QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
WHAT IS CLASSICAL EDUCATION?
Classical education is a centuries-old methodology aimed at forming young minds to produce virtue of character, cultivate the maturity of intellect, and master grammar, math, logic, history, science and written/spoken communication skills.
Sometimes referred to as the Trivium (Latin for “three roads”), this approach consists of the grammar, dialectic and rhetoric stages, each building upon its predecessor, organizing learning around the maturing capacity of the child’s mind. The curricular emphasis during the grammar school years is on learning basic facts and figures during the time when children love to memorize (and when they are best at doing so). The subsequent emphasis during the middle school years on logic and analysis trains students to think critically and deeply about subjects, both academically and otherwise. This emphasis corresponds with the middle-school student’s bent toward exploration, questioning, and a desire for deeper understanding. Finally, the emphasis during the high school years shifts toward honing rhetorical skills, including writing. This shift prepares students to write college-level theses, utilizing their grasp of proper grammar as well their ability to think logically and critically.
The Biblical equivalent to this progression is found in the admonition to pursue knowledge, understanding and wisdom. (see the book of Proverbs)
Classical education thus concentrates on giving depth and developing tools that the student can use throughout their lives. This approach aims to produce generations that have effectively mastered the art of learning so that they may skillfully acquire and apply knowledge, reason critically, and articulate persuasively.
WHY IS LATIN IMPORTANT?
Latin is given a significant place in classical education because of the many benefits it produces. Classical education advocate Doug Wilson writes,
The solid value of classical language study can be seen in five basic areas:
The first is that it reveals a great deal about English and refines the student’s powers of expression in his native language. About 80 percent of our English vocabulary comes to us from Latin and Greek. Students of Latin enlarge their vocabulary and enrich it through knowledge of synonyms that express finer shades of meaning. They learn underlying meanings of words, grow more familiar with the process of word formation, and gain greater insight into the structure of English grammar...
The second great benefit classical language study is that it enables the student to appreciate literature. By this, I do not mean solely the appreciation of ancient literature (for example, Virgil or Homer), although that is certainly a benefit. No, a student cannot fully appreciate English literature apart from exposure to the classical world...
Another benefit is that it gives the student an understanding of the infancy of our civilization. Not only is our language rich in Greek and Latin words, but our culture exhibits a Graeco/Roman influence throughout...
A fourth benefit is that classical language study trains the student in the essentials of the scientific method—observation, comparison, and generalization. The study of Latin grammar is a lab, without expensive lab equipment. Latin grammar requires a great deal of precision, and the student learns to be precise. The result of this kind of language study is not limited to language; it carries over into other areas as well...
And lastly, the study of Latin provides a great foundation from which to study other modern languages. The help it would be in the study of languages that are direct descendants of Latin is obvious. The student would have a head start on French, Spanish, Italian, and others (the student could have a good understanding of around 80 percent of the vocabulary of these languages). In addition, he or she would have a solid grasp of how an inflected language works, which would be a considerate help with Russian or German.
In short, the return of Latin is not the work of reactionaries. There is a solid educational value in it; the educational value can be and has been, empirically shown. Those students fortunate enough to attend a school where it is taught enjoy an incalculable advantage.
Wilson, Douglas. Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: an Approach to Distinctively Christian Education. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1991. 87-90.
WILL THIS TYPE OF EDUCATION FULFILL STATE REQUIREMENTS?
Yes, home schooling parallels requirements in the core subjects, and exceeds the requirements for grade levels.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF PARENTS AT PEL PREP?
Parents are their childrens’ primary educators and will need to spend the majority of time leading their child in application of concepts taught in community. Parents will act as the primary instructors under the guidance of the classroom educational mentor. The number of hours required will vary depending on the age of the child and their individual needs.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOMESCHOOL CO-OPS AND PEL PREP?
PEL PREP and homeschool co-ops each have distinctives that should be noted.
Homeschool co-ops are a good way for homeschooling families to pool their resources and expertise for specific and usually short-term study projects. One parent, for instance, may be especially proficient in math or science and teach a group of students that subject for a period of time.
PEL PREP is different by virtue of being a private ministerial association with specific grade level groups, consistent accountability from semester to semester, a full spectrum of courses, skilled educational mentors and heavy parental involvement.
WHO CHOOSES THE CURRICULUM?
The curriculum at PEL PREP is chosen by a team of tutors. Much research and prayer is put into each decision. Prospective curriculum must be of high quality and conducive to our high standards in classical education. In addition, it must allow both tutors and parents to effectively administer it in the formal classroom, as well as at home. Each year we will evaluate the curriculum and make changes as needed.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT TO TEACH EACH WEEK?
Classroom educational mentors will teach the key objectives in class and assign reinforcement or application activities to be completed at home. Weekly lesson plans for both the community time and the home will be available prior to the beginning of each school week. The parent is encouraged to print off plans for the week and to prepare for the assignments in advance.
WHERE DO I OBTAIN MY STUDENT’S BOOKS?
PEL PREP will provide parents with a comprehensive list of books and resources, by grade, which will be required for students in the upcoming year.
IS TESTING REQUIRED OF MY CHILD?
End of year testing will be offered but not mandatory for PEL PREP students. Parents have the final say on how they will assess their children in compliance with NYS homeschool regulations.
HOW WILL I COMMUNICATE WITH MY CHILD’S TUTOR THROUGHOUT THE YEAR?
Communication is key. Tutors and parents will communicate via Microsoft Teams or e-mail.
WILL STUDENTS WEAR UNIFORMS?
Yes. students wear shirts with the community's name displayed.
WILL PEL PREP KEEP A RECORD OF GRADES AND HANDLE REQUIRED NYS REPORTING?
No. Parents are required to keep a record of their children’s grades and do all reporting required according NYS homeschool regulations.