I would like to direct you to a helpful resource on the Association of Classical Christian Schools’ website. Conventional Christian Education VS. Classical Christian Education describes ten differences between today’s traditional Christian schools and ACCS schools. The comparison likely applies to most contemporary public and private schools, but the ACCS did the comparison with conventional Christian schools because that is often the choice being considered by our families.
It is important to understand that classical Christian schools are not just traditional schools with Latin and Logic classes added. Classical Christian schools have turned to the Scriptures and centuries of classical education history and developed a fundamentally different approach to their subjects, students, and classrooms. From the website: Classical Christian schools are very different from the Christian school down the street. They follow the classical model-the one used exclusively for more than 1000 years in the West prior to the progressive model’s appearance in the early 1900s. These 10 Differences are a generalization, with variation across thousands of classical Christian and Christian schools . . .
As an example, here are some excerpts from Section 3 STEM vs. Classical Science
STEM (the approach at most conventional Christian schools)
The pursuit of applied science and math (STEM) as practiced by secular educators often drives conventional schools to de-emphasize both quantitative and verbal reasoning necessary for future studies in science in favor of AP courses or specialized technology courses . . .
The Bottom Line: A STEM centered education puts the cart in front of the horse. Students who learn to absorb subject matter without understanding how to assess the “Why” do not maintain a disposition of curiosity, which is necessary for future learning and career success. STEM threatens the creativity and critical thinking skills necessary for future innovations in the business world.
The Results: The best innovators in human history take great issue with a technical, STEM-based education. Steve Jobs said it best: “technology alone is not enough…it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.”
CLASSICAL SCIENCE (The Natural Philosophy approach taken at typical classical Christian schools)
Balances rigorous core science and math instruction within a broad array of reasoning-based classical subjects. While students may not graduate with STEM college credit, students are taught to study the “why” of science and math. This fosters a learning disposition when the techniques and information of a field change-creating true scientists. This readiness to “ask the why” is part of the reason classically trained students score higher than any other type of school, including independent preparatory schools, in math and science . . .
Bottom Line: Over time, the discourse and discussion that occurs around the great literature, philosophy, and sciences relates itself to everyday life. This applied philosophy makes classical Christian education one of the best ways to take theory and turn it into practice. This translates into the working world as well, including STEM fields. David Kalt, the CEO of an online brokerage firm, gave testimony to this fact in the Wall Street Journal: “It’s very simple. A well-rounded liberal arts degree establishes a foundation of critical thinking. Critical thinkers can accomplish anything. Critical thinkers can master French, Ruby on Rails, Python or whatever future language comes their way. A critical thinker is a self-learning machine that is not constrained by memorizing commands or syntax.”
The Results: Classical Christian education fosters the best and most creative learners. Their skill set is not contained to any specialized degree but can move into every sector and add value.
Other differences and comparisons include “Common Core vs. Classical Core,” “Modern Languages vs. Ancient/Academic Languages” and “Social Studies vs. History and Philosophy.” Have a great week and Happy Reading!