Classical Pedagogy

Classical pedagogy has the practice of educating the whole person. Students discuss the deep questions of life: Why am I here? What does it mean to be human? Where am I going? Classical pedagogy focuses on the beautiful, true, and good.

Dorothy Sayers defines the classical approach to learning in " The Lost Tools of Learning ".

We find examples of classical education in virtue education and emphasizes the formation of the human soul.


Monistary, Grammer Schools & Catherdral

Midieval Colleges and Universities

Ratio Studiorium

Trivium; The Grammar School; Quadrivium

Components of Curriculum

The Virtues

Virtue and character formation are one reason for the resurgence of Classical pedagogy.

The Cardinal virtues are:

  • Prudence
  • Justice
  • Fortitude
  • Temperance

Justice includes: Restorative, distributive, and social aspects.

Temperance encompasses: Chastity and sobriety.

The Theological virtues are:

  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Charity

The following chart illustrates the virtues and character qualities addressed in Classical Pedagogy: Chart of Character Qualities

Real Literacy--Reading for Understanding

In the readings from Adler and Van Doren, classical education results from reading and education through exposure to classical literature.

Read along with:

How to Read a Book--Chapter 1

How to Read a Book--Chapter 21

The LearningSource will utilize the Great Books within Literature curriculum. Dr. Martin has provided a commentary on Adler.

Alder's List of Great Books is also provided within the Literature curriculum.

Memory Development

One aspect of a classical approach is the development of memory. Can we experience the outcomes of a classical approach through this, or is it teaching students a trick?

What are the benefits of teaching and developing students' memory?

Where are the Classical Schools?

Self-Developed ∧ Home Schools

Primary & Secondary Schools

There are alternatives including home schools. The following are a few from across the country. The descriptions taken from individual school's web sites.

St. Monica Academy (1-12)

Montrose, CA (Los Angeles area)

St. Monica Academy, an independent, coeducational school for grades one through twelve, founded by parents in fulfillment of their primary responsibility for educating their children, seeks to form students in faith, reason, and virtue through a classical education in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Cambridge School (K-12)

San Diego, CA

The Cambridge School seeks to provide a distinctly Christian education in the classical tradition which equips students to know, love, and practice that which is true, good, and beautiful and thus prepares them to live purposefully and intelligently in service of God and neighbor.

Hillsdale Academy (K-12)

Hillsdale, Michigan

The curriculum by purpose and design is a survey of the best spiritual, intellectual and cultural traditions of the West as they have been developed and refined over countless generations.

Colleges and Universities

Thomas Aquinas College

Santa Paula, California

Homer, Plato, St. Augustine, Descartes, Shakespeare — not only are these all necessary for a true classical education, but they're all required reading at Thomas Aquinas College. This small Roman Catholic college is one of the Great Books colleges, and is deeply rooted in the classical tradition. All classes are taught using primary sources, and students complete a solid curriculum in order to achieve a Bachelor of Arts in the Liberal Arts.

Biola University

La Mirada, California

Biola University is home to the Torrey Honors Institute, through which students can pursue a Christian-centered Great Books education. Students complete a series of required courses, plus a capstone project that can be either a 12,000-word paper or a 100-hour project. By participating in Torrey, students are given a number of unique opportunities that range from reading and discussing the classics at Cambridge, participating in a Scholar's Semester at Oxford, staging a theater production, or taking part in an off-campus study program in Nashville or Uganda.

Hillsdale College

Hillsdale, Michigan

Hillsdale College is one of those colleges that has always been intended for students who love classical education and seeking the good, the true, and the beautiful. Though Hillsdale offers dozens of major and minor options, including an impressive number of pre-professional programs, every student is required to take a series of classes rooted in the classics. These include Western Heritage, American Heritage, Great Books, and the U.S. Constitution — all of which are taught using primary sources.

Wyoming Catholic College

Lander, WY

In composing our founding document, Born in Wonder, Brought to Wisdom: A Philosophical Vision Statement for the Fulfillment of Catholic Liberal Education at Wyoming Catholic College, Dr. Carlson draws upon his experiences at the Integrated Humanities Program, the writings of John Senior and other important critics of contemporary education, the Great Books, the classical Trivium and Quadrivium, and the spiritual and educational traditions of the Catholic Church.