Our Approach to Classical
"Education is not a subject, and it does not deal in subjects.
It is instead the transfer of a way of life."
The Latin word “Trivium” means “where three roads meet.” As implied by the name, the Trivium is a three fold approach to education. The Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric stages are the first three of the seven liberal arts and follow the natural development of the brain.
The “Garden years” are a beautiful season in the life of a child where a sense of wonder, amazement, curiosity, and an eagerness to learn are innate. We have this short time to prepare the soil for the seeds that will be planted and grown throughout the Trivium stages. The main objective is to develop an excitement for the learning process through games, songs, chants, beautiful literature, rhymes, poetry, classical music, art, and imaginative play. Skillfully created lessons develop motor skills, memorization skills, number sense, phonetic awareness and reading. A love of nature and exploration are built into the day while Bible and Virtue studies begin to shape the student’s character.
The Grammar stage is also known as the “Knowledge Stage.” During these foundational years, the child’s brain is like a sponge, just soaking in the knowledge of the world around him. At this young age, students learn best through repetition, songs, chants, and memorization. Students will have a large focus on memorization of the helpful information that they will need to be able to access throughout the rest of their lives. It is aptly called the “Grammar” stage because students are learning the grammar of the world around them. Not just English grammar, but science terminology, historical events, biblical characters and stories, math facts, timeline events, and Latin vocabulary are all a part of the grammar stage. History is studies from Creation to Modern day, chronologically while incorporating all other subjects into the timeline of events. To put it in simpler terms, students learn the “Who, What, When, and Where” of the subjects presented. A continuation of Virtue studies and Bible knowledge run through each day’s lessons.
The Logic Stage is also known as the “Understanding Stage.” Anyone who has raised a preteen (or ever was one) knows that this is the “argumentative” stage. Children begin to question the world around them, including subject matter and their authorities. They are developmentally ready to explore independent thinking and reasoning. Therefore, our aim is to teach them how to seek out truth and to argue well, with respect and right thinking. Wise mentors facilitate conversation and probe the student for sound, true argument and application of what they are learning. That is why the formal study of Logic is implemented in this stage. Students learn how to discern between truth and fallacy and begin to practice the art of argument through formal debate and open conversation, testing the integrity of ideas and their alignment with scripture. Once again, the students will work their way chronologically through history, from Creation to Modern day, but now with a deeper understanding. All the knowledge acquired in the Grammar stage is now thoroughly investigated for the “Why’s and How’s” of the subject and students begin to form their own opinions on the matter. Latin grammar and translation are studied all 3 years in the School of Logic, while Virtue studies and Biblical themes are taught and examined on a personal level and applied to daily activities.
While BCA does not currently have a school of Rhetoric, below is a picture of where we plan to go as we move forward through the Trivium. The Rhetoric Stage is also known as the “Wisdom Stage.” The Rhetoric student takes the knowledge and understanding that he has developed over the past 9-11 years and begins to impart that wisdom through eloquent, articulate, and beautiful conversations and writings, focused on highlighting truth. This is a stage of self-teaching and examination. With deeper study into the “great books,” original ancient texts, theology, philosophy, and the masters of oratory the student becomes the teacher and can persuasively defend his thoughts and ideas. The capstone of this stage is modeled through a 12th grade thesis that the student then presents to a panel of peers, authorities, and critics alike. The goal is to have produced an independent thinker, grounded in the Word of God.
Image taken from An Introduction to Classical Education: A Guide for Parents, by Christopher A. Perrin
Our Approach to Christian
“I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth.”
- Martin Luther
The term “Biblical Worldview” has been so broadly used over the past few decades that its meaning has all but been lost. At BCA we believe that Biblical Worldview cannot be compartmentalized into a “subject.” Therefore, our take on Christian education is not simply adding Bible class or chapel. We approach every subject as if it is an opportunity to view the character of God and to reflect on our response as individuals made in His image. Whether we are working in math, music, peer relations, or service to our community, all things should be done to the glory of God and seeking out His will in our lives. If students are trained to view everything through the lens of scripture, seeking out the true, good, and beautiful in life, they will inevitably find themselves at the foot of Christ.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Our Approach to Culture
“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”
- C.S. Lewis
Schools can spend thousands of dollars on the best curriculum but the atmosphere or culture emulated is the true source of the child's education. At BCA we strive to create a culture of love for others before self, respect for authority, chivalry, and grace. Just a few examples of this can be seen through school-wide mission projects, upper and lower grade reading buddies, boys pulling out the chair for girls, or students standing when an adult enters the room. Teachers strive to create a calm atmosphere that decreases anxiety or barriers to learning. It is not uncommon to hear soft classical music playing, to see teachers reading to their students under a tree on a sunny day, or beautiful art displayed on the walls. Students daily serve the school and others by taking out trash, sweeping floors, or running errands. You may witness singing in the classrooms, grandparents visiting to impart wisdom or read stories to the children, or even the occasional dance party. Field trips that reinforce the classroom learning or expert visitors sharing about real world experiences brings learning to life. Children are not treated as lesser beings, but as esteemed individuals, made in the image of God, who have valuable thoughts and ideas that we all can learn from. As opposed to legalistic rules posted on the wall, we have grace-filled high expectations of how we assume children will strive to act. We are not simply looking for a change in “bad” behavior but a transformation of the heart. Wrong choices are an opportunity to reflect on the child’s heart and impart God’s love. These moments are a teaching opportunity to display Christ-like behavior and forgiveness.