What exactly is Classical Methodology?
Oak Grove Classical Academy, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, approaches learning in a unique way. Rooted in methods dating back to ancient Greece, Classical methodology may be “old” in years, but has proven to be timeless in helping students become successful and innovative lifetime learners.
The Classical Model views the student as more than just someone who learns things, but someone who can critically think and speak articulately about the world around them. The underlying purpose of learning, as intelligent and thinking beings, is to discover the truth. In the Classical Model, we present students with the truth and then provide them with tools of learning, forming in them the ability to approach any subject with wisdom and confidence.
This model of teaching divides students up by their stages of development in order to use their age-appropriate strengths to best learn and retain knowledge. These stages are Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. Together, they make up the Trivium, or “three ways.”
The Grammar stage is the first level of learning, or our elementary school. Students pre-K to 6th grade learn during this time through repetition, recitation and memorization. If you walk through the hall of our Grammar school, you’ll hear a chorus of voices wafting from the classrooms, singing songs and reciting poetry and chants.
Our Grammar school students are taught in the classroom two days a week. The other two days, parents act as learning coaches, homeschooling their children in their lessons using the tools Oak Grove has supplied them. They provide their children with guidance and support, and exhibit a love of learning. Fridays are optional half-days where students have the option for electives such as fine arts.
Our middle school-age students are in what we call the Logic stage, or the second pillar of the Trivium. The educational methods during this time teach students to dive into the why, the how, and the what of any subject that they are seeking to master or become fluent in over the course of their studies. Students learn how to build an argument using the facts that they have.
Logic students spend three full days in the classroom and two full days learning from home.
The last pillar of Classical learning is Rhetoric, or our high school. Rhetoric is the art of expression, and students at this stage learn to express themselves with fluency, grace, elegance, and persuasiveness. They take what they’ve learned, dissected the whys and whats and hows of it, and now are taught how to defend it passionately, effectively and eloquently.
Students at this stage are guided to begin taking leadership in their learning to really discover knowledge. When a student can take ownership of what it is that they're learning, they're going to remember it decades from now, not just retain answers for a test.
At this stage, Rhetoric students have graduated to spending five full days in the classroom, which is modeled after university style classes.
But wait, aren’t you a Christian school?
The Classical Model is a method of teaching for individuals to best learn the truth. We believe the truth is that God created everything on this beautiful earth, and in us is an innate desire to worship Him through the truth of education. We don’t have formal Bible or religion classes. We use a Christ-centered framework as the foundation for all that we do, pointing to God’s truth and His beauty in every subject we teach. Students learn to question what is the right thing to do in the stories they learn and the interactions they have with their fellow students and their teachers. As co-teachers, parents pledge a statement of faith, to model the values that we believe in as followers of Christ, and to share their joy and the truths of their faith with their child.
At Oak Grove, our students are continuously being reminded that the goal of learning is not to arrive at a perfect test score or earn good grades. The goal of learning is to find the joy in every subject under the sun that God has given us. When students approach learning with that lens, discipline and success naturally overflows.