Research Trumps Philosophy
Our school avoids educational fads that are based on philosophical beliefs, adhering instead to approaches that are supported by mainstream research. In place of the "balanced literacy" approach that often neglects phonemic awareness and phonics, our school uses a research-based reading program that includes systematic and explicit instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics that has been shown to reach the vast majority of children.
In contrast to the prevailing trend in education that derides acquiring substantive knowledge as "rote memorization", our school holds knowledge acquisition in a very high regard. We design instruction around "big ideas" that helps students to understand and organize factual knowledge into a meaningful framework. This framework is built upon year after year as the scholars advance through the classical stages and proceed with their second chronological sweep through history.
English Language Arts:
Our school utilizes a scientifically based reading research (SBRR) program that begins with systematic and explicit phonics instruction and progresses through reading comprehension. Decades of studies have demonstrated this approach enables the highest number of students to achieve literacy proficiency. 5 components of SBRR:
Phonemic Awareness - Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate speech sounds.
Phonics - Once students have phonemic awareness, they can begin to connect the sounds (phonemes) to the letters and letter combinations (graphemes) used to spell them.
Vocabulary - Phonics instruction won’t work if students don’t recognize the words they sound out.
Fluency - Fluency is the ability to read well enough so that the student can focus on comprehending the meaning of the passage, not figuring out the words.
Comprehension - Comprehension depends on two main factors: the ability to fluently decode and background knowledge.
Singapore Math Standards Edition
Our math program takes the same approach as some of the highest achieving nations in the world: focusing on a smaller number of topics that are taught to mastery, instead of a "mile wide, inch deep" approach that leaves students with weak skills.
Story of the World Grades 1-4
During their tenure at our school, the scholars will take two chronological sweeps throughout history. The first occurs from grades 1 to 4, and the second from grades 5 to 8. The sequence for history is as follows: ancient times, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and modern times. The historic period is integrated across subjects from art and music to science.
Our science program avoids the "inquiry-based" trend in education that over-emphasizes discovery learning. We take a more balanced approach that includes direct instruction, teacher demonstrations, reading books as well as experimentation.
Spanish is currently offered for all students. Latin and Greek are taught as a part of the standard language arts curriculum (prefixes, suffixes, roots, Greek joining forms), and as a separate course.