Classical Homeschool: Is It Right For Your Learner?

Learn all about classical homeschool, how it works, and the public school-structured method's pros and cons.

By Rick Gonzales | Published

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classical homeschool

When it comes to homeschooling, parents have plenty of choices. These choices can be based on a child’s needs, or they can be based on a parent’s schedule. These choices can be based on a child’s specific interests or parents can run them like a public education classroom. This latter choice is called classical homeschool and it is one with more structure than most other homeschooling choices. So, what is classic homeschool all about?

Why Are People Homeschooling?

Before we jump into the classical homeschool scenario, let’s try to understand why we are at the point we are with public education. Much of this was covered in our Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, looking at different styles, statistics, ins and outs of what this world is all about.

Public schools and public education, in general, have been under fire pretty much since the start of the COVID pandemic. When most schools shuttered, forcing kids into a form of homeschooling, parents got to see firsthand just what and how their children were learning. Many were not pleased with what they saw, and their displeasure began to grow.

classical homeschool

As time went on and parents were struggling, yet settling into their form of classical homeschool, they began to see that it was something they could control. They also saw that they could offer a form of learning that would better suit their child. Now, if they only had the proper funds to help them out.

The Different Methods

There are basically seven different approaches when it comes to homeschooling. Of course, there is classical homeschool. Then there is Charlotte Mason, Montessori homeschool curriculum, School-at-Home, Unit Studies, Eclectic, and finally Unschooling. This last method is the exact opposite of classical homeschool, as it pretty much teaches kids to do what they want, whenever they want. When considering whether or not to homeschool, it’s good to look into each method and see if there is something that aligns with your child, you, or your family dynamics. You can also check out our Easy Peasy Homeschool Review as well.

The Three Stages of Classical Homeschool

Classical homeschool is one of the most popular homeschooling methods or styles. Kids take to it because it does have a familiar feel to it and offers structure. Parents like it for the same reasons, mainly because of the structure it provides. The curriculum is based on three stages of learning. The first is the Grammar stage, then comes the Logic stage, followed by the Rhetoric stage.

classical homeschool

The Grammar stage is where children learn facts and data, as if in grammar school. They then gain their critical thinking and logic in the Logic stage, which is what’s learned in middle school. Finally, children learn their self-expression and rhetoric in the Rhetoric stage.

The subject areas are brought forth in chronological order for kids. In this way, the classical homeschool brand is different from regular schooling and other homeschool methods as they have a tendency to jump from topic to topic while classical homeschool does not. Another feature of classical homeschooling that separates itself from the others is that it uses what’s known as Socratic dialogues. This type of learning allows students to delve deeper into subjects with open-ended questions that allow discussion and debate. Ultimately the goal here is to take students beyond simple questions and answers but to give them a better understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Advantages To Classical Homeschool

Classical homeschooling, as mentioned, is one of the more popular homeschooling methods, offering numerous benefits. It carries the reputation as one of the most prestigious methods to use, consistently producing children who are better and deeper readers than many adults. So, what makes classical homeschool such a wonderful choice?

classical homeschool

The classical homeschool is at once a well-proven style. It has a rich history, dating back thousands of years. With its focus on “Great Books,” this style allows kids to come in contact with and learn from some of the greatest pieces of literature known. Obviously, reading is a high priority in the classical homeschool style.

Classical homeschool also lends itself to the learning of languages. There are a few different styles of classical homeschool and different languages are associated with these different choices. For instance, the biblical classical style (The Principle Approach) leans toward teaching Koine Greek or even biblical Hebrew. In the Traditional style, kids would learn classical Greek and Latin. With the Modern style, which most use, children could learn languages such as French, Spanish, or even German.

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Logic is also a concept leaned on heavily in classical homeschooling. This is something often neglected in public and even private schools, but not something in classical homeschooling. Critical thinking, lateral thinking, and problem-solving are just other areas where children can benefit.

Disadvantages To Classical Homeschool

While this method is adaptable and can be tailored to most kids, it isn’t as flexible as some other methods. It can be rigorous and systematic. There is plenty of structure to classical homeschooling and that can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the child in question.

This leads us to any concerns this style of homeschooling may have. As no homeschool method of teaching is absolutely perfect, the weaknesses of classical homeschooling may not be as troublesome as one may think. One possible downfall is the amount of reading a child will be presented with. Some may find the prose difficult to grasp, making it counterproductive. The amount of reading may also cause a child to lose their love for the written word.

Time may also be an issue. We all know that the simple art of reading can take an enormous amount of time as not all of us are quick readers. Some kids find reading isn’t a major strength and while the classical homeschooling style focuses on it, it may also cause kids to suffer in other areas where they are strong.

The curriculum can be very inflexible. This style prides itself on teaching in chronological order, so jumping from subject to subject, or different timespans to others, is not within the curriculum’s style. Children need to understand the reason for this stringent method.

Some naysayers to the classical homeschool style claim certain aspects of language learning are simply impractical. Why, they argue, would a child want or have to learn Greek or Latin? Modern children have no use for it. The naysayers say that time spent learning languages that are very rarely heard should instead be used to learn other languages like Spanish.

Is Classical Homeschooling Right For Your Family?

Classical homeschooling is not for everyone. Neither kid nor parent. Both need to be focused on the end goal and truly be into the classical aspect of education. It requires a love for reading and a love for language. If all these fit your child’s sensibility as well as your way of wanting to teach, then classical homeschooling could be your answer. There are plenty of guides to help parents get started, and for those looking for more information, or just a sample schedule of a typical day for classical homeschool, has some great resources.

But whether it is “right” for each family or learner is a bigger question than just your standard yes or no. That’s because there are different learning styles and comfort levels for everyone involved in the homeschooling process. One reason parents initially trend towards a classical homeschooling approach is because there are aspects of the style that mirror what is happening in the public schools. Not all of it mind you, but enough. That kind of organization, timelines, and deliverables can help set many parents minds’ at ease when first heading into the big wide world of homeschooling. Sometimes, the parent being the most comfortable is what can help kickstart the process.

On a practical level, classical homeschooling helps with this because the parent won’t feel overwhelmed. But is it right for the child should be more of the long-term question. Every child learns differently. If you have made it this far, you almost certainly understand this idea. Some households choose to implement different homeschooling styles simply because their children learn in decidedly different ways. Families won’t arrive at that from the start, but over time it can definitely happen.

Classical homeschooling works as a jumping-off point to understanding what does or doesn’t work in your own home. This can be incredibly valuable on a practical level, a reason families will opt to start here. But know that there is always time to pivot and change if something isn’t working. Parents have to be open to that idea over time. But to start, it doesn’t hut to give classical homeschooling a try.