"EVERY AGE HAS ITS OWN OUTLOOK. IT IS ESPECIALLY GOOD AT SEEING CERTAIN TRUTHS AND ESPECIALLY LIABLE TO MAKING CERTAIN MISTAKES. WE ALL, THEREFORE, NEED TO KEEP THE CLEAN SEA BREEZE OF THE CENTURIES BLOWING THROUGH OUR MINDS... BY READING OLD BOOKS." C.S. LEWIS
This academic year, our administration and faculty have been working overtime to reconfigure our curriculum to conform more deeply to the Catholic worldview. After much deliberation, it is our conclusion that a classical, liberal arts approach will serve our students and families best. The following is a short summary of the structure and aims of this way of teaching that includes not only a change in the materials we provide to fill the mind and memory of the student, but also a change in the tone and busyness of our classrooms. To nourish our children on what is best to free them to be fully human is countercultural, but so is the advice of Saint Paul:
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) RELIGION CURRICULUM AND CHARACTER EDUCATION Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (Ephesians 5:1-2) The teachings and beauty of our Catholic faith is not only a subject of academic study in each grade, but is woven through all of what we do at Christ the King, providing unity and cohesiveness to the curriculum. Students receive a rich education in the Catholic faith through use of the Faith & Life Series, published by Ignatius Press. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI himself called the German translation “the best catechetical series.” Students also learn of the gift of the Scriptures through select memorization of psalms and verses. They explore the treasures of Christian culture, art, architecture, music, and literature. The Faith and Life series brings students to the person of Jesus Christ and then immerses them into the mystery of Christ. Fostering dispositions in which students desire communion with God through Jesus in the Holy Spirit, a communion in truth, charity and mercy. As students are immersed into the mystery of Christ they are transformed by Divine truth, living out the Gospel message and giving glory to God in all that they do. Our virtue based character education program teaches students universally valued virtues such as honesty, integrity, perseverance, respect for self and others, self-control, and patience (specifically highlighting the Cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance). We intentionally integrate this formation in the virtues into the culture of the school as well through our study of character development and heroism in literature and history. Theology of the Body is also taught at all grade levels. Click here to learn more!
HISTORY/GEOGRAPHY CURRICULUM For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. (Colossians 1:16-18) The value you place on history is dictated by your worldview. To the progressive modernist, history is an interesting study in how we got to our present, enlightened state. By contrast, to the classicist, history is the laboratory of the human condition. We study it because it shows the formulation of ideas and the consequences of those ideas—a core value for wisdom. We cycle through the world’s history three times, each with a different purpose. By the final cycle, we expect students to intuitively see the ideas that play their way out in the laboratory of the world. The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child is an award-winning series of books that can be read aloud to or read by young children (Grades 1- 4) to bring history alive. This series, which includes an expansive teacher activity book to guide map work and the creation of timelines, serves as the “spine” of the history and geography curricula in the early years, and is supplemented by great literature, biography and poetry of the time and place. In the upper grades, Christ the King uses the Catholic Textbook Project series. This is a presentation of the full story of Western Civilization that doesn't neutralize religious influences or tolerate anti-Catholic bias. The Catholic Textbook Project has received numerous accolades from Catholic as well as secular sources, including professors of history at the University of California, Berkeley, and is used in all Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and in many other schools throughout the country. This masterful series of textbooks presents history narratively, through the characters and events that capture the imagination and draw the student into the drama of human civilization, its heroes and villains, and the institutions that have been crucially influential on our progress. Prior to this series, only textbooks hospitable to a Catholic worldview were published in the 1960s; these newly published works of history allow our students to benefit from the best scholarship as well as to give them a hunger to learn more about our common past. Read more about the Catholic Textbook Project: www.catholictextbookproject.com/about In addition to the study of important national holidays and key American figures (e.g., Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, etc), each academic year will traverse a particular epoch in history, with an emphasis on Western civilization, but also with attention to the many cultures that form our country’s cultural landscape today.
LANGUAGE ARTS CURRICULUM But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:17) We want our students to read insightfully, write beautifully, speak articulately, and think critically. This means they must be taught how language works, which includes a deep grasp of phonics in reading and spelling, word usage and syntax through the persevering study of English grammar (and Latin grammar beginning in the 3rd Grade), and composition and expression. Students should learn how to question a story and be questioned by it. By being introduced to beautiful and enduring literature, poetry and biography, even young students can be encouraged to consider the worthiness of characters’ choices, the consequences of their actions, and the importance of right action and truth. The study and recitation of poetry is used to cultivate memory, especially in the early years when children’s memory is strong and capable. Copy work and narration in the early years help students to imitate proper technique and find their voice. Dictation in later years allows students to emulate beautiful writing. The development of creative, expository, and analytical writing enables young thinkers to build confidence in the expression of their imagination, memory and intellect. Language and literature lessons complement concurrent, thematic lessons in history, culture, and religion, and thus provide a coherent, integrated curriculum.
MATH CURRICULUM So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12) The mathematics curriculum in a classical education will seek to promote the understanding of order and harmony in the universe. Mathematics, as a language, reveals this order and harmony, yet it should also be lifted from this concrete foundation and brought into the world of the abstract. The study of mathematics will engage this endeavor by training students in the context in which the discovery of its concepts arose as well as the reasoning which provides its structure. Christ the King uses Rod and Staff. Mathematics is an exact study. Part of its beauty and simplicity is that a number problem has only one correct answer. Number facts with their single correct answers must be memorized exactly, in order to gain mastery of more difficult processes. Require your students to learn those facts thoroughly. Teach them to accurately and carefully to the best of their ability. In requiring accuracy, you are doing more than teaching mathematics. You are helping to form a base from which a child gains a proper concept of a God who pays attention to exactness and detail. We will lay a solid foundation for basic math facts and the memorization of those facts and build a strong foundation on those basic skills to achieve concept mastery. An emphasis will be put on number sense and the exploration of math concepts.
