History, Geography, & Classical Studies
History is studied “at its deepest level as salvation history” (Pope John Paul II). The student is led through the course of human history from the ancient pre-classical civilizations, onward to the classical world, to early Christianity and through the flowering of Christian civilization to the modern world. American and Modern history are studied along with history of Western civilization and world geography. The centrality of Christ as Lord of history is the foundation for the history curriculum.
Each year students have courses in Christian Studies, Classical Studies, and American Studies. Primary students read Bible stories, lives of the saints, stories of famous Americans and other historical people and events. Grammar students learn about Greek & Roman mythology and history, study the Bible thoroughly over the course of three years, and learn world and U.S. geography and history. History is further studied with an emphasis on cause and effect, actions and consequences, during the middle school years of the logic stage.
All foreign language study includes learning about the people who speak the language, so Classical Studies is the natural companion to Latin. In Classical Studies, students study Greek mythology and Greek and Roman history and literature every year, gradually deepening their knowledge and understanding. This long grounding prepares students to read the classics of Greek, Roman, and English literature, and to study and understand the modern world.
Why spend so much time on the Greeks and Romans? Why not put this time and effort into American history and literature instead? It may seem only reasonable that the history of one's own nation should be the focus of the curriculum, but, surprisingly, that is not the case.
There are many disadvantages to making the study of the student's own national history and literature the focus of education. First, we cannot see our own history objectively, and thus, it is difficult to draw lessons and conclusions from it. It is still too close to us and has not been sifted through time. We are not objective. In fact, we are emotionally involved and necessarily biased. Secondly, we do not know the end of our story because our story is not yet over. It is difficult to draw conclusions since the conclusion has not come, our chapter is not finished. And, of course, we have nothing to compare our history to if we don't study another civilization or nation before we study our own.
The classical civilization of Greece and Rome is the perfect civilization for the student to study and the teacher to teach. It has been thoroughly studied by many generations, and the lessons have been learned and are there for all to see. And we know the end of the story, and therefore we can see consequences and draw conclusions.
In addition, all of the issues that we struggle with in the modern world - economic, political, religious, and social - are present in the ancient world in their simplest form. In Greece and Rome, the perennial problems of the human condition can be seen at their beginning, while it is still possible to grasp them, to understand them, and to really see the heart of the matter.
American & Modern Studies
In American/Modern Studies students study world geography, and American history and literature.