Our Classical Christian Approach
HCA’s chosen methodology is Classical Christian education. We believe the classical method is best for students as it focuses on how they naturally develop. Using the centuries-old method of education known as the Trivium, it divides the teaching methods into three major stages: Grammar (K-5), Logic (6-8), and Rhetoric (9-12).
A classical education is an ancient method of education which combines a recognition of the natural development of a child’s mind as they grow older, combined with an appreciation of truth, goodness, and beauty that has been proven over the timeline of human history. Adding to this the pursuit of a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Savior from our sin nature, a classically trained Christian young adult will be equipped to defend his or her faith, continue to develop cognitively and relationally as they encounter the world ahead, and become someone who can transform his/her culture more than the culture will transform them.
The Grammar Stage officially encompasses Kindergarten – 5th grades (around 5-10 years old). At this stage of life, children are incredibly adept at memorization, and generally believe what they are told. Born with a blank slate, the first decade of life is devoted to filling that mental “database” with as much information as needed to begin to process information later in life.
In Grammar Stage, we frequently have chants, songs, repetitions, hand motions, and other methods which help reinforce the Grammar (or basic building blocks) of each academic discipline. In history, that would be names, dates, and places. In math it would be arithmetic facts, multiplication tables, etc. In language, it would be the Latin roots, and parts of speech. The goal is to have the facts that will enable the student to think abstractly in Logic Stage.
The Logic Stage is 6th – 8th grades (around 11-13 years old). At this stage of life, children are naturally argumentative and inquisitive. They generally question what they are told, and want it proven. In Logic (or Dialectic) Stage, we introduce the academic discipline of Logic, or the Art of Thinking.
In today’s world of thinking with our emotions, and relying on news sites and social media for information, it is critical that our students learn to think properly, and to process information in a structured manner that can be easily traced back to truths or falsehoods. This is enhanced with the understanding that the Holy Scriptures are eternal truths from God Himself, but also with effective use of the brain that He gave us.
The Rhetoric Stage encompasses 9th – 12th grades (about 14-18 years old). At this stage of life, students desire to be heard, and to be able to express themselves and their beliefs. Using the database of information in the Grammar Stage, and the ability to think and reason from the Logic Stage, we now develop rhetorical skills, or the Art of Communication.
Ultimately, we are producing young men and women who know what they believe through the truths of scripture, and are equipped to engage intelligently in any subject, because they have been trained to think, not just memorize standardized test questions. This equips them to not only successfully enter college, but also the rigors of the “real world” that awaits them after high school.