought of Deity, except when studying Greek mythology. The atheist, humanist, agnostic, etc. should send their child to public school. It matches the world-view the parent is teaching them at home. As far as social issues, we have co-ops, etc. that socialize our children. Our children interact with adults on a daily basis, with children of all different ages. Overall, homeschooled children are better behaved, more socially equipped for the adult world, and better educated than public school children.

    There are way too many benefits to homeschooling for it to just be pushed aside by Christians.

  21. abc's said

    Children who are homeschooled do tend to fare better, and it is because the parents become intimately involved in the learning process. When the parents work with their children it fosters a love for learning and emphasizes the importance of the lessons that they are learning. It doesn’t have anything to do with what religion the parents follow or how fervent their belief is.
    I am an elementary school teacher, so I have a lot of first hand experience with this. It only takes a few days with a new class to figure out which kids have parents at home that work with them and which ones don’t receive any help. The quality of education provided in the public school isn’t to blame for the way children turn out.

  22. jAsOn said

    Abc said, “The quality of education provided in the public school isn’t to blame for the way children turn out.”

    I wouldn’t say that, but I don’t think the argument against homeschooling that says, “public schoolers are more socially adapted” is legitimate because society at large doesn’t show that to be the case.

  23. abc's said

    True, and I wouldn’t say that “public schoolers are more socially adapted”. In my opinion, children that go to public schools, or any school outside of the home, have more chances to practice their social skills in a different environment.

    I’m not against home schooling. It can be fantastic for the kids and the parents, I just feel like I need to stand up for public schooling.

  24. jAsOn said

    neither am I against public schools, I just think the arguments FOR them and AGAINST home schools are often lacking.

  25. Zerxil said

    One major difference between homeschooling & public school ‘Christianity’

  26. jAsOn said


    I don’t think that all home-schooling is Christian.

  27. homeschoolAlltheWay said

    no, not all homeschool parents are Christian. I know of Jehovah’s witnesses, Mormons, Muslims and even atheists who homeschool for differing world-views but basically the same reason – they don’t want a government institution training their children up in a contradictory world-view than the parents.

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