The Hybrid Classical Model
The School of the Seven Sages follows the hybrid classical model of education as outlined below. The school is divided into four types of classrooms: Kindergarten, Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. Classrooms are comprised of mixed age students who fall into each of these levels. Wherever possible, classes of students will remain together for this four year period and be taught by the same teacher each year. As a student leaves 4th grade, he or she will leave his Grammar class behind and join a new class at the Logic level. The history and literature curriculum are circular meaning that they repeat every 4 years. Each time the student repeats a certain portion of these curricula, it is in more detail than before. For example, during ancient history in the Grammar class a student will read about Plato and ancient Greek society while learning basic Greek vocabulary. In the Logic classroom the student will begin to understand the details of the Greek language and read books (written in English) about the lives of famous Greeks. In the Rhetoric classroom during the ancient history year, students will be expected to read various books about the Symposium written in their native Koine Greek and write an essay (in English) comparing and contrasting these classic works.
The classical model has worked for thousands of years (since at least the time of ancient Greece), and will continue to work because it is intrinsically linked to the developmental stages of an individual. The key differentiator from this model to the educational model most widely used in the United States today is the emphasis on skills over knowledge. We believe that as technology continues to rapidly alter society, skills are becoming ever more important while specific knowledge (or what we perceive as knowledge) is changing constantly.
The Hybrid Classical Model of education is a combination of a private classical school and a home school focused on teaching classically. The term "hybrid" is used to describe the blend of spending some time learning in a school setting with a licensed teacher, but also spending time learning from a parent at home. By utilizing a blend of both the private school setting and the home, students are able to obtain an elite education at a greatly reduced price. Additionally, families are strengthened by their ability to grow together and spend more time with one another. Parents are able to participate and contribute towards their child's education, but still hold down a career of their own. Children are able to obtain the best of a professional teacher and their parents while also spending valuable time in a social setting with peers.
The following explanation of the Classical Model has been adapted from Leigh Bortins, Classical Conversations.
Classical schools vary in their definition of “classical.” Some educators believe that classical education simply means adding Latin to a modern education; others define it as the study of classical works of literature. But when we say “classical,” we are referring to the three stages of learning listed below. This is the classical model of education that was used by the great thinkers and leaders of the past, including Aristotle, Plato, C.S. Lewis, and Thomas Jefferson.
The classical model divides learning into three phases:
The Grammar Stage: Learning the words and terms associated with a subject. The first step in learning any subject is to learn the vocabulary. For example, when you learn to read, you learn the names of the letters and the sounds they make. Classical educators call this the grammar stage. Young children enjoy this phase: they love repeating songs, chanting rhymes, and pronouncing big words. We capitalize on their enjoyment by teaching young students the grammar of many subjects using songs and chants and practicing with friends. Students receive the building blocks for later learning in science, math, geography, Latin, English grammar, history, fine arts, and public speaking.
The Logic Stage: Asking questions, sorting, comparing, and practicing the knowledge learned in the grammar stage. The second step in learning a subject is to sort, compare, and understand the words and the rules that apply to them. For example, when learning to read, students will learn how to put letters together to form words and how to construct a sentence. We call this stage the logic or dialectic stage because much of the work done in this process is accomplished through dialogue. Children generally enjoy this process most between the ages of ten and thirteen.
The Rhetoric Stage: Communicating the truth of the subjects learned in the dialectic stage through writing, speech, or conversation. The third stage in learning a subject is to use what you’ve learned to solve a problem, write an original paper or speech, or lead a discussion. In reading, this would be the time to focus on the themes and context of what you have read and to apply the lessons learned. Older teens usually enjoy this process because they long to express themselves and be creative problem solvers. We call this the rhetoric stage.
Classical education is sometimes called “leadership education” because it builds skills needed for leadership: logic, debate, public speaking, clear reasoning, researching, writing, and communicating. These skills are practiced in every subject (math, science, history, geography, Latin, fine arts, and more), which prepares students to become leaders in any field they pursue.
See also, "The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education" by Leigh A. Bortins.
See also, "The Lost Tools of Learning" by Dorothy Sayers.
See also, "The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric" by Miriam Joseph and Marguerite McGlinn.
See also, "The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home" by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise.