The trivium: The Heart of a Classical Education
Redeemer Christian School bases its educational approach upon the classical teaching model known as the trivium, which divides the educational life of a student into three stages. Each stage emphasizes the student’s natural capacity for certain types of learning:
The Grammar stage, ages 5 to 10, emphasizes the chronological learning and memorization of essential facts, such as dates, timelines, places and Bible verses in song and chant, hands-on projects, drama and the like. Grammar stage children genuinely find joy in discovering, reciting, and demonstrating what they have learned. Academic skills of reading, composition, mathematics, and vocabulary of subjects are developed in this stage.
The Logic stage, ages 11 to 14, follows a foundation of the grammar stage and includes the study of ordered relationships between subjects, sound reasoning and thinking, mechanics and patterns of language and the framework of subjects. During the logic stage, students study formal logic, Latin, lab sciences, elements of grammar and composition, research skills, and Bible study methods.
Finally, the Rhetoric stage, ages 15 to 18, refines the students’ skills of using and articulating knowledge, logically, clearly and persuasively. The student continues his chronological studies of literature, Christian apologetics, history, mathematics, and science, and adds to them the study of philosophy, theology, and classical rhetoric. The capstone of their study is a written senior thesis that is orally defended.
For all three stages, classical works are taught classically. That is, teaching methods complement the child’s natural way of learning. A classical education is a ‘Great Books’ education and utilizes classical literature in all three stages. Children read the rich stories, and study the characters, vocabulary, worldview and multi-faceted aspects that classical literature offers.
The Fine Arts (music, art, drama) and Physical Education at RCS are academic courses and are considered to be an integral part of a classical education. Using the classical model of education, students learn how to think thoroughly, Biblically, and maturely, to the end that they may live their lives in service to God and their neighbors.