Dialectic Curriculum

The courses in the dialectic school are all focused on teaching students how to think. Discovering, understanding, and following crucial ideas and questions is the overarching goal of the seventh and eighth grade curriculum. Through formal instruction, teacher modeling, and continual practice, students learn the skill of dialectic through all of their subjects.

Mathematics

Math in the dialectic school is transitional, serving as both the capstone of grammar school mathematics and as the foundation for all later studies in mathematics and science. Centered on the liberal arts of arithmetic and geometry, it solidifies the foundational mathematical concepts, facts, and operations the students acquired in the grammar school (Pre-Algebra), and begins the sequence of high school credit math classes (Geometry).


PRE-ALGEBRA
Normally taken in 7th grade
Teachers: Michelle Garzon and Joe Moon

Pre-Algebra is the capstone of grammar school math classes and the cornerstone of advanced math in rhetoric school. As the former, it reviews and reinforces mastery of arithmetic and basic mathematical reasoning. It is the last general math skills class the student will take before the more focused study of Geometry, Algebra, and Calculus. As the latter, it introduces the fundamentals of algebra, which are essential to equations learned in Geometry and provide the basis for more comprehensive study in Algebra I.

The Pre-Algebra course is structured to be very student-focused challenging students to collaborate to discover different mathematical rules and concepts as well as explain their reasoning or rationale for each answer. Students will use a variety of problem-solving methods and apply knowledge from their previous coursework to tackle some of the more elaborate problems. Students will also have the opportunity to revisit skills they find they are weak in while incorporating new aspects of their algebraic thinking. By the end of the year, my hope is that students will find a new confidence in their abilities, work interdependently to explore and reason mathematically, and see the overall beauty of mathematics.

Enduring Understandings

  • Algebraic representation can be used to generalize patterns and relationships that can be represented graphically, numerically, symbolically, or verbally.
  • Computational fluency includes understanding not only the meaning, but the appropriate use of numerical operations.
  • Real world situations can be modeled as variable equations, which can then be solved algebraically or by using proportional reasoning when appropriate.
  • The properties of geometric abstractions, such as area, volume of figures, or measure of angles, can be calculated as a way of measuring real world objects.
  • The likelihood of real world events can be modeled and meaningfully estimated and discussed by calculations of probability and analysis of collected data.
  • Mathematics requires perseverance in working with problems whose answers are not immediately obvious and ingenuity in breaking complex problems into smaller, more manageable problems.

ALGEBRA I
Normally taken in 8th grade
Pre-requisite: Pre-Algebra
Course Code: 1200310 (Regular), 1200320 (Honors)
Teacher: Christine Miller (Regular), Kamillia White (Honors)

Mathematics is a wonderful God-given tool that models the relationships of nature and science. It is the language spoken by God’s physical creation. We discover in mathematics a reflection of the order, rationality, and immutability found in God’s own divine nature. In studying mathematics, we develop practical skills in ordering and manipulating the world around us and are able to more effectively rule over nature and benefit mankind. With these skills, we are able to develop a deeper, intuitive understanding of God himself.

In Algebra I we lay the foundations for all other advanced mathematics. Algebra is the branch of mathematics concerned with the manipulation of numbers and variables; and their mixture through the study of polynomials. By learning the rules of the language of mathematics students will be able to harness the power of abstraction. They will know how to convert problems from English language to mathematical sentences (expressions, equations and inequalities). They will also discover the power of the coordinate plane and learn how equations may be represented graphically.

The discovery, the learning and the practice of mathematics cannot be separated. Students will encounter a rich learning experience as we engage in activities designed to foster wonder, practice our learning in a cooperative and encouraging setting. Students will be working in a collaborative setting where student interaction is welcome and encouraged.

Enduring Understandings

  • Patterns, functions and relationships can be represented graphically, numerically, symbolically or verbally. The function and relationship concepts are fundamental ideas in mathematics.
  • Algebraic and numeric procedures are interconnected and build on one another. Integration of various mathematical procedures builds a stronger foundation for finding solutions.
  • Technology should be used not to replace mental math and paper and pencil computation, but to enhance understanding of mathematics and the power to use mathematics.
  • There are multiple strategies for finding a mathematical solution and those algorithms are frequently associated with different contexts. Mastery of mathematics depends on choosing appropriate methods.
  • Mathematics is not a matter of magic but a human way of thinking that is accessible to all students. Algebra I seeks to give all students confidence in mathematical thinking.

Science

Science in the dialectic school provides instruction in foundational scientific concepts and methods, and supports the liberal art of dialectic by training students to find and follow the most important and fruitful questions in life science and physical science. In this way, students are well-prepared for later studies in biology, chemistry, and physics. Beyond the hands-on experience of conducting labs/experiments and demonstrations, a highlight of the dialectic science experience is the trip to North Florida during the fall of seventh grade.


CENTRAL FLORIDA NATURAL HISTORY
Normally taken in 7th grade
Teachers: Matthew Clark and Robbie Andreasen

Central Florida Natural History will focus on getting outside and seeing things where they live. The environs surrounding the school are richer in life than we typically imagine. Within a half-mile of campus there are dozens of insect, arthropod, mollusk, mammal, reptile, fish, bird, tree, vine, fern, and “weed” species. We are just accustomed to ignoring them! This class is interested in seeing and understanding them.

