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Classical Education


Why classical education?

Over the years, a generation of students have graduated from high schools and institutions of higher learning across our country acquiring a great deal of information and knowledge. They have a great passion to contribute to society. However, many lack the ability to clearly communicate their ideas in a succinct, objective manner with logic and facts to support their views. We want to give our students the ability to not only be able to formulate opinions and ideas based on facts and truth, but the ability to also communicate such thoughts in constructive, winsome ways. After examining the classical methodology, we see that it provides a time-proven structure to help our students develop skills to be thoughtful, knowledgeable, discerning citizens who are life-long learners with a solid foundation of what is truthful and right.

 

What is classical education?

 

The educational system called “Classical Education” was developed over two millenia ago with the goal of developing your minds to be wise. At the core of classical education is the “trivium.” The trivium‘s three phases of learning are adapted to three phases of development in children—Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric

 

The Grammar Stage (Grades K-5)

This stage is focused on laying foundational knowledge in all areas of study. Teachers employ developmentally appropriate methods such as memorization, recitation, and songs, chants, and games with grammar students. This is the stage where students become storehouses of information.

The Logic Stage (Grades 6-8)

This stage takes the foundational knowledge gained in the grammar stage and expounds on it. Students in this phase are naturally argumentative and are beginning to ask difficult questions about their world.  Analysis and critical reasoning are the chief mental acts of this stage. Developmentally, logic students learn best through debate and discussion.

The Rhetoric Stage (Grades 9-12)

This stage is the culmination of the trivium. The student of rhetoric takes the foundational knowledge gained in grammar school, the analytical skills of the logic stage and begins producing and defending his/her own ideas. Thesis defense and eloquently written and oral communication are the hallmarks of the rhetoric stage.

Apart from obvious differences in curriculum and instruction, classical education differs fundamentally from traditional education in its focus on the interrelation of all knowledge. While traditional education teaches math, English, and history as isolated “subjects,” classical education seeks to show the interrelation of all knowledge. Math relates to science, which relates to logic. Literature relates to history, which relates to art and music. Christian classicists take the connection further by pursuing the interrelatedness of all knowledge under the sovereignty of God through theology.

Classical education seeks to stir the heart and the intellect to invite curiosity and ignite a passion for learning. It is less about training for a specific, temporal vocation and more about learning to think and live with an eternal purpose.

 

What does the curriculum look like?

Since our students are in grades K-5, the grammar stage, our goal is to optimize their ability to absorb knowledge, facts and information.  Games, chants, rhymes, songs, movement—these are all part of the way we help engage our students with information that they can use and process even more as they mature.  During the grammar stage they develop a storehouse of information that they can turn to later one when they reach the logical stage in grades 6-8 as they formulate ideas and opinions based on facts.

 

Memorization has become a long-lost, yet highly valuable skill.  Our students will hone that skill of memorization not only through learning and absorbing facts, but also learning by heart God’s Word.  While the term “memory work” may come to mind, it is more “learning by heart,” actually taking to heart God’s Word.

 

Math: We use the Saxon math curriculum. Saxon math integrates continual reviewing of prior concepts while adding new concepts of mathematic skills.  As students advance, a typical lesson may include fractions, geometric, as well as algebraic concepts. 

 

History: We have adopted the Mystery of History by Bright Ideas Press for grades 2-5.  We feel that students have a better grasp of history when taught chronologically.

·      2nd Grade covers the beginning of time to 33 A.D.

·      3rd Grade covers 33 A.D. to the Renaissance. 

·      4th Grade covers the Renaissance to the 1701.

·      5th Grade covers 1701 to modern times.

The Mystery of History also includes a Biblical perspective and shares not only what was happening in the world from a secular view, but also a Biblical view.  For example, as student study the reign of Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon, they may also learn about Daniel, or Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego.  Please note that we teach history and not necessarily “Social Studies” in the grammar stage.

 

Science: Our next content area to adapt will be in science.  At the grammar stage, students will learn the facts of science in the world around them. Life science, biology, geology, and elements of scientific study are covered. Again, this will come from a Biblical perspective. 

As students progress in the concepts of science, we know that different theories will be presented and evaluated. The theory of evolution, as it is part of not only science but also history as Darwin is introduced in the 5th grade scope and sequence, is part of the science curriculum, and is defined as what it is, a theory.  We teach creationism, a 6-day creation, holding true to Scripture. However, that does not deter us from teaching the facts and theories of the study of science itself.

 

Latin:  Latin is one of the building blocks in understanding not only our own language and sentence structure, but also sets our students up for success in other language acquisition. Basic Latin is introduced as early as kindergarten and continues on through the 5th grade. We introduced Latin to our curriculum with the Song School Latin series published by Classical Academic Press.

 

Learning CursiveCursive handwriting is also part of our curriculum. Research shows that teaching handwriting skills benefit cognitive development and motor skills and reading comprehension. Students challenged with dyslexia benefit from using cursive handwriting. Cursive handwriting helps with knowledge retention, as well. Having an understanding of cursive also allows students to read many historical documents in their original form.  We use the program Handwriting Without Tears beginning the preschool, introducing cursive in the 2nd grade.

 

Music and the Arts: As Luther once said, “When you sing, you pray twice.” Music has a special place in the Lutheran tradition.  It is also highly useful for committing to heart that which is of most importance, God’s Word and truth.

Martin Luther School has an appreciation for hymnody and liturgy in chapel and in the classroom. Luther used hymns as a means to teach people the truths of scripture. Hymnody is rich with beautiful language, metaphor, and illustration. Familiarity with hymns can help children to quickly understand the cadence and rhythm of music and poetry as well as teach student how to read musical notation itself.

Our students also enjoy taking part in musicals. Through musicals, our students learn stage presence, movement with music, and teamwork as they work together to create a polished production. It is one of the highlights of the year!

 

Luther Academy of Music: Private piano, instrumental band, and Suzuki violin are offered through Luther Academy of Music, and students have the opportunity to take these lessons during the school day.