logo

(803) 787-0225

cccs@covenantcs.org

logo

(803) 787-0225

contact@covenantcs.org

3120 Covenant Road

Columbia, SC 29204

Curriculum Overview

The broad goals of the science curriculum are:

  1. To develop a deep appreciation for the breadth and depth of beauty and diversity in God’s creation, including the ways that study of that creation teaches us about God’s character.
  2. To learn how we can use the natural and technological sciences as a way to imitate God’s creative and redemptive work by making amazing things and solving real-world problems.
  3. To build a broad, solid foundation for further study of the various sciences as students continue their education.

In Kindergarten and First Grade, students primarily explore environmental sciences, focusing on weather and gardening.

In Second Grade students explore the differences that separate the animal kingdoms, focusing their study on marine life.

Third Grade studies the classifications of land animals, focusing on mammals.

Fourth Grade studies the systems of the human body, along with units on plant life and insects.

In Fifth and Sixth Grades, students continue various explorations of natural sciences, while turning more attention to physical, mechanical, and technological sciences.

Seventh Grade studies Life Science as an introduction to Biology and environmental studies.

Eighth Grade studies Physical Science as an introduction to geological sciences and Physics.

In Ninth through Eleventh Grades, students study Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

Broad goals of the math curriculum are:

  1. To develop an appreciation for math as an abstract expression of God’s concrete reality.
  2. To cultivate minds that think mathematically.
  3. To develop proficiency with using math in real world applications.
  4. To equip students for further math studies at higher levels of education.

Kindergarten through First Grade introduces students to numbers, drawing the connection between written numbers and concrete quantities and developing “number sense.”  Students work with “number sentences” and “number stories” to build a foundation for word problems. Students learn the basics of addition and subtraction, as well as introductory grouping, and explore different strategies for manipulating numbers.  Students also develop practical skills with numbers as they represent time and currency, as well as developing geometrical awareness by manipulating shapes.

Second through Fifth Grade expands students’ calculation skills to include multiplication and division, working with fractions and decimals.  Students build greater fluency with word problems and problems with multiple steps, exapanding their math “tool box”with multiple problem solving strategies..  Students also continue to develop geometric concepts, begin to develop basic algebraic concepts, and begin to work with basic data sets.

Sixth Grade focuses primarily on those skills needed for Pre-algebra, working to strengthen the students’ proficiency with muti-step problem solving, order of operations, calculating fractions, multiplication and long division.  Students also further their proficiency with geometric concepts and collecting and using basic statistical data.  The focus becomes increasingly on using good problem solving strategies and applying good mathematical processes.

In Seventh Grade, student who show an affinity for math are usually ready for Pre-algebra and generally follow on the “Advanced Math Track.”  Students who need more time and practice to ensure success at higher levels of math generally follow on the “Conventional Math Track” spend Seventh Grade deepening their math knowledge and strengthening there foundation.

Students on the Advanced Math Track frequently follow this course of study: Algebra I (8th Grade), Geometry (9th Grade), Algebra II (10th Grade), Pre-calculus (11th Grade), and either Calculus or AP Calculus (12th Grade).

Students on the Conventional Math Track usually follow this course of study: Pre-algebra (8th Grade), Algebra I (9th Grade), Geometry (10th Grade), Algebra II (11th Grade), Pre-calculus (12th Grade).

Both math tracks make students eligible for the College Prep Diploma.

Other math options may be available when needed or desired when resources allow.

The Social Studies and History program encompasses study of the flow of events and ideas in history, as well as geographic and civic awareness.  Broad goals for the Social Studies and History program are:

  1. To view human history as God’s story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Glorification, understanding that each of us is an individual character playing a role in God’s story.
  2. To build a “sense of place,” an understanding of national and cultural geography in relation to other nations and cultures and an understanding of the systems and institutions that shape culture and make society functional, especially the culture and society in which we live.
  3. To understand how our past can help us understand our present and shape our future.

In these earliest years of Kindergarten and First Grade,  students learn about community roles and build basic map skills by beginning with those things that are most immediate to their experience.  Students talk about the family (especially grandparents and previous generations) and about “community helpers” (firefighters, police officers, military personnel, etc).  Students also make maps — maps of the classroom, maps of the school campus, maps of rooms at home, etc.   Read Aloud time also becomes an opportunity to introduce students to new parts of the world and different time periods.

In Second Grade we begin to expand the student’s awareness of time and place with deeper studies of community, exploring maps and learning how to read them, highlighting studies of Colonial Life in America.

Third Grade focuses on South Carolina History and Geography.  Students learn to locate the 46 counties of our state on a map, they study famous South Carolinians through history, they visit state museums, state parks, and the State Capitol building, learning a host of unique facts about our state.

Fourth Grade moves on to U. S. History and Geography, learning to locate the 50 states on a map, along with majors bodies of water and land formations.  Study builds on previous unit studies (Colonial America and South Carolina’s role in the Revolutionary War) to introduce students to the issues and people of the founding of our nation.  And students learn about famous Americans from important eras in the life of our country as a basic introduction to the events that have shaped our national culture.

In Fifth through Eighth Grades, students pick up a distinctive feature of classical education by studying specific eras of history from Ancient to Modern times.  Fifth Grade studies Ancient History focusing on Genesis, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.  Sixth Grade studies Medieval History through the time of the Renaissance and the “Age of Exploration.”  Seventh Grade studies American History at a deeper level, including an additional unit on state history and an introduction to civics and American government.  Eighth Grade completes the history cycle with a study of Modern History, from the 18th Century into the 21st.  Here, students explore more world geography and history.

Ninth through Twelfth Grades repeat that pattern, focusing more deeply on important events and reading more primary texts.  Study highlights the development of Western culture in Europe and America, primarily because God has Providentially placed us in this part of the world.  At the same time, we work to build into students a “global awareness,” a broader vision for the unique role that other world cultures and histories play in God’s story.

As part of the Social Studies curriculum, Seniors also take a semester of Economics and a semester of Government.  Both courses seek to build a Biblical basis for those institutions as part of a functioning society, exploring principals that make for a prosperous and well-ordered society.  The Economics class points students toward the ways that economics intersects with public policy and social values.  The Government class explores different governmental systems, but focuses on the workings of the American government as outlined in the Constitution, including how the Constitution has been interpreted and amended in history.

For curriculum purposes, we think of English Language Arts as including reading and literature studies, grammar and writing, and research.  Our ELA program works toward three broad goals:

  1. Preparing students to be independent, critical readers for information and understanding.
  2. Preparing students to appreciate the artistic elements of language and storytelling.
  3. Preparing students to be skilled in powerful and persuasive written communication.

In Kindergarten, students explore letter shapes, letter formation, and letter sounds along with introductory decoding skills, author studies and “read-aloud” time.  The goal in Kindergarten is to excite reading readiness by developing in students a love for stories and words.

In First Grade, students are immersed in phonemes, spelling rules, and decoding strategies moving toward independent reading.  Read aloud time continues with an emphasis on rich and engaging stories and begins building skills for using context clues to build vocabulary and understanding. Students also practice letter formation and handwriting, and they begin to learn basic rules of grammar and parts of speech.

Second to Fifth Grades focus on developing greater independence in reading and good comprehension skills.  “Pleasure reading” becomes an important part of developing a student’s reading life, and students begin to learn how to navigate a library and pick a good book.  Fourth and Fifth Graders begin to learn rudimentary research skills for reports and projects.  Cursive handwriting is introduced in Third Grade, and students continue to learn parts of speech and grammar rules.

Sixth to Eighth Grades focus more on the rules of grammar as the “logic” of writing, as well as using grammar and context to get meaning from written texts and applying good grammar to written communication.  Students are “walked” through a process for research and writing, with an introduction to online research and writing tools. Students move from the construction of good sentences and paragraphs to the construction of good essays, with an increasing emphasis on persuasive writing.  We also seek to expand students exposure to classic literature and the elements of good storytelling.  By Eighth Grade, students should develop a deeper appreciation for how an author uses the elements of story to explore themes of life and influence the way we think.

Ninth to Twelfth Grades take students on a “timeline” of literature and ideas from Ancient Literature (9th) to Medieval and Renaissance (10th) to American (11th) to Modern (12th).  This “timeline” model of Literature education is distinctive to classical education (and different than the typical public school model), and works to give students a more “immersive” learning experience as they study the literature and history of a particular time period concurrently.  Students learn more about the power of story to shape culture and learn more and more how to think about stories from a Biblical perspective.  Students also explore topics at increasingly challenging levels of research with the goal of forming well-researched opinions, presenting those opinions in essays and papers, and defending those positions orally.

The ELA curriculum culminates in a Senior Thesis project in which students research a topic, develop an opinion on an issue in that topic, write a 10 – 15 page research paper with input from an advisory team, and finally present their research to faculty and staff, defending their position.  The Senior Thesis is a requirement for receiving the Honors, College Prep, and General Diplomas.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  (Ephesians 5:6)

On the job site, in the board room, in the voting booth, negotiating a deal, leading a team, pitching a product or a new idea, working toward effective collaboration — in every area of public life, thinking well and communicating persuasively form the basis for those “soft skills” necessary for productive results.

As the core elements of a classical education, Latin, Logic, and Rhetoric have proven over time to expand a student’s mastery over language and ideas, the building blocks of culture.  No matter how science and technologies change, the leaders in these fields and other institutions of society (education, commerce, government, church and home) will always be deep, precise, wise thinkers and powerful communicators.

 Latin

The Latin program at Covenant begins in Third Grade with simple exposure and minor grammar, primarily where it overlaps with English grammar study.  Exposure moves to vocabulary building, and ultimately to translation by the time a student is in Eighth Grade.

We have structured our program so that Seventh Grade students receive the equivalent of Latin I, and Eighth Grade students receive the equivalent of Latin II.  Students can receive High School credit for those classes.

The benefits of formal Latin are:

    1. Precise, analytical thinking (Translation is an excellent exercise for training the brain for systematic thought.)
    2. Understanding English grammar (You’re forced to learn the grammar of your native language better when you have to use it to understand a foreign language.)
    3. Vocabulary building (Roughly 60% of the English language derives from Greek and Latin; 90% of the “power words” in English — those in the fields of medicine, law, and government — have a Latin or Greek derivation.  Since Latin uses the English alphabet, it lends itself more easily to study at the primary and secondary school.)
    4. Cultural literacy (Western culture is saturated with elements of our Roman heritage, and knowledge of that heritage opens up a deeper level of understanding the influences that shape the culture in which we live.  Latin phrases are everywhere in American society — on our currency, in our courtrooms and government buildings, and even in our popular art and media, and a knowledge of Latin heightens our awareness to how foundational Roman culture is to our own.)
    5. Increased college readiness (It’s well known that study of Latin increases SAT scores, but it also gives students more tools for decoding, reading, and comprehending complex texts like those in university courses.)
    6. Latin is a “gateway” language (Six other European languages are Latin based, and elements of Latin can be found in a host of others.  Also, Latin learning has proven over time to unlock for students the “logic of language,” the natural principles that guided the development of human language in general.  Discovery of these principles make it easier to learn almost any language, even if it’s not Latin based.)

The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. (Proverbs 16:21)

Logic

Logic is defined as “the art of thinking well.”  At Covenant students are challenged to think logically at every level of education, appropriate to the normal course of cognitive development.  Students also take two semesters of Logic as a specific course — Formal (also called “Aristotelian”) Logic in Ninth Grade and Informal Logic in Tenth Grade.

Formal Logic teaches students to recognize when the claims and the conclusions of an argument don’t “add up.”  At the same time, it teaches them to make sure that the claims and conclusions of their own thinking do “add up.”

Informal Logic teaches students how to recognize the ways words and assumptions can “hide” or distract from the fact that an argument is weak.  Formal and Informal Logic work together to train students for real critical thinking.

Rhetoric

Rhetoric is the art of speaking powerfully and persuasively.  Students study the speeches of great orators of the past, both Ancient and Modern, and discover the basic principles of effective communication in a variety of contexts.  Students at Covenant learn and practice rhetorical skills beginning in Kindergarten with show and tell and giving different sorts of oral presentations at every grade level.  In Eleventh Grade students take formal Rhetoric as a course.

We believe that part of the genius of the classical philosophy is that it pays attention to developing the whole person.  Along with the specialized skills of their trade or craft, well educated adults should be “conversant” in a broad range of topics that come together to make up our culture.  That is, a well educated adult should have a basic education in the arts as much as in science, math, grammar, and so on.

So, in addition to their academic subjects, Covenant students also receive training in art and music as part of their regular curriculum.

Goals of the Music Curriculum

The music program at Covenant aims to give students:

  • a love for singing (After all, that is one of the few things that Scripture guarantees that we will do forever.)
  • an appreciation for different styles of music from different times in history and different cultural traditions
  • foundational skills in the “grammar and logic” of music, including the ability to read music, to understand musical terms and concepts, and to sing parts
  •  a basic knowledge of important composers and musicians who have historically contributed to the development of our musical heritage

Goals for the Art Curriculum

The art program at Covenant aims to give students:

  • an appreciation for different styles of art in different media from different historical periods and different cultural traditions
  • a basic understanding of the elements of art
  • a working knowledge of artistic techniques, typically practiced through imitation of representative artists
  • a basic knowledge of important artists who have historically contributed to the development of our artistic heritage
  • opportunities for creative expression as creatures made in the image of a creative God

From Kindergarten through 8th grade, all students take art and music 1 – 2 days per week.

Students in 9th through 12th grades have the option to take 2 enrichment activities each year.  Typical artistic offerings for High School students include;

  • Art
  • Chorus
  • Yearbook
  • Drama

The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein. (Psalm 24:1)

We believe that there is nothing in all creation that is true, good, and beautiful that can be fully understood or appreciated apart from the source of all Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And with that in mind, we seek to integrate God and His Word into everything we do as much as we can, even as we acknowledge that we can always do better.

We use three strategies for Biblical integration at Covenant:

  1. Chapel.  Students attend a chapel service once per week for the purpose of coming together as a worshippping community.  While some chapel times celebrate student accomplishments and school related “community events” (pep rallies or National Honor Society inductions, for example), the typical chapel includes prayer, the singing of “hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs” together, and a message from Scripture.  Chapel messages (as in all aspects of Biblical integration at Covenant) seek to focus on those things that bind us together as believers, regardless of denominational affiliation, and seek to encourage a growing relationship with Jesus.
  2. Bible Program.  Bible instruction is part of the regular curriculum for students. In grades Kindergarten through Six, the Bible curriculum is focused on building “Biblical literacy,” taking students through key stories and characters in the Bible to expose them to the story of God’s good creation which has been broken by sin and is being redeemed by Jesus for His glory.  In the Seventh and Eighth Grades, students take an Old Testament Survey course and a New Testament Survey course, taking students “a little deeper” in their ability to navigate Scripture on their own.  The usual High School course of study moves through classes on Biblical Interpretation (equipping students for personal Bible study), Systematic Theology (using principles of Biblical Interpretation to study what the Bible says about God, Man, Sin, Salvation, and Sanctification), Worldview (laying a ground work for thinking Biblically about all areas of life), and Apologetics (equipping students to deal graciously and confidently with areas of doubt and those objections to faith that normally act as “obstacles” keeping people from Jesus).
  3. Course Integration.  In every subject, we look for ways to point students to God’s hand at work in and through that discipline of study.  History is taught as a story that God is telling with real people in real places, highlighting themes like human sin and rebellion, God’s work to redeem people for works of justice, and God’s faithfulness to His promises.  ELA instruction seeks to give students a deep understanding of how words and stories have power for influencing us, equipping them to become thoughtful and skilled at using words and to become critical thinkers about the way others use words and stories to influence them.  Science is taught as an exploration of God’s creation, and math is taught as working hand-in-hand with science (and other areas of life) as one tool for doing the good works that we were created for in Christ.

From it’s beginning, Covenant was meant to be a ministry of evangelical unity, not promoting a single denomination or theological position, but serving Christian families from all manner of denominations within the boundaries of traditional Christian orthodoxy.

In all three strategies for Biblical integration, we seek to focus on those foundational truths that bind us together as described in our Statement of Faith, which families should read and affirm prior to enrollment.  In those areas where good, Bible believing people have historically disagreed (the mode and time of baptism or how predestination works, for example), we seek to equip students to be good Bible students and form strong convictions that they learn to hold graciously.  We want students to be able to use good principles of Biblical interpretation to show from Scripture why they believe what they believe, and then be able to disagree with a fellow believer in a way that maintains Christian love and fellowship.