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What is classical education?

What is classical education?
C.S. Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, St. Paul:  These people and others were educated in the classical method. The classical model is based on the ancient practice of building of skills and knowledge in three tiers:  grammar, dialectic (logic), and rhetoric.  These tiers, commonly called stages, closely mirror how the brain works.
In the grammar stage, students learn the foundational information about a subject, including its vocabulary and methods.  For example:
  • A Latin student in the grammar stage learn vocabulary, verb conjugations, and noun declensions.
  • Math students in the grammar stage learn arithmetic and definitions (e.g., the absolute value of a number is its distance from zero).
  • English students in the grammar stage focus on phonics, spelling, and vocabulary as they progress through increasingly challenging literature.
The grammar stage fills a toolbox that students will apply in conjunction with logic to the more interesting, complex problems that they will encounter in the dialectic stage.
In the dialectic or logic stage, students learn to use the information they learned in the grammar stage to ask and answer questions, applying their knowledge to solve interesting problems. For example:
  • A Latin student in the dialectic stage practice translating and writing in Latin.  They progress from simple sentences to more complex paragraphs.
  • Math students learn to apply the algorithms of arithmetic to solve algebra problems.  One cannot apply the order of operations without knowing how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide.
  • English students begin to consider the elements of plot, theme, character development, and setting; they also focus on employing language mechanics (parts of speech, punctuation, etc.).
Whereas the dialectic stage is a time to ask questions and search for answers, the rhetorical stage is a time to develop the art of persuasion.
Students at the rhetoric stage use their extensive vocabulary and analytic experience to craft pristine positions on a variety of subjects.  They use their logic, their research skills, and their own researched opinions to write papers and speeches, as well to engage in debates.  By the time students get to the rhetorical stage, they have highly developed critical thinking skills, as well as a significant pool of knowledge in their areas of study.
  • A Latin student at this level will be able to read Cisero in the original Latin and discuss its nuances.  They will also be able to compose original essays in Latin.
  • A math student begins to see the bigger picture of mathematical concepts and can attack unfamiliar problems with their skills.  They can also explain intricate mathematical concepts and why they are true. Confidence in performing geometry proofs would the a signal that a student is beginning to enter the rhetorical stage.
  • English students will be able to prepare a well-written, mechanically flawless essay or research paper.  They will also be able to approach a classic work of literature and write about ideas therein.
Rhetoric is a time of synthesis: Students at this stage can make connections and leverage their experience to form compelling observations and novel ideas.  These students will draw from a well of Aristotle, Plato, Homer, Virgil; they will have a mental index of Shakespeare, Euclid, and Augustine. They will have probed these thinkers’ minds in their studies, and they will be able to apply that experience to everything from current events to modern literature.
The three stages of classical education are not strictly age-driven.  Students of all ages learn best when they progress through the three stages when approaching a new subject.

What does Arete mean?

Arete is the Greek word for excellence, particularly the excellence of a warrior.  Arete connotes excellence in virtue, as well as high performance in intellectual and physical endeavors.

What is a Schole Group?

Schole is the Greek word for restful learning.  It communicates the notion that we can home-educate our children well, with rigor and depth, without undue stress that comes from endless busywork.  Schole groups strive to give their children a rich, fulfilling educational experience through a supportive, low-stress approach.  By studying deeply the material that C.S. Lewis and others studied, students will quickly develop an intellectual foundation and thinking skills that will serve them no matter what their professional endeavors may be.  You can read more about Schole Groups at scholegroups.com.

When does Arete meet?

We meet Mondays and Thursdays from 9am to 12pm.

Where does Arete meet?

In the interest of frugality, we will be meeting at the Rayburn home, 1634 Oak, Danville for the 2016-2017 school year.  Subsequent school years may find us in another location.

What is the cost of Arete?

For our first year, we are asking each family to contribute $150. This will cover each student’s membership at ScholeGroups.com ($25/student – this year only), plus the cost of materials and supplies.

Additional costs to consider are textbooks (which we encourage but do not insist you purchase) and the school supplies your child may need to be successful. Be prepared to provide your child with copious amounts of looseleaf paper, notebooks, and binders for their coursework.

We will not be charging a lab fee for science this year, but this may be an eventuality in future years.

Which subjects are taught at Arete?

We will offer tutoring in math, literature, composition, and the classics.  Coursework in Latin, logic, and science, as well as study skills and special topics, will be covered, as well.

Why join the Arete community?

  1. Your student will have an opportunity to learn in a Christian environment where your principles and values will be upheld.
  2. Your student will learn how to listen to a lecture and take notes. They will also learn what to do with those notes.
  3. Your student will learn how to write well.  No matter where they are now in their writing career, they will learn to improve their writing.  We will cover essay planning and structure, idea development, and mechanics.
  4. Your student will read and discuss great literature. He will make a non-trivial dent in the list of great books.
  5. Your student will gain classroom experience.
  6. Your student will practice taking standardized tests such as the ACT.
  7. Your student will be tutored by professional teachers.
  8. You student will be able to get help in the subjects covered in his home curriculum (in all subjects except, perhaps, a modern foreign language).
  9. Your student will have a safe, enjoyable social outlet wherein they can make lifelong friends.
  10. Your student will not be subjected to untoward behavior; we have strict behavioral guidelines to ensure that everyone can make the most of their time at Arete.
  11. Your student will have accountability to help them combat procrastination. By meeting twice a week, your student will be motivated to keep a college-preparatory pace more easily than in once-a-week co-ops.
  12. Arete is economical.  We set our prices as low as we could to eliminate financial barriers to entry.
  13. Arete can help you fill in the holes that you may struggle with in your homeschool.
  14. Arete will give your student an opportunity to interact with great ideas by participating in Socratic discussions.
  15. Arete is not based on Common Core.
  16. Arete welcomes parents; you can sit in anytime you wish.
  17. Arete does not ask you to relinquish control of your student’s coursework. We respect you as the primary educator of your child.  You can make adjustments to assignments, grade their work, and continue to use the texts you prefer.
  18. Arete is not quiz- and test-driven, though we will practice test-taking skills.
  19. Arete will help you prepare your student for college.
  20. Arete does will give your child a broader worldview and practical skills via our discussion of topics like civics and economics.
  21. Arete is a community of charity and mercy; you need never feel like the directors and tutors are in an antagonistic or adversarial position to you (as is common in traditional brick-and-mortar schools).
  22. Arete does not waste time.  The time we spend together is intense, and everything we do at Arete has a purpose.  Your student will feel challenged, yet supported.

Does Arete incorporate a full curriculum?

No.  Unlike other, similar programs, this is not intended to replace everything you do at home.  Arete is tutored by professional teachers who are familiar with the demands of college-level work.  Our goal is to fill in the holes students may experience in their home education to prepare them for college.  For example, we focus on skills such as note-taking, participation in classroom discussion, academic writing, as well as a survey of some of the “big ideas” of the core subjects.
Arete can replace your home curriculum in:
Arete will serve as a hearty supplement in:
Arete does not cover topics in:
Religion (though we do approach all subjects from a Christian worldview)
Fine Arts (music, art, theater, band, etc.)
Additionally, Arete uses its seminar session to do unit studies in topics such as:
Computer Science
Arete can also serve as a dependable way to access professional educators when your child needs tutoring in the subjects you cover at home.  For example, if your student is studying trigonometry and has specific questions about their coursework, they can bring their book to class and ask the tutor for help.
You will find that Arete is the perfect blend of time in a classroom environment and time studying at home.