NATURE STUDIES Great are the works of the Lord; They are studied by all who delight in them. Psalm 111:2 Through both simple and more complex experimentation, the study of science should teach children to observe their surroundings carefully and help them to understand the world around them. With reading and discussion, writing to document hypotheses and observations, and hands-on activities and experimentation, children will begin to hone their natural ability to investigate and learn. Lower Grammar Stage: Students are observing, exploring, and describing the world around them. Students see their world as God’s creation and learn the relationship of nature with God. They begin to develop an elementary understanding of the human body and the ‘body-soul unity’ of the human person. Students learn the very basic differences in animal groups and divisions within the plant kingdom. At this stage, students discuss regional geography and the four seasons. They begin to learn the basic steps of the scientific method and learn about famous scientists. Students start learning how to organize and develop a ‘nature notebook’ at the very early stages. This is truly a time of wonder and appreciation of the natural world that God created. Upper Grammar Stage: At this stage, students are recognizing the study of nature as part of the human endeavor to understand the world. They understand that science is one aspect of the study of nature which must be integrated into a more comprehensive vision of reality as God’s creation and thus behold nature in a different way. The study of the life sciences includes; living things and the cycle of life, food chains, photosynthesis, basic human anatomy, animal classification, plant and animal cells, populations and communities. Physical science includes; matter, motion/physics, energy, electricity and magnetism. Earth science covers; rocks and fossils, weather and climate, natural resources, and the solar system. Students continue to build their skills in keeping detailed nature notebooks. The study of scientists help the student understand why science developed the way it did. It is in this stage that students will acquire a reverence for nature as God’s creation. Logic Stage: At this stage, the students begin to contemplate important questions, such as: What is life? What is nature? How does ‘world’ differ from ‘environment’? and ‘What makes a human distinct from other animals? Students studying life science will discuss in-depth; cells and genetics, human biology and physical health, animals, bacteria and plants. Earth science will include; plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, weathering of earth’s surface, waters of the earth, weather and climate, and astronomy. Physical science will cover the following topics; force and motion, energy (thermal energy and heat), chemical building blocks, and chemical interactions. The nature notebook is now a high-level tool for their understanding of nature. Students begin to study the relationship between science and philosophy in the study of nature. They will name and employ the Four Causes of Aristotle in the explanation of nature and they render animals and plants through art. This leads the students into the ability to explain and defend the distinction between the animate and the inanimate. K: God’s Creation 1st: Plant/Animal Cycles 2nd: Earth Science 3rd: Astronomy/Oceans 4th: Human Body/Botany 5th: Earth Science 6th: Alchemy/Ancient Physics 7th: Year of the Naturalist 8th: Biology
LATIN Semper Fidelis “Always Faithful” CTK students are introduced to a robust Latin program beginning in Kindergarten. From this year on, students memorize Latin prayers and phrases such as the Salve Regina and are exposed to a range of Latin texts. In the Third Grade, students begin to receive more formal instruction in the language with Latin grammar and vocabulary. The upper level grades, from third grade through eighth grade, learn to conjugate verbs in their various tenses, decline Latin nouns, recite prayers in Latin, and more. Instruction in the Latin language provides the gateway to a more comprehensive understanding of the English language and grammar, a foundation for expanding vocabulary through etymology, and greater accessibility to other languages and cultures. Grade K-2: Sing Song Latin (Classical Academic Press) Grade 3: Prima Latina (Memoria Press) Grade 4: Latina Christiana (Memoria Press) Grade 5: First Form Latin (Memoria Press) Grade 6: Second Form Latin (Memoria Press) Grade 7: Third Form Latin (Memoria Press) Grade 8: Fourth Form Latin (Memoria Press)
ORATORY All students at CTK are introduced to the art of public speaking. In kindergarten through sixth grade, Oratory takes place within the context of other subjects such as Literature, Grammar, History, Religion, etc. In the seventh and eighth grades, students receive formal instruction within the context of an Oratory/Logic class. Recitation (K-8): This age loves to memorize using songs, chants, rhythm, or rhyme. We use this to teach students all sorts of factual material including: oceans and continents, major pharaohs of Egypt, taxonomy classification (biology), Greek and Roman history, American history, multiplication tables, the Periodic Table of the Elements, countries of the world, selected Shakespeare, the parts of speech, prime numbers to 100, numerous Bible passages, and a history timeline, to name a few. Logic(Grades 7-8): https://classicalacademicpress.com/product/the-art-of-argument/
ART & ART HISTORY The study of art encourages both hands-on participation as well as an introduction to the great masters and works of art. This study of art naturally complements the study of history in our integrated curriculum. The great masters and their works will be studied in depth through the selection of a particular artist each month that all students will focus on both in Art classes and individual grade level classrooms.
MUSIC & MUSIC HISTORY: Our music curriculum begins with our students being introduced to Gregorian chant and sacred music. Students become familiar with the “music of the masters,” music theory, and through music class, experience the joy and beauty of music by learning to use their own voices in the service of praising God.