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Why I continued in Christian, Classical Education

I love learning. There is rarely a time I don't have a Wikipedia article open, waiting to be read. Over this past week, I learned about the often glossed over, but still rather important, Roman civil war between Sulla and Cinna-Marius, a major event which paved the way for the transition to the Roman Empire. I also listened to a three-part podcast about the story behind the V2 rockets from WWII. I have a deep curiosity, which I credit largely to my classical education.

I started at St. Timothy’s nearly thirteen years ago in Senior Kindergarten. Nine years later I graduated Grade 8 and, following the school’s example, have been at an online classical high school for most of my secondary education. When I tell people I go to school online, most seem confused. After all, why spend your days at home when you could be at a physical school? The answer, for me, is that I still love classical education.

One of the main reasons I decided to continue with classical schooling was the amazing teachers, and how they have encouraged me along the way. Not only were they fully qualified to teach their subjects, they loved to teach as well. Although many of my past teachers have moved on and new ones have taken their place, the spirit still remains: people who are experts in and love the subjects they teach, and want to see their students thrive. It is very inspiring as a student when a teacher leads by example.

Another reason I continued with classical education is the unique, but still beneficial, classes that are taught. What other schools teach Latin like St. Timothy’s, or Rhetoric like the school I am at right now? Many schools prioritize life skills and finding a suitable job, but classical schools teach you how to think. While Latin might not be very practical itself, the grammar used to learn it helps with writing thoughtfully and expressively. Most people will not be called to be public speakers, but the insights that Rhetoric offers into how to persuade and understand people are very useful.

Not only do classical schools teach subjects not found in a typical school curriculum, they teach the core subjects, like reading or writing, using time-honoured methods. Many young children have trouble reading, while students of the same age at St. Timothy’s are already digesting high level books. Take, for example, the classics. How many middle schoolers, or even high schoolers, are reading these novels? Many of these proved foundational to Western society for years, demonstrating their worth numerous times. While some may argue they are outdated or tedious, studying them can help students find role models, identify character traits to avoid, or just provide a meaningful and enjoyable story.

History is another key focus of classical education, and a subject I have always enjoyed. Most schools teach history, but in classical schools it is a key foundation. Many people do not realize just how important history is, not just for understanding the past, but also for understanding the future. However, in a classical school, its functionality is clearly shown to the student. History allows us to look back on all the successes and failures of hundreds of generations before us, from Herodutus’ account of the Persian Wars, to Eusebius’ history of the early church, to Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. This, combined with being taught through a biblically founded Christian worldview, is one of the most important parts of a classical education. Its functionality can be summed up by the caption of a famous meme, which reads, “Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it. Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.” Maybe, if enough people studied history as it is taught in classical schools, we could prevent some avoidable situations from occurring.

Classical schools offer an education with a breadth and rigour that a typical curriculum does not. I decided to continue with a classical education, as it not only challenges and pushes me to the best of my ability, but it also teaches me to think, and not just respond with a formulaic answer. The world needs people who can think for themselves, with a solid foundation rooted in truth, goodness, and beauty.

Ethan Lingrell

Ethan graduated from St.Timothy's Classical Academy four years ago, and is now finishing his Grade 12 year with Veritas Scholars Academy, an online Christian classical school. In his spare time he can be found playing competitive baseball, listening to podcasts, and reading.


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