We teach using the classical method in all subjects. This approach is called, “classical,” because it dates back to Aristotle and was formalized in the Middle Ages. It is characterized by a whole child approach to learning, using an integrated curriculum, classical books, art, and music, and a formal study of Latin and Logic. In other words, classical education is a liberal arts education.
We teach using the classical method because it is a proven form of education. It is the highest standard of education and has produced many of the world’s greatest thinkers, authors, scientist, inventors and politicians, such as Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, Galileo, Copernicus, Johann Gutenberg, Martin Luther, William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the rest of our country’s Founding Fathers. Classical education’s developmental wisdom has stood the test of time; it not only creates lifelong learners, but empowers these learners to apply their knowledge in meaningful ways.
We teach to cultivate wisdom and virtue through the classical method. The classically educated Christian does not ask, “What can I do with this learning?” but “What will this learning do to me?” The ultimate end of classical Christian education is to enable the student (disciple) to better know, glorify, and enjoy God. Our enjoyment of God is derived from our ability to see Him and to see His handiwork.
We teach to nurture our student’s souls. At The Geneva School, learning is not an end in itself. Instead, our teachers ask God to use their knowledge, character, and deeds as instruments in His hand to cultivate the students’ souls toward holiness.
We teach to create life-long learners. Classical education is set apart from modern education in that its focus is to impart the tools of learning and tailor teaching so that they correspond to the developmental stage of each child.
We teach students using a developmental pathway referred to as the classical “Trivium,” which means the three ways. The three ways track with the natural stages of learning. The first stage is learning the grammar or basic facts (what) of a particular subject. The second stage is learning the logic or internal relationships (why) within and across disciplines. The third and final stage is the rhetoric stage (how) that explores how to practically apply the knowledge that has been gained.
Grammar Stage – Kindergarten through Sixth Grade
We teach the grammar stage using tools that leverage students natural ability to memorize. Chants, songs, games, and recitations are used to help the children master facts in phonics, grammar, mathematics, science and history. By matching the learning tools with the children’s developmental stage TGS lays the necessary foundation students need to engage in learning by equipping them with the facts they will need to think critically in the logic stage.
In the grammar stage our students study their primary language using an analytic phonics, reading, and grammar program and engage in an in-depth writing curriculum. Because 50% of the English language is Latin based, students begin their formal study of Latin in 3rd Grade. Students also engage directly with Latin texts that are part of their language and history studies. This intentional integration of subject matter and the chronological approach to the study of history allows students to develop a deep understanding and appreciation for Western Civilization.
Arithmetic and music are key parts of a liberal arts education. Our students develop their reasoning skills through a rigorous language-based mathematics program, and participate in systematic science studies. They further learn to appreciate the beauty and order in our universe by listening to classical music and learning about the composers who have shaped our Western history.
Logic Stage – Seventh and Eighth Grade
We teach the logic stage to help students seek the “why” behind the facts of the grammar stage. While our younger students were content to learn the facts, our logic stage students want to think through the facts more analytically. Students in this stage are naturally more argumentative, and so we therefore give them tools to mount persuasive and coherent arguments needed for critical thinking.
In logic school, our students learn formal and informal logic. They study the classics through Socratic seminars, in which they engage in conversation, dialectic, and debate with their peers and instructors. Because Logic pervades each subject of study in this stage, emphasis is placed on recognizing and correcting logical fallacies.
Students increase their writing skills by modeling the great writers of Western Civilization and reading primary sources in literature and theology. They also continue their science and rigorous math studies with formal instruction in Algebra and Geometry.
Rhetoric Stage – Ninth through Twelfth Grade
The Geneva School aims is to prepare our graduates to be successful when entering the final stage of the trivium, the rhetoric stage. Rhetoric is an art; the art of persuasive speech and writing. During the rhetoric stage students organize the facts and thinking of the grammar and logic stages in a witty, articulate and persuasive manner. This culminating stage ultimately prepares the student to engage the world as a problem solver and culture shaper.