WISDOM’s Socratic Dialogue Online Program can be considered a classical program in two senses of the word. The majority of the readings are original classics, whether in Literature, Mathematics, Science, Philosophy, or Theology. The students are encouraged not to read introductions or summaries of these books, but to read the books themselves, and to gain all the truth they can from them.
The method of learning in most of the online courses is through Socratic dialogue, which means that the students are expected to use their minds in defending their ideas, challenging one another’s grasp of the book and of the truths contained within it. This method strengthens the students’ memory and begins to accustom them to using correct grammar, logical thinking, and persuasive speaking - the first three liberal arts.
The courses or subjects are chosen carefully to reflect a classical approach. Although they don’t precisely follow the seven traditional liberal arts, we have chosen subjects that are in effective helping students to acquire thinking ability, to develop a keener sense of wonder and awe, and also to recognize the unity behind everything they’re learning.
WISDOM’s online program aims to allow Christ to direct all of our studies. We do this by praying before each class and trying to conduct our discussions in the most sincere and charitable manner possible. The tutors try to refrain from speaking to the class as an authority on the Christian Faith, but instead, encourage all of the students to think and inquire. This is because the parents have the primary right and responsibility to teach their children the Faith, and also because there are occasionally divergent ideas among the students and tutors on exactly who Christ is, and what His teaching is. This is an unfortunate situation, but we nevertheless try to invoke Christ in our online program, to the degree that we can do this as a group.
The interaction in the classroom is not a book club or survey of comprehension questions, but rather, tutors lead discussion by asking a few key questions that guide the students to think of the “great ideas”; deeper questions that seek great truths. What is heroism? What is beauty? Was the hero just? What is justice…?