At St. Augustine, we partner with parents to form students intellectually and spiritually and equip them to engage the world for the glory of God. We believe all knowledge is unified under the Lordship of Christ, and so we teach subjects as part of an integrated whole rather than as isolated units of knowledge. In the same way, we see students as whole persons – consisting of mind, body, and spirit. Academics, though primarily exercising the mind, is also an instrument to grow in virtue. In this way, the act of acquiring knowledge and developing strong reasoning skills prepare students for whatever vocations they choose after they leave the classroom.
St. Augustine is comprised of the grammar school (K4-5th), logic school (6th-8th), and the rhetoric school (9th-12th). These titles originate from the classical arts of the trivium: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. In her 1948 essay, “The Lost Tools of Learning,” Dorothy Sayers interprets the arts of the trivium as stages in which a student passes as they grow in wisdom and virtue. Though our interpretation of the trivium sees each art as a distinct subject, Sayers’s defined stages continue to guide pedagogical practices in classical schools across the country.
At the beginning of their educational journey, students are easily aroused to wonder at the world around them. We harness that desire and use that eagerness to establish strong foundations in the areas of language and mathematics through singing, games, and repetition. Students attend school on Tuesdays and Thursdays and are schooled at home on the other days of the week. Parents are typically more involved on home days as they teach and then assist students with work at home.
As students mature, they begin to inquire into the reasoning behind things, asking sincere questions and demonstrating independent thought. In the logic school, students take classes that stretch them intellectually, such as Logic and Latin. Classrooms become more discursive, challenging students to think and communicate well. At this stage, students become more independent, completing assignments and managing homework on their own. In addition to full days on Tuesdays and Thursdays, students in the logic school attend school for a half day on Wednesdays.
Having established a foundation of knowledge and practiced the art of discourse, students in the rhetoric school are equipped to enter into the conversations of men and women preceding them and wrestle with the ideas presented. They read many of the great books and take rigorous courses in the humanities, mathematics, and sciences to prepare them to speak and perform well on various subject matter. Rhetoric students attend school for the same amount of time as the Logic school.