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What is the Trivium?

Trivium: A Latin word which refers to the convergence of three roads at one point. Historically, the trivium has consisted of grammar, logic and rhetoric.

These can be thought of as separate subjects. All three are taught at The Oaks. However, we view them as three ways or tools that students can use to learn any subject. Grammar guides us concerning the facts and rules of a subject; Logic helps us make sense of a subject's core principles and weigh their truth or falsity; Rhetoric teaches us how to communicate most effectively.

"For the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain."

—Dorothy Sayers 

Teaching To The Grain

Carpenters understand the importance of knowing the grain of the wood and working with it, rather than against it. Good teachers know that the same principle is true in education. Many educational models fail to consider the way God made children but the classical model is based on the conviction that God made young children to absorb a great deal of information by way of songs and chants, he equipped adolescents with a desire to debate, and he gave young adults a desire to communicate what they know.

The Lost Tools of Learning

The Trivium taught the primary tools of learning. The quadrivium applied the trivium to the complete range of advanced subjects.

For twenty centuries, these methods, integrated with a biblical world view of salvation in Jesus Christ, have educated and guided Christians from all traditions.

Dorothy Sayers, the noted 20th century Christian intellectual and British novelist, wrote a booklet titled The Lost Tools of Learning. This sparked a renaissance of classical education. She broke fresh ground by mapping the trivium to the three stages of a child's mental and emotional growth.

Following her lead, we "teach to the grain." We use age-appropriate materials to engage students at the intersection of their present spiritual, intellectual and emotional maturity.

Twenty-five years of first-hand experience at The Oaks confirms that classical education is as up-to-date as ever.