Learn more about our Philosophy of Education by watching the following webinar:
INTRO TO THE AQUINAS LEARNING PROGRAM
We provide a spine of study in 3 cycles to cover Preschool through High School.
We provide a 28-week (30-week for Schola Alta level) Curriculum Overview–outlining the topics we are going to cover for the year.
We provide WAGs (week-at-a-glance sheets) that list what we will be studying in a given week.
We provide INTEGRATION when possible. In other words, the Science experiment has something to do with the Science Memory Works they just studied. We also provide integration across subjects when it fits. For example, we studied volcanoes for Science, the same week we studied Mt. Vesuvius, the same week we studied the geography of Italy and where Pompeii was located, the same week we studied mosaics (and used examples of the mosaics uncovered during the excavations of Pompeii.)
We provide a Exercise Workbook/Porfolio that support the concepts and lessons we learned about during our AL meet-up day (there's a slightly different structure for ALH families, but the workbook is the same portfolio). We call it a porfolio because it is a record of the things they learned during the year.
We provide an online Course Site, where the curriculum is housed for easy access to the current weeks’ studies. It's our online filing cabinet organized by week.
We provide a Community who are currently studying the same program through a yahoo loop, a Facebook Group page, and Course Site.
We provide a list of Recommended Resources for further study.
During the Aquinas Meet-Up Day:
- Circle Time - These Preschool/PreK students start their day by getting together in a circle to discuss themes of the day, weather, saint, welcome song, etc.
- Memory sentences* - they have a lighter version than their Prima counterparts. They study the Catechism and History sentences only. In addition, they have other things they memorize that are more age-appropriate: songs, poems, and Latin words.
- Table Time – They alternate from floor time, outdoor time, and "Table Time" - scribbling, drawing, creating crafts, exploring tactile materials, playing with manipulatives, generally working at the tables.
- Oral Presentations – Based on the letter of the week or a theme, they present in front of their classmates.
- Literature – Story time with discussion because we believe that very young children are capable of discussing ideas like justice ("that's not fair"), love, greed, pride, and many more.
- P.E. - time for developing the large motor skills through outdoor or indoor play and mobility.
All Prima Students (K-6th Graders):
- Memory sentences* (related to the concepts or themes of the cycle) in: Catechism, History, Science, Geography, Timeline, Civics (SPII), Math (SPI), Greek/Latin roots.
- Group class focusing on Fine Arts or Science – lesson plan with activity. We begin by beholding, beholding the art work, the music, or the Science experiment. We follow it up with activities and discussion.
- Oral Presentations – students take turns presenting something orally. We provide topics and ideas for presentations. It is usually relevant in their lives, to the themes we’re studying this cycle, or to the liturgical calendar.
- Literature – We have stories we read aloud and discuss. Sometimes these are short stories, other times we have poetry discussion, and other times, we discuss the “Family Read-Aloud” – a longer novel that may have taken weeks to read at home and is then discussed as a group in class.
Prima I Level - K-3rd graders:
- Language Arts: Intro to Story Telling/ Story Sequencing, a precursor to composition. (IEW PAL Program condensed)
- Free play – Centers, where children choose areas of play/concentration/study. We have a tactile center, a reading corner, a game table, an art table/craft table (sometimes this craft or art project is an extension of something they’re already learning about – we had hieroglyphic stamps that they played with when we studied ancient Egyptians), Science/Discovery table. Mentors are there as guides and sometimes as playmates as well. For those doing this at home, you can simply pick an activity or two to let the children explore or play on their own.
- Philosophy discussion – using the Philosophy 4 Children materials, we hold simple philosophical discussions.
Prima II Level - 4-6th graders:
- Intensive English Grammar course
- Composition – using the IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) program
- Philosophy discussion – using the Philosophy 4 Children materials, we hold simple philosophical discussions
What do you do for the Home-Study-Extension?
This is where the daily planner comes in. At the beginning of the year, you either follow our prescribed plan for the week or make your own. The idea is to do the following each day:
1. Daily morning routine – this may include: prayers, readings, morning chores, daily Mass, breakfast…
2. Individual Core Subjects: Math, Reading, Composition (IEW or other writing projects), Research (prepare for Oral presentations)
3. Aquinas Memory review – review all the memory sentences.
4. Study the “Focus Subject” – depending on which day it is, you might study, more in-depth, the subject of HISTORY or SCIENCE… For this we recommend certain texts and reading materials, but do not require that you use the same ones. Why? If you already have your favorite History text, you might be able to use that to read a chapter on the Ancient Egyptians. We recommend E.H. Gombrich’s Little Story of the World or Philip Campbell's Story of Civilization as a family read-aloud
We wanted to keep this a somewhat flexible HOMESCHOOL program and didn’t want to dictate every minute of every day. The idea is to maintain a classical approach and setting, where the main focus is pursuit of truth through ideas and discussion. You can read more about it, discuss it, and pursue more if you wish. You may touch on a topic this year that may become more relevant or important or more understandable three years later, when the student studies the same topic/concept at an older age with a more mature mind.
It boils down to
Discussing ideas – especially those which form the character of a human being. When you read a book, you’re not just after the facts in the book, but a DISCUSSION on who acted most rightly or why God created certain things…etc.
Learning Facts which are interesting and relevant themes – not just any facts or as many facts as we can cram down their throats, but what we would deem important or tradition, what we would like to pass on to the next generation. What makes them a good person, a Godly person, an American…etc.
Practicing Skills – memory (you only know what you remember or have experienced), reading, writing, thinking, speaking, listening, debating, discussing, BEHOLDING. We no longer teach our kids to pay attention and that has led to greater attention deficit. “Behold the Lamb of God!” We want to teach them to stop and gaze, behold things that are worthy of beholding.
At select centers, they may also offer a PARVA (preschool) program and a SCHOLA ALTA (7-12th grade) program. Please inquire about these programs. firstname.lastname@example.org