We will be interested in observing things very closely. In order to do this we will make collections of plants and animals both live and preserved. We are going to spend a lot of time outside. It is always surprising to see what lives here on the school grounds! Students have caught and or seen: snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles, spiders, raccoons, opossums, eagles, armadillos, and more insects than I can count. We will be constructing and keeping a detailed natural history fieldbook/sketchbook. We will work on building drawing skills in order to make closely observed drawings of specimens. This book will serve as the repository of all the close observations students make of the various things we collect or bring inside to observe.

In addition to this, Mr. Andreasen will take each class for one quarter in order for students to learn about the human body and biological taxonomy.

Enduring Understandings

  • In order to love a place (and it is proper to love the place where one lives), it is necessary to be able to name and understand the non-human things that also live in that place.
  • Central Florida is home to an enormous variety of living things. These things do not confine themselves to “wild” areas; they live all around us at all times of the year.
  • Beauty is common, but it is not always easy to see. One has to look, know where to look, and know how to see the beauty that lives there.

PHYSICAL SCIENCE
Normally taken in 8th grade
Teachers: Andrew Nelson and Lou Ford

Eighth grade Physical Science is an invitation for students to explore their world through a systematic approach that allows them to experience both wonder and sound experimentation. The first half of the course is aimed to familiarize you with the history and mystery of the periodic table. Students will delve deep into the history of the elements—their discovery, their properties, and their practical use in today’s world. Students should begin viewing their surroundings from the subatomic level. By doing this, students will begin making connections between a molecule’s structure and its appearance, known reactions, and functionality.

While the first half of the course gives attention to the molecular level, there will be a thread of astronomy running throughout the whole course. Students will spend time observing, sketching, and pondering God’s beauty as displayed in the heavens. These observations and attention to lunar patterns will serve as the backdrop for student’s adventure into the world of physics. Students’ hearts will be illuminated to the world around them through the lens of Newton’s law of motion, the usage of simple machines, and the various forms of energy. This year will be considered a success if students leave the classroom with a sense of wonder and love for science, know that they are loved by their teacher, and ultimately know that they are loved by their Creator.

Our main focus will be on the five big questions:

  • What stories led to the compilation of the periodic table?
  • What does the study of chemistry show us about the physical world?
  • What patterns can be found in the natural world?
  • What is the significance of force, energy, and work?
  • What does astronomy teach us about the character of God?

Enduring Understandings

  • Physical science, like other branches of modern science, builds its understanding through the processes of inquiry, discussions, logical and mathematical inductions and deductions, experimentation, and observations.
  • Physical science focuses on the fields of physics and chemistry.
  • Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can exist in different forms and undergo various transformations. Basic principles such as Newtonian mechanics, energy, motions and forces, and conservation of energy aid in understanding how matter and energy interact.
  • Matter is composed of particles and behaves in predictable ways. The composition of matter is understood through many ideas including atomic theory, qualitative and quantitative descriptions of matter, and chemical reactions.
  • Science is a tool coexisting with our faith that gives mankind constructs by which to understand the patterns and relationships of God’s creation. It is important to understand and articulate the competing theories of and explanations for the origins and natural laws of the created world.

English

English cultivates the liberal art of dialectic by training students to discover and explore some of the most significant questions and ideas regarding the human experience. Drawing from both modern and ancient literature, the curriculum is integrated with that from the history and bible courses. Alongside their literary studies, students continue honing the liberal art of grammar and the craft of writing developed in the grammar school. E.D. Hirsch’s cultural literacy program forms an important part of the dialectic English curriculum as well.


ENGLISH – 7TH GRADE
Teacher: Naomi Wise

In seventh grade English we study a number of novels, myths, poetry, grammar, and vocabulary. We examine models of excellent writing and practice a great deal of writing in a wide variety of formats. The overarching theme is fallen man. The two works chosen for the first semester, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, explore the human experience of man’s sinfulness and through our studies we are made aware of our own need for a Savior.

During the second semester our focus shifts to ancient mythology, a literary genre of unparalleled importance in the ancient world. The semester begins with myths of creation and the flood and progresses to the hero myths. This progression from creation, to the gods, to the heroes will prepare my students well for their study of Homer and Virgil in eighth grade.

At the conclusion of every literature unit we celebrate by watching a related film, eating food, or writing a speech and presenting it. Throughout the year we will perform skits to embody the stories we read.

Reading poetry should evoke delight, and poetry is always printed on colored paper to show that it is different from prose. A Poetry Popsicle Picnic in the spring enjoyed alfresco continues our romp through the poems of Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost. Our year-end capstone presentation is Zeus’ Family Reunion when we eat Greek desserts and enjoy hearing new stories composed and presented by our costume-clad classmates.

Enduring Understandings

  • The undergirding theme of “the fall of man” within the context of literature explores the concrete human experience of man’s sinfulness and need for a Savior.
  • Recognizing that all literature is taught from a Christian worldview, students should begin to formulate an approach to secular works and mythology from a Christian standpoint.
  • Good quality writing is free from mechanical errors, and admirable style can be appropriated by studying models of excellent writing.
  • Public speaking is a life-long skill made easier by early practice within the classroom community.
  • A love of poetry and beautiful, winsome word choice should begin to percolate in seventh grade students’ minds and souls.

