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Classical Christian Curriculum


Q. What does a Christian school use for curriculum? Only the Bible?


The Bible is indeed a valued teaching tool in a Christian school, but it is far from the only source of information. Christian schools have a vast array of curriculum from which to choose, often selecting the same publishing houses and textbooks their public-school counterparts are using.


Actually, Christian schools can use an even wider array of curriculum than public schools because they are not constrained by Political Correctness, union rules, school board policies, or other free-speech "veils" that tend to narrow the curricular choices in a government school.


You are much more likely to find classic literature in a Christian school, for example, because a lot of classic literature contains scenes about Christianity. But the "thought police" who choose curriculum in public schools censor those books out.


For example, in Robert Louis Stevenson's Robinson Crusoe the hero gets shipwrecked, and eventually turns to God for solace, with many scenes of prayer and Bible reading. How sad that fear and prejudice keep today's students from studying the first novel in English. But that's the status of the public schools today, and it's a key reason more and more parents are turning to Christian education in general, and classical Christian ed in particular.


What is "classical" Christian ed? It has a heavy emphasis on the roots of western civilization, covering many things that the public schools abandoned long ago: ancient history, cultures and languages, especially Latin; Old and New Testament studies; the classics of literature, and the particular subskills of what's called the "Trivium."


The "Trivium" is Latin for the three stages of education:


Grammar - acquiring a knowledge base; they used to call elementary school "grammar school" because this was the stage at which pupils built up their facts and knowledge.


Logic - learning to question and argue, using the newly-gained knowledge base; this stage parallels the middle-school years.


Rhetoric - during high school, expression takes over, and preparation and presentation complete the educational process.


The classical Christian school movement is based on a 1947 essay by writer Dorothy Sayers, "The Lost Tools of Learning." A key book on the movement is The Case for Classical Christian Education by Douglas Wilson.


For more about this unique and challenging curriculum, see the website of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools,



Homework: Explore the program of an outstanding classical Christian school, the Schaefer Academy, in Rochester, Minn.:


By Susan Darst Williams Private Schools 04 2008


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