Classical Education and What’s Missing Today

As a lover of history, I never cease to be amazed at how educated Americas’ founding fathers were. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Washington, the standard of education for anyone in leadership was simply far above what is standard today. These men were educated in advanced math (without calculators), science, history, logic, rhetoric, memorization ( memorizing extensive scripture, poems, and fiction selections was common), and they even knew several languages. This was a truly classical education. Yes, it was a primitive day – they studied and read by candlelight, they had to go outside to use the restroom, and travel took days on horseback or buggy. Yet, they learned and they learned well.

So, why in our age where there is so much technological advance, science has made so many discoveries, and almost every home has a personal computer that we neglect the wealth of knowledge resting at our fingertips? We have great opportunities, yet our standard of education is lower than before.  I understand that we attempt to educate everyone and in their day, not everyone went to school. Yet, somehow in this scenario I am sensing that we have given up quality for quantity.

The example of the founding fathers is a simple one. These men were trained in a classical education. Latin was at the heart of their training, and most of them could read and comprehend books written in the language. They were trained in logic, and when it was time to debate the course of the new nation that they were so influential in beginning; they were able to reason intelligently through many outcomes to determine the best routes to take in protecting these precious freedoms.  What would our founding fathers think of our educational institutions today?

Somehow in our day, we have lost appreciation for the beauty of a classical education. Maybe we just don’t have the motivation, or perhaps we are just plain lazy. Could it be that the type of education that American children receive be the reason for the decay and decline of our nation?

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1 Comment

  1. You make an excellent point. Why can’t we educate our children in our technologically advanced world when 200 years ago a scholar could learn so much more by candle light? When I read your post I am grateful that through homeschooling I can emulate the example set my our forefathers and earlier scholars. Allia.

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