Aquinas Learning Center

What happens at Aquinas?

Cycles & Schedules

Integration & Mastery

Aquinas Learning is rooted in the idea that authentic education seeks truth as a whole.  Education starts in the family and ends in the Trinity (to take a phrase by Stratford Caldecott in the book, Beauty for Truth’s Sake).  As the Trinity is three persons in one God; our curriculum brings together many “subjects” into an integrated whole.

We aim for mastery by following Blessed John Henry Newman’s advice to learn a few things but to learn them well.  We go beyond filling the bucket with information.  We honor the child’s quench to really “know” something by studying concepts in three cycles which repeat.  Therefore, 1st grade students studying Cycle 1 material this year will return to the same material in three years, learning at a much higher level of understanding, and then again in three more years.

Schola Prima I & II – Morning Session

Cycle 1

K–6th Grade
* Catechism: Old Testament
* History: Ancient & Classical Times
* Geography: Africa & Middle East
* Timeline: From Creation to Modern Times
* Science: Biology & Earth Science
* Latin & Greek: Prayers, Sayings, Roots, Greek alphabet
* Civics: Government structures (integrated with the History curriculum)
* Virtue: virtue study based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church
* Fine Arts: Integrated with the historical time period
* Literature – “Good Books” (in preparation of the “Great Books”) in class read-aloud, family read-aloud, and poetry followed by Socratic discussions on ideas found in the stories
* Science Investigations – integrated with Science memory works
* Oral Presentation – time to re-present what they are learning in a given cycle

Cycle 2

K–6th Grade
* Catechism: New Testament
* History: Medieval Times
* Geography: Europe & Asia
* Timeline: From Creation to Modern Times
* Science: Physics & Astronomy
* Latin & Greek: Prayers, Sayings, Roots, Greek alphabet
* Civics: World Government structures cont., the Constitution of the U.S.
* Virtue: virtue study based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church
* Fine Arts: Integrated with the historical time period
* Literature – “Good Books” (in preparation of the “Great Books”) in class read-aloud, family read-aloud, and poetry followed by Socratic discussions on ideas found in the stories
* Science Investigations – integrated with Science memory works
* Oral Presentation – time to re-present what they are learning in a given cycle

Cycle 3

K–6th Grade
* Catechism: The Catechism of the Catholic Church
* History: Modern & American History
* Geography: The Americas & The 50 U.S. States
* Timeline: From Creation to Modern Times
* Science: Anatomy & Chemistry
* Latin & Greek: Prayers, Sayings, Roots, Greek alphabet
* Civics: Branches of the US government, U.S. Presidents
* Virtue: virtue study based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church
* Fine Arts: Integrated with the historical time period
* Literature – “Good Books” (in preparation of the “Great Books”) in class read-aloud, family read-aloud, and poetry followed by Socratic discussions on ideas found in the stories
* Science Investigations – integrated with Science memory works
* Oral Presentation – time to re-present what they are learning in a given cycle

Schola Prima I & II Afternoon Session

K–3rd Grade
* Penmanship
* Copywork
* Philosophy – short discussions based on leading ideas to ponder
* Independent Centers

4th – 6th Grade
* Composition – Institute for Excellence in Writing
* English Grammar Intensive (with parsing and diagramming)
* Philosophy – short discussions based on leading ideas to ponder

Schola Alta

Integrated Humanities Program:

History – C1 – Ancient Times; C2 – Medieval Times & the Founding of Christendom; C3 – Modern & American History

Fine Arts – Art & Music appreciation integrated to the time frame they are currently studying

Theology – C1 – Old Testament; C2 – New Testament; C3 – Catechism of the Catholic Church; Seniors – Intro to Theology

Logic – To order thinking in order to perceive truth and to act rightly based on right reason. Informal Logic (Fallacies), Formal Logic, Rhetoric (Speech & Debate).

Classic Language Studies – Intro Latin, Latin I & Latin II – in preparation for the National Latin Exams

Literature – “Good & Great Books” study integrated with history cycle

Composition – Advanced IEW and Classical Composition (Lost Tools of Writing)

Rhetoric – oral Presentations, speeches, and debates

 

 

Schedule During the Aquinas Learning Meeting Day:

SCHOLA PARVA SCHEDULE

Morning Assembly

Circle Time (Songs, saints, calendar, liturgical season)

Memory Works (History, Latin/Greek, Geography)

Good Books (precursor to “great books”) / Philosophy

Show & Tell (oral presentations)

Lunch break / Recess

Language Arts (narration, phonics practice, poetry)

Quiet Time

Centers (math, books, discovery corner, pretend)

 

SCHOLA PRIMA SCHEDULE

Morning Assembly

Memory Works – (visual aids, songs, and chants to help remember important concepts in History, Catechism, Science, Civics, Math, Geography, and Latin/Greek)

Oral Presentations

AM break/snack

Good Books discussion (reading good books prepares the student to tackle the great books, the stories are chosen because of the ideas they have in them, which are seeds for a fertile group discussion.  At times, we use this period to talk about poetry or a classic novel that was read aloud by the parent at home.)

Lunch / P.E.

SPI (K-3rd) PM classes

Handwriting

Copy Work – rewriting quotes and Bible passages, allowing the student to read it slowly

Philosophy – discussing small and big ideas and concepts.

Centers – a chance to join in some focused activities in one of the “centers” (building/tactile, art/writing, games/strategic thinking, science/discovery table

SPII (4-6th) PM classes

Grammar

Philosophy

Composition (using IEW materials/training)

 

SCHOLA ALTA SCHEDULE

Oral Presentations (2nd half of the year these turn into “impromptu persuasive speeches.”)

Catechism

History

snack/break

Literature (classics, poetry, short stories, mostly related to the cycle theme)

Composition (Advanced IEW and Lost Tools of Writing program)

Lunch / Study Hall / P.E.

Fine Arts

Logic

Latin