“Standing on the shoulders of giants” is a phrase that is often heard in the classical Christian school community. Proponents of classical Christian education strive to build upon the solid foundation laid by the great thinkers of the past, using time-tested teaching methods rather than following the latest fads in modern education. Haw River Christian Academy has taken a similar approach when selecting our curriculum. When faced with the very important and daunting task of deciding exactly what our students will be learning on a day to day basis, we turned to Rockbridge Academy in Maryland, a “giant” in the field of classical Christian education. Rockbridge has a stellar reputation and an exceptional record of achievement. They are a great example of how rigorous academics has produced scholars of the highest caliber — students whose biblical worldviews remain intact as they navigate the world of higher education. HRCA staff witnessed this achievement first hand when we attended Rockbridge’s summer teacher training program. The Rockbridge training and curriculum materials have provided an excellent “road map” for HRCA to navigate our way through our first years of classical Christian education.
What does this road map look like? As you might have guessed, it offers quite a different approach than the one offered by most modern schools. HRCA takes a different route. We choose to avoid a repeat of the same information year to year or leave large gaps in students’ knowledge. Our curriculum specifically details what information students are required to learn in each subject, systematically adding new information and skills for each grade. We do not offer a compartmentalized way to learn, but rather strive to help our students discover how all subjects relate to other subjects. This integration takes place within the classroom and even more intentionally across the grade levels, building from year to year. Most importantly, our structured and graduated curriculum abides in a biblical worldview. This biblical worldview is drawn into all things to show there is a Lord who is sovereign in all that we study, learn, and know. The result is a cohesive, efficient, and challenging program of study grounded in the Christian faith.
Here is an example of HRCA’s objectives for First Grade Earth Science (1 quarter out of 4 quarters focused on 4 areas of Science – Earth Science, Chemistry, Physics, Biology)
The first grade student will:
- Recall that God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
- Describe the four main layers of the earth.
- Describe the evidence for these layers as seen with volcanoes.
- Recall the three types of rocks as igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rock.
- Observe, memorize, and draw the water cycle.
- Recall that the water cycle is a closed cycle to which nothing is added and God maintains.
- Identify and draw four types of precipitation.
- Recognize and name three types of clouds.
- Observe a variety of demonstrations that display the facts being studied.
- State in words and/or pictures the results of the demonstration.
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