Editor’s note: This post is the first in a series on how we teach the Trivium at Morning Star Academy. The Trivium forms the structure of classical education. It includes three stages: Grammar (grades K-5), Logic (6-8) and Rhetoric (9-12).
“For the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.”
What I love about this quote by Sayers is how it aligns with what we are doing at Morning Star Academy. We want to develop thinkers. We want students who know how to think, not merely what to think. What does this endeavor look like day-to-day? I want to invite you into my third grade classroom to get a glimpse into a classical Christian education.
I must say, I love grammar school students. It doesn’t take long to see their excitement for new and interesting facts. They often explain in detail what they have learned, and they will most likely relate what they have learned to their own experiences. Their ability to memorize still blows me away every year. They enjoy collecting and organizing items, and being able to grasp a new language is another one of their strengths.
Knowing these traits and building a curriculum around them is what makes classical education beautiful. Walking into the third grade you most likely will hear us singing. Whether we are singing the Bible verses that accompany our catechism questions, singing our history song or reciting the 52 prepositions for our grammar lessons, singing is often happening in our classroom.
Another staple of classical education is helping students become comfortable in front of their classmates. When we read as a class, students stand while it is their turn to read. Along with this, students develop the skill of narration, which is being able to retell the main points of what they just read to the class. Narration provides a smooth transition to project presentations, like Trojan Horses and Greek mythology, and gives them confidence when they recite poetry. By the end of the year, they are memorizing lines to Aesop’s Fables and performing plays in front of a room full of people. This is one of my favorite days!
Let’s not forget how easily grammar students can learn a new language. Learning Latin, which is a catapult to other languages, helps students to reason and think critically. They not only gain helpful vocabulary, they see that language has structure. And we also want to develop good writers. One of my favorite lessons is teaching my third graders how to write a persuasive paper. I think many parents were buying puppies after last year!
Lastly, we teach and learn all our subjects through the lens of Scripture. As a parent, I want my kids to have a solid biblical worldview that thoroughly equips them to faithfully test their choices and decisions by the Word of God. I am thankful for Morning Star Academy and parents who are like-minded and value a classical Christian education. We are in this together!