Thinking Independently, Rooted in Christ
IDCA provides academic excellence while nurturing the whole child. Our quality faculty strives to know and understand our students, enabling us to not only provide the learning tools necessary for each student, but also enabling us to disciple our students. Our curriculum focuses on theology by incorporating it into all subjects. We also incorporate an assortment of electives to enhance our strong academic program early on, such as starting Latin as early as Kindergarten.
The primary goal of a classical Christian education is to equip students with the necessary tools to think and learn independently while firmly planting their feet in solid, biblical truths. The bedrock of Christianity is Christ. The bedrock of classical education is the Trivium. Combined, they form a solid foundation on which a Christ-centered education can be built.
The Trivium is taught in three stages: Grammar (grades K-5), Logic (grades 6-8), and Rhetoric (grades 9-12) (learn more here). In the Grammar stage, students focus on fact learning and memorization. In the Logic stage, students begin to understand how these facts relate to and affect each other. Lastly, in the Rhetoric stage, students learn to eloquently and rationally express the knowledge that they acquire. In summary, we strive to help students understand how classical education is applied, not only in the classroom, but in their daily lives. It is our aim to foster a lifelong hunger for learning and to make God known in all that we do.
In the 1940’s the British author, Dorothy Sayers, wrote an essay entitled “The Lost Tools of Learning.” In her writing, she called for a return to the application of the seven liberal arts of ancient education, the first three being the “Trivium” – grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Miss Sayers also compared the three stages of children’s development to the Trivium. Specifically, she matched what she called the “Poll-parrot” stage with grammar, “Pert” with logic, and “Poetic” with rhetoric (see chart below). At IDCA, we strive to apply this classical education in a Christian context. Doug Wilson, a founding board member of the Logos School, explained the classical method further in his book, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning.
“The structure of our curriculum is traditional with a strong emphasis on “the basics.” We understand the basics to be subjects such as mathematics, history, and language studies. Not only are these subjects covered, they are covered in a particular way. For example, in history class, the students will not only read their text, they will also read from primary sources. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric will be emphasized in all subjects. By grammar, we mean the fundamental rules of each subject (again, we do not limit grammar to language studies), as well as the basic data that exhibit those rules. In English, a singular noun does not take a plural verb. In logic, A does not equal not A. In history, time is linear, not cyclical. Each subject has its own grammar, which we require the students to learn. This enables the student to learn the subject from the inside out.
The logic of each subject refers to the ordered relationship of that subject’s particulars (grammar). What is the relationship between the Reformation and the colonization of America? What is the relationship between the subject and the object of a sentence? As the students learn the underlying rules or principles of a subject (grammar) along with how the particulars of that subject relate to one another (logic), they are learning to think. They are not simply memorizing fragmented pieces of knowledge.
The last emphasis is rhetoric. We want our students to be able to express clearly everything they learn. An essay in history must be written as clearly as if it were an English paper. An oral presentation in science should be as coherent as possible. It is not enough that the history or science be correct. It must also be expressed well.”
Latin is a vital part of classical education; it lays the groundwork for understanding the development of virtually every aspect of western civilization through the close study of ancient language, literature, history, art and architecture. Furthermore, the study of Latin greatly facilitates the learning of “Romance” languages, such as French, Spanish, and Italian, and contributes to a richer understanding and use of English vocabulary and grammar. Statistics point to the study of Latin to explain the success of high achieving students in general; in particular, it has been shown to aid students on the verbal portion of the S.A.T. and in catching the eyes of college admissions officers. All students at IDCA are required to take Latin.
According to Dorothy Sayers, “I will say at once, quite firmly, that the best grounding for education is the Latin grammar. I say this, not because Latin is traditional and medieval, but simply because even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin cuts down the labor and pains of learning almost any other subject by at least fifty percent. It is the key to the vocabulary and structure of all the Teutonic languages, as well as to the technical vocabulary of all the sciences and to the literature of the entire Mediterranean civilization, together with all its historical documents.”