ENGLISH – 8TH GRADE
Teachers: Naomi Wise and Scott Forrester

The vividly portrayed epic battles in Homer’s Iliad and the arduous obstacle-ridden journey in Homer’s Odyssey could be a metaphor for 8th grade English classes this year. We will travel through many wonderful, difficult, classical works and begin to observe connections between Greco Roman History, art, logic, and literature. While we examine Greco-Roman literature, we will remain firmly rooted in our Judeo-Christian beliefs, echoing with the Psalmist, “For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols” (Psalm 96:4–5).

After examining models of excellent writing students will practice a great deal of writing in various forms. Many of the writing assignments will arise from works read in class and modeled on great literature. Continuing with our delighted exploration of poetry in seventh grade, we will enjoy the whimsical creations of E. E. Cummings, while also memorizing inspiring poetry. Our annual Poetry Popsicle Picnic will showcase poetry by E. E. Cummings and Gerard Manley Hopkins.

This year we will embody our stories with skits, The Geneva Greek Games, Greek food, reenactments and a Roman dinner, as well as Punctuation Day with punctuation-shaped food.

Enduring Understandings

  • Greco-Roman history, ancient Near Eastern history and geography, Latin, and Greco-Roman literature are interwoven and when studied together each offers insight into the others.
  • Vocabulary from cultural literacy will enrich students’ reading comprehension and vocabulary well beyond their years at school.
  • Superior writing adheres to the conventions of correct grammar and punctuation, and in its style does not sink to the mundane or cliché-ridden.
  • A Christian worldview enables one to read pagan and secular fiction with an ear attuned to the clear differences between mythology and scriptural truth.
  • When reading poetry, our experience should be that of Robert Frost, who declared: “Poetry begins in delight and ends in wisdom.”

History

A knowledge of ancient civilizations is foundational to the study of subsequent western civilization, as well as to understanding Scripture. Revisiting at a deeper level their second and third grade studies in ancient Near East and Greco-Roman civilization, students engage the history of the ancient world in order to understand significant events from our past and to gain better categories for thinking about and questioning the consequences of ideas and of human choices.


ANCIENT NEAR EAST HISTORY
Normally taken in 7th grade
Teacher: Kelli Brodrecht

This course surveys the history and literature of the ancient Near East. Through this course, we will study empires and epics from the Fertile Crescent all the way to Persia and the eventual domination by the Greeks in the fourth century BC. This 3,000–4,000 year time period saw great scientific and cultural development, as masterful temples and pyramids were erected, laws and treaties were established, and empires rose and fell. Students will learn more about these civilizations’ influential rulers, cities, myths, religious concepts, political structures, etc. through reading, hands-on creative activities, and the use of the dramatic arts.

The goal of this course is to learn more about the history of the ancient Near East, its impact on our Western culture, its role as the geographical and cultural backdrop for the Bible, as well as to gain an appreciation and understanding for these civilizations through their art and literature.

Enduring Understandings

  • Culture is “an integrated system of learned patterns of behaviors, ideas, and products which are characteristic of a society.”
  • The primary cultures and civilizations of the ancient Near East begin with ancient Sumer and continue through the Akkadian, Amorite, Egyptian, Israelite, Hittite, Phoenician, Aramean, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Persian empires and cultures.
  • Literature offers us rich insight into the beliefs, values, and daily practices of civilizations.
  • The study of ancient Near Eastern civilizations can enhance our understanding and appreciation of the Bible—especially the Old Testament.

GRECO-ROMAN HISTORY
Normally taken in 8th grade
Teacher: Kelli Brodrecht

Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum cum superiorum aetate contexitur?

“Not knowing what happened before you were born is to be stuck forever in childhood. For what is a person’s life, if it is not woven together with the life of earlier generations by the knowledge of history?” (Cicero, Orator ad M. Brutum 34.120)

Quid est quod fuit? Ipsum quod futurum est. Quid est quod factum est? Ipsum quod faciendum est. Nihil sub sole novum, nec valet quisquam dicere: Ecce hoc recens est: iam enim praecessit in saeculis quae fuerunt ante nos.

“What has been? That’s what is going to be. What has happened? That’s what is going to happen. There is nothing new under the sun, and nobody can say ‘Look, this is new!’ For it has already happened in the ages before us” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).

As modern people, we tend to believe that our own age is not only the newest, but also the most important one. The word modern itself—meaning “just now”—implies that our own age stands on its own, without reference to what preceded it. History becomes an object of study, rather than the long background to our lives, the story in which we finally appear in the most recent chapter, the story we must know if we would know ourselves. And yet, it is manifest that the language we speak, the God we worship, the DNA of our bodies are all handed down to us from people who lived before us. We participate in their story, and they in ours.

So we desire to know our ancient forebears, and our search leads us back to the Greeks and Romans. Many of our beliefs about man and society, our arts and sciences, our virtues and vices were transmitted to us from these once mighty peoples of the Mediterranean Sea. The concrete realities of their lives shape ours. Above all, our faith in Jesus Christ was revealed, proclaimed, and transported there—mostly in the Greek tongue, on Roman roads, in lands subdued by Roman rule. The cross itself, made for us the “power of God unto salvation,” was first a Roman instrument of execution. Getting to know the Greeks and Romans—what sort of people they were, how they lived their lives, their rise and fall—will allow us to know better our own lives, and the Lord we serve, who, though king over all, was put to death by a Roman governor.

