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Academics

Classical Christian Education

What is it?

  • A Biblical Worldview

  • It is parent led, not child driven.

  • It is language-intensive, not image focused.

  • It demands that students use and understand words, not video images.

  • It is history-intensive, providing students with a comprehensive view of human endeavor from the beginning until now.

  • It trains the mind to analyze and draw conclusions.

  • It demands self-discipline.

A Biblical Worldview
The Key Ingredient

 

Thinking Biblically

A liberal arts education is meant to produce a well educated and well-rounded individual. For this reason, SCA is committed to the belief that the classical approach to education is the best approach to education when taught from a biblical worldview. SCA guides its students to think biblically with the hope that they will submit their lives to the authority of Christ and use their intellectual competency for the purposes of God.

 

A Second Opportunity for Parents

In conclusion, it is important to point out one of the greatest advantages of educating children at home: the parents have a second chance to receive the education that may have been missed.

Even the well educated learn profoundly more the second time around.

It is well known that the best way to learn is to be forced to teach!

  • When parents are intrinsically involved in the teaching of their children, they often find that they enjoy learning some Latin, discussing the classics, working with their children to examine more closely his conclusions in scientific research, and applying the logical steps of mathematical thought.

  • Parents using the classical approach to education to educate their child at home find that a whole new world of knowing and understanding begins to open for them and their children as well.

  • This is the education that all Christian parents should desire for their children.

The Influence of Dorothy Sayers

Modern Resurgence of Classical Education

Dorothy Sayers

Dorothy Sayers was an English writer who graduated from Oxford. In 1947 while at Oxford, Sayers presented an essay entitled “The Lost Tools of Learning.” In the early 90’s her essay captured the attention of educators and has become one of the most widely read essays on classical education.

The modern resurgence of classical education can be attributed to an essay written by Dorothy Sayers.

Although Sayers was not an educator herself, she does address the problems of modern education in terms that speak to the heart and mind of those who have passed through the system and found their education inadequate. She also gives parents a type of syllabus to follow. Her essay has proven to be a wonderful starting point for those seeking a better way to teach and be taught.

The Classical Approach

The classical approach to education is based upon the medieval scheme of education. The medieval syllabus consists of seven disciplines of academic study:

  • Grammar

  • Logic

  • Rhetoric

  • Arithmetic

  • Astronomy

  • Geometry

  • Music

 

This approach teaches students to think well in all of areas of knowledge and to come to the realization that all areas of knowledge are interconnected. Although the aim of the medieval scholars was not to understand God, these “subjects,” or pieces of knowledge, teach some of the communicable attributes of God in a way that His finite image-bearers can, whether intentionally or unintentionally, reflect His character.

The Fruit

  • In nurturing children intellectually and spiritually SCA will utilize the principles of a liberal education to graduate students with godly character that has been developed through hard work and submission to authority, both the authority of the Word of God and the authority of their parents and instructors.

  • Understanding that work is a gift from God, they will be diligent to complete tasks and other responsibilities left in their charge.

  • By God’s grace, the SCA graduates will be equipped both in writing and in speaking and be biblically minded and interdisciplinary thinkers, using their gifts to make a difference in this world for the glory of God while influencing others of their need to prepare for this life and the life thereafter.

Moving from Parts to Whole
Classical Pedagogy

The scope of these disciplines may seem far too grand for the young students to approach; yet when approached incrementally, moving from parts to whole, they are not.

Classical pedagogy begins with the end in mind and maps out the coursework moving downward to the starting point - there students begin to learn. At this point, with the rudiments of each subject being taught incrementally, the students carefully move from part to whole until they reach the level of required mastery, or the “end.”

For example, classical education does not simply teach students to read; instead, literacy begins by teaching the students that a word is made up of phonograms, that when combined carry meaning in written and spoken language. The students first learn the foundational phonograms as well as corresponding spelling rules.

 

Once they are able to identify these phonograms in writing and are shown how to decode, they naturally begin to read.

  • Because the average child has a vocabulary of thousands of words, using this technique allows the teacher to introduce a limited number of spelling words containing vital spelling patterns and spelling rules, resulting in a student who can read and write well beyond the words taught to him.

 

  • Each student learns that language is a code and that he can master the steps to decode and encode his language. These foundational tools of language enable students to not only decipher the printed word, but to spell.

 

  • This approach makes it possible for the students to not only remember what they have learned, but just as important, they know how to learn independently and are equipped to read and write for a lifetime.

 

  • With this knowledge they are able to move from the simple to the complex without difficulty, transferring these intellectual skills to other subjects that must be mastered.

Philosophy of Christian Classical Education

  • God is the center of reality.

  • Truth is defined by God.

  • Knowledge of subjects or things (including man himself) is unified, rational, and consistent.

Compared to :

Philosophy of Public Education

  • Man is the center of reality.

  • Truth is relative to man.

  • Knowledge of subjects or things (including man himself) is random, detached, and changing.

The Parts of the Trivium

 

Often, classical education is thought of as a defined three-stage process called the trivium. A closer look reveals that the trivium is an instructional method that includes the three elements of the classical disciplines.

  1. Grammar

  2. Logic

  3. Rhetoric

 

Pedagogy

 

This pedagogy is applied from the earliest lessons, both formal and informal. Parents and teachers alike realize that all humans, regardless of age, experience changing stages of development. In order to meet the needs of the developing students so that they can gradually comprehend, the best teachers instruct by applying the three elements as they are appropriate.

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Principles

PRINCIPLE #1

Inherent Value

Being made in the image of God inherently places value on the mind’s God-given, natural ability to learn.

 

“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
- God, Genesis 1:26

PRINCIPLE #2

Classical & Christian

For over 30 years, our classically developed curriculum…

  • Applies a parts to whole methodology

  • Affords every student an equal opportunity

  • Results in a deep satisfaction of knowing and applying Biblical truth

The scope and sequence integrates and balances the disciplines in both the trivium and quadrivium.

 

“The trivium consists of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, while the quadrivium consists of arithmetic, astronomy, music, and geometry.” - Dr. Lehman, Hillsdale College

PRINCIPLE #3

Parental Involvement

A Classical Christian education that is disciplined and thoughtful requires daily encouragement and nurturing. Tutors can help your student along the way, but they cannot fulfill the God-given parental role to know, help, and love your child.

Our hybrid homeschool and onsite learning combination…

  • Positions parents to be the primary nurturer

  • Aligns the student to form proper attachments

  • Builds a student’s respect for their family and community

As SCA parents, you’ll be intrinsically involved in your student’s day-to-day academic and spiritual disciplines. To have its way in the heart and mind of students, Classic Christian Education must be parent guided, not child driven. Our community works together to help and encourage one another in the most serious, most rewarding, and at times, difficult, assignment of parenting.

 

“The hardest things we humans will ever do is think.”
- Martin Adler, American Philosopher & Educator

PRINCIPLE #4

Academic Expectation

Based upon the above truths, the expectation for each child is to learn well. When a child is young, the responsibility of ensuring understanding is heavily placed on the adult. As a child grows physiologically and in knowledge, the responsibility to understand naturally transfers to the student.

This transfer is achieved by assigning the proper weight at each level of the trivium/quadrivium.

 

“One is incapable of holding their own bar and reaching their full potential. We hold the bar, taking the student higher than they can go alone.”

- Sandra Lawson, Founder

National Testing

Our principals naturally equip students to perform well on standardized tests (ACT/SAT), but we do not believe their output is a good metric for evaluating a Classical Christian education. We understand you may have more questions; please do not hesitate to ask.