Should I Encourage My Child to Study Classics?*

*This is a collaborative post*

Parents tend to encourage their children to study subjects at school that are distinctly useful and relevant. Unfortunately, the idea of studying a subject for its own fundamental value and resonance is often rejected. If your child already has their heart set on an education and future career based around medicine, engineering or astronomy then, by all means, urge them to focus on that; though, it is possibly more sensible not to secure themselves too early to one specific discipline.


If your child is looking for a one-of-a-kind subject that will occupy their mind and trigger their imagination, then Classics is a potential option. Once considered an education in itself, it continues to be the longest-standing and richest subject on the public-school curriculum. 


Pupils at schools like King Edwards Witley, a senior school in Surrey, are given an opportunity that is unfortunately renounced to most in the maintained sector of delving into the opulent legacy of Classical Greece and Rome through three subjects: Latin, Classical Greek and Classical Civilisation. This allows King Edwards’ students to explore the language, literature, art, archaeology, history, philosophy, and culture of the Greeks and Romans; certainly, Classics is the lone school subject where foreign language literature is studied at GCSE level in the original rather than in translation. 


Nevertheless, this subject is not merely a lavish and outdated indulgence: nearly eight out of ten English words originate from Greek and Latin; Latin is the mother language of lots of others, including French and Romanian; research has unceasingly implied the worth of the precision and logic of the classical languages. So, whether it is Hadrian’s Wall, the waspish Martial, the marvel of Pompeii, fiery love-poetry, Greek calamity, Roman comedy, New Testament Greek, the mystery of the Trojan war, Greek mythology, Roman Emperors, Alexander the Great, Sparta or Athenian democracy, your child will discover something to test and enthral them through this subject. 


An additional reason to study Classics is to see the world!  The Classics Department diary often involves popular foreign trips. J.K Rowling, Chris Martin of Coldplay and Boris Johnson are just three exemplars of what young people can go on to do with a classical education! Kevin Kline, in the film ‘The Emperor’s Club’, plays the role of American Classics teacher Mr Hundert who implores his students to engross themselves in the ‘giants of history…welcome to western civilisation, the Greeks and Romans’. And that is why Classics hold its position on the curriculum!

*Photo source Pexels

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