Myrtle Grove Christian School draws on best practices from three educational philosophies to continually refine the scope and sequence of our PK-8 curriculum. A primary aim of this initiative is to intentionally build on the spiritual and academic traditions of our school, and to systematically incorporate selected elements of each philosophical approach and methodology as grade level appropriate.
Charlotte Mason believed that education is “an atmosphere, a discipline and a life.” In this philosophy of education, the child is taught as “a whole person” and is seen to absorb and develop habits of the mind, heart and spirit through a collaboration between the home and the school. The careful, intentional creation of the learning environment is critical to forming the learner’s character. The formation and discipline of good habits is also a key component of this philosophy, as is the effective instruction about “living facts and ideas” within a dynamic academic classroom in various indoor and outdoor settings. This, rather than a dry presentation of academic content or information from a “neutral” point of view, without the context necessary to properly order understandings.
The engaged learner gathers and applies understandings through indoor and outdoor classroom experiences that include the elements of experimentation, risk, success and/or failure. In education, as in life, our reactions, attitudes and our processing of experiences is often of greater personal value and importance than the experiences themselves. The application of the scientific method, the formation of various hypotheses, trial and error, and personal reflection are all components of this philosophy. One primary goal of this approach is the development of “grit” and persistence within the learners. The experience of collaborative problem solving on teams within the context of accomplishing tasks and goals is also a major objective of this approach.
A Christian worldview adaptation of the Classical approach recognizes that Christ is to have preeminence in all things, and that “all truth is God’s truth.” Therefore, Christian educators may borrow from the best of ancient classical traditions of learning and utilize the instructional framework of the Trivium. In sum, the Trivium is a three stage process for training the mind and forming the character of a learner.
- In the grammar stage, the learner establishes a firm foundation of facts about mathematics, reading, science, history, the arts and music.
- In the logic stage the student learns to analyze facts and employ logic in answering “why” questions.
- In the rhetoric stage the student becomes able to express himself or herself clearly and persuasively in writing and public speaking. Our teachers may focus on this stage during the 7th and 8th grades as appropriate. The Bible, great books and great literature provide the context for indoor and outdoor free inquiry discussions and formation of spiritual, ethical, moral and ethical ideals within the learners.
The rationale for the adoption of Charlotte Mason, Experiential and Classical educational approaches is threefold:
- First, while every child learns differently and teachers must continually develop the ability to discern their students’ learning styles and needs in order to convey academic content effectively, it is of far greater importance that the child develop a spiritual and moral compass and the ability to think clearly and logically. Our aim is for the child to seeing all truths as aspects of a divinely ordered whole, rather than viewing knowledge as unrelated conceptual fragments. If one is to properly order new understandings and to form a “government of the soul”, it is necessary to answer “why” questions rather than simply the “how” questions that focus on means rather than the ends. To realize this outcome, our school cannot simply mimic the mix of philosophies and methodologies often found within secular institutions, rather we must begin with honoring our Creator and teaching from philosophical standpoints that recognize the preeminence of God and that hold up the highest values and traditions of Western civilization. There is no neutrality in spiritual, moral or educational values.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!” (Psalm 111:10)
- Secondly, if we accept the premise that we all approach life with certain predispositions, biases, frames of reference, and that we may tend to be self-referential when it comes to assessing matters of truth and fact, then we may conclude that every child needs to grow in self-awareness in order to learn effectively. In order for a child to begin growing in self-awareness and in respect for the views of others, it is necessary to first be honest with our Lord and one’s self. This self-awareness can begin at an early age and grow over a lifetime, if true wisdom is sought. As so much of a child’s life will involve collaboration with others, conflict resolution, striving to match personal ideals with personal actions and persevering through failure and setbacks, the proper application of these three philosophies can create a laboratory of life within the classroom quite different from the virtual world. What we are describing is simply humility of mind.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6b)
- Thirdly, if students are to become effective stewards and servants of Christ, they must be able to discern truth, evaluate ideas and situations from a biblical perspective, and make personal applications of biblical understandings. In order to become a steward and a servant, a student must develop habits of heart and mind that move the character and the soul forward in a growing personal relationship with Christ and a growing alignment of their life with biblical faith and practice. Here, a Classical education offers a philosophical framework that can help to fire the moral, spiritual and intellectual imagination of a child. This is accomplished, in part, through biblical and literary illustrations as well as discussions about the life and character of great men and women. In the Bible, in history and current events, we see the display of virtues and fruits of the Spirit (as well as failures) as people heroically faced challenges, or tragically abandoned their personal convictions and dreams.
“The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)
Curriculum at Myrtle Grove Christian School is designed to achieve Expected Student Outcomes. Core subjects include Reading, Language, Math, Bible, Social Studies, and Science. We have selected a blend of both Christian and secular textbooks based on their anticipated effectiveness in achieving learning objectives. Supplemental material is added where deemed necessary. Biblical worldview principles are incorporated into instruction in every subject.
Review our K-5 Curriculum Summaries here.