QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
WHAT IS CLASSICAL EDUCATION?
Classical education is about nourishing souls, not just transmitting skills. The goal of classical education is to form a mature person whose thoughts, emotions, and desires reflect truth. In classical education, we want children to become strong readers, but we also want them to read well: We think WHAT they read is as important as THAT they read. We look for books that strengthen the student’s moral imagination and inspire a love for what is good, true, and beautiful.
We seek to cultivate wisdom and virtue as their primary goal. Although classically educated students do well on standardized tests, we don’t measure success by scores, but rather by the development of a mature person who loves learning and who makes the connection between learning and life—one who ties knowledge to responsibility and struggles to live not for himself, but for God and his neighbor.
In order to develop wisdom and virtue, classical educators make use of the humanities, the timeless works of history, literature, and poetry, along with the arts of the trivium and quadrivium. The trivium consists of three arts related to human language and subjects taught within the classrooms. The first, the art of grammar, includes reading, writing, interpreting, and judging written texts. The second, the art of logic, teaches critical thinking and develops the faculty of reason. And the third, the art of rhetoric, is comprised of beautifully ordering words so that they might persuade. For both Plato, a Greek, and Quintilian, a Roman, wisdom, justice, and eloquence are inextricably linked; a good rhetorician is “the good man speaking well.” In addition to the trivium, classical educators also consider understanding the created order to be of crucial importance. Thus, the quadrivium consists of four arts related to number–arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music–which we approach today through mathematics and the sciences.
Although classical education was developed by the early Greeks, it came to fruition in the Christian church. Therefore, to speak of classical education is also to speak of Christian education. The best of the ancient Greeks and Romans desired to live lives of piety and virtue, and with the coming of Christ their imperfect vision of man was fulfilled. The cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude were crowned with the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. Classical education asks the questions: Who is the good man? What is the good life? Christianity answers them: The good man is Jesus Christ and the good life is the one which follows Him.
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.
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.
IS YOUR COMMUNITY GOVERNED BY A CHURCH?
PEL is a nondenominational, Christ-centered and Bible-based private ministerial association (PMA) open to our members. We are classified as a 501(c)(3) and all donations to the ministry are tax-deductible.
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 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 having specific grade level groups, consistent accountability from semester to semester, a full spectrum of courses, skilled mentors and heavy parental involvement.
WHO CHOOSES THE CURRICULUM?
The curriculum at PEL PREP is chosen by a team of educational mentors. 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 mentors 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 assign lessons and activities to be completed at home. The parent will teach the key objectives at home and the mentors will reinforce in community.
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?
Parents have the final say on how they will assess their children in compliance with NYS homeschool regulations. PEL Prep does conduct end of year assessments for the sole purpose of determining proper placement for the year to come.
HOW WILL I COMMUNICATE WITH MY CHILD’S TUTOR THROUGHOUT THE YEAR?
Communication is key. Mentors 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.