Isn’t a Classical Education Strong in Humanities But Weak in Math & Science?

math science tree

During medieval times, educated people in the West studied a broad liberal arts curriculum designed to prepare students to think and learn for themselves, and to actively participate in the Great Conversation of their day. This Classical Liberal Arts Curriculum defined what it meant to be an educated person who was well versed in all topics of the day. Such a person was prepared for life, including further education, which in medieval times usually meant advanced study in theology or philosophy. The curriculum was vocational only in the sense that it provided students a requisite breadth of primary knowledge.

You may be surprised to know that a medieval classical education consisted of much more than the Trivium. The second part of the curriculum was called the Quadrivium and included arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. Borrowing Trivium language, arithmetic may be considered the fundamental, “Grammar stage” content of the Quadrivium, followed by application in space (geometry), then in time (astronomy), then in space and time (music). Classical scholars recognized the importance of arithmetic and the value of its application in understanding human existence and participating in the Great Conversation. Math and science were highly esteemed and required topics of study in the medieval classical tradition. Today, when someone receives a liberal arts education, it is often strong in language arts and humanities but weak in math and science. This is an incomplete implementation of a Classical Liberal Arts Curriculum.

At Hill Country, we believe that math and science are critically important components of a Classical education. Our Upper School math program aims for student mastery of a finite list of core skills by requiring a higher standard along with placement options and extra practice for those who need it. We encourage curiosity and exploration in our science program in the same awe-inspiring spirit as David professed in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” We are committed to fostering excellence in math and science as well as in the humanities.

To learn more about the math and science program at Hill Country, visit the Academics section of our website.

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