Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Ep. 74—What Is Classical Christian Education?—Andrew Kern

By Catholic Culture Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | May 04, 2020 | In The Catholic Culture Podcast

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Modern education treats the child as a blank slate, a malleable object to be formed according to the will of whoever has power over educational policy. Classical Christian education treats the child as a person made in the image of God, a mystery to be held in awe, and tends to the flowering of his already-given nature by leading him to wisdom and virtue.

Andrew Kern, founder of the CiRCE Institute (Center for Independent Research on Classical Education), is one of the best guests Thomas has ever interviewed. In this episode he leads us through the profound basics of classical Christian education—offering a radically different view of the human person and of reality itself from that which predominates today.


[5:31] What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?

[10:31] What is a classical education? It is simply a list of great books one must study?

[15:58] Teaching “subjects” vs. the seven liberal arts

[21:18] Using music to illustrate a number of ideas about classical education

[28:20] The need for the art of rhetoric in a sophisticated political system like ours

[31:04] The generative power of form

[37:35] Respecting the “Holy of Holies” within the child—an image of God and a mystery

[42:38] Each of the seven liberal arts has a form and skill, tending to wisdom and virtue

[55:14] How mastering the liberal arts glorifies God

[59:35] Classical education has no ‘method’

[1:09:39] The seven stages of a lesson

[1:15:13] Services offered by the CiRCE Institute

[1:23:09] How would a classical school teach “practical” skills like finance?

[1:30:19] Practical concerns of parents hoping to educate their children classically


Ask Andrew your own questions, live—Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 ET in May

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CiRCE Institute

Books recommended by Andrew:

The best book on classical Christian education: Norms and Nobility by David Hicks

CiRCE’s upcoming book edited by David Kern, including essays by past Catholic Culture Podcast guests James Matthew Wilson and Anthony Esolen (and a poem by past guest Dana Gioia): 30 Poems to Memorize (Before It’s Too Late)

C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image

Theme music: “Franciscan Eyes”, written and performed by Thomas Mirus. Download the Catholic Culture Podcast soundtrack.

Thomas V. Mirus is Director of Podcasts for, hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast, and co-hosts Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. See full bio.

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