Frequently Asked Questions
What is Classical Education?
Classical education is a centuries-old methodology aimed at forming young minds through the emphasis on language and mathematics. The aim of Classical education is to produce virtue of character, cultivate the maturity of intellect, and master verbal and written communication skills.
Sometimes referred to as the Trivium (Latin for “three roads”), this approach consists of the grammar, logic and rhetoric stages, each building upon its predecessor, organizing learning around the maturing capacity of the child’s mind. The curricular emphasis during the grammar school years is on learning basic facts and figures during the time when children love to memorize (and when they are best at doing so). The subsequent emphasis during the middle school years on logic and analysis trains students to think critically and deeply about subjects, both academically and otherwise. This emphasis corresponds with the middle-school student’s bent toward exploration, questioning, and a desire for deeper understanding. Finally, the emphasis during the high school years shifts toward honing rhetorical skills, including writing. This shift prepares students to write college-level theses, utilizing their grasp of proper grammar as well their ability to think logically and critically.
The Biblical equivalent to this progression is found in the admonition to pursue knowledge, understanding and wisdom. (see the book of Proverbs)
Classical education thus concentrates on giving depth and developing tools that the student can use throughout their lives. This approach aims to produce generations that have effectively mastered the art of learning so that they may skillfully acquire and apply knowledge, reason critically, and articulate persuasively.
Why is Latin important?
Latin is given a significant place in classical education because of the many benefits it produces. Classical education advocate Doug Wilson writes,
The solid value of classical language study can be seen in five basic areas:
- The first is that it reveals a great deal about English and refines the student’s powers of expression in his native language. About 80 percent of our English vocabulary comes to us from Latin and Greek. Students of Latin enlarge their vocabulary and enrich it through knowledge of synonyms that express finer shades of meaning. They learn underlying meanings of words, grow more familiar with the process of word formation, and gain greater insight into the structure of English grammar.
- The second great benefit classical language study is that it enables the student to appreciate literature. By this, I do not mean solely the appreciation of ancient literature (for example, Virgil or Homer), although that is certainly a benefit. No, a student cannot fully appreciate English literature apart from exposure to the classical world.
- Another benefit is that it gives the student an understanding of the infancy of our civilization. Not only is our language rich in Greek and Latin words, but our culture exhibits a Graeco/Roman influence throughout.
- A fourth benefit is that classical language study trains the student in the essentials of the scientific method—observation, comparison, and generalization. The study of Latin grammar is a lab, without expensive lab equipment. Latin grammar requires a great deal of precision, and the student learns to be precise. The result of this kind of language study is not limited to language; it carries over into other areas as well.
- And lastly, the study of Latin provides a great foundation from which to study other modern languages. The help it would be in the study of languages that are direct descendants of Latin is obvious. The student would have a head start on French, Spanish, Italian, and others (the student could have a good understanding of around 80 percent of the vocabulary of these languages). In addition, he or she would have a solid grasp of how an inflected language works, which would be a considerate help with Russian or German.
In short, the return of Latin is not the work of reactionaries. There is a solid educational value in it; the educational value can be, and has been, empirically shown. Those students fortunate enough to attend a school where it is taught enjoy an incalculable advantage.
Wilson, Douglas. Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: an Approach to Distinctively Christian Education. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1991. 87-90.
Is your school a non–profit organization?
Yes, Charis Classical Academy is a 501(c )(3) non-profit corporation formed in the state of Wisconsin and is governed by a Board of Directors.
Is your school governed by a church?
No, the school is a nondenominational organization governed by a board of men and women from this community.
Will this type of schooling fulfill state requirements?
Yes, it parallels requirements in the core subjects, and exceeds the requirements for grade levels. Eventually, we will pursue accreditation by a national agency through NAUMS (National Association of University-Model® Schools).
What is the role of parents at Charis?
During home days, parents will need to spend intentional time leading their child in application of concepts taught at school. Parents will act as co-instructors under the guidance of the classroom teacher. The number of hours required will vary depending on the age of the child and their individual needs.
What is the difference between homeschool co-ops and University-Model (UM) schools?
UM schools and homeschool co-ops each have distinctives that should be noted.
Homeschool co-ops are a good way for homeschooling families to pool their resources and expertise for specific and usually short-term study projects. One parent, for instance, may be especially proficient in math or science and teach a group of students that subject for a period of time. Generally speaking, homeschool co-ops are age-integrated, specialized, parent-run and do not simulate a college structure.
UM schools are different by virtue of having specific grade levels, consistent accountability from semester to semester, a full spectrum of courses complete with prerequisites and diploma plans, and a professional administration and faculty (much like a traditional school would have) and heavy parental involvement.
Who chooses the curriculum?
The curriculum at Charis is chosen by a team of teachers and staff. Much research and prayer is put into each decision. Prospective curriculum must be of high quality and conducive to our high standards in classical education. In addition, it must fit well within the university model format allowing both primary teachers and co-teachers to effectively administer it in the formal classroom, as well as the satellite classroom at home. Each year we will evaluate the curriculum and make changes as needed.
How do I know what to teach each week?
Classroom teachers will teach the key objectives in class and assign reinforcement or application activities to be completed at home. Weekly lesson plans for both the classroom and the satellite classroom (the home) will be available prior to the beginning of each school week. The co- teacher is encouraged to print off plans for the week and to prepare for the assignments in advance.
Where do I obtain my student’s books?
In the late spring/early summer, Charis Academy provides parents with a comprehensive list of books and resources, by grade, which will be required for students in the following school year.
Is testing required of my child?
Yes, every student accepted into Charis in grades 1 and above will be required to take part in our placement testing in the spring or submit scores from a similar, recently administered test.
How will I communicate with my child’s teacher throughout the year?
Communication is key in a University-Model school. Teachers communicate frequently with parents via our online portal, Classreach.
Will students wear uniforms?
Yes. For more information, see the dress code.