By William Bryant

Q: We live in rural America. We love it, and so do our kids. Classical education seems very much like a prep school with the uniforms, the uppity behaviors, and so much work. Why do we need a classical Christian education as opposed to just a Christian education?

A: Today, everyone from farmers and truck drivers to patent attorneys and corporate managers—and, dare I say, even some administrators and teachers—has forgotten the main difference between modern education and classical education. It isn’t the trivium or the “great books” or the “liberal arts.” It isn’t this foreign language, or that house program, or this senior thesis requirement, or that uniform standard. And it certainly isn’t an esoteric infatuation with the cardinal virtues instead of boring, simple Bible stuff like the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the Ten Commandments.

What is it, then? Simply this. Modern education is about making my circumstances better, while classical education is about making myself better. Modern education is about improving my material condition, while the old way is about improving myself.

If we keep our focus on this main difference and learn to communicate it better, our schools should have a deep appeal to heavenly-minded Christian parents regardless of zip code or vocation.

For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord. Proverbs 8:35

WILLIAM BRYANT is a retired teacher. For three decades he directed school orchestras, bands, and choirs while occasionally teaching English, Bible, music history, music theory, ancient history, and rhetoric. Looking back on his lifelong love of great books and great music, he likes to say that he was classical before classical was cool. He and his wife of 40 years live in Idaho.