The Claritas Curriculum

A

t Claritas Classical Academy, we base our curriculum on a rigorous three-way approach to education known as the trivium. During the grammar stage (K-6), there is a focus on memorization (grammar pegs of English, geography, history, science, math, Latin, scripture, timeline) and skill building in math, grammar and simple composition. Building on that solid grammar foundation is the dialectic stage which introduces the student to logic and focuses on improving skills in composition, oratory, and the study of literature (6-9). Finally, during the rhetoric stage (9-12), we expand and hone these acquired skills in exposition, debate, and logic. Our grammar pegs are integral to our curriculum as a whole and are expanded upon and developed through the week’s assignments.

We are pleased to announce dual-enrollment for certain rhetoric-level courses where our students can earn college credit for Claritas classes.

Integration

We offer a fully integrated core curriculum consisting of English grammar, composition, history, science, logic, geography, art, math, and Latin.  Facts and events memorized in these subjects serve as the foundation for that week’s assignments.

Master Tutors

Particularly in the dialectic (grades 7-8) and rhetoric (grades 9-12) stages, we believe that our students should be taught by tutors who have mastered their subject and who can impart to the student their own love of learning while providing accountability to the student.

Opportunity & Customization

Claritas meets two days per week. Students come together in the classroom with their tutor to discuss current materials and receive assignments for the coming week. We offer a core session of 28 weeks which includes field trips as well as extracurriculars such as karate, dance, chess, and cross-country.

The Building Blocks

Three Stages: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric

Grammar Stage: Grades K-6

“The first years of schooling are called the “grammar stage” because these are the years in which the building blocks for all other learning are laid, just as grammar is the foundation for language. In the elementary school years – grades 1 through 4 – the mind is ready to absorb information.

Since children at this age actually find memorization fun, during this period education involves not self-expression and self-discovery, but rather the learning of facts: rules of phonics and spelling, rules of grammar poems, the vocabulary of foreign languages, the stories of history and literature, descriptions of plants and animals and the human body, the facts of mathematics- the list goes on. The information makes up the “grammar” for the second stage of education.”

The Well-Trained Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer

At Claritas, we seek to cultivate the young student’s mind by providing them with a smorgasbord of facts that are fully integrated with the historical time period we are currently studying and that will serve as “pegs” of knowledge upon which the student will be able to return to when studying the historical time period again at another stage of the trivium (logic stage, rhetoric stage).

We accomplish this through the use of our memory work program which provides weekly memorization in the subject areas of scripture, Latin, English grammar, math, science, geography, history, timeline, and hymns. At the end of each school year, qualifying students are able to test for the Pentathlos award, which is given to those who are able to correctly recite all of the memory work from the year. Awards are also given for timeline and scripture memorization.

In addition to our memory work program, students receive classroom instruction in the subject areas of classical studies, mathematics, Latin, art, science, language arts, English grammar, music, and writing composition (4th-6th grades).

Logic Stage: Grades 7-8

By fifth grade, a child’s mind begins to think more analytically. Middle school students are less interested in finding out facts than in asking Why? The second phase of the classical education, the “logic stage,” is a time when the child begins to pay attention to cause and effect, to the relationships among different fields of knowledge, and to the way facts fit together into a logical framework.

“A student is ready for the logic stage when the capacity for abstract thought begins to mature. During these years, the student learns algebra and logic and begins to apply logic to all academic subjects. The logic of writing, for example, includes paragraph construction and support of a thesis; the logic of reading involves the criticism and analysis of texts, not simple absorption of information; the logic of history demands that the student find out why the War of 1812 was fought, rather than simply reading its story; the logic of science requires the child to learn the scientific method.”

The Well-Trained Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer

At Claritas, we continue to cultivate the students’ minds by now building upon the facts that they have accumulated throughout the grammar stage. No longer are they just memorizing facts. Now the students begin to make connections between these facts during their classroom experiences as they begin to explore original texts both in history and in literature, in practical science courses with lab work, in writing compositions that are integrated with the historical time period, in Latin, art, mathematics, and English grammar.

Rhetoric Stage: Grades 9-12

“The final phase of a classical education, the ‘rhetoric stage,’ builds on the first two stages. At this point, the high school student learns to write and speak with force and originality. The student of rhetoric applies the rules of logic learned in middle school to the foundational information learned in the early grades and expresses her conclusions in clear, forceful, elegant language. The student also begins to specialize in whatever branch of knowledge attracts her; these are the years for art camps, college courses, foreign travel, apprenticeships, and other forms of specialized training.

Rhetoric is dependent upon the first two stages of the trivium. The grammar stage laid a foundation of knowledge; without knowledge, the rhetorician has nothing to say. The logic stage taught the student to think through the validity of arguments, to weigh the value of evidence. In the rhetoric stage, the student uses knowledge and the skill of logical argument to write and speak about all the subjects in the curriculum.”

The Well-Trained Mind, Susan Wise Bauer

In the final years at Claritas Classical Academy, the students’ education culminates in the rhetoric stage. Claritas rhetoric students study the principles of self-expression and exercise them in both writing and speech in the subject areas of history and literature and the continued use of primary sources, mathematics, science, art, writing composition and a senior project.

Claritas Classical Academy Overall Curriculum Scope & Sequence

Key for the Tables Below (click tables for a larger view)

  • LOF: Life of Fred
  • MP: Memoria Press
  • FGG: Fundamental Grammar Guide
  • CCA: Claritas Classical Academy
  • IEW: Institute for Excellence in Writing
  • MWG: Memory Work Guide