Classical homeschooling is based on the three stages of a classical education known as the trivium. The trivium is best thought of as a three part process in training the mind. . . moving from memorizing basic facts to learning to think logically and therefore work on more advanced studies. There are numerous resources available for classical homeschooling.
Elements of a Classical Education
Aside from following the trivium, what makes a classical education classical? There are some standard subjects and methods of study that are markers of classical homeschooling. That does not mean that if your family doesn't do every single suggested course that you are not classically educating your children. Many families who consider themselves to be classically homeschooling, still may take a slightly eclectic approach to some elements in classical homeschooling.
The Study of Latin
Latin is a key component of the classical homeschool program. Students begin to study Latin early. Why study Latin you might ask? Well first of all, it is a classical language. Proponents also point to how much it can increase your vocabulary since so many English words are based on Latin roots. Keep in mind that studying Latin doesn't mean that you will study it to speak it in the same way that you'd study Spanish or French. Although some students do that, many study root words to increase vocabulary.
The Study of History Chronologically
Studying history chronologically is a major component of a classical education so much so that if you don't study historically chronologically, you are probably not a classical homeschooler. This is a huge difference from an American educational system where students study their immediate community, then American history and don't delve into world history until much later in their education.
The Study of the Arts
Fine arts is a non-negotiable component of a classical education. Classical music in particular is encouraged. What sets the study of fine arts apart from other typical courses of study is that students are not only taught to be active participants, but also to recognize major pieces of art and music.
The Study of the Classics
Whether it's classic literature, classic figures in history or classic languages, a classically educated student will have studied all of these things by the time he or she graduates from high school.
The Study of Logic and Rhetoric
There are not many students who take formal logic. The active teaching of reasoning and logic sets classically educated students apart. By the time he or she is in high school, the classically educated student is expected to argue or debate using rules for formal logic and reasoning.
Classical Homeschooling Publishers
There are ample resources for those parents who wish to engage in classical homeschooling.
Peace Hill Press
You might not recognize the name Peace Hill Press, but if you are at all interested in a Classic education, then you have no doubt heard of The Well Trained Mind. Peace Hill Press is the publishing division that sells all of Susan Wise Bauer books including First Language Lessons, Story of the World, and Writing with Ease.
Memoria Press is probably best known for their Latin Christiana Latin curriculum. However, they offer a variety of curriculum resources in Logic, Latin, reading and various other subjects. They also have a newly minted online academy for those who would prefer distance homeschooling.
Logos Press is an interesting publisher because their resources are teacher created. They are the publishing division of Logos school, a classically based Christian school in Idaho. They are publishers of the newly popular Imitation in Writing Series.
Trivium Pursuit offers a variety of products such as out of print books, and classical education resources. They are probably best known for The Fallacy Detective, a curriculum to help teach formal logic.
Could a Classical Education Be Right for You?
Deciding what curriculum would suit you best is sometimes overwhelming. It can be a daunting experience to try and decipher what will best meet your needs and the needs of your family. Before you purchase a lot of materials, consider thoughtfully the distinctive classical approach. If it appeals to you, visit a vendor or two and your next homeschooling convention. Taking the time to really try and brace the philosophy can help ensure that you make a good investment.