The principal tools of classical education at Louisville Classical Academy are enduring literature and the timeless tools of Latin, Greek, mathematics, and music. These tools develop superior habits of mind that also accelerate learning in the sciences, history, and art. When a student is working above grade level, class placement is based on prior studies, areas of talent, and overall maturity. Our determination to ignore grade levels where they get in the way of accelerated learning has allowed us to successfully support eighth graders in calculus, Advanced Placement Latin, and Advanced Placement Art History.
Louisville Classical Academy's English program is distinguished by the reading selections, the seminar approach, and an exceptional writing program. All LCA English classes are grounded in enduring literature, from Charlotte’s Web and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in 3rd and 4th grades to A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 7th, to more Shakespeare as well as Chaucer, Hemingway, Dickens, Bronte, and Austen throughout high school. A classical education is defined by the quality of the authors and books around which the curriculum is designed, as well as a recognition that those which have been tested by time and the probing of great minds – enduring texts – deserve priority. Experience of such books enables the student to trace a long conversation about important human questions so that he is better able to join it and to make use of the wisdom it offers. The oldest of great books have also, by their longevity, become the most referenced of books. The student who cannot comprehend those references struggles to make sense of the books that define the curricula at selective colleges – or the conversation of well-educated adults. In classic seminar style, the students sit around a common table and the learning experience based on well-formed conversation among a small group led by an expert teacher. Students learn to share their ideas and to respond to what others have said in a relaxed and supportive setting. They are encouraged to maintain an attitude of naivete, allowing thoughts to evolve, but also taught to support their assertions with evidence and to expect others to do the same. The students learn that good questions can be the most helpful way to advance dialogue. Perhaps most importantly, the students learn that they are never obliged to agree with anyone, but that they are never permitted to be rude. The spirit of dialogue that we foster in the classrooms infuses every aspect of our lives together, making our school one that strives to be unusually civil. As students mature, LCA teachers may add the Socratic method of inquiry and debate, which involves probing assumptions until a contradiction is encountered which reveals a fallacy in reasoning. In this way, students are led to read with care and to support their ideas and arguments with thoughtful care. Excellent critical-thinking skills develop naturally in the seminar classes, as the students learn to communicate ideas with clarity. Composition develops fluency and correctness as students cultivate an authentic writers voice.
ADVANCED MATHEMATICS & SCIENCE
From the beginning levels of Singapore Math in the lower school through AP calculus and differential algebra, Louisville Classical Academy provides each student with the appropriate challenge in math. Taught by subject-matter experts who are dedicated to promoting masterful students, Louisville Classical Academy’s highly interactive tutorials in enable students to benefit from a combination of group instruction and individualized attention. Because students learn math skills at different rates, students are grouped, generally speaking, according to skill level rather than by age or grade.
Science at LCA is thorough and rigorous, from basic cosmology in grammar school to the study of evolution in middle school to advanced physics in high school. Active learning is essential to a firm understanding of science, from careful observation of the daily weather to the study of foundational concepts such as natural selection to Advanced Placement research in high school. Used in combination with direct instruction, guided inquiry in the sciences provides ample active learning opportunities. An emphasis is placed on laboratory experimentation at all levels. Students as young as 3rd grade have participated in the LCA Science Symposium, while interested middle-school students receive appropriate levels of support for participation in science fairs. At the high school level, students have a minimum of three years of laboratory science, including biology, physics, and chemistry, which they may, in some cases, study at AP level.
The classical language of Latin is an exceptional tool for the development of the habits of precision and persistence, attention and accuracy, logical thinking, creativity, and clarity in writing. How? Latin is a highly inflected language, meaning its words change form with their grammatical usage. In learning to translate this language, LCA students develop a profound grasp of grammar and logic, the organizing principles of any language. Students of Latin are also assured easier acquisition of a broad vocabulary, excellent spelling skills, and ease of acquisition of a modern world language.
A classical education is rich in the knowledge of history, as a requisite of cultural literacy and a necessary component of critical thinking skills. It feels good to know things, to satisfy curiosity, to make connections. LCA students’ native pleasure in knowledge is nurtured by teachers who share it. Classical education’s emphasis on general knowledge is affirmed by modern research which shows its critical role in cultural literacy, a requisite of communication and participation in our society. It is not enough to learn how to learn; the best learning outcomes also require that much be learned. Critical thinking is a goal of every educational approach, but classical educators recognize that critical thinking is very much dependent on knowledge. Research in cognitive psychology further affirms the critical role of background knowledge in reading comprehension and writing fluency. LCA immerses its students in a knowledge-rich environment shaped by teachers who share a passion for lifelong learning.
ART & MUSIC
The fine arts courses at LCA include studio art, choral music, and music fundamentals. Each promotes creativity and skill. Music and art are much more than intellectual endeavors -- they feed the spirit. Studio art includes drawing, printmaking, and photography and encourages originality grounded in solid training. Students observe the highest expression of the human soul and become grounded in techniques of drawing. The music classes cultivate notation skills and competence in vocal production, while inviting students to listen to and perform great works of music literature. Students learn the grammar and vocabulary of music from the 1,000 year old canon. Electives in the arts include drama, various art classes, and private instruction in voice, piano, violin, and guitar.