Instruction in the English Language Arts
Phonics is the basis for the elementary reading and writing instruction. Grammar and syntax are mastered through memorization and practice, along with exposure to classic and quality literature as early as possible. Critical and aesthetic reading of literature, literary analysis, vocabulary, rules of grammar, composition, and research skills are emphasized throughout the English program of study. The classics determine the scope and content of the literature program at all levels. Extensive reading and written expression form the basis of the curriculum. Composition and handwriting are developed and emphasized throughout the curriculum.
The distinguishing mark of the educated person is mastery of the English language in reading, writing, and speaking. These multifaceted skills require many years to reach a high level and are greatly enhanced by the study of Latin and Greek. Students study English grammar and vocabulary in both English and Latin classes, beginning in 3rd Grade.
An essential component in the development of superior language skills is the study of good literature, which provides models of correct English and excellence in writing. The ear and eye are trained by constant exposure to good English usage. Students learn best by imitation.
Our classroom reading selections are carefully chosen to increase in reading difficulty each year. Books are read slowly and thoroughly in class, and are used to study comprehension, vocabulary, and other English skills using study guides, which include a selection of poetry. Poetry is intense and requires careful, slow, and repeated reading. Poetry requires thought and is especially effective in developing comprehension and thinking skills. Students who are properly prepared are ready to begin the study of Shakespeare in the 7th Grade.
We choose the very best literature and poetry for each age, works that model heroes, virtues, and high ideals. Our literature program does more than develop reading skills; it inspires students to love what is good and noble in life.
Grammar & Composition
English grammar, usage, and composition are taught yearly. Students in grades 2-8 are taught directly using Harvey's Grammar, Rod & Staff, Easy Grammar, and the Institute for Excellence in Writing's Structure & Style. Traditional Logic, along with a thorough grounding in Grammar and the progymnasmata, prepare Middle School Students for the study of Rhetoric in 11th and 12th grade. The ability to write with clarity, beauty, and power is further developed by our logic and rhetoric curriculum, which is an extension of English and counts as English credits.
On a more practical side, the development of a legible and attractive cursive hand is a high priority. Serious attention is given to penmanship in every grade and class, lest illegible and careless writing plague students and teachers alike throughout their school years.
Students are encouraged to learn keyboarding skills and are expected to use word processing software to write, edit, and rewrite their compositions from 6th - 12th grade. Additional assignments make use of the internet for research as well as for creative projects including building websites, working with photography and videography to create presentations using software and the web.