The benefits of our Traditional model include the daily assistance of godly Christian mentors/teachers working closely with the parents in leading a child through a remarkable course of study. Though the model still relies upon the deep involvement of the parents, the teacher provides families with a high level of support that never supplants the home, but complements it.
Additionally, the Traditional model provides a strong Christian community in which the child can safely mature spiritually, morally, and mentally in a community with shared commitment where academic excellence and Christian discipleship are of equal importance.
In the Grammar stage of the Trivium (PK-5), students in our Traditional model have opportunity for both primary instruction and consistent reinforcement all within the confines of the school day. Teachers do provide parents with a weekly newsletter outlining those things being taught in the classroom, ensuring the parents play a key role in encouraging and reviewing with the student at home.
In our Blended model, parents are able to remain highly involved in their children’s education without relinquishing all direct instructional interaction to an educational institution. In fact, for this model to be successful, a high level of parent involvement is key. In addition, parents are able to retain this involvement while at the same time enjoying the same level of professional instruction as in our traditional model.
Our Blended model is not the same thing as a home-school “co-op,” in which parents join together and utilize their gifts, talents, and abilities in the instruction of the children of that group. While these co-operatives can be wonderful educational venues for families, we hire professional teachers and provide services families expect from an educational institution.
In the Grammar stage of the Trivium (PK-5), students are at school two days a week for primary instruction, and home the other days for re-enforcement. Teachers provide lesson plans for each week so parents know what is being taught in the classroom, as well as what their responsibilities are on the home days and how to fulfill them.
In the Dialectic stage of the Trivium (grades 6-8), as students begin to take greater responsibility in managing work assigned to them, their parents play a crucial role in discussing the material at home as the student develops more systematic reasoning skills of analysis, ordered sequence, and meaning.
The major change in the classroom is a move towards a discussion-driven pedagogy. The need for discussion is precisely because students are transitioning into more independent and critical thought and analysis of the subject matter; they are being trained to ask questions, to determine which questions may and should be asked, what is the nature of a good, well-framed, honest and articulate question. But they do not stop with questioning; they are trained in how to find answers, both in clear and cogent thinking and reasoning and in asking and finding answers of the texts and materials they study.
In our dialectic model, all students are in class together three days a week as a full cohort for core instruction (introduction of new material, primary discussions, and formal assessments). On the other two days, students may either return to campus for Lyceum or pursue their studies off-site.
Rhetoric is the culmination of a Classical education. The details learned in Grammar through song, rhythm, chant, recitation and synthesized in Dialectic through rigorous questioning and careful investigation are brought to artful display in the Rhetoric years.
As students have gained knowledge and understanding, so those must be brought to completion in wisdom, the right application of general knowledge to particular situations, audiences, and expressions.
Students continue learning broadly but increasingly delve deeply; their voices inform the classroom, direct discussions, even inform topics and approaches to material. The relationship between teachers and students increasingly becomes one of mentor, master-learners, aiding and directing those mentored. Classrooms come to look more like parlors of discussion even as students perform college-level coursework.
The moral end towards which the Classical education has been intending is individually articulated, internalized, and expressed whether in mathematics through presentations on Euclid’s propositions or rhetoric through extemporaneous speeches or science in construction of trebuchets to measure physical laws: All are expressions of a joyful wonder at and in God’s creation and the students’ roles as image bearers equipped to love and serve.