“The gymnasium offered a classical curriculum emphasizing Greek and Latin. . . .Ratzinger believes the classics fostered an independent spirit: ‘In retrospect it seems to me that an education in Greek and Latin antiquity created a mental attitude that resisted seduction by a totalitarian ideology.’” Pope Benedict XVI: A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger by John L. Allen, Jr. (p. 14)
MSMCS provides a classical education to its 1st-8th grade students that is unique among Catholic schools. Classical education recognizes that all knowledge is interrelated and grounded in the virtues. Recognizing and respecting the natural development of the child, classical education leads the child to discover truth through history, language, science, math, and the arts. Students are equipped with the tools of lifelong learning and right judgment following a pattern called the Trivium: grammar, logic, and rhetoric (memorization, analysis, and articulation). It is the aim of a classical education to equip the child with the necessary tools to think and communicate clearly. At the heart of a classical education students discover the attributes of God: goodness, truth, and beauty ~ and thus find God Himself.
The classical program at Mount St. Michael Catholic School was inspired by the work of Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer as described in their book The Well Trained Mind. Other sources included Dorthy Sayer’s article “The Lost Tools of Learning”, Laura Berquist’s book Designing You Own Classical Curriculum., and Susan Schaeffer McCaulay’s book For the Sake of the Children.
The focus of the grammar school, 1st-4th grades, is the acquisition of foundational skills and knowledge or the “grammar” of each of the disciplines. Children at this age are naturally able to memorize as evidenced by their repeated singing of songs and recitation of nonsense rhymes. Focusing on this developmental strength, the grammar schools stresses the teaching of facts. The grammar of spelling and reading is the rules of phonics and the tools of comprehension. The grammar of English is the parts of speech and sentence/paragraph structure. The grammar of mathematics includes its facts ( , -, x, /) and its vocabulary. The grammar of history covers who, what, when, and where. In science students focus on identifying, naming, and labeling. And religion centers on learning prayers and the basic truths of our faith. As these foundational skills and this knowledcge are introduced and practiced students gain mastery and a readiness for the logic school.
The logic school, 5th-8th grades, adjusts to the child’s natural bent at this stage for questioning and arguing. During these years students are challenged to synthesize and analyze the facts they have learned in order to develop a well formed argument. Now the learning focuses on why, how, and what if. Connections are made between one piece of information and another. Comparisons are made such as that between the French and American revolutions. The study of the faith includes Catholic Apologetics. Students in the logic school develop the critical thinking skills essential to true learning for a lifetime.
Why Study Latin? At MSMCS, the 3K-8th grades study Latin in order to be prepared to learn any and several modern languages in high school and beyond. It is also an excellent preparation for the SAT’s taken the junior year of high school for college entrance qualifications. Students learn English as they study Latin. The common 1-2 syllable words of every day speech are English, but the big, 305 syllable words are usually Latin. Latin is the mother tongue of Western civilization. Because it has been the language that has transmitted our cultural heritage for over 2000 years, it pulls together language arts, history, geography, culture, art, architecture, music, values, religion, government, science, and mathematics. Everything in the modern world seems to be related to Latin and the ancient and medieval cultures that spoke it. By examining the roots of our culture in its mother language, knowledge begins to integrate itself naturally. This integration is at the heart of a classical education. (For more information go to www.memoriapress.com.)
Core Curriculum & Materials ~ Below is the basic structure of the MSMCS curriculum and source materials.
Language Arts ~ K-3rd D’Nealian Handwriting, 1st-2nd Superkids (Rowland Reading Foundation), 3rd-8th Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop, 3rd-8th Loyola Voyages in English, 3rd-8th Excellence in Writing Structure and Style, as well as various literature (“real” books) that relates to the historical time period studied. A sample of the literature read by students is listed below.
History & Literature ~
5th Grade History Spine Texts: A History of US series, Sourcebook and Index: Documents that Shaped the American Nation
6th-8th Grade History Spine Text: Kingfisher Encyclopedia of World History
Latin ~ 1st-6th Latina Christiana, 7th-8th Henley
Mathematics ~ 1st-8th and Algebra I Saxon Math
Science ~ 1st-8th theologically and scientifically sound Apologia and Nancy Larson Science
Fourth-eighth grade students new to MSMCS are required to attend Latin & Excellence in Writing Summer School. This will provide students an opportunity for greater success and less frustration in their new environment. Attending summer school will put students close to the same level as their peers in these subjects.
Latin Summer School takes place from 8:30- 11:30 am during the last week of July and the first week of August with Mrs. Carol Weberg, our Latin teacher.
Excellence in Writing Summer School takes place from 12:00-3:00 pm the first week of August with Mrs. Marianne Telepak, an experienced Excellence in Writing teacher.
Mrs. Carol Weberg or Mrs. Telepak will contact parents well in advance of the beginning of the session.
The fee of $275 for Latin and $150 for Excellence in Writing will be rolled in with tuition payments.
Students are given the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance on Thursday before the first Friday of each month.
|We celebrate First Fridays dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Each class goes before the Lord in prayer in our Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel.|