Some of the most well-known documents and speeches in history were extraordinarily brief. The Ten Commandments are composed of only 301 words. The Mayflower Compact was but 298 words. The Declaration of Independence was a little more than 1,330 words.
On November 19, 1863, minister and politician Edward Everett spoke for two hours at a battlefield in southern Pennsylvania, but few remember his 13,500-words speech. It is Abraham Lincoln’s two-minute, 266-word address that has become one of the most famous political orations ever delivered. The ancient Greeks used to say that the goal of oratory is to give a sea of matter in a drop of language. Solomon reminds us that “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 11:25).
Big ideas have great power when expressed succinctly and eloquently.
Christian classical education understands this principle and seeks to harness the power of these big ideas, dressed in the lovely garb of succinct and eloquent oratory, by equipping students to think clearly, speak well, and communicate with grace and forcefulness. Classical education propels children on a journey toward wisdom and eloquence. Through the grammar and logic years, students are taught core knowledge and the logical relationships inherent in that knowledge. Along the way, they are immersed in the written and spoken word and taught to be confident while using words to glorify God. Then in the rhetoric years, students are taught how to speak and write so that a sea of content can indeed be communicated in a drop of language.
Providence Classical Christian School aspires to teach students to read, write, and reason, and to do so within the classical tradition, guided by the light of Scripture, the greatest books of the Western tradition, and an effective phonics-based reading approach. As students graduate, we aim for them to have a masterful command of language so that when they speak, they choose the right words, speak wisely, and, as classical rhetorician Quintilian put it, become “good men speaking well.”
The Providence speech meet provides students with the opportunity to memorize winsome words and then grow in their ability to speak them well. This yearly event is just a taste of what goes on in classrooms each day, as students both hear and use beautifully composed speech.
Amidst the changing cultural and educational fashions of the day, classical education stands steady as the most developmentally appropriate approach to learning and the best suited to training Christian leaders who have something so say and know how to make their words count. And that makes Providence a powerful educational solution for the days in which we live.
We are so glad that you are part of the Providence family and that your children are walking this path with us toward wisdom and eloquence.