We believe a Christ-centered education includes not only a Christian environment where students are to be instructed with academic excellence, but an education that places Christ at the “center of all learning.” We cannot accomplish this by just adding a Bible curriculum or providing a religion class, but rather integrating the Word of God, and placing it at the center of all curriculum. Therefore, in all its levels, programs, and teaching, we boldly acknowledge that all things come from our Creator and that every area of life must be subject to glorifying Him. (II Timothy 3:16-17) We commit to providing a clear model of the biblical Christian life through our staff and board (Matthew 22:37-40) while encouraging every student to begin and develop his relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew 19:13-15).
In the 1940s, the British author Dorothy Sayers wrote an essay entitled “The Lost Tools of Learning.” In it she calls for a return to the application of the seven liberal arts of ancient education, the first three being the “Trivium” – grammar, logic, rhetoric. Miss Sayers also compares the three stages of children’s development to the Trivium. Specifically, she matches what she calls the “Poll-parrot” stage with grammar, “Pert” with logic, and “Poetic” with rhetoric (see chart below). Especially in the Rhetoric school, classical education includes reading and discussing works which have had significant influence in our culture; this is sometimes referred to as the study of “Great Books.” At Covenant, the founding board members were intrigued with this idea of applying a classical education in a Christian context. Doug Wilson, a founding board member of Logos School, explained the classical method further in his book, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning. Covenant Classical Christian School is committed to implementing this form of education.
The structure of our curriculum is traditional with a strong emphasis on “the basics.” We understand the basics to be subjects such as mathematics, history, and language studies. Not only are these subjects covered, they are covered in a particular way. For example, in history class the students will not only read their text, they will also read from primary sources. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric will be emphasized in all subjects. By grammar, we mean the fundamental rules of each subject (again, we do not limit grammar to language studies), as well as the basic data that exhibit those rules. In English, a singular noun does not take a plural verb. In logic, A does not equal not A. Each subject has its own grammar, which we require the students to learn. This enables the student to learn the subject from the inside out.
The logic of each subject refers to the ordered relationship of that subject’s particulars (grammar). What is the relationship between the Reformation and the colonization of America? What is the relationship between the subject and the object of a sentence? As the students learn the underlying rules or principles of a subject (grammar) along with how the particulars of that subject relate to one another (logic), they are learning to think. They are not simply memorizing fragmented pieces of knowledge.
The last emphasis is rhetoric. We want our students to be able to express clearly everything they learn. An essay in history must be written as clearly as if it were an English paper. An oral presentation in science should be as coherent as possible. It is not enough that the history or science be correct. It must also be expressed well.
With a commitment to instruct students via classical methods, Covenant Classical Christian School seeks to accomplish the following in all its levels, programs, and teaching:
Emphasize grammar, logic, and rhetoric in all subjects (see definitions below); Encourage every student to develop a love for learning and live up to his academic potential; Provide an orderly atmosphere conducive to the attainment of the above goals.
Grammar: The fundamental rules of each subject
Logic: The ordered relationship of particulars in each subject
Rhetoric: How the grammar and logic of each subject may be clearly expressed
Teach all subjects as part of an integrated whole with the Scriptures at the center (II Timothy 3:16-17); Provide a clear model of the Biblical Christian life through our staff and board (Matthew 22:37-40); Encourage every student to begin and develop his relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew 19:13-15).
For more on classical and Christian education, please visit The Classical Difference.