#17: Arithmetic: The Liberal Art of Discrete Quantity

Is now available in Itunes & Stitcher. We would love to know what you think, so leave us a review and rating on ITunes!

Welcome to The Classical Homeschool Podcast. At the Classical Homeschool Podcast, our heart is to take on the work of wrestling through the, sometimes difficult and philosophical, ideas presented throughout the classical education movement and bring them down to earth, specifically and practically for the classical homeschooling mom.

Welcome to the Quadrivium! This four-fold path opens the student to the mathematical tools of truth perception. In this episode, we begin with the first mathematical liberal art of arithmetic; the study of arithmetic explores the discrete quantity. “A discrete quantity can only take on certain values. For example, the number of students in a classroom can only be a positive integer and is thus a discrete quantity since the range of possible values is not continuous” (Art of Problem Solving). Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division combined with practice and drill give a student a firm foundation in the liberal art of arithmetic. A point to remember about choosing a math curriculum is staying consistent! The great thing about classical education is that we have a form of instruction, so we as teachers can take any lesson or information and form a classical experience.

Towards the ending of the episode, we talk about the symbology behind the discrete numbers. For instance, the number 1 represents unity; it is the alpha and omega, the center, the origin from which the universe evolved. The number 3 represents the reconciling to unity; stability is found in this number like in a three legged stool. Duality is represented by the number 2. These numbers we add, subtract, multiply, divide, and count bring the mind from the earthly order to the heavenly order. We hope that this episode encourages you to add some wonder into your math studies. Participating in the sacred order, the liturgy, placed in the world by God is where the student is guided into the habit of incarnating knowledge.


“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV

Resources Mentioned in Today’s Episode

Book: Beauty for Truth’s Sake: On the Re-enchantment of Education by Stratford Caldecott

Book: The Liberal Arts Tradition by Kevin Clark and Ravi Scott Jain

Book: Quadrivium by Wooden Books 

Video: Khan Academy: Beauty of Algebra

Book: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Book: Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco

Resource: Classical Conversations Practicum

Book: Norms and Nobility by David Hicks

Book: Medieval Literacy: A Compendium of Medieval Knowledge by James Grote

Resource: Saxon Math

Resource: Rod and Staff

Resource: Ray’s Arithmetic

Book: An Introduction to Arithmetic by Nicomachus

Book: The Principia : Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy by Sir Isaac Newton

Blog Post: Contemplating the Liberal Arts: Arithmetic by Paideia Fellowship

Blog Post: Connecting with Math :: Living Math Books Everyone Can Enjoy by Between the Linens


Leave a Rating or Review

Thank you for your interest in leaving a rating or review for The Classical Homeschool Podcast on iTunes. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Click on this link to go to the podcast main page.
  2. Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
  3. Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.