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A Classical Education is Practical (Part 2)

A Classical Education is Practical (Part 2)

This is part of the series: Classical Homeschooling

Now that we’re thinking of the liberal arts in terms of skills, not exclusively as phases of child development, let’s discuss four more points on the practicality of a classical education.

1) A high school education is preparatory.

This point is more important than it might seem. With all the pressure homeschooling parents are under to prepare their kids for the future, it’s worth mentioning that this preparation ends at some point. The homeschool graduate does something at the end of their senior year: graduate.

Our job is to get them as ready as possible to face the world–not face the world for them.

At the very least, an education in the liberal arts will adequately prepare an 18-year-old to be an 18-year-old. But it does do more than that.

2) A classical education is an education in language and mathematics.

This is the core of practicality. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are the foundation of all future learning, and this is what the Trivium and Quadrivium offer and more.

Whether your student wants to be a scientist, a plumber, or a trophy wife, she must learn the skills offered by the Trivium: reading, thinking, and speaking.

3) Employers want employees who can learn.

From an economic standpoint, we homeschool parents want what all parents want: our kids to be employable. This is, of course, not all we want for our kids, but we certainly don’t want them living in our basements when they’re 30.

Today’s economists are arguing about why there are so many unemployed workers, yet so many jobs available. Is it unqualified or unskilled workers?

Two things are sure though:

  1. On-the-job training costs companies money they don’t want to spend, and
  2. The prospective new hire who learns the fastest wins.

A classical education gives the high school grad an edge in college. In The Well-Trained Mind, Susan Wise Bauer recounts her surprise at the inability of her college students to write a simple paper. Anecdotally, friends of mine have said the same of their college students. Any student who enters college already knowing how to express herself with grace, using sound argumentation, will stand easily above her peers.

Whether your student lands an internship out of college to get experience before a job, or goes straight into the workforce, she will need to know how to learn. Every job has its own learning curve, and an education in the liberal arts is fundamentally time spent “learning how to learn.”

4) A classical education is more than academic.

The classical student spends a lot of time reading, thinking, and writing/speaking. He encounters texts that not only challenge his language abilities, but form his affections. When the student reads about King Arthur, he learns about chivalry, bravery, and sacrifice. When the student reads Homer, he learns about struggle, pride, and temptation.

An education weighted heavily in great works of literature can’t help but teach the student what to love, respect, or revere.

Any student who is prodded to think deeply and write about what he’s read is more likely to empathize with others and act with compassion or fortitude like the literary characters he has studied. The well-read student has faced the ethical dilemmas of racism, bullying, and adultery from the safety of her living room.

This experience–this learning how to relate to God and other people–perhaps more than the skills learned through the liberal arts are what make a classical education the most practical.

Rhiannon Kutzer

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Nice to meet you!

I’m Rhiannon.

You can call me Rhi for short (as in “rejoice”). I’m a fiercely independent homeschooling mom of five, a Navy wife of 13 years, and a creator of various things: articles, a semi-regular newsletter, quilts, furniture, and the occasional knitted scarf. This is the site where I write about our homeschool journey and news and happenings in the homeschool world. more about me.


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Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool? Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

--the best of the homeschool blogosphere,
--current homeschool news,
--and great quotes that will refresh your homeschool mama mind.

Latest Posts


  • Fact: The #Navy wife life will kill you if you don’t find support somehow.
Fact: That support will almost 100% of the time be the females around you.
Fact: Our whole family got the flu literally THE DAY Jake’s boat pulled out.
Fact: This little @theglorioustable ditty about crashing our proverbial banana trucks posted the same day. God has a sense of humor. Link also in profile. (
The fact that I am just now getting around to posting about it tells you the extent to which the flu knocked me on my ass. I was in bed for three days straight. I am NEVER this sick.
Fact: If it weren’t for strong, kind, generous WOMEN around me, I probably would have ended up in the hospital and my kids may or may not be alive. The menfolk care too, they just weren’t here. Couldn’t support. Had their own work to do. The mission does not stop for sick families.
Find yourself a tribe if you want to survive. You HAVE to have someone to call. Even if, like me, it’s your mom (who will--wisely--tell you to ask for local help even though you don’t want to be a bother.) I needed prayers, sure, but more than that, I needed local people to literally come to my house and feed my kids and put food in my fridge, be here while I went to the doctor, and put my kids to bed when I was too sick to stay awake a minute longer. A virtual community CANNOT do those things. It can try, but a local community has power a virtual community will never have.
Another post on this topic here: (
#community #Navywifelife #momlife #sisterhood
  • Happy New Year and all, but more importantly, today we got to watch our @wyo_football win the Arizona Bowl. (With a freshman QB starting for the 1st time ever, btw 😮😮😮💪🏻) Way to go Pokes! #theWorldNeedsMoreCowboys #OneWyoming #GoWyo
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The hard part is figuring out where I want to aim, with the 5-year gap between E. and S., and then L. being a newbie to full-on school. Having moved twice in 2019, I nixed MT and just focused on individual work. That came with costs. Shakespeare, Plutarch, art study, and composer study suffered. Memory work barely happened at all. I was BUSY. We missed out on discussing things together. Now that we’re settled, it’s time to restart MT.
This term I’ve decided to aim Shakespeare and Plutarch at the oldest, while the girls listen in and do handwriting/drawing/fine motor. I won’t ask them for much narration. Our reading schedule for these is AMBITIOUS. Maybe crazy. Then we’ll do all the memory & read aloud stuff that suits everyone. These lessons are SHORT. Then E. will go do his individual work while I read aloud w/ just the girls.
Also, “Morning Time” is a misnomer, considering we break it up throughout the day. It should really be called Morning/Lunch/Nap Time. I need a new name. Circle Time? Except we don’t sit in a circle. Together school? Except we’re together doing school all day. I don’t think English has the word I’m looking for. Maybe Tertulia or Salon?
Our actual coursework is: the Scottish Play, Plutarch is Alexander the Great’s life, our artist is Gustave Courbet, composer is Paganini, Bible memory is Psalm 46, Hymn is Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me, read alouds will rotate from Burgess Bird Book, Trial and Triumph, Blue Fairy Book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Vanderbeekers, & picture books. Timeline is from Classical Conversations. Poems are Charge of the Light Brigade, Winter Night by Teasdale, and The Land of Nod.
Whew! It’s gonna be a fun term! What do you guys do for Morning Time?
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