Why We Chose a Classical Education for Our Children
When I meet other parents at St. Timothy’s, I am always interested to hear the “why” behind their decision to commit to our little school. Everyone’s story of how and why they chose St. Timothy’s for their family is unique, and I am sure that you also have your own reasons that prompted you to seek out this school. For our family, it is the “classical” character of this school, more than any other, that drew us and keeps us here. The term “classical education” is often the hardest thing to explain to those who haven’t experienced it, so I will share with you some of what our family values in the classical approach to education at St. Timothy’s.
As Christians, we know that our Lord chose very deliberately to be born of a human being, into a very specific religious and cultural tradition, and with a family tree stretching back through the ages. Jesus would have been taught the Scriptures and the traditions when He was young; the learning of them shaped Him. We, likewise rooted, must look to the past for knowledge of the intellectual and spiritual formation that is required for our present-day lives.
This “becoming” through learning from history and tradition is so much more than accumulating or accessing knowledge. The formation of our children’s souls and characters through both content and method is what we believe to be of the greatest importance when thinking about “education” – we are less concerned (particularly at the primary school level!) to train them in vaguely defined critical thinking skills for democratic citizenship, or of setting them on the path toward a successful future career in STEM. Rather, it is essential for us that our children be placed, as the educator Charlotte Mason describes, in an atmosphere conducive to their flourishing as human persons.
The methods pursued by St. Timothy’s adhere closely and clearly to the models used by the ancients and the pre-moderns to educate their children in a way that aimed towards this type of flourishing. Rather than a disjointed array of subjects, students are taught a curriculum where nothing studied stands in isolation from anything else. The different areas of study contain a coherence and follow a discernible historical thread of development from the past to the present day. And, most appealing to me personally, everything in the classroom is thoughtfully chosen to communicate to the students the close relationship between beauty, truth, and goodness, attributing the source of these things to our Creator Himself. It is reassuring to me that the books that my kids bring home from school, the art projects that they work on, the poems that they learn, even the math problems that they solve – that all of these things were carefully chosen by a teacher with these transcendental objectives in mind.
For these reasons (and many, many others!) we are so grateful for St. Timothy’s and for the teachers, staff, parents, and wider community members who have guided and preserved it in its mission for so many years now.
Lara is the Vice Chair of the St. Timothy's Classical Academy Board, and a parent of two children who attend the school. She is a graduate of Augustine College's Liberal Arts program and holds an M.A. in Public History. She currently works as an Analyst for the Library of Parliament.