The course will consist largely in the reading and re-telling of the most interesting stories the Greeks and Romans themselves told. We will often connect these stories with the events recorded by the people of Israel, especially when the strands of the stories become interwoven. The students will create projects that reflect their knowledge of these stories, and, integrating fine arts into their studies, reflect an appreciation for the artistic brilliance of the Greeks and Romans. At the end of the year, they will visit Boston, where they will have the chance to see up close, some artifacts from the Greco-Roman world.

Enduring Understandings

  • Awareness of Greek and Roman history is necessary for understanding who we are as Westerners today.
  • The lives of past generations reveal wisdom and virtue for us to imitate, as well as folly and vice for us to avoid.
  • The study of history reveals patterns in human affairs: a similar pattern of rise and fall can be perceived in the stories of Persia, Athens, and Rome.
  • Wealth and prosperity bring a civilization both benefits and troubles.
  • The Incarnation of the Son of God bestows dignity on all human history, but imparts particular interest to the time and place in which it happened.
  • God makes things—he is creative—and we will imitate him in this. It is better to make things well than to make them poorly. This is one of the reasons we study art making.
  • It is important to develop visual literacy in order to look at and see art as it was meant to be seen by its makers. This is a skill to be mastered just as much as reading and understanding books is a skill to be mastered.

Bible

In the dialectic school, as students are learning formal ways of reasoning, questioning, and discussing, we want them to have a deeper understanding of the stories and the structure of Scripture. These courses are designed to give the students a clearer understanding and imagination regarding the contexts and diversity of the Old and New Testaments, while also showing the continuity of the overall focus of the Bible, which is explicitly centered on Christ and is the basis for the best kind of reasoning and discerning.


OLD TESTAMENT SURVEY
Normally taken in 7th grade
Teacher: Justin Keller & Robert Ingram

As Christians who long to know Jesus Christ and to understand the salvation He gives us, we need to understand the Old Testament. As Graeme Goldsworthy notes, the New Testament Scriptures “are only to be understood from the Old Testament; the fulfillment of the promises can only be understood in the context of the promises themselves. The New Testament presupposes a knowledge of the Old Testament” (Gospel and Kingdom, 20).

But many Christians find reading the Old Testament Scriptures to be difficult and even obscure. The goal, therefore, of this year-long survey is to help students to step into the world of the Old Testament, to begin to grasp how the Old Testament is for Christians, to develop an Old Testament imagination.

Towards that end, students will learn about the geography of the Ancient Near East in order to help the world of the Old Testament make sense. They will walk through the Old Testament in roughly chronological order to learn how all of its parts work together to tell one story. Instruction will be integrated with classical works of art to introduce major movements in the narrative, in keeping with the Western aesthetic tradition. Students will learn how to integrate ten key biblical motifs: the authority of Scripture, creation, faith, covenant, law and grace, divine sovereignty, human responsibility, the kingdom of God, a promised savior, and worship to the glory of God. Most importantly, students will see that the Old Testament reveals patterns and promises that are fulfilled in the New Testament, chiefly in Christ.

As a result of their work in this class, students will be better prepared to think biblically about the other disciplines they study. But they will also be better equipped to serve in their communities and their churches. Their greater knowledge of Scripture will help them in youth group or Sunday School; they will listen better to the preaching of God’s Word; their expanded view of God will help them see His work in the world.

Enduring Understandings

  • The primary themes of the Old Testament are the themes of kingdom (God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule) and of covenant (an agreement by which God binds himself to his people).
  • God communicates to his people through the literature of the Old Testament in the following four genres, which must be understood and interpreted according to their particular attributes: historical narrative, poetry and song, wisdom literature, and prophetic literature.
  • A Christian understanding of the character of God, human nature and human sinfulness, the created order, and the means by which we receive salvation are all developed within the Old Testament.
  • A Christian world and life view is deeply rooted in and grows from the content of the Old Testament.
  • The Old Testament is divinely inspired and authoritative for the church corporately and for Christians individually. The Old Testament law has three categories: civil, ceremonial, and moral. Though churches and denominations differ in their interpretation and application of the Old Testament law, the moral law continues to inform and shape the understanding and practices of those who profess to follow Christ by faith.

NEW TESTAMENT SURVEY
Normally taken in 8th grade
Teacher: Dr. Mike Beates

Since The Geneva School’s “Values Statement” affirms that the school’s perspective is “forged from historical models of orthodox Christianity,” the study of the biblical Scriptures is fundamental to this task. This year-long course will introduce students to the literature of the twenty-seven canonical books of the New Testament. Largely inductive in its approach, this class will acquaint students with the narrative content, historical background, and theological motifs of the New Testament by use of the same as their primary text. Special attention will be given to understanding and appreciating the literary genre of individual New Testament writings and to understanding the principles of proper interpretation associated with each.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to interact with the New Testament literature confidently, intelligently, and within the larger interpretive tradition of the Church. Since students in the dialectic stage are expected to move beyond mere data acquisition, the class frequently challenges students to ask what broad application the teachings of the New Testament have in our cultural moment and what narrow application these teachings have on individual lives. Finally, the class will seek to enable students to articulate what is meant by “the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

Enduring Understandings

  • The teaching of the New Testament is summarized by four primary themes:
    • The kingdom of God and the lordship of Christ
    • The suffering of Christ and his people
    • The required human response
    • The Old Testament’s fulfillment in the New Testament
  • The New Testament is organized in categories of specific literary genre: gospel, historical, epistolary, and apocalyptic literature; and the Pauline epistolary literature is further sub-divided into categories of Capital, Prison, and Pastoral Epistles.
  • The New Testament is divinely inspired and authoritative for the church corporately and for Christians individually. While the teaching of the New Testament is largely clear and undisputed with regard to the primary aspects of faith, there are numerous issues and practices upon which churches and individuals differ.
  • Finally, historic Christian faith is more than mere knowledge or even intellectual assent to the truth of certain facts. Rather authentic Christian faith embraces the truth in a whole-hearted manner that results in new life spiritually and new ethical dimensions in the life and practices of every believer.

