The curriculum at Abington Christian Academy is more than merely a set of textbooks or exams. It includes all of the tools used to convey information, spark imagination, build skills, and stimulate thinking. We place a high priority on learning facts, definitions, rules and skills – what we consider to be the tools of education. It is our goal to “fill the toolbox” for the students to use later.
Students in the earliest grades focus especially on the subjects of reading and math- two subjects which must be mastered early on to ensure success later in the curriculum.
Grammar is introduced beginning in 1st grade, introducing students to the parts of speech and basic sentence diagramming and classification. Latin is introduced in the 3rd Grade, which helps to enrich their English vocabulary (50% of English words come from Latin) and reinforce their study of grammar.
Our students also study history, science, spelling, handwriting, Bible, art, music, and P.E.
"The goal of Classical Christian education is
to cultivate wisdom and virtue
by feeding the soul on Truth, Goodness, and Beauty
by means of the liberal arts and Great Books,
so that the student, in Christ,
is better able to know, glorify, and enjoy God forever."
~ Andrew Kern, The CIRCE Institute
Memory & Recitation
In the elementary school years the mind is ready to absorb information. 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 through memory work. 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. These lists are learned through the art of memorization. Students will memorize and regularly recite verses, poems, rules, and facts. They learn to memorize through the use of singing, chanting and rhyming. Students at ACA have a treasure chest of knowledge stored in their minds and hearts.
In the classical model, learning is accomplished primarily through words, written and spoken. This is important, because language learning requires the mind to work harder. In reading, the brain is forces to translate a symbol (words on the page) into a concept. Where images, such as those on screens, allow the mind to be passive, when faced with the written page, the mind is required to "roll up its sleeves and get back to work."
-Susan Wise Bauer (The Well Trained Mind).
Why is this important? As believers that human beings are made in God's image, it follows that we are created to be like him. We also believe that God has given us His Word, the Bible, so that we may know him. Therefore, if God communicates with us through the usage and understanding of words (language), then learning and mastering language is an essential part of what it means to be a human being, and an essential means for knowing God.
To the classical mind, all knowledge is interrelated. The world is full of knowledge, and finding the links between fields of study can be a mind-twisting task. The ancient Greek word logos, which means 'word' or 'organizing principle', captures the idea of what is necessary to link multiple ideas together: the logos is the main idea behind all other ideas. Interestingly, the word logos is the word used in the Gospel of John, when the apostle writes, "In the beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word (logos) was with God and the Word (logos) was God." This idea is critical to the Christian faith, because the 'logos' or 'Word' being mentioned in John is actually Jesus Christ. He is the logos who "became flesh and dwelt among us", the same God who created the universe and gives meaning and purpose to all things.
We believe that when Christ is the central organizing principle of all our curriculum, all subjects become more meaningful. Christ becomes the "sun" of our school's "solar system." He provides the gravitational pull by which all the other planets (our curricula) exist. Therefore, every subject connects to each other through their relationship to God. Science is enhanced by studying it in relation to the arts. History makes more sense if learned in connection with the development of language. Subjects are not divided and separated from each other as exclusive entities, but all find their meaning in Christ.