When parents ask you why Latin…

May 19, 2021

An Apology for Latin and Math

Many who are attracted to the idea of a classical education don’t know exactly why, nor do they understand the necessity for Latin, or at least so much of it. A little bit of Latin is a good thing, but every year? Spinach is a good thing, but every day?

I think five decades of fads and experiments have made parents wary, and when they hear about classical education, they think, “Yes, that’s what I want.” Part of the appeal of classical education is simply the word ‘classical.’

Classical is a word that has interesting associations: something that has withstood the test of time, the best, something with form, structure, and beauty, like a symphony or classical architecture. When put this way, all parents want a classical education; they want the best, the education that is time-tested, the education that has form and structure, discipline, and beauty. It sounds good to parents who are tired of the latest innovations that never seem to work.

But what is Classical Education? To be accurate, and we must be, we will use the historical meaning. This understanding of Classical Education can certainly be updated, but it cannot be radically changed. In Classical Education, the primary focus of language study is a classical language, and the primary focus of history is the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome. There are two and only two classical languages, Latin and Greek, and I will confine my comments to Latin.

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