Logic

While all of the courses in the dialectic school emphasize and operate according to the liberal art of dialectic, which is a skill of reasoning, our seventh and eighth graders take stand-alone classes in logic. In these classes the students are introduced to specific categories and constructions of arguments. They learn to identify formal and informal fallacies, they learn how to test syllogisms for validity, and they are introduced to the writings of Plato and Aristotle.


LOGIC 7
Normally taken in 7th grade
Teacher: Joe Moon

The term “logic” evokes a variety of images, from Sudoku puzzles to lawyers catching other lawyers with words; from abstract symbols on a page to word puns. While it can be difficult to see a unified concept between these disparate fields, they are all nonetheless associated with this term “logic.” From its roots, logic has been concerned with words, with claims, with arguments, and accounts of things. It concerns proper reasons for a thing to be proved, and it involves thinking deeply about what course of action to pursue.

In their study of logic, students will learn to stop and pay attention to oft-ignored things: to words, to images, to the world around them. They will be encouraged to try and understand more fully the depth of beauty, the richness of things, and the delight that comes from catching such a glimpse. Logic is pursued that we might better see what is true and beautiful, that we might find it of great importance to pursue wisdom to guide our actions, and that we would seek to understand others in charity and humility. We run this course together through questions and conversations; through silent pondering and heated discussion; through natural history, art, music, and drama; through ancient texts and modern media; through light-hearted games and challenging ideas.

By following the question through dialogue, and learning to attend to the nuances of language, logic trains students to analyze communication and find arguments. The larger goal of the course is for students to be encouraged in their pursuit of wisdom, as we try with all charity and humility to understand what others have said, and to be aided in our pursuit of Christ’s calling.

Enduring Understandings

  • There is truth, even if it is difficult to know.
  • The human faculty of reason (including logic) is good, but is not ultimate.
  • Some reasons are better than others, and there are good ways to think and bad ways.
  • There are many more important things than thinking you are right. God demands of us more about piety and faithfulness than having all the right answers. Charity supersedes correct answers.
  • People convey multiple levels of meaning by the language they use.
  • Language is assertive. As such, we should closely pay attention to our words.
  • Meaning in terms and propositions is often imprecise but can be clarified.
  • Reasoning is a process that necessarily goes from somewhere to somewhere else, requiring both a starting point and a telos.
  • Humility and submission are necessary for the good intellectual life—things are more complex than we realize. Therefore, treating other views charitably is necessary both for truth and for goodness.

LOGIC 8
Normally taken in 8th grade
Teacher: Joe Moon

The term “logic” evokes a variety of images, from Sudoku puzzles to lawyers catching other lawyers with words; from abstract symbols on a page to word puns. While it can be difficult to see a unified concept between these disparate fields, they are all nonetheless associated with this term “logic.” From its roots, logic has been concerned with words, with claims, with arguments and accounts of things. It concerns proper reasons for a thing to be proved, and it involves thinking deeply about what course of action to pursue.

In their study of logic, students will learn to stop and pay attention to oft-ignored things: to words, to images, to the world around them. They will be encouraged to try and understand more fully the depth of beauty, the richness of things, and the delight that comes from catching such a glimpse. Logic is pursued that we might better see what is true and beautiful, that we might find it of great importance to pursue wisdom to guide our actions, and that we would seek to understand others in charity and humility. We run this course together through questions and conversations; through silent pondering and heated discussion; through natural history, art, music, and drama; through ancient texts and modern media; through light-hearted games and challenging ideas.

By following the question through dialogue, and learning to attend to the nuances of language, logic trains students to analyze communication and find arguments. The larger goal of the course is for students to be encouraged in their pursuit of wisdom, as we try with all charity and humility to understand what others have said, and to be aided in our pursuit of Christ’s calling.

Enduring Understandings

  • There is truth, even if it is difficult to know.
  • The human faculty of reason (including logic) is good, but is not ultimate.
  • Some reasons are better than others, and there are good ways to think and bad ways.
  • There are many more important things than thinking you are right. God demands of us more about piety and faithfulness than having all the right answers. Charity supersedes correct answers.
  • There is a great amount of wisdom available to us in the writings of the past.
  • Meaning in terms and propositions is often imprecise but can be clarified.
  • Language is assertive. Therefore, we should closely pay attention to our words.
  • Reasoning is a process that necessarily goes from somewhere to somewhere else, requiring both a starting point and a telos.
  • Decisions made in art, music, and drama are significant and carry meaning.
  • Humility and submission are necessary for the good intellectual life—things are more complex than we realize. Therefore, treating other views charitably is necessary both for truth and for goodness.

