Inside Classical Education has a wonderful video by Christopher Perrin, PhD titled The Eight Essential Principles of Classical Education. In it, Dr. Christopher Perrin runs through eight principles of classical education.
It’s an important video to watch, because the principles of classical education are our guiding light. They give us the guidance we need to find curriculum, run our homeschools, and know what’s important and what’s not.
3 Reasons Principles Are Important
1. Principles Guide Curriculum Choices
Principles are the guidelines by which curriculum is chosen. If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, how do you know whether you should choose to study a subject such as history? Should you use a textbook, living book, or just not even bother with it at all?
This is why you should know and understand the principles of classical education such as multa non multum. You need to know if you want to skim through the subjects and give your kids an overview of the subject, or if you’re diving deep and expect the kids to master it.
Principles also cover how the information is covered. Some principles mean looking for living books that immerse children and develop interests. Others mean looking for a curriculum with fun jingles that help children memorize the information.
You need to understand the principles which are guiding your classical homeschool. Otherwise you’ll end up far afield in your curriculum choices.
2. Principles Influence How the Homeschool is Run
Principles don’t just determine what curriculum is chosen, it also influences how the homeschool is run.
Do you have a principle that includes interducing children to truth, goodness, and beauty? A morning time spent listening to beautiful music, studying great art, reciting poetry, and reading great literature might be just the ticket.
What about having a principle that says children need plenty of time for free play? In this case, the homeschool day may be kept short and sweet to allow children time to swing, run, and jump outside.
Perhaps you’re following a principle that says nature study is vital for all people, but especially for young children. Do you spend an extra hour in group time together reading great books aloud, or do you spend that hour outside exploring a local park?
These are the types of choices that understanding the principles of classical education allow you to make. You can choose between the good and the best. You can personalize your homeschool to meet your family’s needs.
This leads us to the last point.
3. Principles Show What is Important
If the principles festina lente and multum non multa are vital for your homeschool, you’re going to make choices that allow you to slowly work through various subjects. You’ll spend time diving deep and immersing yourself in your studies. You may spend a year studying the ancient Greeks.
On the other hand if your principles say that it’s best to give kids a general and broad education, you’re going to make very different choices. Instead of spending a year studying the ancient Greeks, you may instead choose to spend a year skimming all of world history before moving on to another subject entirely.
This isn’t to say one is better than the other, but rather you need to know what principles are important for your classical homeschool. How will you choose one subject over another?
Over the next 8 months, Chelli, Tonia, and I will be slowly making our way through Dr. Perrin’s list of 8 Essential Principles of Classical Education and discussing each one.
These principles are important for classical homeschoolers to understand and implement in our homeschools.
Don’t miss Tonia and Chelli’s posts on classical education principles: