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Is New Summit a “Classical” Charter School and Does it Matter?
What is a “ Pure Classical” School?
- Classical education “seeks after of truth, goodness, and beauty and the study of the liberal arts and the great books.” – The Classical Academic Press
- Provides a Liberal Arts education, which includes The Trivium, math, music, astronomy and the study of Latin.
- Pivotal belief: the education methods that worked in the [ancient] past will work for today. There is minor, if any, need to update either methods or curriculum.
- Minimal or no instruction in technology.
- All knowledge and curriculum are interrelated.
- Start with the study of the Classics (The Iliad and the Odyssey, Greek and Roman mythology), works of Plato, Aristotle, and Virgil, Shakespeare, Dante, and THEN move forward to more modern works.
- Read original documents whenever possible.
- Use of Socratic Methods.
The Grammar Stage: The Building Blocks
- Grades K-4
- The students learn the vocabulary and information about a subject, especially as experienced through the senses.
- Among the things learned in the Grammar Stage: math facts, science, phonics and spelling, the stories in history.
- Memorization of these facts is encouraged through the use of songs, poetry, etc.
- Things have an identity (a cat is a cat, not a dog).
The Logic Stage: Asking Why?
- Grades 5-9
- Students want to know the “why” of things. They may naturally be inclined to argue.
- Students learn reasoning, informal and formal logic. They build upon the facts (Grammar) and ask why something happened.
- i.e. Science facts are now supported with learning the Scientific Method.
The Rhetoric Stage: Originality
- Grades 9+
- Built on the previous two stages.
- Students are able to see things from different points of view.
- Writing is completely original.
- The students become independent thinkers, writers and speakers.
- They begin to develop personal interests in their own areas of study.
*Classical methods began to fade in education with the rise of Progressive Education (John Dewey) in the early 1900s and has made a comeback, especially in charter schools.
LET’S REVIEW: What is a “ Pure Classical” School?
Is New Summit a Classical School? Or do we use classical methods?
Compare New Summit to the neighborhood schools. Would we be considered classical?
Yes. Neighborhood schools do not teach as much information about subjects in a systematic, organized, cumulative way: Core Knowledge, Singapore Math.
Compare New Summit to a Pure Classical School. Would we be considered classical?
No. We are NOT a Pure Classical School. We do not avoid technology altogether, do not offer Latin, and we do not use archaic methods only.
BUT: We do use classical methods like the Trivium (Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric), Socratic methods, believe in truth, goodness, and valuing things of beauty in art, music, nature, and literature, and utilize current teaching methods that are based on up-to-date research and multi-sensory.