Latin

The goal of Latin instruction in the seventh and eighth grades is to provide a foundation for learning to read Latin. This is accomplished using a modified grammatical/analytical approach coupled with a reading-based approach. Students in the seventh grade begin their training by actually reading Latin, and by the end of eighth grade they are ready for the more complex readings in the rhetoric school Latin courses.


LATIN 7
Normally taken in 7th grade
Teacher: Janzen Harding

In this course we will explore the basics of the Latin language through hearing, speaking, reading, and writing in Latin. Our main text will be Familia Romana, by Hans Ørberg, an exciting narrative about a Roman family living in the second century AD. This course will give students the ability to read and translate simple Latin texts, and prepare them for further study of the language that was central to Western civilization for over 1500 years.

In Latin 7 students memorize the forms of the nouns, adjectives, and pronouns as well as the present tense verbs in the indicative mood (active and passive), the present active participle, and the infinitive. However, students will not merely learn about the language and its grammatical properties, but will also be expected to use the language for themselves, participating actively in dialogues, question and answer sessions, and games. We will not shy away from speaking the Latin language!

By the end of Latin 7 students should be able to read Latin aloud with confidence, good pronunciation, and comprehension. Through the reading of over one-hundred pages of engaging narrative in Latin, students will gain both an intuitive feel for how Latin works, and an analytical ability to explain why it works that way.

Enduring Understandings

  • The ancient Romans are no less human than we are, and conversations with the long dead—through the texts they left behind—can deeply enrich our hearts and minds by transporting us out of the assumptions of our modern world.
  • For more than a millennium after the fall of Rome, Latin was the shared language of Western Europe; to know Latin is to hold the key to the Western tradition.
  • Latin is a language; thus “to know Latin” means to be able to hear, speak, read, and write Latin intelligibly.
  • To a native English speaker, Latin’s most challenging and distinctly foreign feature is its system of inflectional endings; thus the chief objective of Latin 7 is mastery of the forms and uses of the five noun declensions.
  • The natural logic of the Latin sentence must be respected; each word should be read and understood in the order in which it is written, rather than treated as a code to be unscrambled.
  • Though Latin 7 focuses on the Roman era, passages from the Vulgate Bible and other post-Roman Latin will be recited and sung, giving students a storehouse of things “true, honest, just, lovely, of good report” to draw upon for a lifetime.

LATIN 8
Normally taken in 8th grade
Teacher: Janzen Harding

The study of the Latin language, which has for centuries been regarded as the cornerstone of classical education, furnishes students with the tools they need to acquaint themselves with the great men of the past who have exerted such a tremendous influence over the shape and character of life in the modern western world.

This course reviews the foundations of vocabulary and grammar covered in Latin 7 and continues the systematic study of the Latin language both in morphology (i.e. how words are formed) and syntax (i.e. how the words go together). Our systematic study will be in the traditional method of memorizing vocabulary and paradigms; parsing and declining words; translation of Latin into English and composing English phrases and sentences in Latin; and memorizing passages of Latin literature. We will also explore other facets of life in ancient Roman through lessons on Roman culture, thought, and society, all of which will serve as a backdrop to the language and bolster our understanding of who the Romans were and how we can continue to learn from them.

Enduring Understandings

  • To fully engage the great literature that we have inherited from our past is to encounter those people who have shaped the present world in which we live. The more we encounter our forebears, the greater become our acquaintance with them and the likelihood of gaining wisdom from their struggles with the question of what it means to be human. And for the western world no literature is more fundamental, no people more influential, perhaps, than those of the Classical world (viz., Greece and Rome, ca. eighth century BC–fourth century AD).
  • The Latin language provides deeper understanding of and facility with both the English language and also any of the Romance languages.
  • In the words of T.S. Eliot, “… we are all, so far as we inherit the civilization of Europe, still citizens of the Roman Empire, and time has not yet proved Vergil wrong when he wrote nec tempora pono: imperium sine fine dedi.
  • The Latin language conveys syntactical function by inflection rather than by word order; Latin word order does something (e.g., it denotes emphasis) rather than convey meaning or function.

Fine and Performing Arts

All true education begins in wonder and depends upon the imagination to flourish. The fine and performing arts thus play an indispensable role in a classical liberal arts education.


Our dialectic students experience an integrated approach to the study of the fine arts. 

  • The seventh grade life science class has a focus on observing and drawing flora and fauna—allowing students to develop the scientific skill of observation alongside the fine arts skill of realistic drawing.
  • Eighth grade students imitate the art of Greece and Rome alongside their Greco-Roman history class, re-creating the art and architecture of the Classical Age.

ART 8
Teacher: Shelly Bradon

When students move into the dialectic stage, the time when logic is taught at Geneva, we like to tighten our students’ drawing skills as well as their use and understanding of principles and elements of design: tools for communicating visually. Our intent is to nurture self-expression while building students’ visual vocabulary. Between major projects, the students are given drawing assignments designed to further strengthen their skills of observation and personal interpretation.

The eighth grade art curriculum is designed to specifically reinforce what the students are learning in Greco-Roman history. For example, in teaching symmetrical and asymmetrical balance, students learn about Greek pottery and design a vase based on what they have learned.

Enduring Understandings

  • God makes things—he is creative—and we will imitate him in this. It is better to make things well than to make them poorly. This is one of the reasons we study art making.
  • Art is to a large degree craft and much can be learned and practiced as a skill. Some are naturally inclined to making art; but talent matters less than hard work in learning to make art.
  • It is important to develop visual literacy in order to look at and see art as it was meant to be seen by its makers. This is a skill to be mastered just as much as reading and understanding books is a skill to be mastered.

MUSIC 7–8
Teachers: Abby Noble and Skip Stradtman

Inspired by beauty, compelled by gratitude, and affirmed by each other.

7–8 Grade Women
Women’s Choir at Geneva will be split into two periods. Seventh grade girls will meet for one hour per week on Thursdays, and eighth grade girls will meet for one hour per week on Wednesdays. This ensemble will study and perform a diverse selection of music, covering a range of musical cultures, traditions, and time periods. Through this music, our young women will continue to build upon their music literacy and ear-training skills from grammar school while making connections to other curricular areas along the way.

This is a developmentally vulnerable time for young ladies as their voice matures from a child’s voice into a woman’s voice. This ensemble will provide a fun, safe, supportive place for all the students to learn and grow. We want to develop confident young ladies, with all kinds of interests, who sing with spirit and joy.

7–8 Grade Men
Men’s Choir at Geneva will also be split into two periods. Seventh grade boys will meet for one hour per week on Wednesdays, and eighth grade boys will meet one hour per week on Thursdays. This ensemble will study and perform a diverse selection of music, covering a range of musical cultures, traditions, and time periods, geared toward the adolescent male. Through this music, our young men will continue to build upon their music literacy and ear-training skills from grammar school, while making connections to other curricular areas along the way.
For many (not all) boys, 7th and 8th grade marks the beginning of the shift from a young treble voice to a young man’s voice. This transition can be awkward or embarrassing, so this ensemble will be a fun, safe, and supportive place for all boys to learn and grow. We want to develop confident young men, with all kinds of interests, who sing with spirit and vigor.

Enduring Understandings

  • Music is a gift from God. It is a powerful medium by which humans reflect their creator.
  • Singing and music-making is a natural human response to the beauty of God, his creation, and his redemptive story.
  • Being made in God’s image, all people are uniquely gifted, and everyone’s voice is valuable.
  • Music, like other subject areas, can be challenging, but is inherently rewarding.
  • Music can be a powerful catalyst for creating and affirming common human values and experiences, while learning to appreciate each person’s individual contribution.

DRAMA 7–8
Teacher: Lisa Hines

Dialectic drama is a performance-based class where students are encouraged to develop their dramatic and performance skills. The students engage in a variety of theater games, playful warm-ups, improvisation, scene performance, and character development that are all designed to strengthen and develop dramatic skills including, but not limited to, spatial awareness, sensory awareness, projection, expression, physical movement, and improvisation. These skills contribute to each student’s growth in self-confidence, cooperation and group-skill development, and problem-solving abilities. Throughout the class activities, students learn proper audience etiquette and how to accept and give criticism in a gracious manner. The emphasis at this grade level is on building a community of Christ-like acceptance where creative performance can flourish.

Enduring Understandings

  • The main instrument of the actor is the body. Actors must cultivate basic skills such as voice, physical gestures, facial expressions, etc. in order to portray realistic characters and to communicate emotion to the audience.
  • Cooperation and teamwork are essential for successful performances.
  • Criticism and praise must be given and accepted with grace if an actor is to improve and grow as a performer.
  • It is necessary for an actor to take risks in order to learn how to create successful performances.
  • Making mistakes is a necessary part of the creative process and should not be viewed as a negative outcome.
  • Everyone must work together to create a safe and accepting environment in order to cultivate creativity.

Physical Education

In the dialectic school the physical education curriculum focuses on the skills of fitness and instruction in organized games and sports. Students lean team sport tactics, basic health-fitness concepts, all while fostering social conduct glorifying to God. The aim is for students to develop the skills necessary for life-long health and fitness.


PHYSICAL EDUCATION 7–8
Coach: Shrell Chamberlain

Seventh and eighth grade students meet for physical education twice a week. This course is designed to be an active time for the students with limited lecture. The purpose of this course is for students to reinforce physical skills, to learn basic team strategies and concepts allowing and encouraging multiple opportunities for life-long fitness. All this is designed to more effectively honor and glorify God.

Enduring Understandings

  • Exposure to or even mastery of a wide variety of physical skills affords an exponential increase in opportunities to remain physically active throughout your lifetime and in turn to improve your health and quality of life.
  • Physical education is about gaining understanding through muscular activity, using physical activity for service to God, relating this activity to other parts of God’s creation, and knowing how physical activity forms the human being.
  • Because the body is an integral part of the total human being created in the image of God, people should value the body as a God-given possession in and through which to live the Christian life in contemporary society.
  • Self-knowledge, self-respect, perseverance, personal integrity, stewardship, cooperation, competition, responsibility, social justice, and social respect are useful tools for building relationships, gaining employment and maximizing ministry opportunities.
The Geneva School
The Geneva School
September 18, 2019
  • US - B Schedule

    Date: September 18, 2019 - September 18, 2019
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • LSC Convo

    Date: September 18, 2019 - September 18, 2019
    Time: 8:25 am- 8:40 am
    See more details

  • 1st Gr - Moms Coffee

    Date: September 18, 2019 - September 18, 2019
    Time: 8:30 am- 10:30 am
    See more details

  • US Mentor Groups

    Date: September 18, 2019 - September 18, 2019
    Time: 9:50 am- 10:35 am
    See more details

  • Florence Big/Little Event

    Date: September 18, 2019 - September 18, 2019
    Time: 12:50 pm- 1:20 pm
    See more details

September 19, 2019
  • US - C Schedule

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • LSC Convo

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 8:25 am- 8:40 am
    See more details

  • 4th Grade Moms Coffee

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 9:00 am- 11:00 am
    See more details

  • Varsity Boys Golf Home Match vs. Real Life Academy

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 4:00 pm- 7:00 pm
    See more details

  • MS Girls Volleyball Away at The Masters Academy doubleheader

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 4:30 pm- 6:30 pm
    See more details

  • Girls JV Volleyball Home Match vs. Lake Howell

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 5:00 pm- 6:00 pm
    See more details

  • Girls Varsity Volleyball Home Match vs. Lake Howell

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 6:00 pm- 7:00 pm
    See more details

  • 5th Gr - Williamsburg Parent Meeting

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 6:30 pm- 8:00 pm
    See more details

September 20, 2019
  • US - A Schedule

    Date: September 20, 2019 - September 20, 2019
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • Progress Reports Sent Home (3rd-6th)

    Date: September 20, 2019 - September 20, 2019
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • LSC Convo

    Date: September 20, 2019 - September 20, 2019
    Time: 8:25 am- 8:40 am
    See more details

  • 6th Gr - TEAM Day

    Date: September 20, 2019 - September 20, 2019
    Time: 8:30 am- 2:30 pm
    See more details

  • 7th & 8th Gr - Moms Coffee

    Date: September 20, 2019 - September 20, 2019
    Time: 8:30 am- 10:30 am
    See more details

  • MS Coed Soccer Home Game vs. Kingsway

    Date: September 20, 2019 - September 20, 2019
    Time: 4:30 pm- 5:30 pm
    See more details

September 21, 2019
  • 7 & 8 Grade Choirs, Rhetoric Choir & Ladies Choir Retreat

    Date: September 21, 2019 - September 21, 2019
    Time: 9:00 am- 1:00 pm
    See more details

  • JV volleyball Tournament

    Date: September 21, 2019 - September 21, 2019
    Time: 9:00 am- 4:00 pm
    See more details

  • Katie Kaples - Bishop Kenny High School

    Date: September 21, 2019 - September 21, 2019
    Time: 3:45 pm- 9:30 pm
    See more details

September 18, 2019
  • US - B Schedule

    Date: September 18, 2019 - September 18, 2019
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • LSC Convo

    Date: September 18, 2019 - September 18, 2019
    Time: 8:25 am- 8:40 am
    See more details

  • 1st Gr - Moms Coffee

    Date: September 18, 2019 - September 18, 2019
    Time: 8:30 am- 10:30 am
    See more details

  • US Mentor Groups

    Date: September 18, 2019 - September 18, 2019
    Time: 9:50 am- 10:35 am
    See more details

  • Florence Big/Little Event

    Date: September 18, 2019 - September 18, 2019
    Time: 12:50 pm- 1:20 pm
    See more details

September 19, 2019
  • US - C Schedule

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • LSC Convo

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 8:25 am- 8:40 am
    See more details

  • 4th Grade Moms Coffee

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 9:00 am- 11:00 am
    See more details

  • Varsity Boys Golf Home Match vs. Real Life Academy

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 4:00 pm- 7:00 pm
    See more details

  • MS Girls Volleyball Away at The Masters Academy doubleheader

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 4:30 pm- 6:30 pm
    See more details

  • Girls JV Volleyball Home Match vs. Lake Howell

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 5:00 pm- 6:00 pm
    See more details

  • Girls Varsity Volleyball Home Match vs. Lake Howell

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 6:00 pm- 7:00 pm
    See more details

  • 5th Gr - Williamsburg Parent Meeting

    Date: September 19, 2019 - September 19, 2019
    Time: 6:30 pm- 8:00 pm
    See more details

September 20, 2019
  • US - A Schedule

    Date: September 20, 2019 - September 20, 2019
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • Progress Reports Sent Home (3rd-6th)

    Date: September 20, 2019 - September 20, 2019
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • LSC Convo

    Date: September 20, 2019 - September 20, 2019
    Time: 8:25 am- 8:40 am
    See more details

  • 6th Gr - TEAM Day

    Date: September 20, 2019 - September 20, 2019
    Time: 8:30 am- 2:30 pm
    See more details

  • 7th & 8th Gr - Moms Coffee

    Date: September 20, 2019 - September 20, 2019
    Time: 8:30 am- 10:30 am
    See more details

  • MS Coed Soccer Home Game vs. Kingsway

    Date: September 20, 2019 - September 20, 2019
    Time: 4:30 pm- 5:30 pm
    See more details

September 21, 2019
  • 7 & 8 Grade Choirs, Rhetoric Choir & Ladies Choir Retreat

    Date: September 21, 2019 - September 21, 2019
    Time: 9:00 am- 1:00 pm
    See more details

  • JV volleyball Tournament

    Date: September 21, 2019 - September 21, 2019
    Time: 9:00 am- 4:00 pm
    See more details

  • Katie Kaples - Bishop Kenny High School

    Date: September 21, 2019 - September 21, 2019
    Time: 3:45 pm- 9:30 pm
    See more details

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