Through the study of the greatest that has been thought and said by Western writers and thinkers, we pass our cultural heritage on to our children. Western civilization is made up of three elements: the Greeks, the Romans, and the Hebrews—and the coalescing of these three cultures into what later became known as Christendom, the Christian civilization that remained the dominant cultural force in the West until the early 20th century. A familiarity with the Greeks, the Romans, and, most importantly, the Christian Bible is essential to understanding our culture. The liberal arts are the “how” of education, and the study of Western culture is the “what”. A mastery of both of these is the best way to prepare a child, not only for college, but for life.
The liberal arts are the generalizable linguistic and mathematical skills that enable a person to excel in every academic area—as well as in the practical activities of life. In classical and medieval times, there were thought to be seven of these arts or skills: grammar, logic, and rhetoric (the “trivium”), as well as arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music (the “quadrivium”). The first three were linguistic arts, and the last four were mathematical. The liberal arts remain the greatest summary of the skills a person should be expected to know in order to be accounted an educated person.
The intensive study of Latin in the grammar school years develops the minds of students as no other subject can. Students who have learned how to learn with Latin become better students in all other subjects. The study of classical languages and the Greek/Roman classics provides a path to wisdom and knowledge that cannot be attained by any other method. In the tradition of western civilization, education and classical education have always been synonymous.
Classical education can be distinguished from modern education, in that it does not neglect the important first step of giving students the classical tools for both intellectual development and for understanding their classical Christian heritage. The curriculum at the center of Gulf Pointe Latin School is the Memoria Press Classical Core Curriculum.