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About us

Since 1999 the Birketts have supported Christian families seeking the best classical curriculum materials for their children. Norman and Katharine Birkett met at Princeton University, and count it a privilege that God has used their language and logic training to help families, co-ops and schools to pursue a Christian classical education.

Norman M. Birkett

Norman Birkett attended a Christian school for most of his pre-college years, where he received a rigorous Christian education that embodied many elements of what is now called Christian and classical education.

He then studied philosophy at Princeton University, earning his A.B. cum laude in 1984. His thesis, on artificial intelligence, won the university’s Dickinson Prize as the best thesis that year in logic and philosophy of mind.

After Princeton, he spent fifteen years developing software for the financial industry, gaining a wide exposure to the business world in the process. His work ranged from very technical systems programming to the management of trading systems software teams in a large Wall Street firm.

He left Wall Street in 1999 to become a teacher and administrator at the Christian and classical school associated with his church, in Montville, New Jersey. He remained at the school until 2008, teaching a variety of subjects, including logic, rhetoric, literature, history of Western thought, calculus, music appreciation, boys' chorus, and computer programming and robotics. For most of these courses his responsibilities included curriculum development. He also maintained the school's computer network for several years. He is currently programming once again for a financial services firm.

Norman is the author of Logic I: Tools for Thinking. The program was shared during its development with homeschooling friends and homeschool co-ops, and has been used in schools, co-ops and individual homeschools since publication.

Katharine Birkett

Katharine Birkett majored in Russian language and literature at Princeton. She prepared for college at schools where she was privileged to study Latin and French. After graduating from Princeton, she completed a paralegal degree. More recently, she taught Latin at the same Christian school where Norman taught. An illness removed her from the classroom, but this was a blessing in disguise; it meant
The Great Latin Adventure had to be completed in a form that would be easy for others to teach in future, whether or not they had a Latin background; and it meant that GLA would be shared with homeschoolers as well, for many years before final publication. Katharine writes poetry, enjoys inventing recipes, and transforms digital photos into artwork using Photoshop. Katharine is her husband's best editor and critic. For more on Katharine's journey to author, see Why teach Latin—her language journey is woven in there.

Norman and Katharine

Under God's care Norman and Katharine have had the privilege of more than a quarter-century of marriage. God's plan for the Birketts' lives has not included children of their own, so it is their privilege to serve the children of others through their support for Christian homeschools, co-ops and schools.

They have been blessed by belonging to a wonderful church for over two decades, where both homeschoolers and "school schoolers" unite around the riches of God's word. Through friendships with families in both settings, it came about naturally that The Great Latin Adventure and Logic I: Tools for Thinking were tested in homeschools and co-ops as well as in a Christian school before publication—and the programs are the better for it.

The Birketts hope their writing labors will serve as an offering of thanks to their heavenly Father for all he has entrusted to them, and that the materials they have written will serve your family well.

Molly and Parsnip

The Birketts were capably impeded while writing their curricula by two cats with an extravagant and ever-changing set of names. They turn up in the Birketts' books.

Our vision

Classical Legacy Press was founded to further the revival of Christian classical education, a revival which is transforming Christian homeschools and schools around the world. We provide Christian homeschools and Christian schools with quality Latin and logic curriculum materials which serve the aims of classical education, yet can be used successfully by parents and teachers who were not classically educated themselves.

Our commitment in writing curriculum materials is to set the bar high, and then help students achieve it. With an orderly topic sequence and a friendly, accessible style, our programs help students achieve real skill in Latin and logic—in manageable increments.

But why even study a dead language and an arcane mix of p's and q's? Latin
and logic, properly taught, are anything but musty and irrelevant! They are springboards to the love of language and the mastery of clear thought.
They don't need to be taught in a dry and dusty way—and at Classical Legacy Press, we've given them a fresh treatment.

Visit our Latin curriculum and Logic curriculum pages for a detailed discussion
of the curricula, along with user testimonials. You'll find comments from both homeschool and Christian school users of our Latin and logic programs.

Christian classical education "flavors"

As the Christian classical education movement matures today, it contains a number of different strands and emphases. One school advocates a strict division of trivium subject areas into three learning "stages": the "grammar stage," the "logic [or dialectic] stage" and the "rhetoric stage." These stages are said to correspond to the stages of children's intellectual development, and specific teaching approaches are recommended for each stage.

This developmental model, which originated in an essay of Dorothy Sayers in the 1940s, contains much that is common-sense and helpful. It is serving some families very well, but does represent a approach differing in some important ways from the historic classical tradition. We don't believe that everyone must follow this exact model. You can study Latin and logic at all kinds of ages and stages!

A flexible approach

There's no need to limit yourself or your child to a preordained schedule unless that really works best for you. Homeschoolers in particular have a wonderful liberty to choose the right time to cover a given subject with a particular child—and you don't need to abandon that liberty in order to pursue classical education! Choose excellent curricula and use them when your child is ready.

In our programs, we like to move back and forth between teaching foundational facts and putting those facts to work—right away. We've found this works for children of many ages. It's motivating for children and lets them see reward for their labors!

In short, in our implementation of classical education, we aim to be historically grounded, yet not hidebound; rigorous, yet not rigid.

A bit of history

Where did today's classical education come from, anyway?

Classical education was born in ancient Greece. It spread through the Greco-Roman world and fueled the enormous cultural and political accomplishments of that world.

The Christian educators of late antiquity and the early middle ages sifted the Greek classical legacy through Christian standards to produce a Christian classical education suited to their day. In the hands of Christians the educational legacy of classical antiquity drove the religious, scientific, cultural, and political progress of western civilization from the early middle ages to the nineteenth century.

In the eighteenth century, western culture began to abandon Christianity, and in the nineteenth, it began to abandon classical education—with disastrous consequences. Neither tradition died completely, however, and in recent years,
both have shown encouraging signs of revival.

Today's classical Christian education movement is seeking to revive and adapt the heritage of classical education to serve the needs of today's Christian families—and today's world.

Our faith

We hold much in common with Christians from many traditions. Here are some of our central beliefs. In a few places below you will find that our language echoes a historic creed.

We believe in one God who exists in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit— who is the creator of everything that exists.

We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born of a virgin, is fully God and fully man, and is the only savior of sinners. We believe the entire human race is in need of salvation from sin—salvation from the power of sin, the guilt of sin, and from God's just judgment for sin. We believe that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, took on himself the guilt of sinners, died on the cross under the judgment of God for human sin, and rose again from the grave triumphant over death and sin.

We believe that God invites sinners to turn from their sin to himself in repentance and faith, placing their trust in the sinless Son of God. We believe that sinners who have come to Jesus Christ can and will lead increasingly holy lives by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We believe that outside of Christ, there is no salvation. We believe that Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the world and to take his people to himself forever. We believe in heaven and in hell. We believe in the resurrection of the body.

We believe that the Bible is the inerrant and inspired word of God, and that those who trust in Christ are called by God to study and live out that word in the context of a local church.

At your service

We hope we can help you in your journey, whether you homeschool at home, are involved in a co-op, or teach in a Christian school. Feel free to contact us with any questions!