The renewal of classical education has grown significantly over the last two decades. However, even seasoned classical educators agree that it can still be difficult to answer the fundamental question: “What is classical education?” In this foundational course, Dr. Christopher Perrin provides a clear definition of classical education and then explores key questions, including:

  • What is classical education—how do we define it?
  • How should we talk about classical education? What words are fitting?
  • To what may we compare it? What images and analogies help us best understand classical education?
  • How do we classify it? What are the main elements of classical education?
  • What are the liberal arts and why are they called “liberal” and “arts”?
  • What is the history of classical education, and how does it compare with modern, progressive education?
  • Who are some of the great minds and writers that have influenced the development of classical education?
  • Why is a robust community so important for the development of a classical school or homeschool?
  • What are some of the various “flavors” of classical education that have existed in the past and that exist today?
  • How do we practice and implement classical education in our homes and schools today? What are the main pedagogical principles that inform how classical educators teach?
  • How do we deepen our understanding of classical education? What are some of the important books I should read to learn more about classical education?ice book


This course is an extension of Dr. Perrin’s pithy book An Introduction to Classical Education: A Guide for Parents—more than 100,000 copies have been sold or downloaded! Purchase a hard copy here or download the PDF for free.


  • Course Introduction
  • Lesson 1: A Clear Definition of Classical Education
  • Lesson 2: Clear Words for Classical Education
  • Lesson 3: To What Shall I Compare Classical Education?
  • Lesson 4: Various Models of Classical Education
  • Lesson 5: The Major Elements of Classical Education
  • Lesson 6: Tracing the History of Classical Education
  • Lesson 7: Why Classical Education?
  • Lesson 8: Communal Education (Paideia)
  • Lesson 9: Implementing Classical Education
  • Lesson 10: The Developing Models of Classical Education
  • Lesson 11: Deepening our Understanding of Classical Education
  • Lesson 12: How to Read Well (Dr. Perrin’s Top 55 Books on Classical Education)

Dr. Christopher Perrin, MDiv, PhD, is an author, consultant, and speaker who specializes in classical education. He is committed to the renewal of the liberal arts tradition. He cofounded and serves full-time as the CEO/publisher at Classical Academic Press, a classical education curriculum, media, and consulting company. Christopher is also a consultant to charter, public, private, and Christian schools across the country. He is the director at the Alcuin Fellowship with the Institute for Classical Schools and the former board vice president of the Society for Classical Learning. He has published numerous articles and lectures that are widely used throughout the United States and the English-speaking world.

Christopher received his BA in history from the University of South Carolina and his MDiv and PhD in apologetics from Westminster Theological Seminary. He was also a special student in literature at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. He has taught at Messiah College and Chesapeake Theological Seminary, and served as the founding headmaster of a classical school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for 10 years. He is the author of The Greek Alphabet Code Cracker and Greek for Children and the coauthor of the Latin for Children series, all published by Classical Academic Press.


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Please Note: ClassicalU is currently developing a certification to accompany our course offerings. The certification credit component of this course is now active but also undergoing refinement and testing.

To obtain a certification credit for this course, simply complete the quiz that follows each presentation in the course, and then also take the certification test at the end of the course. The quizzes are designed to ensure that you have understood the essential content of each presentation, and they can be taken more than once if necessary. The cumulative certification test at the end of the course is given as a pass/fail test and requires that you upload two short essays (of 600–750 words) demonstrating your understanding this course. When you have completed the course, a certificate that you can print or email will magically appear under the “My Courses” section of this website.

For this course, the essay assignments are:

In 600 to 750 words, define and describe classical education.
In 600 to 750 words, define and describe progressive education.

Please allow approximately 2 weeks for essay submissions to be reviewed.

By taking the course for certification credit, you also will be on your way to obtaining a Level 1 certification.

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