The Seven Liberal Arts of Classical Education
The Verbal Arts (Trivium)
The Math Arts (Quadrivium)
This overview is designed to help briefly explain the framework and philosophy of Classical Education, the curriculum priority for Twin Peaks Charter High School. TPCHS is focused on applying the grammar, logic, and rhetoric stages of the Trivium to all subject areas.
The three levels (or developmental stages) of the Trivium are a little misleading. Grammar is not limited to “English Grammar,” but it is better associated with basic facts and knowledge of any subject matter. All subject areas have basic information that must be grasped before an individual would be able to move on to the next level of competency.
The next level is Logic, or understanding. Once basic facts (or content) are mastered, one must understand how facts relate to one another and affect the whole of the subject. This is the stage where all the questions are asked: who, what, when, how, why, where, to what degree and so on.
Finally, after Grammar and Logic, the student is prepared for Rhetoric: original thought. Students at this level have mastered the basic facts, understand the relationships and are ready to take the subject matter to the next level: forming their own personal interpretation or developing new applications. This is where problem solving and creative thinking emerge. In addition to developing these original thoughts, students are expected to be able to express them in a polished, well-conceived written or verbal format.
The Trivium roughly coincides to: Grammar grades K-6, Logic grades 7-9 and Rhetoric grades 10-12, although portions of each can be found integrated at all levels. The Quadrivium, or the study of the “Math Arts” is the study of individual subjects. This portion of study, while it may begin in the high school years, was traditionally relegated to the university level.
In 1947, a British mystery writer names Dorothy Sayers wrote a short essay, “The Lost Tools of Learning”, in which her major premise was that students/adults no longer knew how to learn. She believed schools were teaching a disjointed, unconnected flow of facts, not giving the students a logical system by which to organize material and absorb it. We recommend reading this essay.