Introduction

At Harvest Christian School, we view curriculum as one of many important tools necessary in meeting our academic goals. While just a tool, we believe it is the most important one and thus it is essential that we are extremely thoughtful, deliberate and proactive with our curriculum choices. In choosing curriculum, we consider its fit with our vision and philosophy, its sustainability and its reputation, among other things. The goal is to choose curriculum that meets our academic objectives and pedagogical goals. We also desire to create a flow from one grade to another that will culminate in a comprehensive and thorough scope and sequence of concepts and ideas by the time a student graduates from Harvest.


What do we mean by Classical and Christian?

As a Classical and Christian school, we have chosen curriculum that lends itself to the content and pedagogy of this philosophy. We are first and foremost a Christian school that teaches all subjects through the lens of a Biblical worldview. As a classical school, we differ from modern education in this way; Modern education focuses on teaching subjects while Classical educators emphasize teaching students the tools of learning that they might be lifelong learners. We strive to not only teach our students reading, writing, and math, but we strive to teach them to think so that they have the tools to pursue whatever they desire to do beyond their high school years. Dorothy Sayers sums up this idea well, “For the sole end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain”.

The philosophy of Classical and Christian education is based on the Trivium or the idea that every subject (math, science, literature etc..) has a grammar, logic and rhetoric element. The grammar of a subject is its “nuts and bolts” or a group of parts, vocabulary, dates and other pieces. The Logic of a subject is the connection between the parts and the understanding of that connection. In this stage, formal Logic class is taught so that students master the art of correct reasoning. The rhetoric of a subject is how it is presented in a way that is cohesive, articulate and relevant. The arts of argument and persuasion are taught and honed in this stage. These stages of the Trivium are lined up with the developmental stages of the child. The chart below gives a model or outline of the Classical philosophy of education.

 

Beginning Grammar

Pre-Polly / Grades K-2nd


Characteristics

Obviously excited about learning.

Enjoys games, stories, songs, & projects.

Short attention span.

Wants to touch, taste, feel, smell, & see.

Imaginative & creative.

Likes chants, clever, repetitious word sounds.

Teaching Methods

Guide discovering.

Explore, find things.

Use lots of tactile items to illustrate point.

Sing, play games, chant, recite, color, draw, paint, build.

Use body movements.

Short, creative projects.

Show and tell, drama, hear/read/tell stories.

Field trips.

Lay conceptual understanding of letters, numbers, associated meanings.

Grammar Stage

Poll-Parrot / Grade 3rd-6th


Characteristics

Excited about new, interesting facts.

Likes to explain, figure out, talk.

Wants to relate own experiences to topic, or just tell a story.

Likes collections, organizing items.

Likes chants, clever, repetitious word sounds.

Easily memorizes.

Can assimilate another language well.

Teaching Methods

Lots of hands-on work, projects.

Field trips, drama.

Make collections, displays, models.

Integrate subjects through above means.

Teach and assign research projects.

Recitations, memorization.

Drills, games.

Oral / written presentations.

Logic Stage

Pert / Grades 7th-9th


Characteristics

Still excitable, but needs challenges

Judges, critiques, debates, critical.

Likes to organize items.

Shows off knowledge.

Wants to know “behind the scenes” facts.

Curious about WHY? for most things.

Thinks, acts as though they know more than adults.

Teaching Methods

Time lines, charts, maps (visual materials).

Debates, persuasive reports.

Drama, reenactments, role-playing.

Evaluate, critique (with guidelines).

Formal logic.

Research projects.

Oral / written presentations.

Guest speakers, trips.

Rhetoric Stage

Poetic / Grades 10th-12th


Characteristics

Concerned with present events, especially in own life.

Interested in justice, fairness.

Moving toward special interests, topics.

Can take on responsibility, independent work.

Can do synthesis.

Desires to express feelings, own ideas.

Generally idealistic.

Teaching Methods

Drama, oral presentations.

Guide research in major areas with goal of sunthesis of ideas.

Many papers, speeches, debates.

Give responsibilities, i.e. working with younger students, organize activities.

In-depth field trips, even overnight.

World view discussion/written papers.

Curriculum distinctives of Classical and Christian

  • Latin is taught beginning in the Grammar years.
  • Formal and Informal Logic are taught in the Logic years.
  • The great Classics are read throughout the Logic and Rhetoric years
  • Source documents are used when possible in all grade levels for Humanities
  • Formal Rhetoric is taught in High School