Our Mission & Distinctives

Classical Education

What is classical education?

What does it mean when we say that Veritas is a classical Christian school? We read great books, and we study great ideas, but how are we different from a college prep school?

Here are four brief descriptions that give a taste for classical education and what it is trying to accomplish. For a fuller description of how classical education is lived out in the classroom, please visit Education as Formation.

List of 4 items.

  • Attending to the health of the soul

    A classical education is chiefly concerned with virtue, which is the health and goodness of the human soul. Walker Percy once said, “You can get all A’s and still flunk life.” A classical education is the kind of education you pursue when you believe that this statement is true. American education has shown us that good grades don't equate to a good life - grades have risen steadily over the last twenty-five years, but so have suicide rates and mental illness, and attention spans have become shorter and shorter. Classical educators don’t believe there is any value in grasping good things if they cannot be enjoyed by good men and good women. 
  • Acquiring a taste for the good

    It is hard to like really good things, since most of us have grown up with a taste for things that are mediocre and easily enjoyed. We thumb through a copy of Paradise Lost at Barnes & Noble and think, “I really ought to read this,” but then we buy a recent book that looks more exciting. We find Beethoven’s 7th Symphony on the radio and think, “I wish I liked this,” and then listen to Top 40 instead. It is hard to like really good things because they are better than we are, and because they are an acquired taste. Classical education, however, helps people acquire a taste for good things.
  • Imitating worthy lives

    James Baldwin once said, “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” Classical educators believe that a teacher’s competence is nothing other than his or her ability to live a life worthy of imitation. Any teacher whose life is worthy of imitation is, in turn, imitating someone else. Classical educators believe that there are men and women whose lives are worthy of imitation, and they show them to their students. These heroes are not people of theory who make vain promises but men and women of experience whose accomplishments have stood the test of time.  
  • Pursuing things that last

    Most things don't last very long—buildings crumble, clothes wear out, cups break, a ceaseless flood of fashionable ideas come and go. What was thought progressive and enlightened just ten years ago is thought vulgar and primitive today. Very few objects or ideas outlive the rise and fall of fads and fashions. However, there are a very small and precious number of things and ideas that endure the passing of time. A classical education is primarily concerned with bringing those rare things—the things which last—into our souls so that our souls can last, too.  
"Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Tradition lives in conversation with the past, while remembering where we are and when we are and that it is we who have to decide."

Jaroslav Pelikan