“Fill their mind and imagination with images and concepts, pictures and stories. Spread knowledge out in front of them, and let them feast.” – The Well-Trained Mind
With our minds fixed on human flourishing and God’s glory, we pursue learning from a classical approach. In the grammar years, students grow in foundational knowledge assembling building blocks of learning. As students progress towards the logic years, they learn to unpack foundational knowledge and begin to critically think through ideas and arguments. Ultimately, students develop the ability to express themselves and make applications with confidence as they learn Socratic methods for discussion and exploration in the rhetoric years. The below outlines how our strategy begins at the Grammar level, teaching students virtues such as diligence and the formation of good habits:
As Christians, we often memorize scripture before we can fully understand and apply it. In turn, lower grammar students learn discipline and persistence through integrated memory work that is designed to produce long-term results. As they progress towards the upper grammar and logic years, the knowledge acquired through memory work is reflexive, like a spring-board that propels a student’s understanding of the meaning of words, application, and understanding of concepts.
Students use all their mental faculties to understand, sort through, reorganize, and relate the main points of any subject matter through narration activities. Narration trains the student’s mind to develop strong listening, mindfulness, comprehension, and communication skills that will later help them to discern information and apply creative problem solving. Narration enables students to make sense of the world through stories just as Jesus did through parables. Here are some links about narration you may find helpful.
Lower grammar students begin to unlock the beauty and mechanics of the English language through a strong emphasis on phonetically-taught spelling and highlighting rules in spelling words. This teaching method allows students to internalize spelling in a way that blends easily into reading and strengthens understanding and ability in the areas of spelling, writing and language.
Through well-selected and purposeful literature units, students will explore a variety of genres as they develop the tools needed to learn the skill of reading, increase fluency, and become confident and effective communicators who are on their way to develop a life-long passion and commitment to reading.
In preparation for formal writing, our lower grammar students complete copy work and dictation taken from rich literature. At level 4 our students begin formal writing in which they learn how to articulate themselves putting to use the foundations of language they have learned in the younger years. Students are instructed in both structure and style through a systematic writing program.
History is the study of the events and people (both sinners and saints) that God used to shape the story of mankind. Cycling through the history of the world, we making connections through millennia searching for all that is true, good, and beautiful. Through the study of timelines, lower grammar students develop a chronological "big picture" that equips them for upper grammar when they begin to take deeper dives into the understanding of major historical events. It is important that we parallel Biblical truths and church history into the timeline of the world to see how God has been and still is at work in His creation.
Beginning in grammar level 4, students gain a greater understanding of their own language and the world around them through the study of Latin. Latin allows students to have deeper knowledge of the world’s civilization, culture, history, literature, art, and beauty. Students work on 5 conceptual and practical goals that will prepare them towards more advanced Latin study: Conjugating and how to conjugate a verb, the basics of case and how to decline nouns, matching adjectives and nouns, understanding prepositions and their function in Latin, and an understanding of pronouns and how to substitute pronouns for nouns. Our curriculum slowly and purposefully teaches concepts by asking students to continuously translate from Latin into English and from English to Latin, which forces the student to exercise both sides of the "mental muscle".
Students learn mathematics through the CPA (Concrete Pictorial Abstract) approach, which ultimately emphasizes the why before the how. They begin with concrete applications using physical objects and hands-on applications to solve problems. Then students progress to drawing, looking at pictures, circles, diagrams or models, which represent the objects in the problem. Lastly, students apply abstract symbols to model and solve math problems. All the while, students practice math fact memorization to build fluency.
Students experience the physical world together in science through weekly experiments and careful observation. Upper grammar levels document and journey through their personal science journals or workbooks and explore even deeper through science projects. As students strengthen their understanding through the study of science, they begin to make connections to the overwhelming evidence of God's creation.
Students will enjoy art, music, and drama that are designed to be engaging, collaborative, joyful, and conducive for fellowship and connection. During instruction, they can learn to develop skills that grow creativity and confidence, while working together with teachers and peers to problem solve and communicate reflectively.